Gary summarizes the two recent interviews with Kim Burgess and what we can look forward to in ongoing discussions with him.

The Bible is literature. God speaks to us in words and themes that can be understood. Not all literature can be interpreted in the same way. The Bible is one book even though it consists of 66 books written over thousands of years by different authors and yet there is a connecting and cohesive story throughout. The nature of the Bible is a miracle. Nothing else can compare to it.

Some will claim that the Bible must be interpreted literally. But what does that mean? There are always caveats. Does a dragon really mean a dragon? Should you really pluck out your eye if it offends you? Should we literally eat Jesus’ body and drink His blood?

The word “literal” is derived “from the word Latin litera meaning letter. “To interpret the Bible literally is to interpret is as literature. That is, the natural meaning of a passage is to be interpreted according to the normal rules of grammar, speech, syntax and context.”[1] The Bible is not a book of incantations. It must be read and understood based on its own terms. The Bible is the best interpreter of itself.

In most cases, literal means really true even if that really true truth is depicted as a symbol, parable, or hyperbole. Something can be true because of the type of literature it is and not be physical:

In Scripture, the distinction between literal and non-literal is perhaps the most important, though sometimes the most difficult to make. It is here that much controversy in the church has been centered. Arguments arise over whether something is literal or non-literal (e.g., the “thousand years” of Revelation 20). Or, if a word or sentence is regarded as non-literal, what kind of non-literal symbol it is, and what the symbol stands for. Symbols are highly adaptable things. And the more symbolic a text is, the more it can yield to various interpretations.[2]

This means that becoming familiar with the Bible in the way it uses language and its choice of events to include in the redemptive story are fundamental to becoming a good student of the Bible.

A Beginner's Guide to Interpreting Bible Prophecy

A Beginner's Guide to Interpreting Bible Prophecy

A Beginner’s Guide to Interpreting Bible Prophecy has been designed to help Christians of all ages and levels of experience to study Bible prophecy with confidence. Includes 3 MP3 downloads of Gary DeMar's lecture on this subject, and PDF lecture worksheets including an outline of Matthew 24.

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Gary summarizes the two recent interviews with Kim Burgess and what we can look forward to in ongoing discussions with him. While many people were enthused and appreciative of the interviews, others have taken issue with them. Gary explains his theological method of reading and interpreting the Bible on its own terms and some questions that arise from reading Scripture in light of Scripture.

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[1] R.C. Sproul, Knowing Scripture, 48–49.
[2] Dan McCartney and Charles Clayton, Let the Reader Understand: A Guide to Interpreting and Applying the Bible (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books/Scripture Press, 1994), 120.