Even the best of people misunderstand what God’s Word means. For example, John the Baptist, despite having heard directly from God about the identity of the Messiah – and shortly afterwards seeing this word come to pass when Jesus came to be baptised by him – had made certain assumptions about what this Messiah would do and be like. But when John was thrown in prison by Herod, he sent messengers to Jesus to ask Him a question which was perplexing Him.
¶ The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’”
John had done what many people do when they read the Bible. Rather than …
One of the most heated recent theological debates centred around the notion of whether God not only knows the future, but whether He decrees it. On one side of the debate there are those who claim that the future is open even to God. They claim that the future is up for grabs. God, in their view, has expressed His desire for how He would like the future to unfold. In order for this to happen, because the future is open, God’s purpose needs people to move history toward this end. Those who have a closed view of the future strongly disagree with this assessment. But Bible Prophecy can help someone to grow in their confidence in the Bible as God’s Word.
The problem of taking the Bible literally that these post-moderns are presenting is ironically caused because they do not take the Bible literally! To take the Bible “literally” does not mean to take it in a wooden literal sense, rather it means to read it as literature. That is, we are seeking to understand its intended meaning not its range of possible meanings. Thus, in everyday conversation we know that being sick to death means severe frustration. Laughing your head off means that you laughed almost uncontrollably. A massacre on the football field means that the game is totally one sided and one team no longer has a chance of winning the game. We know this because we understand the intended meaning. This is also how we are to read the Bible: understand the intended meaning.