Letter: Take the Bible literally, but in proper context

By and

Editor:In a recent Chronicle column (“God hates gay people, right?: Taking the Bible literally leads to skewed conclusions,” Feb. 22), Jay Richards decried the literal application of the Bible because “taking the Bible literally leads to skewed conclusions.” Richards went on to provide several examples of Bible verses which, when read at face value, seemed utterly outrageous. In so doing, however, Richards fell into the same error as the gay-bashing Westboro Baptist Church to which he referred: failing to interpret the Bible in context. Specifically, Richards’ column demonstrated an all-too-common lack of basic understanding of Old Testament as opposed to New Testament scripture.All the verses Richards quoted are from the Old Testament books of law, which applied to Hebrews more than 2,000 years ago. A closer examination through the entire Bible reveals that the events of the New Testament negate and supersede many laws of the Old Testament. For example, in the New Testament book of John, a certain women was convicted of adultery and sentenced to stoning according to the Old Testament law. However, Jesus came to her aid by saying that anybody who was perfect could throw the first stone — thus superseding the old laws.Furthermore, in the process of arguing against literal Bible interpretation, Richards loses out on the positive effects of directly applicable New Testament scriptures. For example, what would happen if more people would “love your neighbor as yourself” or “do good to those who hate you?” Literal application of the Bible is indeed dangerous, but only if an individual fails to understand contextually what he or she reads.

Darren Van CleaveSenior, Meteorology