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Should We Take The Bible Literally?
by Annagail Lynes
6/22/2008 / Christian Living
The Bible is a tapestry of God-inspired stories, parables and thoughts that can be taken literally. To those who do not have the Holy Spirit living inside them, though, this can be confusing.
If we do have the Holy Spirit, He will lead us into the deeper truths of the Bible. The Scriptures are filled with hidden meanings.
Names, such as Noah, have meanings that add to the story . Noah means rest. Zacchaeus means pure one. Peter means rock.
Numbers also have meanings. Twelve is administration. Seven is completion. Eight is new beginning.
Even within the stories themselves, we find hidden meanings. For instance, the story of the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48). She suffered twelve years. She represents the church. Women in Bible stories represent one of two things--the church or Israel. By church, I am referring to the entire Body of Christ not individual groups gathered in brick and mortar buildings.
She use rags to soak up the blood. If we look in the original Hebrew in Isaiah 64:6 where it says "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags," we discover that they are the same rags that the woman with the issue of blood would have used.
These rags represent self-righteousness. This woman is a picture of the church hemorrhaging because of their own self-righteousness.
She only found the healing she so desperately needed when she went to Jesus. When the Body of Christ comes to Jesus and focuses on what He provided for us at the cross through His death and resurrection, we too will be healed and experienced the same peace that the woman with the issue of blood did.
In this seemingly innocent story about the woman with an issue of blood, we find truths relevant for today.
There are many stories in the Bible, which we think are cute, but that have important morals to them.
Jonah, for instance, didn't want preach in Nineveh as God told Him to because he knew that if he did, God would spare the people of Nineveh.
Jonah tried to run away from God, but he couldn't. God saw when Jonah boarded a boat bound for Tarnish (Jonah 1:3). God saw the storm (Jonah 1:4) and how Jonah's shipmates threw him overboard (Jonah 1:15). God saw when a great fish swallowed Jonah (Jonah 1:17) God saw Jonah spend three days in the belly of that great fish (Jonah 1:17)..
The moral here is that we cannot outrun God and His assignment on our lives. God knows where we are at all times.
What about Esther? She became queen because she found favor with a king who ruled from India even unto Ethiopia (Esther 2:17). She learned of the plot to kill her people (Esther 4). She wanted to ignore it, thinking she, as queen, would be spared, but the man who raised her, Mordecai, pointed out that she might be mistaken (Esther 4:13). He advised her that maybe she might have been brought to power for such a time as this in order to save her people (Esther 4:14).
Esther went into the king (Esther 5). If a person went to the king uninvited and he did not held out his sceptre, that person would be killed. However Esther did just that. She went into the king uninvited, and by the grace of God, he held out his sceptre to her (Esther 5:2). She had his attention. After inviting him to two banquets, she finally told him of the evil man Haman's plans to destroy her people and to hang Mordecai (Esther 7:3-10).
The moral here is that in spite of the danger, we must stand in the face of adversity, hold our chins up high and do our destiny because who knows how many lives will be spared physically and spiritually in the process. We also learn that God is on our side and will not let us down if we believe Him.
The three Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refused to bow down before the king of Babylon. They risked being thrown into a furnace, but they did what was right. They did not bow, and they were thrown into the fiery furnace, but God delivered them. He didn't let it harm them (Daniel 3).
The moral is that no matter how bad the circumstances look, God will come through for you...if you believe Him.
Throughout the Bible, we read the accounts of what happened to real people. God included these people's stories to show us what to do and not to do in our lives.
Throughout the Bible, we see the intertwined message of hope and redemption of our God. Even though, the children of Israel disobeyed God and found themselves in dangerous situations many times, God came through for them every time through countless delivers, such as Moses, Samson, Gideon, Esther, then finally our Messiah, Christ Jesus.
Though we fall, though we fail, it is not the end for us either. God has a plan, and He will do whatever it takes to help us accomplish that plan.
We see how God had planned to send His Son to save us way back in the Old Testament. The prophets of old prophesied of Him. Isaiah even spoke of Jesus' death in Chapter 53 of Isaiah, indicating that God intended to save us way back then.
Whether we take the Bible literally or dig for deeper truths, we will find one main theme in the Bible. The relationship God, our Father, wants to have with us. He is a relational God. He enjoys spending time with His children.
Even though Moses represents the law, we see in the story of Moses how God had a relationship with him. Moses spent time with God, just standing in His presence, because Moses wanted more of God.
Most of us don't have a good relationship with Him because we don't spend time with Him. We pray hurried prayers, read a verse here or there, but then we ignore God the rest of the day.
No, we must make Him an integral part of our lives. We should talk to Him throughout the day, spend time just sitting in His presence, reading and meditating on His Word. We need to spend time just sitting in His presence, enjoying Him as we would our spouse, colleague or best friend. Just sitting there listening to Him speak to our spirits about the things we need to know.
Whether we read the Bible literally or dig deeper, there is always something more for God to show us. Ask Him to open up the Word to you today!
Annagail Lynes is a pharmacy technician, certified life coach and ordained minister. She is helping people move forward after trauma by helping them discover their purpose. Follow her blog at 316counseling.com
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