The biggest problem in quoting from the Bible is selecting material to quote that is truly relevant to your purpose and yet is something which is still applicable in today's world. If you quote something that sounds as if it might not apply in today's world, then you must also supply an interpretation of your quote that is broad enough to make it applicable. If you find it difficult to come up with this broad interpretation, then you are trying to quote what I call an "exiom". This is a contraction for "ex-axiom". If it is truly relevant and applicable, I consider it to be an "axiom". It might not truly be an axiom according to the dictionary definition of axiom, but this is an easy way to classify and discuss Biblical quotes. Even the most zealous dogmatist will agree that there are some exioms in the Bible. I don’t think anyone today would cut off one of their fingers if they accidentally touched a pig (I’m not sure that’s what the rule was in the Bible, but I’m sure you get the idea).
I believe that you can avoid most of the exioms in the Bible by just reading the words attributed to Jesus. Thomas Jefferson is reported to have said that he did not believe everything in the Bible but he believed in the philosophy of Jesus Christ. He even had a Bible made up mostly of the sayings of Jesus. It’s called "The Jefferson Bible" ( http://www.angelfire.com/co/JeffersonBible/ ). So the difficulty in good Biblical quotes comes down to deciding whether your quote is an axiom or an exiom.
No one can know all the massive amount of knowledge and wisdom we've accumulated in the last two thousand years that might possibly turn axioms to exioms, but the weirdest, most unfathomable thing is that people, who know enough of that knowledge and wisdom and even accept it as true, still quote the exioms that refute it. Some people say they believe the earth is only six thousand years old and humans did not descend from primates even though they know about carbon dating and fossil records. Other people say the Bible should be interpreted "literally", but I'm not sure what that really means.
Islamic extremists believed they were interpreting their religious books literally when they flew planes loaded with passengers into the Twin Towers in New York and when they committed many other heinous acts of terrorism. Down through the ages, ever since there was a "written word", many millions if not billions of people have been slain in the name of literal interpretations.
Just what is a "literal interpretation"? If a group of people are asked individually for a literal interpretation of one of the books of the Bible, do you think their interpretations would agree?
The Merriam-Webster OnLine Dictionary defines the word "literal" as follows:
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin litteralis, from Latin, of a letter, from littera letter
1 a : according with the letter of the scriptures b : adhering to fact or to the ordinary construction or primary meaning of a term or expression : ACTUAL <liberty in the literal sense is impossible -- B. N. Cardozo> c : free from exaggeration or embellishment <the literal truth> d : characterized by a concern mainly with facts <a very literal man>
2 : of, relating to, or expressed in letters
3 : reproduced word for word : EXACT, VERBATIM <a literal translation>
As you can see there are even several meanings for the word "literal" itself.
In truth, interpretation, even "literal interpretation", is a subjective process. Words don’t have exact definitions. Words have dictionary definitions, but they also have connotations. And even if everyone uses only dictionary definitions from the same dictionary, words still have different connotations to different people. Take for instance the words "slain" and "killed". For example: "In the gun battle, 3 of the men were killed by the police" vs. "In the gun battle, 3 of the men were slain by the police". They both mean to take life away, but "slain" has different connotations from "killed". When translating a sentence containing either word into a different language, that other language may not have both words available and the translator has to use what he believes is the closest word available and so the translation will not be as easy to interpret "literally". The Bible, I’m sure you will agree, has been translated several times and translators had to make those kinds of decisions many many times.
Then there is the fact that even though the Bible may be the divine word of God, it is the divine word of God as communicated to humans thousands of years ago when much less was known about the true nature of the universe. We have discovered that the earth is not the center of the universe and that the earth goes around the sun. We know what makes the grass green and the sky blue and that our sun is a star just like all the other stars we see in the night sky. If all we have discovered today had been known in Biblical times, I think the Bible would read a lot differently today.
I actually believe it is impossible to write something today that can be "literally interpreted" correctly even 200, much less 2,000 years in the future. Look at some of Benjamin Franklin’s or Thomas Jefferson’s writings and try to literally interpret them so that that interpretation agrees with anyone else’s literal interpretation. Or, conversely ask a lawyer or law maker how difficult it is to write so that their writings will not be misinterpreted many years in the future. Just read some laws that were written 200 or so years ago and see how appropriate they are to the present.
Now, are you sure you want to "literally interpret" a 2,000 year old Book that has been translated several times from languages that aren’t spoken today.
The spiritual, moral, and ethical content of the Bible are not necessarily lost by a liberal interpretation but may even be enhanced because it may be much closer to the intended interpretation!