Bible stories----which are real and which are tales?

i see various threads on seperate stories, but what is the church’s stance on this?

i mean like Genesis real, Noah tale, Jonah real, Jesus walking on water tale, Sampson, Jericho, etc, etc.

it seems like once you say one is a tale all are subject to the same.
so how to sort it all out?


Fortunately, the Church is not fundamentalist.

Even the most intense fundamentalist admits that parts of the Bible simply have to be fiction.

For instance, in the Adam and Eve story there is a mini story where God errs: He tries unsuccessfully to match Adam up with “lions, tigers and bears” and then finally creates Eve for Adam.

Does God err?

And up above in another thread I cite that inspired verse in II Samuel which clearly implies that I Samuel errs when it says that David killed Goliath, with details.

Saying, “This business of claiming that this must be fiction or that must be fiction casts doubt on the entire Bible” does not fix the problem. The problem still remains.

The Bible must be read with maturity, after devoutly requesting the help of the Paraclete, and while heeding the guidance of the Paraclete-inspired Church.

The bottom line is that the Bible is complex, not simple.

rationalization? as Jason Lysle says,“a rescuing device?”

I’m going to bed now. But, for tomorrow, what’s the “rationalization”?

Good night. Pray for me.

Hello (and good night) just wanting to say, Jesus walking on water was real, He really did do that, Jericho was real and so was Ai, Ai has been found matching biblical descriptions perfectly. there are no “tales” in the Bible, but parables, and the reason why there is little evidence of some of the stories coming out of the Bible isn’t because scientists can’t find them but the scientists are trying to disprove the Bible. sometimes it isn’t what is said, but what is not said where the truth is.

I suggest you read the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Not every Bible verse has been interpreted authoritatively, but those that have, have become doctrine, and the main teachings can be found in the catechism.

It’s about a literal interpretation (i.e. what the author intended to mean) versus a literalist (everything in the Bible means exactly what it says) interpretation. The Catholic Church in her 2,000 year history has preserved the teachings.

Whether specific or allegorical, the bible teaches principles. Extract those and follow them, and you will be in good shape.

makes sense.

So complex that you cannot see the forrest for the trees.

The sceptics start with the premise that there is no truth in religion, only in science, and in science, only that which follows the experimental method. Thus even the books of Samuel and kings, which contain little that is supernatural, are dismissed as unhistorical, because the archeological record supposedly does not verify, what is recorded in these books. Apart from the fact that the existence of a mosque on top of a temple mount precludes any complete excavation, that the number of digs remains somewhat small, does anyone thing that the Bible says that Jerusalem was a city on the same scale as, say Nineveh? Solomon’s temple as described does not equal the one that Herod built, and we see what is left of it. If the events in the historical books are so readily dismissed, then what treatment can re expect for the rest? Anything describing the miraculous is dismissed. Yet less than a hundred years ago, at Fatima, an event took place that defies rationalization. Yet there it is. If the sun can “dance” at a time predicted by three young children who claimed to see a vision of Mary, then why can a prophet not call down fire from heaven?

Hi, Robby. What forest do I not see through the trees, friend? I think that you are firing your rifle in the wrong direction from the wrong trenches. The Bible is inspired. It is the true word of God. But many people come to it with a perspecive of excessive simplicity: They think and say, with great gravity, “Every jot and tittle of the Bible is true. If you want to understand Christianity, it’s all laid out in the Bible, where it is as clear as glass!”

No, it isn’t. The Bible is fabulously complex. We need inspiration of God, and the guidance of the Church, to understand it.

Example: A seemingly simple question: Which is more important, faith or works?

If I am a zealous fundamentalist, I say, “Pooh! Easily proven!” and I get out my concordance, which takes me to Romans 3:27-28 …

27 What occasion is there then for boasting? It is ruled out. On what principle, that of works? No, rather on the principle of faith. 28 For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

This motivates the fundamentalist to answer, “See?! See?! Faith is more important! Wasn’t that easy?!”

But not so fast! Christ was a big, big “works man”! The story of the Good Samaritan seems to be about “faith versus works.” In Luke 10, in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, whom does Christ prefer: The “man of faith,” the priest? The “man of faith,” the Levite? Or the unbeliver, “Mr. Works,” the Samaritan “nonbeliever,” who sees the robbery victim laying in the gutter, is moved by compassion, tends to his wounds, transports him physically to an inn, cares for him there, and leaves money?

