A few threads recently have brought this topic to my attention. I'm still trying to find a way to do a poll on this on which the questions would not be too long or confusing. But the first subtopic herein can probably be dealt with quickly, and that is where the biblical precept is an obvious hyperbole. When Jesus said to forgive 'your brother' up to "seventy times seven," it should be understood He didn't mean literally to let someone wrong you 490 times and then take revenge on the 491st. Instead He meant that all of us have so much to seek forgiveness for that we should never consider ourselves noble if we forgive the same offender as many as 7 times, according to the question Peter asked. Then the literalism line begins to become dim as we go the subtopic of metaphor. Most Bible believers agree that it does not do any good to literally cut off our hand or pluck out our eyes if they "cause us to sin," because they don't-- or do they? If we have a problem controlling lust and we are turned on by sight, then should we gouge out our eyes? It may be easy to say "stop buying 'those' kind of magazines or watching those kind of movies," and it would be easy to see that falls into what Jesus meant-- getting rid of what is conducive to our sin. But we can't control the actions of those around us who dress immodestly or smile suggestively at us, and without our eyesight that would eliminate much of the 'problem.' So did Jesus mean to literally cut out our eyes, or to just do as much as we can to lessen the temptation? But probably the biggest issue with extreme literalism is in understanding the scripture in itself-- is it meant to be taken literally in this particular passage? Case in point-- the day of the crucifixion. Jesus says in Matthew 16:21 He will be raised up on the third day. But in Mark 8:3 He says He will be raise after three days. Is it on or after the third day? So with this we have a debate as to whether He was crucified on 'Friday' or 'Wednesday', maybe even 'Thursday.' So it seems trying to be "literal" results in a useless debate, while a person's salvation depends not on the timeline of those events, but belief that Jesus is the Son of God who was raised. Finally, there is the literalism problem of the 4 different renderings of the sign placed on the cross. Since it was only in 3 languages, then even allowing for translation precision at least 2 of them should be exactly the same. And when the OT is quoted in the NT it is often not an absolute literal quotation. In Matthew 11:14 Jesus says John the Baptist is Elijah, but John the Baptist himself says in John 1:21 that he is not Elijah. It seems the only way to understand these verses is that Jesus was saying he (John) is metaphorically Elijah, but John the Baptist is saying he literally is not Elijah. So it's not always simple to know whether we should put on our literal glasses to read a passage or our metaphorical glasses, or especially with prophecy our allegorical glasses. When someone tells me he is a "literalist," I don't believe him 'literally.'