It is nothing new.
Recently the author came across a post that stated, in seemingly condescending terms, that the Bible is a ridiculous guide for humanity, and much that is in it could just as well be disregarded.
The post can be found here.
It is called, “11 kinds of Bible verses Christians love to ignore.”
Well, this post is here to state that they are not ignored, and is giving some guidance and suggestions for them.
They are listed in different categories, along with some examples.
Here are some of them.
- You will be pledged to be married to a woman, but another will take her and rape her. You will build a house, but you will not live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not even begin to enjoy its fruit. Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will eat none of it. Your donkey will be forcibly taken from you and will not be returned. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and no one will rescue them. . . . The Lord will afflict your knees and legs with painful boils that cannot be cured, spreading from the soles of your feet to the top of your head. (Deuteronomy 28:30-31,35)
- Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. (Leviticus 19:19)
- Ye shall not round the corners of your heads. (Leviticus 19:27)
- All that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you. (Leviticus 9:10)
- Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother’s milk. (Exodus 23:19)
God acting mad
- Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. (2 Kings 2:23-25 NIV)
- Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. (Matthew 21:18-22 NIV)
When God is worse than Satan
These include the usual verses, where God directs atrocities at humans. Although it is not included in the post, one common verse referred to in this context is Samuel 15:3, which states,
“Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'”
If a person merely went by these verses literally, with no direction or context, they might have certain assumptions about the Bible or God.
They might think that parts of the Bible and its’ commands are ridiculous, so the rest of the Bible should be disregarded, as it is also ridiculous.
They might also question what kind of God the Bible represents. Is he evil, or perhaps not reliable, for instance?
So, let’s get a grip on the bigger picture and address some of the items in the post.
As you can witness, all of these verses except one, (Matthew 21:18-22), come from the Old Testament. (We will get back to the one in Matthew).
The Old Testament is Jewish Scripture. It was all they had to go by before the Messiah came along.
It is written in the culture of that time.
The Old Testament is primarily included in the Christian Bible because the Messiah, Jesus Christ, is Jewish. It gives a backdrop on where he came from, so he is not just a mysterious person that seemingly came from nowhere.
(If someone claims to be God, like Jesus did, wouldn’t you want to know where he/she came from?)
Christians are not obligated to follow the Old Testament to the letter.
When the Messiah came, he proclaimed that he fulfilled the commandments in the Old Testament (Matthew 5:17). Jesus said he came “not to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law.”
What this means is that if you follow Jesus in spirit, you are ultimately following the Old Testament guidelines, because he fulfilled them. (Isn’t that interesting?)
That means you fulfilled the Commandments, like the ones listed above, in spirit. Jesus did the work for you.
And the Commandments about food are for your own good. Pigs digest some disgusting things, as people are probably aware. If an entity created pigs and also created you, and then directed you not to eat something, it would only make sense to listen.
And, what about the curses? Remember, Hebrews 12:6 states, “The Lord disciplines the one he loves.” What you call a curse now might be for your good in the long term, like the dietary guidelines.
Now, let’s get back to the command from Matthew in the New Testament. In that verse, Jesus is commanding a tree to not bear fruit.
One could also put in the same category of some of the so-called “violence” in the Book Of Revelations. These are supposedly “evil” things in a warlike setting.
That comes up a lot in criticism of Christianity. So does the verse when Jesus said he came “not to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). Do you think this passage means that the underlying theme of the New Testament is violence? A person who read the New Testament would not logically come to that conclusion.
One should ask why Jesus does these things.
For instance, what is the ultimate message of Jesus?
Jesus is about peace, and an inner peace. But, to get this peace, some things have to be defeated first, like Satan.
If you have to defeat something to get something better, then the ultimate message is not violence, but what the result of it is.
(By the way, the verse in Samuel is also about God sending a message to evildoers to make an example, which is intended to help people in the long term.)
In other words, God is trying to teach you things.
But, here is a word of warning.
God knows the whole picture, and humans don’t.
Just because something sounds reasonable in your head (like not destroying the Amalekites in Samuel 15:3), doesn’t make your analysis right. Food from pigs might taste good, and suffering might be unpleasant, but humans don’t know the whole picture yet.
To a human mind, “destroying” something sounds evil. But remember, Jesus had to allow his own body to be destroyed to fulfill salvation for humankind.
Also, from a Christian perspective, judging God is a dangerous position to take. A position that should be avoided. To some, it also doesn’t make sense that the God Of The Universe had to come to earth as a human and die a painful, humiliating death on a Cross. But that doesn’t diminish or change what he did.
God did not exempt himself from being destroyed, in a sense, as a human. He was willing to endure punishment himself (crucifixion), instead of just ordering it on someone else. He could have chosen to not endure any of it, as it was voluntary. He did not sit on the sidelines.
So, yes, some of the verses about sound a bit “out there” at first. But one should examine things in context with Scripture, any Scripture.
Scripture is believed to be perfect in terms of spiritual truths. Perfect beyond a finite, human understanding.
So, in response to the post mentioned above, Christians are not necessarily ignoring these verses. Christians are taking them in context.
So, before you rush to judgment, remember that things aren’t always as they seem.