4 levels of Biblical Hermeneutics

There are 4 levels of Biblical Hermeneutics which simply means the study of the interpretation of scripture. With hermeneutics, we have to take into account the genre; whether it’s written as history such as Genesis or poetry such as the Psalms.

The first application is the literal application. To the Hebrew, this is the Peshat.

The second is the Remez which means the allegorical application or “hint of something deeper”.

The third is the practical application or Derash. This is how the text can apply to you directly.

The fourth is the Sod, which is the mystical or hidden meaning.

Proverbs 1:6 (KJV) 
6  To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

Dark sayings is translated from:

Hebrew Word: חִידָה‎

Transliteration: ḥîdâ

The meaning is a puzzle or a riddle.

Hidden messages in the Bible come from Sod or the lowest level interpretation. They are useful for verifying that the text is inspired from God. Some examples can be equidistant letter sequences or ELS. CM documents some of these in the book: Cosmic Codes. There are ELS for all the trees listed in the Bible that are hidden in the text of Genesis 2 which talks about the Garden and the creation of trees in the literal interpretation. There are ELS in Isaiah 53 of all of the individuals at the cross except Judas. By random chance Judas should have occurred in this portion of the text, but by God’s design, he’s not there. There are as well a number of prophetic types listed throughout the Old Testament that are fulfilled in Jesus first and second coming.

Dark sayings or riddles in the text can as well be applied to the lowest level of interpretation or Sod.

The danger is when you take the Sod level of interpretation and give it more weight than the first 3 levels. This can lead you down the path of error and lead you see an allegorical interpretation instead of the literal interpretation. The biggest examples of this involve the creation week and eschatology study of apocalyptic prophecy such as Daniel or Revelation.

Allegorical interpretation in this way leads into error of thinking that God didn’t intend the text to reveal a literal creation week or a literal judgement on the Earth.