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Do you take the Bible literally?

"Do you take the Bible literally?" It's a trick question. Some may use this question as a kind of litmus test and, based on your answer, may assume lots of things about what you believe the Bible teaches. In today's devotional reflection, I'd like to suggest that the word "literal" is not helpful or even appropriate when discussing biblical interpretation. It's not always clear what folks mean when they use the term, and sometimes it has too many exceptions to qualify as a good summary of how we approach the Bible in general. Is the Bible inerrant? Yes, absolutely. Is it infallible? Yes, absolutely. Does it always communicate truth? Yes, absolutely. Does it only communicate truth through propositional, factual statements? No. Instead, the Bible contains wondrous variety in the ways that it communicates truth, and approaching the Bible looking only for "literal" meaning (whatever each of us might mean by that) limits the truth we actually see. We might muddy the waters before clearing them up on this one!

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