Matthew 10:16

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BibleNew TestamentMatthew

16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Literal Reading

This passage is cited here as "accepting" events of early Genesis "as literally true", presumably because of the serpent in the Garden of Eden and Noah's dove.

Nevertheless the word "as" indicates that a simple comparison is being made with the behaviour of sheep, serpents and doves in the popular understanding of Jesus' time, possibly with an allusion to Job 38:36.

There is no record of wolves endangering sheep in Genesis. "Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves" simply does not mean the same thing as "Be as wise as the serpent in the Garden of Eden was, and as harmless as Noah's dove was."

See other passages said to imply a literal Genesis here.

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