When people begin to study the Bible in-depth, they start to see that there are some inconsistencies and discrepancies. If they have come from a fundamentalist background and were taught that the Bible is the "word of God" and thus totally infallible, it is a shock. It is like in the Wizard of Oz, when Toto pulls down the curtain and exposes the Wizard as the sad little man that he is.
The Bible is a collection of books written by different human beings over the course of several hundred years. These individuals were inspired, but they also were affected by the cultures and times in which they lived. That can't help but be reflected in their messages. We must also realize the differences in the audiences for which they were writing.
Consider the fact that there are two different creation stories in Genesis. Which one do you believe? And what about the fact that there are three different versions of the Ten Commandments? Then there is the statement of Jesus about cutting off your hand if it betrays you. Did Jesus really expect us to amputate a body part because we used it to do something wrong? Of course not.
When one looks at the Bible from a metaphysical and symbolic standpoint, the contradictions and inaccuracies no longer matter. The meaning in the scriptures is found below the surface and is not always as obvious. It requires a different understanding. Not that the Bible doesn't have wonderful stories that provide powerful ethical teachings; but the stories become even richer when we interpret them metaphysically. We begin to see that these stories are really about us and our own evolution in spiritual consciousness.
The most respected seminaries around the country--Yale and Harvard included, teach their students to look at the Bible symbolically.
There is a book called the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary by Charles Fillmore (see Recommended Books for ordering). It is a phenomenal compilation of the esoteric meaning of words, names, and places. As you read the Bible and look up words, you will be amazed at how the stories come alive for you in a new and exciting way. It is like finding the answers to a great mystery.
In my next post, I will share a Bible story and look at the metaphysical interpretation.