Bible: literal or symbolic?

@Bionicman (3967)
Czech Republic
June 27, 2011 4:37am CST
Do you think the Bible should be interpreted literally or allegorically? Had a conversation about god and religion with my coworker yesterday and he told me that he believes the bible should be taken 100% literally. Just wondering what people here on mylot think...
7 people like this
18 responses
• United States
27 Jun 11
The bible has both. There are allegories, symbols, and foreshadowing. There is also a literal factor that must be taken to heart. For example, the Bible tells us to honor our mother and father...this is literal...yet there is the symbolism found in Numbers about Christ and what He came to do...it says that Moses was commanded to construct a bronze serpent, when the people were bitten by snakes (because of their disobedience to God), they had to look at the serpent, and not die. Jesus picks this up in the gospel of John and He says, 'As the bronze serpent was lifted up, so must the Son of Man...' Just to give an example...the real issue though is - what do you want to believe? If you want to have a relationship with Christ, His word will show you the way...if you do not, put the book down. No sense in researching something you refuse to follow or adhere to right? I mean, you won't catch me reading the Quaran or Book of Mormon...I have no desire to follow that. To each his own you know? I believe Augustine said it best, 'In pure essentials, let there be unity, in non - essentials, let there be liberty, but in all things, there must be charity' God bless...
• Philippines
27 Jun 11
When we read the Bible we are faced with 2 options: to interpret it literally or figuratively. In some parts, the words of the bible are to be taken literally in some parts they should be understood as figures of speech or symbols. Several authors of the Bible also used different types of literature thus a diversity also in the manner of interpretation. That is why, it is important that we read the Bible while prayerfully asking God for wisdom so that we would be able to grasp the meaning of what is written as they were intended by God to be understood.
• United States
27 Jun 11
I think people just have to use common sense. Like it says something about sparing the rod spoils the child... that doesn't mean beat your kid ... and I mentioned below about not suffering a witch to live...we don't go around killing witches... but there are some people who will argue that every word is true and applies to today's life, but it really doesn't.
@Dominique25 (9476)
• United States
10 Jul 11
The Bible is literal in many ways. There are also times when it is symbolic for different things.
1 person likes this
@dark_joev (3043)
• United States
28 Jun 11
Well the Bible like other religious books are mostly symbolism and isn't to be taken literally. Also the parts that may be based on real events often have issues with how they are recorded. As in most of the Books in the Bible where written most likely from stories that had been pasted down from generations to generations orally for some time. This is why some parts of even the old testament didn't happen. Like the Jews building Pyramids and other Egyptian buildings or even being enslaved. This is because of a lack of record from the Egyptians of a massive exodus of slaves. Also the recent findings that people volunteered for the job of building the Pyramids. The main focus of the Bible Jesus spoke for the most part using parable and symbolism. He didn't say exactly what was going to happen. The big thing that clearly shows that the Bible is to be taken with a symbolic message would be in Revolutions remember the Fall of Babylon being the major sign of the end times it is going to fall in a day if I remember right well guess what Babylon doesn't exist and hasn't for many and many years we are talking a little less than 2000 years of not existing. The Bible The Quran The Lotus Sutra The bhagavad gita and the many other religious text are met to be symbolism to open your mind and expand that third eye. To expand you spirtually and to put different glasses on your face so you see the entire world differently than you did before.
@mantis36 (4238)
• Philippines
28 Jun 11
why is it i never heard JAGAD GURO???? it is a regular TV program during 1988
• United States
4 Jul 11
It is not Babylon that will fall but Babylon the Great. Babylon the Great represents something else.
@thezone (9451)
• Ireland
27 Jun 11
I think you already know the answer my friend lol. How can one take a piece of fiction literary, although it is the best work of fiction ever written
@mantis36 (4238)
• Philippines
28 Jun 11
the reason is in order for the internet user to get some points about explanations that comes from a different beliefs.... that is what i did too.... as i want to know their unique different reasons too....
1 person likes this
@Bionicman (3967)
• Czech Republic
30 Jun 11
Sure it's the best selling but I wouldn't say it's the best.
@thezone (9451)
• Ireland
2 Jul 11
You should have a read of it Bionicman, it really is a good read It has to be the best or otherwise so many would not be taken in by it
@Adoniah (7515)
• United States
27 Jun 11
Throughout history, preachers have misquoted and misinterpreted the christian testament and the Torah to suit their needs. The early church took advantage of the illiteracy of the serfs and lower classes to instill fear in them by using the fear of their god with the help of Dante's description of the levels of Hell. Today christians still believe in that description of Hell even though they are thinking literate people now and should know that Hell is not a physical place. They call the TANACH and the Torah the "Old Testament", yet when they wish to prove the authenticity of their 'god jesus' they will quote the hell out of it. Then, they discount it again as being put away by their christ figure. Bizarre! The stories in the Torah and TANACH are slowly being backed up by archaeological finds and ancients scrolls. So far there have been no such finds for the christian testament. No Romans wrote of them or other peoples of the time. You would have expected there to be some major Jewish accounts of the times since there were so many Jewish scribes. The christian testament stands in great doubt since a pagan had so much to do with the early churches beginnings and the declaration of the christ figures divinity and his mother's virginity. These are both ancient pagan traditions.
@gjabaigar (2101)
• Philippines
30 Jun 11
So what is in the Old Testament for a Jewish (the Chosen people or children of God? So what?!? If these scriptures (Old Testaments) are for Jewish "only" and not for the Gentiles? Did the Jewish ever followed God (The Ten Commandments of Moses, Abraham, Isaiah and other Prophets? Did the Jewish love God when they have saved from Egypt and have their promise land, Israel? So what about Jesus Christ the Jewish King of Israel? For about more 2,000 year ago and you are still on the record on findings of how authenticity about Jesus the Christ and other early Christians. How about the real authenticities of biblical Jewish people living right now in Israel? And, where they are right now? Are they all in Israel? The truth is, mostly of the so called real biblical Jewish people are converted either in Islam or Christianity. Read about St. Paul and St. Peter. They are one of the early Christians living on Israel and pillars of Catholic and different branches and sectors of Christian faith, evangelicals, ministries and so on.
