Daily Devotional
Can Symbols Help You Understand God’s Word?

“Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in heaven.”

Psalm 119:89

Ponder This

Some people ask, “Is the Bible to be interpreted literally or figuratively?” Have you ever heard that? The answer is yes. It is to be interpreted figuratively and literally all at the same time. For example, the Bible is full of symbols. In the Book of Revelation, the devil is symbolized as a huge dragon. He has a tail so long that he sweeps a third of the stars from heaven. This doesn’t mean there’s an actual dragon with a tail long enough to sweep down all the stars of heaven, some billions of light-years away. John was talking about the devil. The Bible is full of symbolism. We are to learn what the symbol stands for and to literally believe it. We aren’t to say, “Oh, that’s just symbolism, there is no devil.” The symbol points to the real thing.

As an example, think about McDonald’s famous yellow arches. If you see those yellow arches, you wouldn’t say, “Oh, well, that’s just a symbol. There is no actual McDonald’s restaurant.” The symbol is to be applied to signify the real thing. Likewise, we are to ask God for an understanding of the symbols in the Bible, that we might grasp the real truth that is being taught through them.

  • What are some symbols you can think of in the Bible?
  • What truths of God’s Word do those symbols help you understand?

Practice This

Make a list of symbols you know of in the Bible and the truth that is associated with each one.