I meditate on Scripture as much as I possibly can. I understand we are created in the image of YHWH (Genesis 1:26). How few recognize this and yet they wish to be seen as wise and intelligent, never bothering their own faulty ways (why they can't reason or think straight, why they deface their bodies (drinking, smoking, whoring around and fashion statements), etc.). I acknowledge YHWH as Creator, Redeemer and King.
I do believe He created everything in heaven and earth within six days (humans, dinosaurs, planets, stars, the sun and moon). I acknowledge the events in the Bible as real events (Creation, The Fall and Curse, The Flood, Tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, The Exodus) because the rest of the Bible refers to them as real events.
I also believe the coming judgement will be with fire (2 Kepha 3:7). I believe that YHWH helps us expose the faultiness of man-made ways (Buddhism, Islam, Darwinism, Shintoism, etc.).
From viewing your website and blog as well as reading and meditating on Scripture, I've realized there is no difference between church attenders and the rest of the world (Hollywood elite, Athletes, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc.). They all have vain practices (Psalm 2, Yirmeyahu 10:1-6).
Kevin, GREAT observations! You truly "get it!" How I wish more people were like you. (I'm going to post your emails in a blog for all to see and use your name, if you don't mind. I wish you'd respond on the blog directly sometimes, because the things you say are really good!)
Anyway, everything you wrote is right on. We cannot dismiss anything in Scripture; no matter how hard some might be to understand. Most passages can be understood via the "plain meaning" of the text. The messages - even when parables, metaphors and allegories are used - are straightforward: Be set apart and don't sin … don't lie, cheat, commit adultery, be a drunk, a murderer, child abuser, whore, whoremonger or homosexual. Simple.
Reading Scripture requires a lot of common sense. We must always be vigilant and discerning, constantly consulting the Ruach for help in understanding.
For the harder-to-understand passages, we definitely need to pray and ask the Ruach for help … AND we can also do some research via the acronym sometimes spelled "PaRDeS" which refers to (types of) approaches to biblical exegesis in rabbinic Judaism or to interpretation of text in Torah study. The acronym is formed from the same initials of the following four approaches:
- Pshat (פְּשָׁט) – "surface" ("straight") or the literal (direct) meaning. (In other words, the "plain text meaning.")
- Remez (רֶמֶז) – "hints" or the deep (allegoric: hidden or symbolic) meaning beyond just the literal sense.
- Derash (דְּרַשׁ) – from Hebrew darash: "inquire" ("seek").
- Sod (סוֹד) (pronounced with a long O as in 'alone') – "secret" ("mystery") or the esoteric/mystical meaning, as given through inspiration or revelation. (When Paul spoke of 'mysteries' he was showing us the Sod level)
Be very careful when using the the PaRDeS method, and employ plenty of common sense. Don't make the mistake so many others make by trying to discover a "mystical meanings" in every passage, and ending up with some strange interpretations and conclusions. THINK and consult with other trustworthy brothers and sisters so that your own interpretation doesn't become God's Truth in your mind.
Here's the bottom line: Even if everything in the Bible consisted of "just stories", those "stories" were clearly designed by The Creator to show us the way to Him. We can know that it's NOT "just stories" though, because there have been at least 300 prophecies fulfilled; Yeshua has so far fulfilled the first four of the seven mo'edim (Feasts/Festivals/Appointed Times); among other prophecies ) and world events keep unfolding exactly as outlined in the Books of Daniel and Revelation….
Coincidences? I'm pretty sure they weren't.