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Christians who do not interpret the bible literally

How do you know what parts to believe and which are allegory? Do you just choose to accept the parts that are agreeable to you and assume that the parts you don't like aren't meant to be taken at face value? If you're a Christian doesn't it make more sense to assume that the bible is God's innerant word? After all, if you're willing to accept that parts of the bible may not be true, doesn't that put the entire bible into doubt?

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Asked by Anonymous at 11:42 PM on Mar. 1, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

Answers (15)
  • I personally take the whole thing as an allegory.

    I do not trust the passed down stores and multi-translated book as "The word of God" It's passed through too many men for me to take it as that..

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:47 PM on Mar. 1, 2010

  • The creation stories are allegory. In fact, there are multiple cultures with similar creation stories, where only the names are changed. Revelations is allegory.

    What IS safe, in my estimation, is that which has been recorded by multiple observers, such as the ministry of Christ. The Gospels are consistent with each other.

    Answer by gdiamante at 2:46 AM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • I doubt you want a sound reply to this but want to trip up well meaning ones trusting the bible.

    1 timothy 6 v.2-5
    Keep on teaching these things and giving these exhortations. 3 If any man teaches other doctrine and does not assent to healthful words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, nor to the teaching that accords with godly devotion, 4 he is puffed up [with pride], not understanding anything, but being mentally diseased over questionings and debates about words. From these things spring envy, strife, abusive speeches, wicked suspicions, 5 violent disputes about trifles on the part of men corrupted in mind and despoiled of the truth, thinking that godly devotion is a means of gain.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:54 AM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • Most believers only accept parts of the Bible that their denomination's tradition holds to be pertinent to Christians of today. In effect making the Bible live up to their standards instead of them living up to its. I don't think believing the Bible to be literal, but picking out the parts you feel are worthy to live by is any different from believing the entire thing is allegory.


    Answer by Lexylex at 6:25 AM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • It is impossible to take the Bible completely literally, no matter how much you try you still have to interpret what you think the verses mean.

    Even a simple verse such as be fruitful and multiply has to be interpreted. Most people interpret this to mean have lots of children and populate the Earth. If I read this literally, it tells me to eat lots of fruit and practice my multiplication tables. My point is even people who read the Bible is to be read literally are interpreting. 


    Answer by RyansMom001 at 6:54 AM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • p>“For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” (Psalm 50:10) This doesn’t mean God limits his creation of cattle to a specific thousand hills, but is used figuratively for a large number.

    “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9) This is a metaphor, and few people would think that Jesus was literally a wooden gate.

    The Bible uses stories, and symbols to teach. The Bible also uses poetic language to tell stories.

    I think if you try to take the Bible as completely literal its easy to miss the important message it is really trying to tell us. I like to read the entire Bible verse and think about what this verse is trying to teach.

    Answer by RyansMom001 at 6:58 AM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • OP here,

    To give you an example of what I mean, my MIL, who is Catholic does not believe in hell - yet she believes in heaven. Her reasoning is that she doesn't believe that a loving God would really punish someone to suffering for all eternity. I can understand her having a hard time with this, but the bible DOES talk about hell extensively. If she's willing to deny the parts of the bible that talk about hell, then why would she think she can trust the parts about heaven? I know many people who have similar beliefs to hers. It just seems to much like she's trying to throw out the parts she doesn't like and hold on to what comforts her.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:30 AM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • I take most of it as allegory. Based on my reading, much of the tradition back then (at least the OT) was to explain the lives of man in a Divine context. I do believe its important to constantly study, though. Not just the Bible itself, but what other people say about the Bible, as well as history in general and the history of Christianity/Judaism in particular, as well as a lot of other things to help bring things into a better perspective. I know there are a lot of published opinions out there, but in order to be scholastically responsible you should compare and contrast and find which one seems most logically reasonable.

    To the OP @ 8:30 I personally don't believe in hell, and I don't believe that the Bible makes the doctrine of hell absolute. I do believe heaven can exist apart from hell, and that's not just me, its many of us. Again, though, I don't come to any conclusion unless I am able to find evidence to back it up.

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 8:49 AM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • I honestly think taking the Bible too literally, to the point of glorifying it as a Divine creation, is lazy and irresponsible. We have to accept that the Bible was recorded, translated, copied, etc, by human hands, and is therefore subject to error, bias, and other fallibilities. Reading it in a purely literal context, refusing to allow for anything else, leaves out so much of what the Bible is meant to teach. We have to try to understand it from the context of the time/language/tradition/mentality/style/etc in which it was written. We can't read it like we would any other book from today, because it wasn't written by people who think or write like we do today. If we separate it from an understanding of they who wrote it we'll never really understand. Its not meant to be literal history, its meant to set the stage for humanity and God. Some things are literal, but some things are also just there to make a point.

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 8:54 AM on Mar. 2, 2010

  • By the spirit.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:02 AM on Mar. 2, 2010

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