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Emanuel Swedenborg
Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture spiritual wisdom logo

In 1763 in Amsterdam, Emanuel Swedenborg published three books, Divine Love and Wisdom, The Last Judgement, and The Four Leading Doctrines. The latter comprises Doctrine of the Lord, Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture, Doctrine of Life and Doctrine of Faith.

In Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture Swedenborg sets out to show in what way the Word of God in the Bible is divinely inspired and holy. He first introduces what he calls the 'spiritual sense', a deeper inner meaning contained within the letter or literal sense of the Word and then proceeds to show how true doctrine must nevertheless be derived from and confirmed in the literal sense. He continues to describe how the Word links a person to the Lord and provides an association with the angels in heaven.

Here is some of what Swedenborg says at the start of the book:

“It is generally agreed that the Word is from God, is divinely inspired, and therefore holy; but hitherto it has remained unknown wherein its divinity resides. For in the letter the Word appears like common writing, in a style that is strange, and neither so sublime nor so brilliant as apparently is the literature of the world…

Yet the style of the Word is such that there is holiness in every sentence, and in every word; indeed, in some places, in the very letters; and consequently the Word links a person with the Lord, and opens heaven…

Lest, therefore, people should be in doubt that the Word is of this nature, the Lord has revealed to me its internal sense. This in its essence is spiritual, and resides in the external sense which is natural, as the soul in the body.”