Should We Take The Bible Literally Or Not
Depends on your point of view.
Do you believe in miracles? Literally?
Those who dont believe in miracles tend to interpret many Bible stories as fables and metaphors for life lessons rather than actual occurrences.
But if you do believe the Creator can still make supernatural things happen once in a while, then it wont be so hard to accept biblical events like the parting of a sea, city walls spontaneously tumbling down, or water turning into wine.
Of course, some parts of the Bible are more artistic and less literalfor example, the poetic book of Psalms, the witty parable stories told by Jesus, and much of the vivid picture-language used by prophets in the Old Testament. And still other biblical authors seem to take great pains to describe what really happened.
The bottom line? The Bible invites everyone to read it even if you have trouble buying some of the miracles. If an improbable event trips you up, try thinking about itsdeeper meaning.
Just keep an open mind as you Look Inside.
Who Was Mary Magdalene And Why Do People Think She Was A Prostitute
Few women from the Bible receive as much press and intrigue from both Christians and non-Christians alike than Mary Magdalene. We only have one hint at her life before she followed Jesus. When He casts seven demons out of her, as Luke 8:1-3 says, Mary Magdalene does a complete turnaround and follows Jesus for the rest of His ministry.
- Hope BolingerAuthor
- 201911 Jul
Few women from the Bible receive as much press and intrigue from both Christians and non-Christians alike than Mary Magdalene. From Broadway hits such as Jesus Christ Superstar to Dan Browns Da Vinci Code have read more and said more about her past than Scripture has indicated.
In this article, well discuss the true identity one of the most notorious women who followed Jesus during his ministry, and well expel popular, false ideas that have arisen about her throughout history.
Which Side Is God On
With decriminalization actually gaining ground as a political issue, we may be hearing about it a lot more in the years to come. Its clear where “Hookers for Jesus” stand on the issue, but what about the man himself? If Jesus were around today, where would he figure in on this debate?
Would the son of God, known to meet with all manner of sinners including prostitutes be comfortable with the idea of decriminalizing prostitution?
Or would he be in favor of keeping it illegal on the basis of morality? The Bible explicitly prohibits adultery, after all. And just because Jesus loves the sinner doesnt mean He loves the sin… or thinks it should be legal.
What do you think? Should prostitution be decriminalized? Where, exactly, does God fit into the debate?
Also Check: How Many Books Are There In The King James Bible
Who Was Mary Magdalene
Truly a woman of her time.
She found ways to revinted her image throughout her life. She changed from a prostitute to sibyl to mystic to celibate nun. She is a feminist icon to the matriarch of divinitys secret dynasty.
Each of these women are used to show how a person can change.
Their past is remembered, but it’s also as symbol for sexual desire when domesticated.
It was dangerous to be with Jesus and many men left when he was captured, Mary of Magdala was one of the women who stayed with him, even to the Crucifixion.
She was present at the tomb, she was the first person to see Jesus come back from the dead, to deliver the good miracle to people and continue the Catholic faith.
It seemed that her status of an apostle was even on the bar with legendary men such as Peter.
This is due to her relationship with Jesus, which, according to some accounts, had a physical aspect that included kissing.
Hookers For Jesus And Jesus Only
Internal program manuals obtained by Reuters revealed that it was mandatory for shelter guests to attend or volunteer at local church services, and that the staff training manual decried everything from homosexuality to recreational drug use .
Even secular magazines with articles, pictures, etc. that portray worldly views/advice on living, sex, clothing, makeup tips, were banned. Violators were assigned manual labor and chores around the shelter.
The fact the federal government is funding this is problematic, explained attorney Dallas Hammer. The decision-makers here could be walking the federal government right into a clear violation of the First Amendment.
Yet the Department of Justice clearly doesn’t see it that way. The DOJ was well aware of the group’s agenda and policies when it decided to grant Hookers for Jesus additional money instead of giving it to better-established, apolitical charities.
But this story also highlights a growing political issue that’s sparking heated debate in both secular and religious ciricles: the decriminalization of prostitution.
You May Like: Is The Bible In Chronological Order
How Jesus Loved The Adulteress And The Prostitute
Did Jesus love the adulteress and the prostitute? Absolutely. There are two remarkable stories showing how Jesus cared for all types of people. The religious folks called the Pharisees in the time of Jesus were offended, because in their view God loved only the righteous who kept the law. They therefore distanced themselves from so-called ‘unclean’ sinners in their delusions of self-righteousness.
But Jesus was often eating and drinking with corrupt tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. He met people where they were and healed them. In addition, Jesus proclaimed that both law-keepers and law-breakers are sinners in need of forgiveness. How could this be?
The Adulteress and Jesus
One day, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees wanted to set a trap for Jesus so they could humiliate him in public. They executed this plan by bringing in a woman whom they claim was “caught in the act of adultery” and asking Jesus whether she should be stoned in accordance with the Law of Moses.
