Rachel Held Evans on Biblical Literalism

January 10, 2014

Author Rachel Held Evans shares some thoughts on the unfortunate but practically ubiquitous tendency for Christians to make use of selective literalism when interpreting certain biblical passages.

What is the key that inevitably decides which passages we take literally and/or like to quote to others? It usually comes down to an issue that we don’t struggle with. Evans calls this a “numbers game” by which she means that we self-righteous types like to “gang up” on the perceived sins of others rather than facing the issues we struggle with ourselves. It is just too tempting to resist.

Evans marshals a few of her own go-to proof texts and calls them out for what they are. But the solution she highlights shouldn’t surprise Jesus followers: loving your neighbor. When your “neighbor” turns out to be your best friend, your spouse, your kid, your parent, or your sibling, it is much more difficult to brand them as “unclean” or “unwelcome.” And so it should be. You love them anyway. Maybe it’s past time to include some new neighbors and folks that we might otherwise come to suspect.

Read the post here: “Everyone’s a Biblical Literalist Until You Bring Up Gluttony” at rachelheldevans.com.


Corbin Lambeth
Corbin Lambeth is a higher-ed professional, student advocate, finance geek, anti gun-culture, environmentalist, feminist, Jesus follower, and aspiring philosopher-teacher. View more of his writing on his blog .