What does Emanuel Swedenborg say about scripture?
The Bible says that Jesus always spoke in parables, which are stories crafted to have a deeper meaning, and this is exactly how Emanuel Swedenborg viewed all of scripture. He believed that scripture is meant to have multiple levels of meaning, like a parable, using similar symbols as he saw used in heaven in his visions. On the surface of scripture there’s a literal meaning, and within that there are deeper spiritual and heavenly meanings. For example, Swedenborg believed that the seven-day creation story is meant as a description of our inner growth into heavenly, peaceful people. Swedenborg had extensive visions of heaven and hell which he used to inspire his understanding of the meanings and symbols in the Bible. Swedenborg asserted that the spiritual realm was full of these meaningful symbols (see the Biblical book of Revelation or Swedenborg’s book, Heaven and Hell). He also left the door open for other traditions’ holy texts to have this type of inner meaning. As a denomination inspired by Emanuel Swedenborg’s writings, many of us view scripture through a similar lens!
Swedenborg believed that an inner meaning pointing to heaven is what makes scripture holy, and he discounted books of the Bible and other texts that don’t seem to have this type of inner meaning. In the New Testament, Swedenborg only considered Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Revelation to be scripture in the New Testament. The historical letters from early church founders to different communities that make up the rest of the New Testament he considered to be just that–great, historical letters!
Meet Rev. Cory Bradford-Watts
Rev. Cory works with the our online community, Spiritual Sunshine, and the Church of the Good Shepherd in Canada. He loves playing music, exploring spiritual topics, being spontaneous, and connecting with others.
More information: https://swedenborgiancommunity.org/blog