This question has been adapted from the book, “Did Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons?” by Matthew Pinto
Yes, all the stories in the Bible are true. This does not mean, however, that each and every biblical story is intended to be read as history. The parables of Jesus, for example, are “true” in that they contain life-changing truths that can lead us to a deeper understanding of God and the life of repentance and love he is calling us to live. But this does not imply that the events described in the parables actually occurred. The disciples of Jesus, upon hearing these stories firsthand, likely would not have been confused on this point; they understood he was conveying profound truths through a hypothetical or fictional narrative.
That said, there are many events described in the Bible that are clearly intended to be understood historically—i.e., they really happened. The Bible should not be seen as a single book written in a single literary style; rather, it is as a collection of writings of various genres. Whether a particular story or passage is history in the true sense, then, depends on the context and the style employed by the writer. Ultimately, we must always read the Bible in accordance with Sacred Tradition, as both form “a single deposit of faith” and with the guidance of the Magisterium (see CCC 85).