Should Christians attempt to interpret their dreams? If so, how should they interpret them?
Dreams as Prophecy
When people typically think about interpreting their dreams, they think of interpreting them prophetically. They ask, “What does this dream tell me about the future?”
There are times in which God communicates to us prophetically in dreams.
- God spoke to Joseph in his dreams (Genesis 37:5-10)
- God spoke to Nebuchadnezzar in a dream (Daniel 2:1)
- God spoke to Daniel in a dream (Daniel 7:1)
- God spoke to Joseph the husband of Mary in a dream (Matthew 2:12-22)
Additionally, Acts 2:17 reads, “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”
Both in Scripture and in the world today, it is rare that God will speak to us prophetically through dreams. However, it is possible if God chooses to do so.
If we feel that God is speaking to us prophetically through our dreams, what should we do?
Click here to read a previous post about discerning God’s will.
Dreams as Parables
Instead of thinking about our dreams as being prophecies, perhaps it is better to think about our dreams as being parables. Instead of our dreams telling us about the future, perhaps our dreams more often than not tell us about something that we are currently going through.
Therefore, if we dream about drowning, then perhaps we are feeling overwhelmed by something in our lives. Therefore, if we dream about somebody dying, then perhaps we feel as though our relationship with that person is not as strong as it once was.
Can you see how interpreting dreams as parables can typically be way more beneficial than interpreting dreams as prophecy?
If you choose to interpret your dreams as parables, here is a helpful way to do so:
- Write down your dream
- Give your dream a title
- Write down the themes of your dream
- Write down how your dream made you feel
- Write down questions that your dream raised
- Write down life circumstances that could correlate with the dream
Martin Luther’s Dream Interpretation
In the late 14th and early 15th century, there was a man named Jan Hus. His name literally meant ‘goose’ in the Bohemian language. Hus was about to be burned at the stake for teaching that people are saved by grace through faith alone and that works were not required for salvation. Right before Hus was burned on the stake, he is recorded as saying, “You are now going to burn a goose, but in a century you will have a swan which you can neither roast nor boil.”
Many believe that Jan Hus had a dream about an invincible swan the night before his death, and that is why he made these comments as his last words.
Martin Luther believed that Jan Hus’ prophecy was about him. Luther thought that he was the invincible swan that had come to teach that salvation is by grace through faith alone.
There was also a prince named Frederick III who had a dream the night before Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg. Frederick III’s brother recorded the dream. In the dream, there was a monk who wrote on the Castle Church door of Wittenberg with a pen so large that it could reach Rome. The more that those in the Roman Catholic Church tried to break the pen, the stronger it got. Then in the dream, Frederick III asked the monk how his pen was so strong, the monk replied, “The pen belonged to an old goose of Bohemia, a hundred years old.” The next morning, Martin Luther posted the 95 theses on the Castle Church door.
Due to this dream, Frederick III became a very strong supporter of Luther. Throughout Frederick III’s life, he provide?d Luther with many opportunities to share his theology and protected him from opposition.
A Proper Place for Dream Interpretation
Should Christians attempt to interpret their dreams? We can if we choose to.
If we choose to, how should we interpret our dreams? More often than not, we should interpret our dreams as parables, not prophecy.