When the Bible is Uncomfortable


Some people reject Christianity because they claim there are immoral themes promoted and unethical instructions given in the New Testament.

Are there?

When people make that claim, I usually ask for examples. The two most common responses have to do with the status of women and condemnation of homosexuality.

Let me first say that when it comes to both of those issues, there is some debate regarding the interpretation of the Scriptures cited. But in my mind, the passages are pretty straightforward and clear.

And not politically correct.

There’s nowhere near enough space in this blog for me to address those issues, the passages behind them, or any of the other perceived unpopular views expressed in our Bibles. But let me address just one thought.

The closed-minded arrogance of contemporary belief.

Many people criticize the New Testament for what they call “outmoded and regressive teaching” in the Bible. They will say it supports slavery (which it doesn’t) and the subjugation of women (which it also does not).

If you are reading the Bible and you start thinking this way yourself, do this…

Read carefully and study the text along with the word meanings and cultural understanding of that passage in it’s original setting. Using a good study Bible or commentary will help. You want to make sure that you are not assuming something that is not there, or claiming that a passage is teaching something that it isn’t really teaching. And by all means, don’t just listen to what some critic has passed on to you. This alone will alleviate a lot of discomfort. The slavery example is a case in point.

But it probably won’t take care of all of the discomfort you will have over things in the Bible.

But here’s a key point, and I quote Tim Keller, “To stay away from Christianity because part of the Bible’s teaching is offensive to you assumes that if there is a God he would’t have any views that upset you.”

Our views are very limited. They are heavily influenced by our cultural milieu and personal experiences. In no way can we say that the ethics of our society are timeless and inerrant. Compare the moral views of people just a generation ago and this becomes glaring. How arrogant we would be to claim that we are absolutely right and our grandparents didn’t have a clue. Or to say that future generations, which will undoubtedly have views other than ours, are just as erroneous as we think our grandparent’s views were.

If there is a god, and you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t believe there is, then maybe we should engender the humility to acknowledge that some of his views will be contrary to ours and instead of insisting that he conforms to us, let’s instead, conform to him. He is the creator. And he knows how everything works a lot better than we ever could.

“’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” –Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV


6 Responses to When the Bible is Uncomfortable

  1. susan schweir March 6, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    Thanks for your thoughts and your blog. That Isaiah passage is my life verse. 🙂

    • Pastor Scott Ziegler March 6, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

      It’s a great verse, Susan, and one that I have to remind myself of, often.

  2. Cathy Sears March 6, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    I quote that verse often…never as well as Isaiah, though. The essence of its meaning is always close to my heart.

    • Scott Ziegler March 7, 2014 at 10:14 am #

      The other part of that Cathy is that I’m really glad that his thoughts are a lot higher than mine, because mine aren’t all that high. I can’t even figure out how things work much less make the universe work. I’m just really glad he’s in charge and not any of us. And one thing I have learned, doing things his way is always better than my natural way.

  3. Maurine Conti March 9, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

    I really enjoyed your service today for all the people on the fence about God….you said “If there is a God how arrogant of us to assume he would not want to upset us”. Maybe those were not your exact words, but something similar. Anyway, it stuck with me and it totally makes sense. In the same vane reading your blog of people comparing moral values a generation ago to now is priceless. Thank you for your insight and wisdom.

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