by Steve Stone

There seems to be a "great debate" over whether or not to take the Bible literally. The real question is, how can we do anything other than take God at His Word? What authority is there that is greater, or more trustworthy than Scripture? What mysterious source of wisdom can teach us how to understand what the Bible really means?

The truth is, we must take the Word of God literally, for there is no other source that speaks to us with the authority and power of Scripture. The Bible is the most trusted and proven source of truth that is known to human beings. It was written by our Creator, our Maker, and our Father. And common sense tells me that a kind and loving Father is not saying one thing and meaning another.

Just as God sent Jesus to common people, to be born in a stable, in a manger, on the hay and straw, He wrote the Bible using the language of common people. He said what He meant, and meant what He said.

Though there may be a few exceptions where the Bible is not meant to be taken literally, it is not unusual in most types of literature for different figures of speech to be used (metaphors, hyperbole, idioms, etc.). But a universal rule of thumb is to take language literally unless the literal interpretation does not make sense. Also, God has given us teachers who are gifted to help interpret difficult passages of Scripture.

The bottom line is - God has provided us with His Word so that we can know the truth about all things. And if we are open to it, if we will give the truth a chance, the truth is able to set us free from our sin to live lives that not only are pleasing to God, but to ourselves as well.

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