Defending Scripture, Literally

Understanding the meaning of Scripture is more nuanced than we might expect.

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Facing an onslaught of theological liberalism, many Christians—including Christianity Today columnist Carolyn Arends—have taken their stand on a literal reading of the Bible, saying that God’s Word means exactly what it says. Yet this well-intended attempt to be faithful has left us vulnerable intellectually and spiritually. “But for me, and, I suspect, others like me,” Arends confesses, “our ‘literalist’ convictions left us confused in significant ways—not only about song lyrics, but, much more tragically, about Scripture itself.”

Table of Contents

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 1; Proverbs 3:1–12; Matthew 13:1–23; Acts 2; Revelation 4


    • Identify the Current Issue

    • Discover the Eternal Principles

Teaching point one: Wisdom literature provides a memorable and easy-to-grasp approach to understanding God’s requirements for daily life.
Teaching point two: Apocalyptic literature in Scripture can give us a fresh vantage point to see our Lord in awe.
Teaching point three: Poetical literature can be found throughout the Bible, even in the narrative parts.
Teaching point four: Historical accounts can be refreshingly straightforward and fairly easy to understand, but they also can include other perspectives.
Teaching point five: Parables in Scripture call on us to inspect the state of our hearts.
    • Apply Your Findings

    • Additional Resources


    • "Defending Scripture, Literally” by Carolyn Arends, April 2012

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