226. (i) THE WORD IS NOT TO BE UNDERSTOOD WITHOUT DOCTRINE.
This is because the Word in its literal sense is composed of nothing but correspondences, in order that it should simultaneously hold spiritual and celestial meanings; and every single word is a container and support for these. That is why in the literal sense the Divine truths are rarely uncovered, but are clothed. They are then called appearances of truth, and in many cases are made suitable to be understood by the simple, who do not lift their gaze above what is in front of their eyes. Some appear to be contradictions, when in fact there is no contradiction, if the Word is looked at by its own spiritual light. Moreover in some passages of the Prophets there are collections of place-names and personal names, from which no sort of sense can be extracted. Seeing that the Word is like this in its literal sense, it can easily be established that it could not be understood without doctrine.
The Word is not to be understood without doctrine. Doctrine is to be drawn from the literal sense of the Word. But Divine truth, on which doctrine is based, is not visible to any but those who are enlightened by the Lord.
 But let us take examples to illustrate this. It is said that Jehovah regrets (Exodus 32:12, 14; Jonah 3:9; 4:2); and also that Jehovah does not regret (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29). These statements cannot be reconciled without doctrine. It is said that Jehovah visits the wickedness of the fathers upon the sons, to the third or fourth generation (Numbers 14:18); and also that a father shall not die on account of his son, nor a son on account of his father, but each in his own sin (Deuteronomy 24:16). Doctrine can show that these statements do not conflict, but are in harmony.
 Jesus says:
Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find. To him that knocks, the door shall be opened, Matthew 7:7-8; 21:21-22.
Without doctrine one might believe that each will receive what he asks for; but we know from doctrine that whatever a person asks from the Lord, that is granted. For this too is what the Lord teaches:
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you will, and it will be done for you, John 15:7.
 The Lord says:
Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God, Luke 6:20.
Without doctrine one might think that heaven was for the poor and not the rich; but doctrine instructs us that the poor in spirit are meant, for the Lord says:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens, Matthew 5:3.
 The Lord says further:
Do not judge, so that you are not judged; with whatever judgment you judge, so will you be judged, Matthew 7:1-2; Luke 6:37.
Without doctrine anyone could be induced to assert that we must not judge wicked people to be wicked; but doctrine tells us we may judge, so long as we do so justly. For the Lord says:
Give just judgments, John 7:24.
 Jesus says:
Do not have yourselves called teacher, for you have one teacher, Christ. Do not call anyone on earth your father, for you have one father in the heavens. And do not have yourselves called master, for you have one master, Christ, Matthew 23:8-10.
Without doctrine this would mean that we are not to call anyone teacher, father or master; but doctrine tells us that we may do so in the natural sense, but not in the spiritual.
 Jesus said to the disciples:
When the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you too will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel, Matthew 19:28.
One might infer from these words that the Lord's disciples too are to act as judges, though in fact they can judge no one. Doctrine therefore will reveal the mystery by the fact that the Lord alone, who is omniscient, and knows the hearts of all, can and will be judge. His twelve disciples mean the church in respect of all its truths and all its kinds of good, which are given to it by the Lord by means of the Word. Doctrine infers from this that it is the truths and kinds of good which will judge everyone, as the Lord said in John (John 3:17-18; 12:47-48). There are many more passages like this in the Word, which show plainly that the Word cannot be understood without doctrine.