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Should the Bible be taken literally, or metaphorically?

  1. Link10103 profile image74
    Link10103posted 3 years ago

    Should the Bible be taken literally, or metaphorically?

    I would like it for one option or the other to be chosen, rather than both. The reason being is that usually when both are chosen, the literal parts are the good and the metaphorical ones are the bad. I would like to avoid contradictions and cherry picking as much as possible.

    Also, if you believe the NT nullifies the OT, can you point out where that is actually stated?

  2. Robert the Bruce profile image60
    Robert the Bruceposted 3 years ago

    Though I'm not a Christian now, I have studied the Bible for years and I don't think your question can be answered with either/or. The Bible, as you probably know, is made up of 66 books, many of which were written at different periods in history. Some parts of the books are clearly metaphorical, while some are believed to be metaphorical when you examine the context. Still others are meant to be taken literally. Yes, some parts are meant to be taken literally, but that in no way gives them credibility simply based on the way they were intended to be read.

    So, without trying to be difficult, I think your purposes might be better served if you narrow your Bible genre questions to a specific book or passage.

    1. Link10103 profile image74
      Link10103posted 3 years agoin reply to this

      Seems that would have been the better question indeed.

  3. dashingscorpio profile image88
    dashingscorpioposted 3 years ago

    It doesn't matter all that much as people either choose to believe or not believe. There are parts of it that serve to be inspirational and there are parts of it to me that appear politically motivated to control the people in that era while it was being put together. How Christmas came to be placed on December 25th is also interesting.
    To me the most fascinating thing about the bible is how came to be! The bible canonization process would make for a great movie. One group of people deciding which "gospels" to include and which ones to leave out. What led to the forming of various splinter groups or denominations and what was going on with the government and it's citizens are very interesting.
    I personally do not believe in the "Tower of Babel" explanation for why there are different languages, Samson killed 1,000 Philistines with only the jawbone of a donkey, Adam lived to be 930 years old, Noah did not have his first child until after he was 500 years old and he also lived to be 950, Genesis 32:28 Jacob Wrestles With God and lost?; "And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed." Really?!
    These are just a few of the stories I find difficult to believe but another that stands out for me is the story of Cain and Abel. They are the children of Adam and Eve and there are no other people on the planet. He is banished but later turns up with a wife!
    According to the "Book of Jubilees", Awan was the wife and sister of Cain and the daughter of Adam and Eve. However the Book of Jubilees is one of the books NOT included in the bible. Neither is the Book of Enoch.
    As I said from a historical perspective how the bible came to be is very interesting!

    1. Link10103 profile image74
      Link10103posted 3 years agoin reply to this

      I personally find the flood to be the most interesting in regards to lacking logic, partly because Noah's family was also the only ones on earth supposedly afterwards.

    2. profile image57
      Norine Williamsposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      Dash:  Adam & Eve were NOT the "first" male & female created so says Gen 1:26-27! Adam & Eve were not created until later in Chptr 2! Gen 2:7 (Adam) & Gen 2:18;21-23 (Eve)! Have you noticed this?

  4. levicolemagic profile image73
    levicolemagicposted 3 years ago

    I think the bible should be taken as a story book written many years ago, by people who are now dead and not relevant. I couldn't use a book that condones rape, slavery and mass murder to guide me in my life.

    So I suppose my answer is it should be taken as a work of fiction.

  5. lone77star profile image84
    lone77starposted 3 years ago

    By your conditions, you are cherry picking!

    Divine understanding of a divine work cannot be done with shackles on.

    No, NT does not nullify the OT. Jesus said as much. He came to fulfill the laws laid down in the OT.

    If you realize that Love is the First Law and the most important, then everything falls into place. Your understanding of the "wrath" of God takes on new meaning, because "wrath" is merely a human understanding for our "free will" decision to do evil colliding with the physical law of consequences from our decisions. In other words, we create our own hell by our decisions.

    My new book, "The Bible's Hidden Wisdom: God's Reason for Noah's Flood" describes these things in detail.

    Some parts are metaphorical, some literal and some code!

    The Kabbalists wrote the first 5 books in code, so that it all represents spiritual forces -- not physical events.


  6. profile image0
    Lybrahposted 3 years ago

    I don't believe that the NT nullifies the OT.  The bible should be taken seriously, if not literally or metaphorically. I think it should be taken both literally and metaphorically--I don't have enough space here to say why.  But I will say that I don't think you have ever read the bible--most of it anyway--at least other atheists have studied it.  I suggest you really open your mind and read the NT.  It will change your life if you let it.

    1. Link10103 profile image74
      Link10103posted 3 years agoin reply to this

      Why would the NT change my life but not the OT?
      And if the NT doesn't actually nullify the OT, i would find it difficult to take what good is in the NT over the bad that is probably in both.

    2. profile image0
      Lybrahposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      The NT is about Jesus's life and His works, and what He is all about.  It is not that the NT nullifies the OT, but it kind of overrides it, being that the OT was a lot of history and laws for the Israelites--the NT is the story of redemption.

  7. profile image57
    Norine Williamsposted 2 years ago

    If I had to choose, I would say "metahphorically" although there are some "literal" contents as well.  The "greatest allegory" in Scripture is in Galatians 4:24 in which Ishmael/Hagar represented the Old Covenant and Abraham/Sarah represented the New Covenant.  The "metaphorical ones are NOT the bad" as in the above cited Scriptrue.  There's "nothing bad" about the New Covenant of Grace and Truth: "Good News!" 

    However, in order to understand Scripture, one must read in Spirit (John 4:24).  The Holy Spirit will "guide you into all truth" (John 16:13)!  With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, one will be able to recognize "allegories, parables, metaphors, etc. when studying Scripture!

    I do not believe the NT "nullifies" the OT, for Jesus came not to "destroy the law, but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17)!  However, a New Covenant is currently in place and under that Covenant we "are no longer under the law" (Galatians 3:25).  As you will note in Verse 24 of Galatians 3, it reads, "Wherefore, the law WAS our "schoolmaster" to bring us "unto" Christ, that we might be justified by "faith" (V25) But after "faith" is come, we are NO LONGER UNDER A SCHOOLMASTER" (LAW)! Read Verse 10 of this same Chapter! "Cursed!"  Therefore, if you are "in" Christ (and not a beginner, I Timothy 1:10) you are no longer under the law. 

    How can one "nullify" the Word of God when He says in II Timothy 3:16 "All scriptuure is given by inspiration of God..?" Again in Isaiah 55:11 He said, "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the things whereto I sent it." 

    Example: Father and Son: Metaphor! For They are One!  Different Glories, yet One! "I AM!" "THE SPIRIT!"  God: "WHAT" He is, but Jesus: "WHO" He is!