Most Bible scholars will tell you there are parts of the Bible which aren’t meant to be taken “literally”— parts of the Bible. That is because some parts of God’s message are clearly in the form of poetry or visions, where symbolic language or images are used. Others use hyperbole, where something is intentionally overstated to make a point. However, when the Bible isn’t using these forms, God wants us to understand the words in their context according to their clear, grammatical sense.
For example, the Bible says, “The soul who sins shall die.” Was God speaking literally when He inspired those words? Did He really mean if we committed any kind of sin, we would really die? If God wasn’t being serious; if He was just joking, it changes everything.
Consider: if the Lord wasn’t to be taken literally in this passage, we don’t have to worry about the things we’ve done wrong. We don’t have to worry because He wasn’t serious about punishing us. If He wasn’t serious about punishing us, we don’t need a Saviour and God didn’t need to send His Son, Jesus.
God wants His people to take Him seriously, and literally. You can, quite literally believe the Bible when it says: “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Check the Book
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (The Bible, Matthew 24:35)
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (The Bible, Matthew 5: 17-18)
“And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation” (The Bible 2 Peter 1: 19-20).
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (The Bible 2 Timothy 3:16-17).