This is a great article by CRI's Hank Hanegraaff (equip.org) touching on the topic of taking the Bible literally. Enjoy!
If I've heard it once I've heard it a million times, You can't take the Bible literally. You often hear people say that although it may be inspirational, its also full of myths and fables. Well, is this really true?
If the Bible is really full of myths and fables, it would certainly be appropriate to read it as such. However, the simple fact is that the Bible certainly doesnt fit that category.
For one thing, the biblical writers flatly denied teaching mythology. For example, Peter said, We didnt follow cleverly devised tales when we told you about the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His Majesty (2 Pet. 1:16). In fact, the Apostle Paul urged Timothy to teach his congregation to disregard mythology (1 Tim. 1:4). He warned that a time was coming when people would turn away their ears from the truth and turn aside to mythology (2 Tim. 4:4).
Besides all of this, the myths of the ancient world were never based on solid historical fact. They were stories invented to explain such recurring phenomena like the changing of the seasons or the motion of the stars. The events recorded in the Scripture, on the other hand, are firmly rooted in history. By way of illustration, it is an accepted historical fact that Israel became a nation after the exodus from Egypt. Later, Israel became a monarchy, David and Solomon really lived, and on and on and on. It is also a historical fact that Jesus was a Jew who preached about God the Father, who claimed to be God, worked miracles, and was crucified during Pilates reign. All of this is, in fact, literal history.
In addition, the supernatural aspects of Scripture are presented just as matter-of-factly as the rest. And indeed, the most stupendous miracle recorded in the Bible, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, has been authenticated by numerous scholarly studies including the late great Dr. Simon Greenleaf. Dr. Greenleaf was the Royal Professor of Legal Evidences at Harvard University. He was goaded by his students into looking at the evidences for the resurrection. After a thorough examination he came back and said, There is not a single unbiased juror in the world who would ever look at the evidence and deny it. Dr. Simon Greenleaf became a Christian. The Bible is not mythology and was never meant to be read as such.