Is the Bible to be
read Literally? -
has come to
mind, in my old age
that: When two sides to any
question (or situation) have been going at it long enough that there has
actually been sides taken by the persons involved... There is a real
chance that they are both wrong ..... To which , here will be interjected a
THE BIBLE SHOULD BE READ
LIVED LITERALLY but neither read nor lived FIGURATIVELY:
If you are someone
that is unfamiliar with this concept of "Lateral Thinking" yet
willing to read all this gobbelty gook, It
is strongly advise checking it
out on Wikipedia, but here is my homespun explanation and how it relates to Bible
reading, interpretation, and putting those things into practice.
Lateral thinking is something we all do, at all times, to one
extent or another. It is the ability to think figuratively while focusing
on an absolute or literal item. Seeing it from different angles, while never
forgetting that "it is" literal.
This type of thinking would seem to be a facet of
discernment, which aids in the choice of a method, we will put into
action, to reach the core of the object or objective being considered. The
more obscure the item of consideration, the greater the need for
lateral thinking will be.
Have you ever had a teacher, perhaps in high school or college, that
stated .."I am trying to get you to use the grey matter which is lodged
between your ears".?
Of course we all know what was said, is NOT that we have some unknown "grey colored substance" within our
heads that is solely distinguished from the rest of the "red" stuff inside our body
by its color.
The teacher is making an indirect physical reference to our
brain and exhorting the class to "exercise that brain" that they may
better understand the lesson they were about to be taught.....
Possibly because the lesson about to be taught will require
some "reasoning" or the ability to perceive concepts from multiple angles in
the effort to determine a satisfactory solution or that there may be more
than one satisfactory solution.
In other words...and to quote a modern
phrase or two......The teacher needs the class to "Think outside the Box" or they aren't going to "catch it".
The use of this reference to the brain, as a "grey matter", ... is in itself
an attempt at jumpstarting the thought process of lateral thinking,
the teacher had simply said "I want You to use your brain" .. many
of the brains in the room may have
stayed in neutral, but in referring to the brain as "grey matter"
(and regardless whether the body language of the teacher was humorous
or condescending) each student (that wasn't
sleeping) needed to use their brain, via lateral thinking, to
come to the conclusion that these words had a different meaning..
Is this type of thinking
necessary or important to every day life? (well yes and no)
Every moment of every day we encounter situations which can
be dealt with ...WITHOUT "Thinking outside the Box" ... In any given human
lifetime, millions of things take place., to the point that most thoughts,
and the actions those thoughts command our bodies to put into motion, are
simply done and redone and re-redone without giving them another thought...(and
we can seemingly get along just fine like that)
BUT if we apply ourselves and give some of these mundane
actions a fresh look, they can suddenly become revitalized by perceiving
them from the different angle and we find ourselves no longer bored or even
complacent, but instead the lateral thinking allows a rebirth and an
enjoyment of things that were neutral......
One area that comes to mind that had to be
strictly for pleasure and the exercise of lateral thinking is that of Humor:
sure some things in this world are just flat out funny. (take a long hard look at a
chicken and you can know God has a tremendous sense of Humor) ...For Human
to Human Humor lateral thinking, is almost always required. Which is why we
have a sense of "feeling foolish" when two or more are gathered together and
for some lack of lateral thinking, we are the only one that "just didn't get
it" ... Then when we need to have the "joke" explained we really get
the :"Duh"Duh" feeling.
Often times laughing at ourselves for not understanding
the punch line, is funnier than the joke, with the laughing itself
becoming a lateral gesture at
ourselves as a jester.
Many of us take way too much pride in our ability to think
laterally, in all areas of life, which makes us "think" we are smarter than
others and that becomes a conspicuously stupid trait and not funny at all.
humor really comes down to the basics: ... and with the root word of "Humor" being
"humus" (Seemingly Greek or Latin both of which are Greek to me, but do know
that it means "Earth" Or "Soil" Or "Dirt")
and being some of the other closest relatives of this base word (in the word world) ,
are "Human - Humility - Humble" we can easily see why it is the nature
many of our fellowman to NOT see the humor in a prideful joke ... or what is
commonly called a dirty joke....
Another area of life
Lateral thinking seems to be a process
that enhances our worldly experience is LOVE :
Where human to human Love is concerned: Lateral thinking is a handy attribute
for any person to have honed to the utmost of their capacity ..
IT will allow each to foresee the possibilities of hurting others
by words that may be said ... or actions that may be taken.
By viewing negative situations from different
angles prior to action ... it may allow for a deciding factor in a
negative situation to never mature past thought ...thereby a continuation of harmony
is maintained, at times this can be the essence of Love.
Where positive situations are concerned, lateral thinking can add
even more joy, humor, more new twists, and
this joyful tool
does aid in keeping love fresh. This would
seem to be the "always
something new" so many "head doctors" of our times exhort their clients to
embrace in the effort to "save their marriage"
( Head doctors and marriage being another subject we will touch on someday if my
will let me )
Could this be why Our God has seemingly allowed Scripture to be
recorded in a manner that requires so very much lateral type thinking, to be
necessary, when "seeking" to fathom the depths of His Love??
