How do you understand scripture when you don’t take it literally?

When I was studying Old Testament my first semester in seminary, a student asked, “After what we’ve done to the Old Testament how can I ever preach on it again?” Prof. Marv Chaney answered that it is possible to attain a second naivete in relation to the scriptures even after dissecting the Books of Moses into the several literary strands that make them up and seeing how they were compiled at different times by different authors and editors. One technique is to understand the concept of a narrative world which is true to itself within the boundaries of that narrative world. While something may not be true in a literal sense, it may be true in a mythological, spiritual sense. Therefore the scriptures are full of spiritual meaning portrayed in symbolic manner because it is all so far beyond words any way. It’s more like poetry than literal history. It’s a window/doorway into another dimension.


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