The Bible Is Meant To Be Taken Literally

Is there any scripture offered to support this? No. Now what does the Bible say?

In Hosea 12, God outlines his methods of speaking to man.

I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets. Hosea 12:10

Let me point out here that the ministry of the prophets includes those who like Moses, Isaiah, Luke, John, etc. were the actual writers of the bible. So their writings are not just historical records i.e. literal, but God's way of speaking by similitude i.e. non-literal. To put it another way, God is telling us that the bible is primarily non-literal.

Now even the historical parts are primarily non-literal. Look what it says here.

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 1 Corinthians 10:11

To rephrase this, God is saying that the things that happened in the bible are recorded as examples for our learning. So the primary use of them is not to record what happened [literal] but to impart a lesson [spiritual].

Here he is discussing another 'historical' event, showing the non-literal interpretation.

But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.

Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. Galatians 4:23-24

He is letting us know that the histories recorded in the bible are meant as allegories [lessons and illustrations].

There are many cases where God presents a parable and then shows us how to interpret it.

Look at Jesus explaining the parable of the sower.

And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, Mark 4:2

And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? The sower soweth the word.

And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.

And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, Mark 4:13-18

Here Jesus explains each element of the parable and shows their relationships. But he is also giving them a lesson in bible interpretation. Note that he says And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? This is to say, the way that you interpret this parable is the way to interpret parables in general. This applies to the whole bible.

The bible is full of religious laws and rituals, all strictly literal, right? Well looking in Colossians and Hebrews we see there that these things are shadows, that is outlines or patterns. They are images and pictures pointing to something greater.

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Col 2:16-17

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. Heb 10:1

Another case of religious law with deeper meaning is covered in my article The Case of the Kosher Cheeseburger.

One problem with this law of literal interpretation is that it leads people to think that all they need to understand the bible is a good set of dictionaries. In other words, you can understand most all of the bible without the help of the Holy Spirit.

The bible comes right out and tells us that this will not work!

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1Co 2:14

Let's rephrase this verse.

But the natural man [who interprets literally] receiveth not [cannot understand] the things of the Spirit of God: [the things written by the Spirit of God in the scriptures] for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. [because they are only understood spiritually.] 1 Co 2:14

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