Why We Must Not Read All of Scripture Literally

by Rebecca McLaughlin

The Meaning of Metaphor

The first thing I would say to someone who asks me, “How could I take the Bible literally?” is “Have you ever had your heart broken?” Now if they’re over the age of fifteen, their answer will almost certainly be *yes*. And then I would ask them to examine what they meant when they said that and to realize that they’re not reporting on a cardiac arrest or a physical heart condition. They’re communicating a profound truth through a metaphor.

The Bible is full of those metaphors. Jesus, in particular, was a master of metaphors. So Jesus is the Good Shepherd, he is the Light of the World, he is the True Vine, he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, he is the source of Living Water. If you read just Jesus’s own words in the Bible, (like in a red letter Bible) you are focusing on Jesus’s words. Just look at those words, and you will find metaphor after metaphor. You’ll find multiple occasions where Jesus uses a metaphor, people take him literally, and they completely miss his point…
 

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Why We Must Not Read All of Scripture Literally