It was one of those odd coincidences that occur now and then. Just after the news reported the death of a snake-handling Pentecostal preacher, I happened to post this on the Steele’s Answers blog:
QUESTION: Is Mark 16:17, 18 to be taken in its literal meaning? If so, have not all believers the power to cast out devils, to heal the sick, to drink deadly poisons and handle rattlesnakes without harm? (more…)
This is a follow-up to a recent post about taking the Bible literally — whatever that means!
Alastair Roberts, who left an excellent piece of rebuttal in the comments (seeking to defend Origen and his methods of interpretation), also, by way of Goggle+, reminded me of this video of N. T. Wright discussing the use of the word “literal” in relation to our reading and interpretation of the Bible.
I keep hoping people will stop using the word “literal” to describe the Bible — as in: “take the Bible literally” “literal interpretation of the Bible” and so forth. The reason I keep hoping for this is the fact that the term is over-used, wrongly used, and abused.
What does it mean to take the Bible “literally”?
What does the word “literal” mean? It seems to be used rather loosely. I understand it to be the opposite of words like “symbolic” “figurative,” or “allegorical.” To take a thing literally is to take it at face value.
It’s not that difficult a concept. Yet, the way the word is used would make you think otherwise. (more…)