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What does the Bible say and what does the Bible mean?

To understand the Bible fully we must answer these two questions – and the process of doing so is called ‘biblical criticism’.

‘Criticism’ is a slippery word. Quite often it means fault-finding. But in the context of literary studies, it refers to a thorough analysis of a particular piece of writing, examining its language, thought patterns and concepts in an effort to get to the bottom of what has been written. This the sense in which we use it here. Biblical critics, far from trying to undermine the Bible’s message, are actually trying to understand and explain it in all its possible ramifications.

What does the Bible say?
What does the Bible mean?