No doubt, there are some disturbing things in the Bible, but that’s because the Bible deals with reality. It is a record of the real interactions between tribes, communities and God, and individuals. These things get messy and the Bible doesn’t sanitize the record. The sad truth is that sin is terrible, causes heartache and suffering, and is ultimately the result of everything bad that happens in the world. We live in a place that has been broken by sin, yet we all yearn for that perfect place that God originally made for us.
This is what causes us to read through the Bible and see “bad things” in the passages. We see things that we consider to be “out of order”, downright wrong, or overly violent and dramatic. We are, many times, either seeing the effect of sin on the history of mankind or the affect sin has on us: it warps our understanding of right and wrong, making it difficult the see situations as God does. So, lists of wrong and aberrant Bible passages abound.
We’re going through a list of the “Top 10 Worst Bible Passages” that a friend sent to me. Obviously, we can’t go through every list like this one, but I hope this will help everyone identify some of the ways we misunderstand and misread the information in the Bible. Often, passages like these can be easily understood once we approach the Bible looking for answers rather than looking to make accusations. Just like in our relationships with other people, we need to give God the chance to be right; we need to read through the Bible looking for what God actually said and looking for ways that we can agree with it. This is the way to have peaceful relationships with other people, and it’s the way to have peace with God, too.
1 Timothy 2.12 prohibits women from being teachers or from having authority over a man. What does it mean for a woman to teach? What does it mean for her to have authority? Why does this top the list of worst Bible verses? Let’s check out what the passage says, see what God is actually saying, and see if the worst offender is something that should bother people who put their faith in the Bible as God’s word.
In 1 Samuel 15.3, Samuel instructed King Saul to destroy the tribe of Amalek, the Amalekites. The instructions were to kill everything associated with the tribe: every man, woman, child, and animal. Nothing was to be taken as spoil and nothing was to be spared. Why was this commanded and what does it tell us about God? Let’s see what God is actually telling us in this account of sin, war and divine punishment.
Exodus 22.18 clearly states that no sorceresses were allowed alive in Israel. This is an instance where capital punishment is exercise for a crime according to the Law of Moses. Was this just? What was the reason that a sorceress would be put to death? Let’s take a look at what God is actually saying, what it meant for someone to be a sorceress and why it was considered such a high crime.
Psalm 137 is a difficult passage to understand. Part of the problem is a general misunderstanding of how to apply the Scriptures, but it’s also difficult to read a passage that talks about harming children. Why is this in the Bible? Why would it be a good thing for children to be harmed? It’s hard, and this passage certainly deserves to be in a list of difficult passages. Let’s see what God is actually saying!
Judges 19, especially Judges 19.22-30, is an awful account of what happens when sin begins to run rampant in a culture. There was no king in Israel to enforce the Law, and the priests were, apparently, doing a terrible job of teaching it. Let’s check out what God is actually telling us in the passage and see what we can learn together about how to understand the Scriptures.
Romans 1, as well as other places in the Bible, talk about whether or not homosexuality is a sinful behavior. The Bible doesn’t speak of things like “orientation”, but deal with choices and actions. So, is there modern evidence to overturn the moral teachings of the Bible? What is God actually saying about homosexuality in passages like Romans 1?
Judges 11 gives an account of Jephthah, a judge in ancient Israel who made a tragic vow concerning his victory over a foreign enemy. Through circumstances he didn’t expect, tragedy occurs. Why did he do these things? What is God actually telling us in this passage? Let’s look and see what we can learn from the mistakes Jephthah made in Judges 11.
Genesis 22 is a pivotal moment in the history of Israel. Abraham is told by God to take the child of promise, Isaac and sacrifice him. God stays the execution and the promise to build a nation continue forward. Why did any of this take place? Why would Abraham be willing to sacrifice Isaac? Let’s see what God is actually saying!.
Ephesians 5 talks about the marriage relationship between a husband and wife. Many people object to this passage because it has been abused int he past, but from the beginning God always intended something beautiful from marriage. In fact, marriage is a picture of the relationship between God and his people. Let’s see what God is actually saying.
1 Peter 2.18 talks about the relationship an enslaved Christian ought to have with their master. Since the Bible covers a wide variety of social situations regarding conduct, it’s not surprising this aspect is covered, too. Why doesn’t God tell the slaved to escape? Why does the passage seem to encourage obedience, even to cruel masters? Let’s take a look and see what God is actually saying.