It is a generally accepted principle that the clearer portions of Scripture must be used to interpret the more difficult passages. Despite this rather obvious rule of thumb, many interpreters place tremendous emphasis on the parables and metaphors of Scripture, reading all sorts of meaning into the text. The next step is to utilize the forced interpretations of these passages to twist the clear meaning of other portions of God’s Word. Louis Berkhof warns against such an approach to Scriptural metaphor:
When the Biblical authors employed such figures as metaphors, they generally had some specific point or points of agreement in mind. And even if the interpreter can find still more points of agreement, he must limit himself to those intended by the author. In Rom. 8:17, Paul says, in a transport of assurance: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” It is perfectly evident that he refers to the blessings which believers receive with Christ from their common Father. The metaphor contained in the word “heir” would be pressed too far, if it were made to imply the death of the Father as the testator. How dangerous it would be to apply a figure in all particulars appears very clearly from a passage like Rev. 16:15, where we read: “Behold, I come as a thief.” The connection will generally determine in each particular case how far a figure should be applied (Principles of Biblical Interpretation, p. 86).