Interpretation of the Bible

Literal or Liberal Views

LITERAL

Word Of God

"Breathed" means inspired by God, so he inspired the authors of the bible. Fundamentalists believe the bible is literally inspired by God and breathed into the writers.

This is justified by:


  • In the bible texts say that it is inspired.
  • Things in the bible point towards Jesus and this would be impossible if they were just written by human authors.

LIBERAL

Word Of God and Word Of Man

Other Christians, perhaps traditionalists, don't believe that the bible is literally inspired by God. They believe that it is written by people who had genuine experiences of God.

For example, early letters written to the Romans are attributed by Paul, who experienced a conversion and then became an apostle.


Arguably the bible is the word of God as it originates with him. So this means the bible contains both the timeless word of God and human error.

AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE

Literal:


  • Bible is literally God's word so has absolute authority.
  • It comes from an omniscient and omnibenevolent God so we should follow it.
  • Science can be wrong, God cannot. This means it is highly authoritative


Liberal:


  • Even if written by humans, contains importance and issues central to human life.
  • An individual's conscience has high importance as well as the bible.
  • They consider to what extent the bible teachings fit with the modern world's issues before regarding it's authority.

ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE LIBERAL VIEW

  • The bible is not a word for word truth, but the general themes are reliable.
  • Accurate writers mean the general stories are true.
  • The content of the Bible is independently supported.
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