Clearly, in the Parable, Christ spits on those with faith without works, but prefers him who, lacking “faith,” engages in works.

And James is downright nasty on the subject …

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day,

16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?

17 So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 Indeed someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.

19 You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble.

20 Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless?

Wow! “Ignoramus”! That’s strong language! The problem arises, I think, when Paul, in Romans 3:27, DISTINGUISHES BETWEEN “faith” and “works.” I say that they are not clearly distinguishable. And so the question was not easily resolved by getting out the concordance and finding and reading Romans 3:27.

The Bible is complex, not simple. You may think that I “can’t see the forest for the trees,” good Christian, but Hansel and Gretel got lost in the forest.

The Bible is complex, not simple.

Why does it seem that way to you?

I would venture it’s because all these stories are bound together in one book called “the Bible,” so you assume that the Bible is all one genre. It pretty clearly isn’t. It’s more of a library than a book–it certainly has a spiritual and canonical unity as the story of God’s covenant with His people, but it’s made up of many different writings of different kinds written over many centuries.

You might as well argue that if you believe the assassination of JFK is true you must also believe that the story of Snow White really happened, and that Longfellow’s version of Paul Revere’s Ride is a precisely accurate historical account, just because all of these stories can be found in books side by side on a person’s bookshelf and are all part of the cultural inheritance of our society.


One thing you can know is that the Bible is the living word of God. God is living and it’s his word. If you sit down with a Bible on your lap, quiet yourself, and ask God to pick a spot that you and Him together can read, things will happen. It will make you shiver. Whether something in the Old Testament is a story or not won’t matter when you encounter the living God who is the author of history and put the stars in their places.

Well said.

God never tried to “match up” Adam with lions, tigers, or bears. He brought each animal to Adam and whatever he named then that is what they were called. Maybe before trying to define which stories are “real” and which are not you should read what the story actually says.

Reading The Bible shows me that

Reading it on its own one can become terribly confused and all mixed up. But reading it with God and being able to ask appropriate people when need that direction then it isn’t all so difficult.

That just taking little snippets as some christians love to do to back up their argument confuses what whole message of that scripture may be. People can ‘play’ with scripture to suit themselves but can they attempt to apply what they are learning in their own lives?

The Bible can be as complicated as we want it to be or we can read it as a pilgrim.

Jesus spoke of Adam and Eve, of Abraham, of Noah, of Sodom and Gomorrah, of David, of Jonah, of Elijah, of Moses, and even of the serpent on a pole. Jesus quotes the Tanakh when resisting Satan in the wilderness, Jesus quotes scriptures when debating the scribes and Pharisees. The apostles of Jesus quote the Tanakh. tCombined,he early church fathers, quoted practically the entire Tanakh and NT in their writings.

They rarely gave an allegorical interpretation, and only as an additional explanation of some spiritual truth. The apostle Paul, quotes the Torah, when he wrote,
"you shall not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn’. His allegorical interpretation is that that the servant of God who teaches the word of God to the nations should be able to receive their livelihood from the hearers of the word.

"Faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the word of God."

If one eliminates the veracity of the word of God, then one will be eliminating faith.

These kinds of blanket assertions of total non-falsehood of the Bible tend to be shored-up by tautological exceptions.

Are you Catholic?

What is so sad among some Catholics is the belief that the living Word in the Eucharist is all that is required of them. It is also sad for Protestants to think that only the written Word of God is all that is required of them.

The very first martyr of the faith, St.Stephen, stood up among the Jewish leaders of his day and gave them a history of their nation from Genesis through Exodus. What was good enough for St.Stephen should be good enough for us.

The kingdom of heaven does not belong to those who think they are wise.
We ought to be very careful in not offending the faith of any of the little ones.

Ps.131, Matt.18:1-4

Yes, the Bible is complex. It begins and ends with two mysterious books. From beginning to end, it tells an amazing story, how God works in the affairs of mankind. Chesterton says that God writes straight with crooked lines. No better proof of that than the Bible.