Some would say that the Words of the Bible NEED to be taken Literally, and
that they can Live it Literally and no other figurative or lateral thinking of
it is allowed:
THAT would seem to be impossible, because the One True God that inspired
Scripture is the OMNI-THINKER and has ordered us to attempt to think like Him.
Now we all know that we cannot think exactly like him because we are human
and are dealing in a diminished capacity .... and even though the overall concept of His
thinking is that of literal teachings it takes lateral thinking to learn them... the proof of this is in scripture..
The Lessons are
often told in Stories ... (and here
it is not meant
the "Parables" often used by Jesus, although those small
segments of the Bible are certainly a good example
of a Teacher attempting to get Students to use their grey matter laterally. This
was done by
anecdotes, thereby allowing the first 1500 years or so of common folks in
Christianity, "that couldn't read"
or prior to
scripture", more than a fighting chance of getting to know Him )
Let's also take a look at some
different types of Scripture
1a). Obviously designed to inspire those that were told these stories at the
time, as well as for all generations, into Spirit filled lateral thinking.
Because they are accounts of situations, that from which, we are to draw
insight that SHOULD aid us individually and collectively in the quest to
understand how God Thinks.
Thereby freely choosing to follow the
insights gained, bypassing the downfalls of the subordinate characters of
these parables, while gaining the Virtues of the main characters, causing
our thought processes and actions to become like onto Gods Own.
words Learning by Others mistakes and examples, which is
that is lateral teaching
at its best.
(that gave into the temptation)
and realization of a fall
(or fallen status in Spirit)
where we could
back, Me Forgiving you, Me
2) Old Testament Historically
Truth's that actually happened to
real people. (The Exodus - King David life and times ) Our Jewish
Brothers and Sisters will attest to the accuracy of the record of many of
these writings (stories) through genealogy as well as trustworthy verbal
accounts of faith, pasted on through Generations of Love for G-d and His
Were they simply stories for the sake
The Old testament is story after story
each with a meaning .... and a deeper meaning .... and after that several
deeper meanings above those ones .... LATERALLY laid out in facts so deep in
meaning that Lateral thinking is only the start ... we need to also think
Longitude-ally ---Horizontally --- Vertically and from every other angle on the compass
and even after that we will each still have the "Duh"Duh" feeling on that
day He explains to us what we overlooked.....
These accounts each have meaning which
overall relates to many levels of the human psyche, not only beckoning
each individual to think Laterally as to how it pertains to them, but
insisting that we do. For if we don't, we cannot "find our personal God" in
of the Old Testament.
Granted that for we Christians, each of these Old
Testament lessons are pointing at Jesus and the New Covenant of the New
Testament but THAT ITSELF takes lateral thinking to discern.
3) Old Testament Accounts such as
that of Creation (which so
many these days say
weren't necessarily real people but only figurative)
(thanks to Mr Darwin and generations of
scientists spending billions of our tax dollars which could have been
feeding the, starved by Man Unkind, children of God, but instead have been feeding the
minds of generations, via mass media, with theory)
(that is: literal with just enough Lateral
the proud in the conceit of their heart").
For it would seem the more "we"
discover about the methods the universe used to create itself and allow MAN
to evolve from IT the more it looks exactly like the 6 days of work Our God
tells us that HE DID to allow us such a wondrous place to live as well as
wondrous bodies for our Spirits to take rest in while we are on this earth
of His and governed by that finite commodity He Invented which we call
we take into
account the FACT that, those that recorded this Book of Genesis,
(or actually re-recorded it into what we know
as The Bible from much older Hebrew Writings)
did it no later than (right around)
the year 400AD and could have had no idea as to the accuracy of the
progression of these "building blocks" of the world or of mankind
itself, NOR that it would be "ratified so closely by science" 1000 to 1500
4) New Testament (The 4 Gospels)
There are times when Jesus Himself distinguished the literal from
any figurative but certainly seems to invite the "lateral" to be used
by future generations:
by saying "Tharly Tharly I say onto you"
(and other translations say He Said " Amen Amen I say onto you" .. and yet
another "I tell you the Truth")
We all seem to agree that: He was not saying that He was once
again about to tell the truth,.. (as though at some other
times He was NOT telling the Truth and was now about too... for we all
agree the HE IS TRUTH and all that he ever SAID IS TRUTH .. in one or MORE ways)
..... ,but that, when He used those words,
rarely used, prior to a dialog on any of the
subjects in which He felt it necessary to do so .... He was FOR SURE at that
time saying that "The Words you are about to hear and the lesson I AM about to
teach, can be taken Literally"
Which in itself says that there is something to distinguish
from, when considering the teaching methods of other lessons by This Same Teacher.
needed to be
Whether parable or direct teachings (which were
generally that of type and archetype) or His, just as famous,
question and dialog style of teaching, all required those at the time and us
of the future to enter into lateral thinking, in order to draw from Him, the
lessons designed and needed to touch our individual heart.
