With the madness of religious fundamentalism as prominent today as it has ever been, should serious Christians take the Bible literally?
The truth is that no one takes the whole Bible literally, even those who say they do. When did you last see someone chop their hands off when they sinned or poke their eyes out when they looked lustfully at something? (Matthew 5:30) Having said that, is the Bible true?
I want this to be a short post, so the answer is yes?
The Bible isn’t always literally true, but it is true literally. tweet
There is a lot of debate about how we are to interpret the truth of the Bible; for example I personally believe in a literal six day creation, many Christians believe it is a truth literally, not a literal truth. Some people think there is a literal 144,000 witnesses in the book of Revelation, other of us think it is symbolic pointing to a literal truth.
To my understanding the key here is the context that reveals the authors original intent (what he wanted the original readers to understand); what we need to ask, is what is written a literal truth or is it something that points to a literal truth? Of course what Jesus said about chopping our limbs off is not to be taken literally, but what Jesus said does point to a literal and vital truth – sin is deadly and needs to be dealt with.
At this point we do need to become a little dogmatic; willing to stand our ground. There is definitely room for debate about Genesis (even though I really think I am right 😉 ), we can discuss the rapture and tribulation, the return of Jesus and the destruction of Jerusalem. But, and it is a really big but, there are some things that no believer should ever wonder if they are literal or not:
Jesus literally came to earth, God in human form.
Jesus literally died on a cross as the Scriptures foretold.
Jesus literally rose from the dead, a physical, bodily resurrection.
Jesus will literally come again/ appear.
All who have faith is Jesus as Messiah literally have their sins forgiven and will one day be literally resurrected just as Jesus was.
To my mind, what makes the Good News so really good is that all the things I have listed are literally true. Jesus really did defeat sin at the cross, He genuinely overcame death and still offers forgiveness to all those who want to receive it.
It is when we know that the Bible contains literal truth, symbolic or otherwise that we can really start to live as God’s loving, worshipping, missional family on earth.
Go well my friends 🙂