Recently, when an ABC News reporter asked President Bush if the Bible is “literally true,” the president responded that he is “not a literalist,” and that one can read the Bible and not take it literally (Escherich, 2008). Sadly, many Americans have been duped by over a century of propaganda perpetrated by higher critics who seek to undermine confidence in the inspiration of the Bible. Nevertheless, the evidence is decisive: the Bible possesses the attributes of inspiration that prove its divine origin (Jackson, 1982; Butt, 2007).
To suggest that the Bible is not to be taken literally is nonsensical. True, the Bible contains much figurative language, i.e., it includes figures of speech (e.g., simile, metaphor, hyperbole, metonymy, synecdoche, etc.)—just like our own English language (e.g., “quit cold turkey,” “stretch my legs,” “died laughing”). But figurative language still communicates meaning that can be comprehended. The task of interpreting the Bible is no different than any other linguistic interaction. To interpret the Bible “literally” merely means to understand words and sentences in their basic, customary, normal meaning. Did the ABC News reporter’s questions communicate “literal truth” that the president could grasp? Of course. And so does the Bible. Any diligent student can ascertain the original intent of the divinely-guided writers. Could it be that the “can’t take the Bible literally” crowd simply does not want to be restrained by the Bible’s admonitions to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts” and “live soberly, righteously, and godly” (Titus 2:12)? Could it be they do not want to hear that “fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4), and the “sexually immoral...shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8)?
Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Escherich, Katie (2008), “Excerpts: Cynthia McFadden Interviews President George W. Bush,” ABC News: Nightline, Dec. 8, [On-line], URL: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/Politics/story?id=6418908&page=1.
Jackson, Wayne (1982), “The Holy Scriptures—Verbally Inspired,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/rr/reprints/holyscri.pdf.
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