The Analogy of Faith - Christian Research Institute

The rule of faith (: ) or analogy of faith (), is a phrase first found in the  writer , i.e.:

What does the term “analogy of faith mean? - Monergism

This brings us to another aspect of the analogy of faith, that is, that we should interpret unclear passages in light of clear passages, not the other way around. Milton Terry says the expression analogy of faith “denotes that general harmony of fundamental doctrine which pervades the entire Scriptures.…No single statement or obscure passage of one book can be allowed to set aside a doctrine which is clearly established by many passages. The obscure texts must be interpreted in the light of those which are plain and positive.”2 When a particular passage is unclear to us, we can and should go to other passages that address the same topic more clearly in order to help us understand the unclear passage.

The Analogy of Faith

What is the "analogy of faith"? | Catholic Answers

The “analogy of faith” is a reformed hermeneutical principle which states that,since all scriptures are harmoniously united with no essential contradictions,therefore, every proposed interpretation of any passage must be compared withwhat the other parts of the bible teach. In other words, the “faith,” or body ofdoctrine, which the scriptures as a whole proclaim will not be contradicted inany way by any passage. Therefore, if two or three different interpretations ofa verse are equally possible, any interpretation that contradicts the clearteaching of any other scriptures must be ruled out from thebeginning.

In Catholic literature I sometimes run across references to the “analogy of faith.” Can you explain what this term means?

This brings us to another aspect of the analogy of faith, that is, that we should interpret unclear passages in light of clear passages, not the other way around. Milton Terry says the expression analogy of faith “denotes that general harmony of fundamental doctrine which pervades the entire Scriptures.…No single statement or obscure passage of one book can be allowed to set aside a doctrine which is clearly established by many passages. The obscure texts must be interpreted in the light of those which are plain and positive.”2 When a particular passage is unclear to us, we can and should go to other passages that address the same topic more clearly in order to help us understand the unclear passage.

The Analogy of Faith


The “analogy of faith” is a reformed hermeneutical principle which states that, since all scriptures are harmoniously united with no essential contradictions, therefore, every proposed interpretation of any passage must be compared with what the other parts of the bible teach. In other words, the “faith,” or body of doctrine, which the scriptures as a whole proclaim will not be contradicted in any way by any passage. Therefore, if two or three different interpretations of a verse are equally possible, any interpretation that contradicts the clear teaching of any other scriptures must be ruled out from the beginning.If God is transcendent, how can human beings speak meaningfully about him?For centuries philosophers and theologians have asked whether and how it is possible to talk about God. The shared answer to this question goes by the name of "analogy," which recognizes both similarity and difference between the divine being and human language. In the twentieth century, Karl Barth, Erich Przywara, Hans Urs von Balthasar and Eberhard J?ngel explored this question in new and controversial ways that continue to shape contemporary debates in theology.In The Analogy of Faith: The Quest for God's Speakability, Archie Spencer examines the problem of analogy in its ancient, medieval and modern forms. He argues for a Christological version of Barth?s analogy of faith, informed by J?ngel's analogy of advent, as the way forward for Protestant theology in answering the problem of God's speakability.The inspired and infallible rule of faith is the whole of Scripture, whose textual parts must be understood in light of its textual-theological whole. This insures that the theological forest is not lost for the individual textual trees. It should keep us from doing theology concordance-style, doing word-studies as an end-all to interpretation, and counting texts that use the same words and drawing theological conclusions from it. The principle of the analogy of faith also warrants that, when we are seeking to understand any text of Scripture (e.g., Gen. 1-3), all texts of Scripture are fair game in the interpretive process. Or it could be stated this way: the context of every biblical text is all biblical texts.Originally a mathematical term, the Greek word for analogy means "proportion" and was borrowed by philosophers. to refer to the relationship between concepts of things that are partly the same and partly different. It took on special importance in the concept of analogy of being (Latin: analogia entis). The analogy of faith (analogia fidei) must not be confused with this more philosophic concept..In The Analogy of Faith: The Quest for God's Speakability, Archie Spencer examines the problem of analogy in its ancient, medieval and modern forms. He argues for a Christological version of Barth?s analogy of faith, informed by J?ngel's analogy of advent, as the way forward for Protestant theology in answering the problem of God's speakability.The analogy of faith, therefore, has always been associated with the one unchanging faith of the Church; it is closely related to the notion of Tradition and soon became a norm for the early Christian writers. They saw a "proportion" in the manner in which the New Testament complements the Old Testament and in which each particular truth contributes to the inner unity of the entire Christian revelation.The phrase analogy of faith is biblical: Romans 12:6 speaks of the charism of prophecy, along with such similar gifts as ministering, teaching, exhorting. Prophets exercised one of several "offices" within the primitive church (Acts 11:27 13:1); guided by the Spirit, they gained insight into the faith or recognized tasks to be undertaken. The Pauline injunction is given that this gift of prophecy must be exercised "according to the proportion (Gk. analogian) of faith." No prophet is to be accepted who proclaims anything opposed to the "one faith" proper to the "one body in Christ." Such preaching would be out of proportion to, or beyond, the objective truth entrusted to the Christian community.Thus the phrase came to indicate a rule or guide for the exegesis of Scripture. In difficult texts, the teachings of tradition and the analogy of faith must lead the way. The Catholic exegete, conscious of his faith, recognizes the intimate relationship between Scripture and Tradition; he strives to explain Scriptural passages in such a way that the sacred writers will not be set in opposition to one another or to the faith and teaching of the Church.