The traditional Christian view of the Bible is that it was written under the guidance of God and that it therefore conveys truth, either literally or figuratively. In recent times the view of many Christians has been influenced by the pronouncements of critics (see higher criticism); this has produced a counteraction in the form of fundamentalism, whose chief emphasis has been on the literal inerrancy of the Bible. The interpretation of the Bible is one of the traditional points of difference between Protestants, who believe that the Scriptures speak for themselves, and Roman Catholics, who hold that the church has ultimate authority in the interpretation of the Scriptures.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.