18 Important Reasons Not to Take the Bible Literally

SharePinEmailEven though the Bible is designed to be a guide for people all over the world, some still take every verse literally. This is partially because the Bible has been considered sacred for many years. Yet there are many reasons not to take the Bible as Gospel. The Context of the Bible The Bible was…

Even though the Bible is designed to be a guide for people all over the world, some still take every verse literally. This is partially because the Bible has been considered sacred for many years. Yet there are many reasons not to take the Bible as Gospel.

The Context of the Bible

Editorial credit: Pearl/lightstock

The Bible was written a long time ago, which not only means that time has moved on, but also that societal norms have changed. As we don’t have a full insight into the historical context of the Bible, many of the lessons and messages it contains no longer relate to our contemporary society.

Inclusion of Metaphors

Editorial credit: Breaking The Walls/ Shutterstock.

If a reader of scripture takes every word as Gospel, they’ll overlook the bountiful array of metaphors included within the verses. The Bible doesn’t claim that it should be read literally, but as a book spiritual truths and moral lessons convented through highly-metaphorical language.

Different Genres

Editorial credit: Shaun Menary/lightstock

As the Bible cannot be slotted into just one category, it can be unproductive to think that its verses contain nothing but truths as this can lead to misunderstandings. Scripture contains many different literary genres such as poetry, prophecy and historical accounts. Literary techniques such as metaphors and symbolism may feature more in poetry and so it’s wise not to read every story the same way.

Complexities Caused By Translations

Editorial credit: Inbetween/lightstock.

Over the years, the Bible has been translated many different times as it was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. With these translations, there’s bound to be some misinterpretations that arise which can lead to frustration if taken too seriously.

Scientific Knowledge

Editorial credit: Francescosgura /lightstock.

Some Christians believe that biblical narratives stories, including the Genesis account, should be taken literally. Despite this, the creation story in Genesis doesn’t align with modern scientific viewpoints. Taking scripture as statement of fact can lead to people thinking that they have to choose between science and religion.

Common Practices

Editorial credit: Doidam10/lightstock.

Social media is just one of the modern developments that we have embraced, but of course it didn’t exist when the Bible was written. By believing that the Bible only portrays truths, people fail to realize that it also mirrors the customs, practices and norms of that specific time which aren’t necessarily practiced today.

Ethical Principles

Editorial credit: Dmitry Demidovich / Shutterstock.

Religious individuals acknowledge that the Bible is a sacred text, but it shouldn’t be read as the actual words of God. This is because it contains various moral principles that relate to multiple groups of people in different ways. As fewer and fewer people take the Bible literally, the world will improve.

Personal Interpretation

Editorial credit: ImageFlow / Shutterstock.

Everyone who reads the Bible takes something different from it. Nevertheless, those people who believe that the messages in the Bible are factual do themselves a disservice as they shut themselves off from cultivating their own personal opinions. This can make the act of reading the Bible laborious or monotonous.

Biblical Contradictions

Editorial credit: KevinCarden /lightstock.

Those individuals who are insistent on reading the Bible through a narrow lens ignore the possibility that it’s an unreliable authority because it contains numerous contradictions. For example, there’s some uncertainty around the number of animals on the ark in Noah’s Ark.

The Significance of Numbers

Editorial credit: Prixel Creative/lightstock.

Numbers are contained within the Bible to inform readers about the value or quantity of something. Yet they are also connotative of a deeper meaning which would be overlooked if readers aren’t careful, such as the number 1, which is mentioned several times to emphasize the concept of unity.

Laws and Regulations

Editorial credit: 5 second Studio / Shutterstock.

Laws and regulations are constantly and consistently being made and updated. The Old Testament includes various laws ruling Israelite society which aren’t necessarily applicable today. If we were to ignore our contemporary society when studying scripture, we’d fail to take into consideration the laws and legal implications of our own time.

Christian Denominations

Editorial Credit: pixelheadphoto digitalskillet / Shutterstock.

If there were just one religion, labelling the Bible as a book of universal truth may not have been as challenging. Yet as the Bible is the world’s most influential book, it has made its way into several Christian denominations, all of which have different views on its meaning, and as such it would be impossible to apply it to every denomination.

Use of Imagery

Editorial credit: ponda/lightstock

Imagery features many times in the Bible such as the image of Jesus on the cross. Someone who subscribes to the idea of Biblical literalism may not think twice about the meaning behind this image, while someone else who pays attention to the nuances of this message will know that it’s symbolic of Jesus’ sacrifice, and the sacrifice He calls on all of us to make.

Personal Faith Journeys

Editorial credit: Pazargic Liviu / Shutterstock.

Failing to read the Bible with an open mindset can be detrimental to many individuals’ personal faith journey as it collectivizes every reader into one mass group of followers. Although religious people who do this may think that it’s what’s expected from them, as Biblical literalism usually emerges from a faithful impulse, it can rob them of having their own spiritual insight.

Spiritual Guide For Life

spiritual strongholds

There are many messages in scripture that teach us how to become better people, like the Beatitudes. If we were to apply logic to these lessons, we would fail to understand the spiritual value of them. For example, being kind isn’t just an action, but something that can help us grow and become more aligned with God.

Weaponizing the Bible

Editorial Credit: MVolodymyr / Shutterstock.

Today, many people use the Bible as a companion to validate their own thoughts. For instance, modern politicians cite the Bible to justify policies. The problem with wielding the Bible in this way is that it can be used to oppress different groups and support controversial claims, which isn’t what the Holy Book was intended for.

Modern Debates

Editorial credit: Prixel Creative/lightstock.

Scholars and academics debate over the meaning of the Bible, assessing its accuracy and intended audience. If every reader of scripture were to share one common belief about its contents, there would be no discussions taking place about religious messages, which stunts personal expression.

Archaeological Discoveries

Editorial credit: Comerfjc/lightstock.

Archaeological discoveries have revealed many inconsistencies between biblical narratives and historical evidence. For instance, the absence of proof for a large-scale exodus of Israelites from Egypt, as detailed in the Book of Exodus, has prompted scholars to question the literal accuracy of this account.

20 Catholic Beliefs That Aren’t in the Bible

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

20 Catholic Beliefs That Aren’t in the Bible

18 Outdated Church Traditions That Are Driving People Away

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

18 Outdated Church Traditions That Are Driving People Away

25 Quirks of Catholic Culture That People Struggle To Understand

Editorial credit: KieferPix / Shutterstock.

25 Quirks of Catholic Culture That People Struggle To Understand

Leave a Reply