5) The Epistles
(These are letters written by the
Apostles (including Paul)
to various communities (churches) and individuals to instruct - reprove - enlighten, guiding them (and us)
in a unity, by explaining the ways of the Triune God)
These letters contain wording that is
VERY straight forward and very literal, in the accounts of the life and times,
that the authors experience, with Jesus Himself.
The Apostles themselves would have had
no idea, at the time, of the writing, and we can be quite sure, didn't lay awake at
night thinking: "someday
this letter will be considered as THE WORD OF GOD HIMSELF".
fact each (in their Humility) would have been appalled at the idea of anyone
saying so.. Me thinks we all do agree that these letters were
and are the Inspired Word of God, although unlike The 10 commandments which
we are told was written "by" the hand of God ... these letters were written
by the hand of Men ... whose thoughts were guided by the Holy Spirit.
Should these Epistles be read
Why of course, they are literally
letters instructing Christians on how to live and act in accordance with the
teachings these men received from Jesus Himself and our Fathers of the
400AD), whom we trust, declared them to have been Inspired by The Holy
Should these Epistles be read
Not if one wishes to actually follow
first hand instructions on how to live, and live out the actions as one, that wishes to "obey
God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus."
(which seems to me to be a reference to both
the Old and New Testaments)
Should these Epistles be read
It would seem to be a must if: One
wishes both absorb the teaching of these men and get to know the Complete
and Sacred Heart of the True Author, that set the example spoken of in the
letters themselves, as well as inspired the thoughts of the men that took pen
6) The Book of Revelation
Our Dear Brother John has such a knack
for lateral thinking which shows in all of his writings, as well as in those few
things we are told about his demeanor in the Gospel accounts from
other writers. (and I have a sneaky
hunch he may be the One Apostle that Jesus did the most "Joking" with and
this may be why He is always referred to as "The Disciple Jesus Loved")
While there are so many areas within
This Book that point to literal situations, the style is so lateral in
even those, that it has caused many (but
especially those of prideful intent)
get into all sorts of trouble with literal interpretation, predicting
everything from Our Lords Second Coming to the collapse of governments to
exact day and time of space ship landings.
Most of the predictions having
something to do with the immediate need of funds in order for the cosmic
happening to take place or shelter the chosen ones from it.
envision Our Lord and
John belly laughing at some of the predictions mortal man has
articulated and attributed in our prideful self prophecies of what these
well written verses mean.
(none the less
be assured each Word DOES have meaning)
As well as we can know that the shock
and horror of the damage done to the souls of those that have followed such
misreading of these verses,
is little compared to the distain Our Lord has for
of those that continue to
con others into believing such
verbage as their botched interpretations'.
attempt to simplify this concept of "Is lateral thinking allowed"?
or "Is Literal Interpretation the only way to go"?, when learning from or
preaching and teaching the overall concept of The Bible?
By asking two questions:
1). Does God speak to us through
2). Does God speak to us through
Actions as well as Words?
If the answer is "YES Words alone" ...
there is little more to say ...
One then must read the words, but be
careful when putting them into action that NONE of our natural lateral thinking should sway those
actions from the EXACT meaning.
Although one may have to ask "Why did
Our God actually go through action of :., The suffering and humiliation of
DYING ON THE CROSS when He could have simply told us he is (was) willing to
Die for us.. and we trusting in His Word could have then reaped the same
If the answer is "YES Words and Actions"
.. It needs to be discerned as to: What is He saying by those actions?., as
well as., How do those meaningful actions interact with the Words spoken,
while bearing in mind that His Thoughts
are further above our thoughts than our thoughts are above a dogs thoughts.
THIS discernment will require,
thoughts inspired by the Holy Spirit, which are truly lateral to our
normal way of thinking, and realize that it is our quest to allow them to become literal to our normal way of Life.
When it comes to the "Literal"
interpretation of Scripture .. We need to not only "attempt individually" to
grasp the meanings of what has been written within Our Bible, but look
toward those that have a good track record of greater insight then our own.
(Our Priests - Ministers - Brothers - Sisters ) For in these others we will
find that God is already at work and He wants to incite a meeting with Him through them.
We are invited by Our Lord to
investigate deeper into literal living by reading the writings of
other literal-lateral thinkers who themselves gave their lives as building blocks,
laid upon The Cornerstone. Even though their writings didn't make it
into the Bible, they were the writers of those letters and books
held the traditions of those that DID.
They can be found easily these days
(via the internet)
reading The Bible) get other
close as possible to the earthly time of Jesus, by reading the thoughts and teachings of such
Church Fathers as Aquinas - Ignatius - Polycarp - Augustine.....
men are truly building blocks of all modern Christian thought ... without
the stumbling blocks that many a modern literal - liberal - thinker has placed in the path of Godly Reasoning...
You may find yourself climbing Jacobs
Ladder of Lateral thinking: for with God all things are possible.
If you made it this far, you may wish to take a
look at (
God speak to us? )