Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally by Marcus J. BorgMany Christians mistakenly believe that their only choice is either to reconcile themselves to a fundamentalist reading of scripture (a literal-factual approach) or to simply reject the Bible as something that could bring meaning and value into their lives. In Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, Marcus Borg shows how instead we can freshly appreciate all the essential elements of the Old and New Testaments—from Genesis to Revelation—in a way that can open up a new world of intelligent faith.
In Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, Borg reveals how it is possible to reconcile a scientific and critical way of thinking with our deepest spiritual needs, leading to an insightful experience of ancient text. This unique book invites every reader—whatever his or her religious background—to engage the Bible, to wrestle with its meaning, to explore its mysteries, and to understand its relevance. Reading the Bible Again for the First Time shows us how to encounter the Bible in a fresh, new way that rejects the limits of simple literalism and opens up the rich possibility of living a life of authentic faith.
Sam Harris: On Interpreting Scripture
Taking the Bible “Literally”
I Believe It. That Settles It. Sometimes it just feels like we need to check our brains at the door, rejecting all we know of evolution and the age of the earth, perhaps, or believing the story of Joshua stopping the sun in its tracks. At no place in its more than 30, verse does the Bible claim that it is factually accurate in terms of history, science, geography and all other matters the technical definition of inerrancy. Rather, the word was coined in the middle of the 19 th century as a defensive counter measure to the increased popularity of reading the Bible as one would other historical documents and the discovery of manifold internal inconsistencies and external inaccuracies. We normally use the language of inspiration in just this way, describing a painting, a performance of a Bach symphony, or even a good lecture as inspired.
The Bible is brimming with metaphors and analogies. The sun is like a strong man running through the sky Ps ; men are like grass and their glory like the flowers of the field 1 Pet ; the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed or a bit of leaven hidden in three measures of flour Matt , 33 ; kind words are like honey and rash ones like thrusts of a sword Prov ; This view of literal and metaphorical language, however, is deeply flawed and theologically problematic. Trying to make this a literal statement or a metaphorical one is not so helpful. If, on the one hand, we say that it is metaphorical, what do we mean?
On the other hand, we do take seriously accounts others find fanciful and far-fetched: a man made from mud Adam , loaves and fishes miraculously multiplied, vivified corpses rising from graves, etc. Neither answer gives the full picture.
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Most people could care less whether it is or it isn't. If you're reading this, however, you probably care at least enough to read this. To me, the Bible is important. It is for me the sacred story of the origins of my faith. In light of this, I could no more feel as if it were unimportant than a follower of Hinduism would feel the Bhagavad Gita is unimportant. I do not believe, however, that the Bible is a Divinely-dictated book or a sacred text without error.