posted on Aug, 28 2008 @ 02:58 PM
reply to post by Freeborn
...Someone else will quote the same passage and state that it is meant as a metaphor and that it really shouldn't be taken literally and that
it means something else, (usually their own interpretation or that of their own particular denomination).
This is the heart of the matter. It relates to the science of hermeneutics, the principles and methodology of Biblical interpretation. As mentioned
previously knowledge of the backgrounds to the books, their literary genres and original languages are a starting point, and as such require study. If
you are serious about getting to the bottom of how to approach the Bible you could start with the following:
Why some books were included and others left out:
The New Testament Documents: are they Reliable? by FF Bruce (available online
) - chapter III in particular
Nothing but the Truth
Knowing Scripture by RC Sproul
You might possibly also find overviews of the Bible helpful, such as 'Ultimate Questions'
and 'The Milk of the Word'
), although I agree with your approach that nothing can substitute getting to the bottom of these issues through trying to grasp for
yourself what the Bible says.
There is room for different interpretations in many areas and different ways of doing things at the end of the day. While many look at the Church and
perceive division they miss the very real unity that exists around the basic principles of the faith, and unites people from every nation and
Even the apostles were keen to encourage people not to get bogged down with the detail
(quote to follow). For example, whether the fire in hell
is literal or metaphoric, the issue is: how does a person attain a certain destiny of eternal life with their Maker in Heaven?
According to the Bible everything hangs around the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and a person's relationship to that event. If a
person misses this supreme theme of the Scriptures, other subjects - that may well be fascinating - end up being red herrings. It's only when a
reader has grasped this central message that they can profitably pour over the detail.
...Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, "Peace to you!" Then He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here
and observe my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don't be an unbeliever, but a believer." Thomas responded to Him, "My Lord and
My God!" Jesus said, "Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed."
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe
Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.