What criteria should I use to know which scriptures should be understood literally?

What criteria should I use to know which scriptures should be understood literally? literal: "Love one another as I have loved you," versus non-literal, "You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven." Or is it a sin to call your biological... show more What criteria should I use to know which scriptures should be understood literally?

literal: "Love one another as I have loved you," versus non-literal, "You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven."

Or is it a sin to call your biological male parent your father?

What about, "Go and sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." (Mat 19:21). Literal or not?

How do we know which are supposed to be read literally and which aren't?
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