The Doctrine of Dreams -- By: Richard L. Ruble

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 125:500 (Oct 1968)
Article: The Doctrine of Dreams
Author: Richard L. Ruble

The Doctrine of Dreams

Richard L. Ruble

[Richard L. Ruble, Professor, John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas.]

“That dreams have been and are valuable means of shaping men’s thoughts and careers cannot be denied, and as such, have played an important part in the social and moral life of individuals and of society.”1

Few subjects draw such interest as dreams and their interpretation. Some of the world’s greatest thinkers have studied dreams, including Jung, Murphy, and Fromm. Sigmund Freud, famous founder of psychoanalysis, published his first book in 1900 entitled The Interpretation of Dreams.

Few Christian writers have turned their attention to the subject of dreams. A search for information on this topic from Christian sources turns up only a few articles in Bible dictionaries. There is no mention of dreams in the systematic theologies of Bancroft, Berkhof, Chafer, Hodge, Strong, or Thiessen.

In this article some of the salient features about the doctrine of dreams will be considered. The subject will be discussed in three parts: the doctrine of dreams in the Old Testament, the doctrine of dreams in the New Testament, and the doctrine of dreams today.

The Doctrine of Dreams in the Old Testament

The Hebrew word for dream, chalom, occurs sixty-four times in the Old Testament. In the King James Version it is translated dream sixty-three times and dreamer one time. It appears in fourteen books although it occurs most often in Genesis and Daniel.

Number of Dreams. There are sixteen dreams recorded

in the Old Testament (Gen 20:3, 6; 28:12; 31:10–11, 24; 37:5, 9; 40:5; 41:1, 5; Judg 7:13; 1 Kings 3:5; Dan 2:1; 4:5; 7:1).2 Jacob had three dreams. Those who had two dreams each were Joseph, Pharaoh, and Nebuchadnezzar. Abimelech, Laban, ...

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