This is a familiar combination of sex, a woman, public disgrace and a double standard. The woman was used as a pawn in a power play to discredit Jesus.
Instead of giving them a simple yes or no answer, Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. Why was he looking down on the ground? What was he writing? Then Jesus stood up and said “Let the one among you who is without sin cast the first stone! ”
The Prostitute and Jesus
What Does The Bible Say About Pornography
The Bible isnt shy about sexuality, but it seems to steer a healthy course between the worship of sex and ignorance of it.
Although access to it may be easier than ever, porn itself is not new. It even shows up in the Bible.
You might be surprised to learn that archaeologists have unearthed pornographic figurines from biblical times. Some of these come from the Baal cult, which for several centuries was the main rival for the hearts and minds of the ancient Israelites. In this context, much of the Old Testament calls the worshipers of Israels God to be different, to keep themselves pure from the sex-obsession of Baalism.
The Bible doesnt shy away from sexuality. It openly discusses sexual matters, describing scenes of love, lust, temptation, even sexual violence. Frankly, some parts of the Bible might be considered borderline pornographic. Yet it seems to steer a course between the worship of sex and ignorance of it.
The New Testament adds a focus on the concept of lustunhealthy desire. One apostle writes about the lust of the eyes, and Jesus equates a lustful look with adultery. Another passage describes how unhealthy desire gives birth to bad actions, with deadly results. This might be our closest biblical connection to the modern use of pornography. Isnt it, essentially, the cultivating of sexual desire?
For more on how the Bible can lead to a fuller life, Look Inside.
Don’t Miss: Read Bible In Chronological Order
What Is The Bible
The Bible is a book that some laugh at, some swear on, and some leave on a shelf to gather dust. It could mean nothing, or it could mean everything.
Its a collection of writings revered by Jews and Christians. But you dont have to be of any particular religion to read it. Anyone and everyone is welcome to look inside.
Open it up , and you find two parts: The Old Testament and the New Testament. What are those? Well, the Old Testament is essentially the same as the Jewish Scriptures. It focuses especially on the nation of Israelits laws, history, and worship. And its full of stories and poetry about the relationship between God and humanity. Many of the Sunday School stories you may have heard ofAdam and Eve, Noahs Ark, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lions Den, etc.come from the Old Testament.
The New Testament tells the story of Jesus Christ and his followers. It also includes a number of letters written by early Christian leaders that offer instruction, encouragement, and challenges to live life differently.
Incidentally, the word Bible comes from the Greek word for book, and from a root word for the reed used in making an early form of paper. Thats the short answer.
Legalized Prostitution: What Does The Bible Say
Heres a line you might not expect to read everyday: conservative Christian Republicans are all-in on their support for hookers.
But not just any hookers: the group in question is apparently divinely inspired. A recent report revealed that the Trump administration redirected over $500,000 in funds once earmarked for an apolitical Catholic charity to a different charity called “Hookers for Jesus.”
The evangelical Christian group is run by a born-again human trafficking survivor. One of its major lobbying efforts is against decriminalizing prostitution a proposal that’s gaining steam in some progressive circles.
But Hookers for Jesus also hosts a safehouse for women whove escaped the sex trafficking world, and the group requires their guests to abide by strict biblical rules and participate in religious activities. In other words, U.S. taxpayer money is being used to force Christianity on those looking to escape human trafficking. Unsurprisingly, some critics are not happy about it.
You May Like: Is The Bible Chronological
Why Are There So Many Bad Feelings About The Bible
Good question. And while some have issues with what the Bible actually says, others have problems with the people who quote it.
Before we begin, please watch the video for a long-overdue apology.
Okay. So there are a lot of people out there who believe the Bible is judgmental, inconsistent, ignorant, and old-fashioned. Their issue is with the Bible itself. Some of those people have read the Bible. Some havent. And some dont even want to, since some obnoxious Bible-beater has turned them off. Their issue is with Bible people.
Lets deal with the Bible issue first.
Can the Bible judge us at times? Yes. And thats not always fun. Sort of like a personal trainer pushing you to be your best self. But along with the judgment, theres a stronger message of love. The two actually go together. Is it old-fashioned? Well, its certainly old. But despite the fact that it was written by 40 or more people thousands of years ago, we still find great wisdom and fresh ideas in the Bible. But dont take our word for it. Look inside the Bible and see for yourself.
Now, to the Bible people issue.
We think theres a big difference between wielding the Bible as a sledgehammer and letting it lead us into an authentic interaction with God. Were aiming for the latter.
Whether your feelings about the Bible have been negative, positive, or apathetic, we invite you to get the whole picture by Looking Inside.
How Do I Read The Bible
In this video, Dieula offers some advice.
Different people read it different ways. And thats totally fine. Want to find the best way for you?
