The Bible has a lot of difficult, controversial verses. They can make us cringe, turn the page quickly, or toss the whole book out the window.
I am tired of cringing and turning the page. And yet, I can’t ditch the Bible because Jesus has righted my life trajectory numerous times and given me hope and purpose.
So, I’ve begun this blog series, called “Hidden glory.” I'm going to write my way through the Bible’s worst verses.
Don’t know which ones I’m talking about? Check these out:
“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” — 1 Timothy 12:11
“Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” — Leviticus 18:22
“Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” — 1 Peter 2:18.
“Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.” — Psalm 137:9
Now that we’re all sufficiently uncomfortable, let me back up for a second.
Why on earth would I want to do this?
About a year ago I came out of a church experience that raised a lot of questions about what truth is and whether or not we can actually know what it is. The people around me were asking: is truth all black and white? Is everything subjective? Somewhere in between? If so, which is which?
I found myself asking some of those questions too.
But I felt helpless. What could I, a theological expert in nothing, possibly contribute? Then this idea hit me. And as much as it terrifies me, I haven’t been able to ignore it.
Declaring my own bias
I'm not reading the Bible as a skeptic. I believe that this is God's Word and that there is a reason why each part of the story has been included. However, that doesn't change the fact that some parts are really hard to read, especially when taken out of context.
As a result, starting this series feels pretty scary to me. What if I don’t like the conclusions I come to about some of these passages? What if I can’t find an answer at all? What if I misinterpret something? There are a lot of “if’s” and a lot of questions in my mind. But, I’m also excited because I know I’ll have no choice but to trust in God throughout this process.
Is this for you?
Maybe you’re a Christian like myself. Ask yourself this: are you cringing and turning the page quickly to avoid dealing with things you don’t have answers to? Welcome to the club. Let’s start facing the hard stuff together.
Or, maybe you’ve already tossed the Bible out the window. You don’t think it’s the inerrant Word of God (and as a matter of fact, you’re pretty sure God isn’t real to begin with).
Well, the truth is that I find some parts of Scripture hard to deal with too. I’ve been let down by churches. I know Christians can suck. However, I also know that the Bible is one of the oldest books in history; it claims to tell the story of humanity — from our very origin to what will happen to us at the end of the world as we know it. So, if there is even a shred of a chance it could be right, isn't it worth giving it a chance?
Road map: where are we headed?
I’m reading through the Bible by genre:
Every two weeks I’ll write about the verse(s) I find most difficult from my daily reading plan. In all, it should take me about two years to complete this project.
My goal is to blog through these passages as carefully and honestly as I can. I've chosen to do so publicly because I know other people have questions too, and I don’t want to keep what I learn to myself. I’m also not trying to reinvent the wheel. This is not a commentary; it is not going to be overly laden with historical or academic references. I’ll leave that to the experts. I simply want to work through this book and understand it better for myself.
So, whether or not you stick around for the long haul, I really hope you'll benefit from at least one thing I discover. If you haven’t already, you can join my email list below to follow along.