Taking the Bible Very Seriously, Not Literally

We are called to take the Bible very seriously but not literally.

In the Western mind, a mind dominated by facts and argument, that is challenging to grasp.  We often approach God’s Word with those exacting lenses, believing that if not every bit of it holds literally true, the Bible can then be dismissed in its entirety.

However the Bible from the very start was written poetically.  It speaks of Adam and Eve giving birth to two sons, Cain and Abel, who then marry.  That progression defies logic, i.e. if the first human beings gave birth to the next two, where did those wives come from?

Traditionally, Christianity has been very comfortable with a more poetic reading of the Bible.  Look at the 4 Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Each is a slightly different account of Christ’s life.  Their inclusion in the canon clearly speaks to a people comfortable with “knowledge in the round.”  They did not need one definitive account of His life.  Somehow they knew God was bigger was that.  The New Church is part of the heritage.

Holding the Bible poetically is the path of most resistance.  It is easy on one hand to dismiss the Bible in its entirety.  It is every bit as easy to hide in the literal words as a fundamentalist.  Both are simple “either/ or” solutions.  What God asks however is for us to inhabit the text, to live in it, to wrestle with it, to challenge it, to be challenged by it.   That is not easy but it engages us in an incredible spiritual conversation thousands of years old, opening us to blessings all around.



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One Response to “Taking the Bible Very Seriously, Not Literally”

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