Over the past two or three years I have paid attention to how often we quote single Bible verses on Facebook pages or we Twitter a single Bible verse. I love Scripture and it is always refreshing seeing inspired Scripture posted on-line. So I am all for quoting verses of Scripture. Jesus quoted passages of Scripture and it is wonderful seeing BIble verses popping up on Twitter and Facebook.
But there a couple of interesting things to think about regarding these single Bible verse posts. One is that we have to be careful when we quote one Bible verse or use a single Bible verse to then apply to something directly in our life. Greg Koukl from Stand To Reason said it well here about how we need to be careful in how we use single Bible verses. So I won't go into that here, but there is another observation I would like to make.
When you scan Twitter and Facebook, virtually all the Bible verses that are quoted, are always the positive, encouraging and cheery ones. Again, all Scripture is inspired, so I absolutely love the positive and encouraging cheery verses. May those quoting them continue to do so, as we need cheer and encouragement in this world for sure from God inspired words.
But…. in the Bible there is also hundreds and hundreds of verses that aren't the nice, encouraging and cheery ones. My friend Mike Frost posted on his Facebook a couple weeks ago that he noticed it was all the happy ones always quoted and it got me thinking about this. Who quotes the other ones? And why aren't we quoting them if they are inspired Scripture just like the cheery and happy ones? The Bible is filled with verses that you never see in those daily calendars with a Bible verse each day in it. Or on Christian coffee cups or t-shirts or memory verse cards. There are hundreds of very strange sounding, weird, sex descriptive, bizarre and even violent verses in the Bible. It shouldn't be a surprise as life is filled with weird, bizarre and all kinds of unusual things. The Bible captures life at different time periods in history and I love the honesty of the Bible. That is one of the things when I first was studying the Bible I was impressed with and made me have more confidence in it's inspiration. If it was soley a human document, we probably would have cleaned up all the stories to have nice endings and removed the weird sounding things. But I believe God gave us an accurate record of what was happening and left in the happy, encouraging parts as well as the bizarre, weird and not so happy ending parts.
Something else about the weird, sometimes violent and difficult to understand passages from the BIble is that they are being noticed. If you are to read some of the neo-atheist writings, you find that these types of Bible verses are the very ones they are pointing out. I have been in multiple conversations with college students who have raised up these very type of Bible verses which generally are not the ones rasied up. But today, there are web sites such as this one which strive to show many of these Bible verses as evidence why Christianity cannot be true. (I have seen a bunch of these web sites and not abandoned faith, so I do believe there are rational, reasonable responses to claims such as this web site and others make). However, many Christians aren't prepared to respond to when these Bible verses are pointed out and I have talked to some who never even realized they were in there. So I will on most Wednesdays point out a Bible verse that is more of an unusual one. Sometimes I will give some explanation of it, sometimes I will just post the verse.
There are a lot of Christians who post the hundreds of encouraging and cheery verses (which I am thankful they do), so I am going to once a week post the not-so-cheery and often very weird sounding verses in the Bible. My hope is it will raise up an awareness of these types of verses and have us pay attention to them more, so when we are asked about them or read about them in books are blogs that point them out trying to disprove Christianity – we then aren't caught offguard. I think the more difficult, strange verses actually force us to be better students of the Bible.
A classic and well known almost cliche example of a strange story from the BIble I will start with today is from 2 Kings 2:23-25. The story goes:
"From there 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."
So basically, Elisha gets made fun of by some youth for being bald. Elisha then calls a curse on them and two bears kill all 42 boys. Here's a video portraying the weird sounding story:
I won't go into an explantion of this story, you can read one here. But it will be strange and weird Bible stories and verses like this I will quote or highlight on Wednesdays.
There are so many who post the hundreds of encouraging and cheery verses, I am going to once a week post the not-so-cheery and often very weird sounding verses in the Bible. My friend Mike Frost posted on his Facebook a couple weeks ago that he noticed it was all the happy ones always quoted and it got me thinking about this. Who quotes the other ones? And why aren't we quoting them if they are inspired Scripture just like the cheery and happy ones? I think the more difficult, strange verses actually force us to be better students of the Bible – as we think "What the heck does this mean?!?".
A few weeks ago in Vintage Faith Church, we had Professor David Lamb speak in our 3 worship gatherings and then had an open forum after the evening one. He talked about whether the God of the Old Testament is a violent angry God (based on some of the stories in the Old Testament). The place was packed and at the Open Forum we had in The Abbey that night, it was also packed and crowded. I moderated the questions coming in and it was a totally wonderful evening having discussion with a scholar about these things. We sold out of David's books too (God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist and Racist?) To me, it shows there is such interest in learning these things. The good news is when we look past the surface we can generally gain some insight to why the verses are so incredibly weird, bizarre and difficult to understand. Sometimes we can't and will have to live with the fact they just are weird and we can't understand them. But more often than not, there are some reasonable answers when you don't just look at them in isolation and not in context. Or look into culture at that time so the passages are then interpeted based on a cultural context as well.
So, I shall begin posting on Wednesdays a weird, strange, or bizarre sounding Bible verse. Some weeks I will do a little study on it and write that here, time-permitting. On other weeks I wil just post the verse like mainly happens with the way the cheery, happy ones are posted. There are some verses I will only post the book, chapter and verse as honestly the words are too much too type out (either graphic violence or sex descriptions). But it is all in the Bible! I hope the bizarre, strange, weird Bible verses will be of encouragement and perhaps cause us to want to look deeper into Scripture than just a surface look at times. Wednesday-Weird-Bible verses now begins.