How (Not) to Read the Bible, by Dan Kimball
DECEMBER 5, 2020
Yes, There Are Puzzling and Disturbing Bible Verses, but There Are Explanations!
If you wonder about the validity of what the Bible teaches, I want you to know that I can relate to how you think and feel. My friends were worried that the Bible could possibly corrupt me. What if they were right? Christians all around the world see the Bible as a sacred book, but there are other sacred religious books out there. How do we know the Bible is the one, a revelation from God? Good and sincere people believe things that aren’t true all the time. Who is to say the Bible and its teachings make sense for us today?
We can’t just sweep questions like these under the rug and ignore them. They forced me to look at the origins of the Bible and whether there are ways of understanding the bizarre and unusual things in it.
Although you may not know me personally, I can say this very confidently to you: I would not be writing this book if there were no explanations for these Bible verses. If there weren’t reasonable responses, I likely would have become an agnostic and not taken the Bible seriously as God’s inspired words. When I was exploring the validity of Christianity and the Bible, I had to wrestle with questions like these and study to find the truth. I did not want to follow a cult, a wishful religion, or a mindless faith. I wanted to follow truth. I had no pressure from family or peers pushing me to ignore the difficult things or to believe that the Scriptures are true and good if they aren’t.
I would never, ever mislead anyone into believing in a faith that is not trustworthy. I can say with confidence that we can intelligently, and with faith, believe that the Scriptures are from God. If you knew me, you would know that I am never closed to learning new information and am always looking at current criticisms of Christianity and the Bible. No Christian should be afraid of or ignore difficult questions.
The Key: Learning How (Not) to Read the Bible
The good news is that there are responses to these bizarre Bible verses and difficult questions. You can be a thinking intelligent Christian and one hundred percent believe in the trustworthiness and inspiration of the Bible. Yes, these verses certainly do seem difficult to comprehend. However, I’ve learned that when we apply certain study methods and examine verses in their contexts, it can change how we view and read the Bible. The overwhelming majority of the disturbing Bible verses that we read or see on memes are being read incorrectly. Yes, these verses are actually in the Bible. They are strange and difficult to understand. Absolutely. But we aren’t taking into consideration how to read the Bible to understand their meaning. Applying some basic principles for reading any verse in the Bible makes a drastic difference. The key to making sense of crazy and disturbing passages is to understand how not to read the Bible.
Excerpted from How (Not) to Read the Bible by Dan Kimball
Copyright © 2020 by Dan Kimball. Published by Zondervan. Used by permission.