I No Longer Take The Bible Literally
But I can’t stop reading it!
The Bible is an incredible book. I love it. You can find in it everything you can think of: drama, epic stories, philosophy, theology, romance, technical stuff, law, poetry, counselling, and feel-good material. Every time I open it, I find something new to ponder.
Back in my seminary days, I had doubts about some sections. I couldn’t reconcile many parts of the Bible with modern science, archeological discoveries and common sense. For the past two decades, I preached about what I was sure of — Jesus — and avoided the themes I couldn’t fully comprehend. Not because I wanted to avoid complex subjects but because I didn’t want my doubts to be contagious.
Then, I stopped reading the Bible almost five years ago when I left paid pastoral ministry due to my mental health. Furthermore, a very invasive therapy (Electroconvulsive Therapy) wiped off vast chunks of my memory, including theology.
One year ago, I opened the Bible for the first time in years. I have highlighted thousands of verses in SIX Bibles in the past few months. You can tell that I enjoy reading it! Yes, I love it. I also acquired some books on interpretation, inspiration and text origins as I read the Scriptures. It’s been a fascinating journey.
The result is something I didn’t expect: I no longer see the Bible literally.
I can’t describe how freeing this journey has been. I am not pressured to extract doctrines from texts out of context forcibly. The Bible becomes fluid and exciting to read again. The authors and editors of the canon become alive and welcome me to dig into their culture to understand better where they are coming from.
What good does the non-literally-understood Bible do to me? A lot. It gives me wisdom and encouragement while providing tools to battle my depression and anxiety. It brings peace to my tired heart.
I have three books in the mail that will help me dig deeper into the ever-expanding horizon of the Scriptures.
What about you? What do you like about the Bible?