Is the Bible Literally True?

Do you believe the Bible is literally true or just a kind of guide book for faith and morals only? :slight_smile:

To put it simply YES. While it does teach moral value the gospels start at the verry beging of the Bible in Genessis.So yes the Bible is litteral and far more than that of a “guide book”.:slight_smile:

So stories like Noah’s flood, the parting of the red sea…and stories like that are true word for word?

Is that official Church teaching?

Why not? Look at Hebrews chapter 11. This is a good look at a overview of the Old Testement. All things are possible with faith.:thumbsup:

Why not both?

You’ve got use your terminology correctly. The Bible is literally true, yes, but we don’t take a literalist’s approach. Different books were written for different reasons - The Song of Songs does not likely recount historical events; it’s a love poem. The Gospels, on the other hand, were clearly written to be historical accounts of Christ’s ministry (obviously elements within them, i.e. the parables, used to convey spiritual truths through metaphorical accounts).

But from here we can’t go to the opposite extreme, assuming everything was written with a metaphorical intention. No, that would have to be based on some very flawed logic.

Lucky for us, Jesus left us a visible Church, headed by His Vicar, that guides us in our interpretation.

p.s. A good way to read the Bible is to start at the Cross and work outward. There is a lot of gospel in the old testiment.

Here what Dei Verbum says about Sacred Scripture:

Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings (5) for the sake of salvation. Therefore “all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind” (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Greek text).

Phrases like “teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth” indicate to me that the Bible teaches truth, and it teaches that truth without error. Some modern theologians teach that parts of the Bible are not literally true, like the infancy narratives of Jesus. To me, that doesn’t fit with the official Church teaching that the Bible teaches solidly, faithfully and without error.



The wider quotation means something a little different though: “Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings (5) for the sake of salvation.”

The truth of the passage about Noah is that the world became essentially evil - consciously rejecting the spiritual good that could be known to them, replacing it with atheistic materialism. As such, God, in an act of Divine Justice, chose to cleanse the land of their sin (which remarkably foreshadows baptism). So yes, there was definitely a flood.

The Church, however, wouldn’t have a problem if someone wanted to take this flood to mean that a certain area of the globe was flooded. But it also allows us to believe that the entire world was covered with these cleansing waters. Either way, the truth of the passage remains in tact.

So DD2007, this is why we need to have a Catechism at hand when we read the scriptures. We are not infallible interpreters, but the Church is. Where it has defined specific interpretations, we are obliged to believe them (e.g. the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper). But, as seen above, we also have some freedom.

I agree with what Matt says. If we want to believe that the universe was literally created in six days, we are allowed to do that. If we want to believe that the six days are not literal 24 hour periods but some other demarcation of time, we are allowed to do that also. The truth of Genesis is that God created the universe out of nothing - that we must believe to be Catholic.

Is it a sin to not believe certain things written in the bible?

What do you mean? And who is doing the “not believ[ing]”?

It could make that person anything from a new denomination to a heretic - or it could just make them an honest person, struggling in their journey to be faithful to God and His Church. I think we’d need more details.

No one in particular…but many people I know and have talked too don’t believe the fantastical stories of the Bible but do believe the historical ones…I was just wondering if it is a sin to not belive a fantastical story, and what the churches stance was on if the Bible should be taken Literally or not…

I’m familiar with the historical books of the Bible, but not the fantastical books. What stories would be considered fantastical?

Well, you know…the miracles and things…like the burning Bush…the red sea parting…

Stories of Giants…and stuff.

Is it a sin to not believe those kinds of stories?

Whether its sinful would depend on the person’s knowledge of Church teaching (presumably this person is Catholic) - I think it would also depend on whether the person is running around, claiming that the Church is wrong in proclaiming that certain parts of the Bible are historical. If it’s an internal struggle, it’s obviously not sinful.

As for the literal question, well see my first post :slight_smile: Yes, we take the Bible literally. But we are not literalists.

Haha I’d like to know which parts are the “fantastical” ones. Nothing in particular comes to mind…especially if we believe that God is behind it all!

For fantastical see post #15

Thanks. Just wondering. I hear people often say they believe the important things in the Bible but not the “other” things that people aren’t required to believe.

What is fantastical about God speaking through a burning bush? If He had simply revealed Himself to Moses, every molecule of his existence would have burst forth in glory to their creator…I don’t think that was God’s plan at the time :wink:

What alternate interpretation is being proposed for the parting of the Red Sea?

As for the giants, are you talking about the Nephilim? Maybe this old thread would help you. Or this explanation in particular:

““Nephilim” - or נפילים - does not refer to angles or to giants, but to princes who had become corrupted with immorality, and “fell” from their social caste by engaging in relations with women from the servant caste.”

There is also this footnote from the NAB on the question of the giants:

According to Numbers 13:33, when the Israelites invaded Palestine and found there the tall aboriginal Anakim, they likened them to the Nephilim; cf Deut 2:10-11. Perhaps the huge megalithic structures in Palestine were thought to have been built by a race of giants, whose superhuman strength was attributed to semi-divine origin. The heroes of old: the legendary worthies of ancient mythology.

You sound like you spend a lot of time with a Bible :slight_smile:

  1. The alternate I hear is the explosion of a volcanic Greek island called Thera…some say that happened about the same time as the parting of the red sea story…other people believe it was a miricle…some just think the story was made up.

Regardless of how God effected the miracle, the Biblical account tells us that He did. The last “alternative”, where it didn’t happen, doesn’t sit too well with 2000 years of Church teaching :wink:

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