Some people dig into a single verse and try to think of a million things it might mean. Others read it just like they would read any other book, cover to cover. Others read it out loud, by themselves or with a group, which often helps them understand the words and meanings better. But, honestly, if you just want to read the Bible, then read it. Hunker down in a comfy chair and read a whole chapter or two. Try to wrap your head around the big story.
Some tips: Find a translation of the Bible that speaks to you. There are dozens of versions available now, and most of them are faithful to the original languages. Some sound like Shakespeare. Some sound like everyday conversation. Try a few out and see what grabs you.
You dont have to read the whole Bible from beginning to end. There are a few parts that some readers find tough going, and those could derail your best intentions. Try skipping around to find the stories that interest you. We suggest Genesis, Exodus, Ruth, 1 Samuel, Daniel, Jonah, or one of the four books about Jesuss lifeMatthew, Mark, Luke, or John.
After youve read a few stories, try reading a complete letter from the New Testamentlike maybe the four chapters of Philippians or the five chapters of James. Read a Psalm out loud. Or go through Song of Songs with your significant other.
What Does The Bible Say About Mary Magdalene
We only have one hint at Mary Magdalenes life before she followed Jesus. When He casts seven demons out of her, as Luke 8:1-3 says, Mary Magdalene does a complete turnaround and follows Jesus for the rest of His ministry.
Heres what else we know about her:
- She witnessed Jesus death and was the first person to see Him resurrected .
- And she likely awaited the descent of the Holy Spirit after Jesus ascended .
Aside from that, we dont have many clear details about her from Scripture.
Why Do So Many Christians Claim She Was A Prostitute
If no Scriptural evidence directly ties her to this role, where did the prostitute affiliation come from?
In the 6th century Pope Gregory the Great that the sinful woman mentioned in Luke 7:36-50 was the same person as Mary Magdalene. He even asserted that Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany were the same person. The Eastern Orthodox Church never linked Mary Magdalenes identity with the sinful woman in Luke 7.
Mary Ann Beavis explained for Baylor Universitys Center for Christian Ethics:
Although Gregory did not actually call her a prostitute, he interpreted the ‘seven demons’ of which she had been exorcised as the totality of vices, and asserted that the ointment she used to anoint Jesus feet had previously been used by her to perfume her body for sensual purposes. Subsequently, the legend of Mary Magdalene, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, as a beautiful, vain, and lustful young woman saved from a life of sin by her devotion to Jesus became dominant in western Christianity, although the eastern church continued to regard Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany as distinct saints, and identified neither with Lukes sinner.
Although the Western church, since the late 20th century, has attempted to undo the false representations of Mary in the past, some of those misconceptions still linger, especially in popular culture.
Recommended Reading: How Many Times Does The Bible Say Fear God
Is The Bible A Fairy Tale
Some might think the stories of the Bible are magical, made-up events with little connection to historical reality. But thats not how the Bible presents itself.
It claims to be a true and trustworthy account of the way the world really is, who God really is, and how human beings can live full lives.
While fairy tales happen once upon a time in a vague neverland, the main characters of the BibleJesus, David, Moses, and Abraham are real human beings who walked the earth. You can still visit the city of Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee today.
And the rulers found throughout the Bible are not just too-good-to-be-true Prince Charmings. You can read about Herod, Pilate, Cyrus the Great, and the Pharaohs of Egypt not only in the Bible but also in history texts. The Gospel of Luke begins the Christmas story by placing Jesuss birth during the reign of Augustus Caesar of Rome and an obscure Syrian governor named Quiriniuswhose name does indeed show up on ancient inscriptions.
Some parts of the Biblelike poetry and parablesare clearly not intended as historical, but its central story claims to be rooted in history. Unlike even the best fairy tales.
Why not join us and Look Inside for yourself?
Was Mary Magdalene Christs Wife
The public appetite for Mary Magdalene the prostitute is matched only by that for Mary Magdalene the wife of Jesus and even as the mother of his child, says Michael Haag. Witness to this is the huge media attention given to Harvard Universitys professor Karen Kings announcement in 2012 of the discovery of an ancient papyrus fragment bearing the words Jesus said unto them, my wife.
Certainly in the Middle Ages the Cathars in France saw Mary Magdalene as the wife of Jesus in the divine world and as his concubine in the world of illusion the world that they believed we inhabit in our everyday lives. While in the early centuries of the Christian era the gnostic gospels portray Mary Magdalene as the companion, consort and even wife of Jesus, as the woman he loved more than all the other disciples their relationship often described in erotic terms.
For that matter there are incidents even in the canonical gospels of the New Testament that have suggested to scholars that Mary Magdalene was indeed the wife of Jesus. For some the argument is not whether it was true but why the truth was edited out.
In this podcast Tom Holland argues that Christianity has had a transformative and enduring impact on the western mindset:
Read Also: Bible Chronological Order