Thursday, April 19, 2007

Awkward Bible Passages Part I

"The people of Samaria must bear their guilt,
because they have rebelled against their God.
They will fall by the sword;
their little ones will be dashed to the ground,
their pregnant women ripped open."
- Hosea 13:16 (NIV)

Welcome to my new series, Awkward Bible Passages. This will be a showcase of selections from the Bible difficult to reconcile with Christian theology, incredibly violent and hate-filled, commonly overlooked, or just plain not-fit-for-Sunday-School. Fortunately (or unfortunately), there is plenty of material ripe for the picking. It may behoove you to memorize some of these, and show them to your believing friends. They will often be accompanied by my own commentary, though some [such as the one above] speak for themselves. Note, these gruesome lines from Hosea are claimed to be the words of Yahweh spoken through his prophet.

"Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand." – Mark Twain

I'll do my best to keep things in context, and references are linked to's website for quick reference. Unless otherwise noted, all citations are from the New International Version (NIV), © Zondervan.


Doug said...

Here's A verse that puzzled me when I was Christian:

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.Verily I say unto you,There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Matthew 16:27,28

Wait a minute! This was almost 2000 years ago..These guys have been dead a long time!

"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for Atheism ever conceived." Isaac Asimov

Ross said...

Thanks, Doug! That passage always bothered me too, and it's a fun one to point out to people when talking about the second coming. I'll make that part of ABP Part IV. Great quote from Asimov, too.

wesand24 said...

THis passage is talking about Jesus' post- resurrection appearances. Jesus appeared to many who were present when he said this after he resurrected.

Timothy said...

re: Matthew 16:27-28, some of the people there were still alive when Jesus came into His kingdom. That occurred in Acts 2; every reference to the "kingdom" after that time speaks of it in the present tense. The apparent contradiction comes from people misunderstanding the nature of the kingdom, the church.

Ross said...

That only works if you define the kingdom in such a way that Pentecost fulfills that "prophecy". I missed the part where Jesus came "in his Father's glory with his angels, and then [rewarded] each person according to what he [did]."

There are far more drastic predictions that Jesus makes in the parallel passages: Mark 13 (sun darkened, stars falling from the sky) and Luke 21, none of which came true.

The predictions were wrong and have been falsified, plain and simple. You can read a little more here:

Anonymous said...

I feel that alot of times people will read the Bible and take passages of Scripture and mix them around and around until it sounds silly to them. But the Bible also says that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness! Who are we to say that God doesn't know what He is talking about.
He wrote the Bible, maybe each crazy passage you come up with or don't understand, is for you to ask God in Heaven, if you get the chance. Which i hope you do! I don't want to miss Heaven!

Ross said...

I didn't have to mix this one "around and around" at all, Anonymous - it looks silly all by itself.

If you approach the Bible with that attitude, that whatever seems inconsistent or immoral is just part of God's greater plan that you assume to be good, then the words cease to have any meaning whatsoever. They could say anything, however horrible, and you would just shrug and ignore them. By doing that you divorce yourself from all grounding in reality.

Don't worry about a nonexistent heaven made up by people - live to make this life the best one possible!