The Common Good

Taking the Bible Seriously, but not Always Literally

Throughout history, individuals and institutions have cited the Bible to support injustices, such as "holy war" against infidels, the subjection of women, racism and slavery, and the abuse of homosexuals. Misreading the Bible can have serious consequences.

Scholars in academic settings (Protestant and Catholic seminaries, universities, and divinity schools) have been employing and teaching the historical-critical method, which requires that one read the Bible not only from a devotional point of view, but also from a historical one by asking the text some important questions. This can be done by exploring the three worlds of biblical interpretation, which are:

  • the world behind the text (what was the historical context of any given biblical text?)
  • the world of the text (what metaphors are employed to convey a point, and what literary style is found in the text
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