Three Ways to Avoid Reading the Old Testament

Three Ways to Avoid Reading the Old Testament March 11, 2015

By Jayson Bradley, where you can read the full essay:

What would you add to his list of three?

But Jesus validates the Old Testament, and so I’ve come to a place where I enjoy wrestling with this inspiring (and often frustrating) collection of books. But there are ways that many churches and pastors handle the Old Testament that can exacerbate my issues with it:

1. We ignore the horror

When my daughter was eight, she decided she was going to read through the Bible. As a pastor, I was thrilled. That was until she came down a couple nights later and wanted me to explain why Lot was sleeping with his daughters (Gen. 19:30-36). . . awkward.

It’s humorous to me when Christians want to censor books, music, or media because of the questionable content….

2. We whitewash OT stories for children

I spent 15 years in the Christian retail industry, and I’ve seen almost every Bible storybook for children there is. You know what I haven’t seen in these books?…

3. Turning the Old Testament into simple moral lessons

You experience this almost any time you hear an exposition on any Old Testament story in church. The text is reduced into simplistic equations and steps for living a godly, happy, or fulfilled life. Even more tragic than that, we take stories about God’s behavior in a specific situation and normalize it. If you do this, God will always respond this way.


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