March 17, 2021
I often hear arguments about whether or not the Bible should be taken literally, or figuratively; the truth is that neither of these assertions is completely correct.
The Bible does not need to be understood literally, it needs to be understood literately.
Scripture contains a collection of quite a few different genres of literature, which include history, poetry, narrative, prayer, prophecy, genealogy records, correspondence, and gospels (which are their own recognized literary genre), not to mention there are at least three prominent original languages these different examples of literature were written in, and each utilizes conventions of grammar, syntax, mood and declension, which have been translated into a modern vernacular which does not use the same conventions. This poses a real problem for taking something literally, when the translated or transliterated product is literally not identical in form or understood expression.
Not to mention there is a good amount of irony and sarcasm in certain passages of Scripture, and nuances that become apparent mainly through the understanding of contextual word play in the original languages. One needs to be able to read each genre literately within its specific context in order to understand it well and receive the full meaning, as would have been understood by the original hearer.
It's the difference between knowledge and wisdom:
Knowledge is understanding that Frankenstein was not the monster.
Wisdom is understanding that Frankenstein was the monster.
Brendan Prout is a husband, dad, pastor and worship leader. He loves training and equipping others to do the work of ministry they are called to, all things geeky, good food, cars, coffee, and not driving off cliffs anymore.