@gjabaigar (2101)
• Philippines
11 Jul 11
Peace be with you Adoniah and Casandrina. Sorry about those, for I am being judgmental. I only ask some questions that needed to be answered. Because I really don't know. I wouldn't ask questions if I already knew it. And, I don't really like what I said, I just can't stop to resist to do it. Because of what Adoniah stated about Christians and Pagans, I felt like an insect or a dog, that don't belongs in the grace and eyes of God. I felt someone is robbing or stealing or snatching my faith to God. And it is really heavy to carry and a real stabbing pains. It is like nailing on the cross. As being a Christian spiritually, we should treat the Bible spiritually as we are all beings of spirituals. Any literal things on the Bible are only for the satisfactions of our flesh. The Bible will always reminds us of our old worlds or old previously life which was already transcend into a new world to uplift our spiritual life. Our fruit in the tree of wisdom - love, peace, compassion, humility, unity and harmony. Make seeds of them. Plant and nourish them with all our hearts, minds and souls within our heart, mind and soul. Until again we bear and sow our fruits.
@mantis36 (4238)
• Philippines
28 Jun 11
i still don't know what it means to be LITERAL OR ALLEGORY... but to me, bible is only made for us humans to lessen our sins.... to think plenty of times before doing wrong... each of the moral lessons inside the bible teaches us to be good to our neighbors as well as following the 10 commandments.... but all of the stories in the bible is just a myth only, meaning, there is really no proven solid evidence to support such claims... there is no harm or bad if it is called a myth... if the contents inside the bible we will soon become a good Christians....
@thezone (9451)
• Ireland
2 Jul 11
That's the way I see it too. I see the Bible as merely guidelines for life and that's all merely guidelines a bit like mylots lol. No problem with following the teachings of the Bible, it is very helpful for many but then many take it way too far and literal and those kind of people scare me
• India
2 Jun 12
the bible has to be taken symbolically.
• Canada
14 Aug 11
Definitely symbolic. I had a minister tell me that if I were to take the bible literally, I might as well live in the dark ages. Take Eph 5:22, for example. Submit to my husband? One could argue that 5:25-33 gives me something good to submit to, but I think 5:21 is more on the mark. Submit one to the other (equally) and then take the 5:25-33 bit, and apply that to AND FROM both partners. I am not going to allow any man to be my H E A D no matter how well he treats me. Were I to take the bible literally, I'd have no choice!
@RobtheRock (2485)
• United States
4 Jul 11
I'd say that most of the Old Testament is to be taken literally while most of the New Testament is to be taken symbolically. Spiritual Christians will be able to get some kind of meaning from Isaiah and Daniel of the Old Testament, and Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Revelation, etc. of the New Testament. Sometimes, there are double meanings (not in opposition to each other). In Revelation, there is the spiritual meaning, there is symbolism, and there is the literal meaning.
@Gordano (792)
• United States
28 Jun 11
The so-called symbolic interpretation is used when the text (written by men) is absurd or ambiguous.
@salonga (27993)
• Philippines
28 Jun 11
I do take the Bible literally. God the one who inspired the writing of this Holy Book is communicating with me through this so I must take this Book literally. Whenever I read the verses of the Bible I always focus on what is the message of God to me. I don't give my own interpretation but rather I give total weight to the context the the intent of God why those words were written. It takes right and correct way of handling the Word of God to come to the knowledge of the truth and only Christians can fully understand it because only Christians do have the Holy Spirit that guides them to the truth. There are some parts of the Bible which use figure of speech and it is the Holy Spirit that gives a Christian the wisdom to interpret and discern what God wants to impart from those verses.
• United States
27 Jun 11
I believe that God and what the Bible says is 100% literal. I have had my ups and downs in my life, i tried other religions, but all of them ended up making me worse. I finally decided to side with God, and my life is alot better. So yes i beleve that what the bible says and the believers are 100% true.
• United States
27 Jun 11
Hello Bionicman, I think some parts of it can be taken literally, but other parts are just symbolic… or they were once true and taken literally and now they are not. Like back in the 1700s when suspected witches were put on trial and killed? It says somewhere in the bible to not suffer a witch to live. Of course we don’t go hunting down witches anymore and burning them at the stake and hanging them… they are free to practice their religion just like we are. I’m sure there are other passages in the bible that cannot be taken literally either. Have a great day!
@manong05 (5029)
• Philippines
27 Jun 11
Most Bible readers and scholars will say that it is both. There are parts of the Scriptures like express commands and historical records that are to be taken literally but there are also portions that are obviously symbolic like many records of prophecies especially in the book of Revelation and Daniel.
@ptower76 (1619)
• United States
27 Jun 11
They are proving more each day that events recorded in the bible did indeed exist. At least the historical events in the geographical locations recorded in the bible. It is currently a history book but the spirituality part is symbolic in my opinion. I watch the history channel and they show that by examining archeological findings, they are safely arguing that some of the events did exist in those locations. Of course there are always missing pieces.
@visavis (5945)
• Philippines
27 Jun 11
Actually they are wrong about 100% bible to be interpreted literally, few only can interpreted into literal mostly contents in the whole bible are symbol or allegorically specially words from Jesus..
@Angelee_27 (3473)
• United States
27 Jun 11
Hi Bionicman, In my opinion, the Bible should NOT be taken literally. It's is 100% symbolic.