The other day a someone asked me, “Is the Bible literally true?
As a Friend (“Quaker”), I recognize that what is True exists beyond what I know, even beyond what I believe. So my answer went like this:
How could I possibly know? Where was I when God laid the foundations of the earth? (from Job 38:4) I cannot confirm nor contradict the truth of events reported in the Bible. All I can declare as true is that I have encountered One who fits the Bible’s description of God.
I have experienced the condemnation and expulsion, bit by bit, of evil in my thoughts and deeds as was done to the nation of Israel in its 40 years in the wilderness.
I have seen that it has been my desire, like Adam and Eve, to judge for myself what is right and wrong, that has tricked me into labeling what is pleasant as “right” and what is unpleasant as “wrong.” Oh, how much trouble I have caused that way! How I wish I had always remained innocent and trusting, like a little child, that I might enter into the kingdom of heaven, which is so close! (Mat 18:3, Mar 1:15)
Once I was was literally groveling and writhing on the floor in battle with a dire temptation. How powerfully I wanted to follow my desires! How terrible the consequences would be for many others if I did! Suddenly, there beside me, kneeling in the Garden of Gethsemane, was Jesus, attacked by even greater temptations. “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” He said (Luke 22:42) I repeated his words to God and my temptation was instantly and permanently removed!
I could go on. The point is that I cannot say that every single word in the Bible is “true,” especially an English word translated from some ancient language. What I can say is that the story of God’s work in history as an allegory for His work in my heart and life, is true. The good news of God’s Word and Light, Jesus the anointed One, present with me and within me is true, “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:17.
I exhort all, not in criticism but with love, to look within for this Spirit, the divine Light, and to let it reveal truth to you.