This is a loaded question. If I answer yes, then I am stating that all language in scripture should be understood literally, which is clearly not the case. Here’s a wonderful example of non-literal language being used in the Bible.
“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?” (Isaiah 40:12, ESV)
Taken literally, this passage would communicate that God has a physical hand with which he can measure the size of the universe, within which he has held all the water in the world in order to measure it’s volume, and that God has a VERY large set of scales and balances to measure all the earth’s dirt and mountains. God is omniscient. He doesn’t need instruments, not even very large ones, to measure things like volume and weight. This verse is not to be taken literally. The language is figurative.
Is scripture literally true?
Again – this is a loaded question. If I answer no, then I might be understood as claiming that scripture is false, which would not be the case at all.
Clarity is needed regarding the meaning of words like “literally”. Language can either be literal or metaphorical. This language, whether literal or metaphorical, is symbolic of things that are either true or false. Also, whether literal or figurative, this language can also symbolically point to things that are either concrete or abstract. Words like “literal”and “figurative” or “metaphorical” speak to the way language works, regardless of whether that language is speaking of things that are true/false or concrete/abstract.
N.T. Wright makes this distinction with great clarity.
“The terms ‘literal’ and ‘metaphorical’ refer, properly, to the ways words refer to things, not to the things to which the words refer. For the latter task, the appropriate words might be ‘concrete’ and ‘abstract’. The phrase ‘Plato’s theory of forms’ literally refers to an abstract entity (in fact, a doubly abstract one). The phrase ‘the greasy spoon’ refers metaphorically, and perhaps also metonymically, to a concrete entity, namely the cheap restaurant down the road. The fact that the language is being used literally or metaphorically tells us nothing, in and of itself, about the sort of entities it is referring to.” – Wright, N. T. (2003). The resurrection of the Son of God (xix). London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
Is scripture literally true? The question confuses two distinct categories. “Literally” can only describe the way the language of scripture might work to refer to things. “True” can only describe whether or not those things correspond to reality. In actuality, many places in scripture use metaphorical language to refer to that which is true.
Take the above passage from Isa 40:12. Metaphorical language is being used to describe truth. God doesn’t literally have a really big scale with which he weighs mountains. This language is figurative, not literal. But these non-literal words point to a true reality. God is big. God knows everything. God has access to a perspective that Man does not share. God is eternal. Man is temporal. This is truth. But the language used to declare this truth is not literal.
Is all scriptural literally true? No. Some scripture is metaphorically true. But this does not make those scriptures any less true as a result. It’s just a different way to use language to describe that truth.