Christians taking this conservative approach recognize that:
Some biblical passages are clearly written as poetry.
Jesus made extensive use of parables; the people and incidents that
he described may or may not have been fictional.
Some other biblical verses must be interpreted figuratively. For
example, when Jesus is reported to have said in John 15:1 "I am the
vine, ye are the branches..." Jesus is obviously not a vine, and his
followers are obviously not branches. He was speaking metaphorically.
However, they believe that most biblical passages, from Genesis to
Revelation, should be interpreted literally.
The default is a literal interpretation, unless some other method is
Thus, as the first part of Genesis explains:
God did create the first humans, the other species
of life, the earth itself and the rest of the universe in six days. However,
there is some wiggle room on the meaning of the word translated as "days."
The flood destroyed all of the human race except for
8 individuals: Noah and his
Noah's descendents repopulated the earth after the flood.
The very first
rainbow really was seen by Noah and his family.
God confused the speech of
the people at the Tower of Babel and thereby established the major linguistic
groups in the world,
And so on.
It all happened exactly as the Bible describes.
The literal interpretation of the Bible is generally based on the following
The Bible is a unique document. It is different from every other book in
the world. Its authors were directly inspired by God
at the time that they were writing their book(s).
The Bible is inerrant. That is, when its 66 books were originally written, God prevented the
authors from making any errors. The biblical text is accurate, whether it
is discussing science,
history, theology, spirituality, morality, or any other topic. Some minor copying errors
may have occurred since
those original autograph copies were written. However, they have had
no significant impact on modern-day religious
The bible is infallible. That is, it is fully trustworthy. It does not
deceive the reader.
The Bible is correct when it identifies authors of its books. So,
the Pentateuch -- the first five books in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old
Testament) -- were written by Moses. All of the Epistles in which Paul is identified as
the author were written by him.
The official canon of the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) was
finalized by church leaders during the 4th century
CE. Under God's inspiration, they separated the
canonical books from the many heretical
works which were then in circulation. For example, they chose exactly four Gospels from
among the over
40 that were in use within the early Christian movement as God inspired,
inerrant and infallible. They rejected the rest.
All passages in the Bible are equally valid and are useful as a spiritual guide.
As 2 Timothy 3:16 says: "All scripture is given by inspiration of
God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness."
The Bible is the "Word of God." It is internally
absolutely consistent. It was as valid at the time of Moses as it is today,
because God is unchangeable.
Many English versions of the Bible are reliable translations.
This is particularly true of the King James
Version (KJV) and New International Version (NIV).
Literally hundreds of apparent contradictions exist in the Bible.
However, almost all can be harmonized with a little thought. A very few
unimportant contradictions can be attributed to copyist errors. It may be
impossible to harmonize a few discrepancies with our currently available knowledge. However, an explanation does
exist, and will be discovered some day.
Many, but not all, Christians who interpret the Bible literally also believe
that an unsaved individual cannot achieve a deep understanding of the Bible.
However, when the person repents of their sins and trusts Jesus Christ as Lord
and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within them and leads them
properly comprehend the text. As Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:14 writes:
natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are
foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually