I Don’t Believe Everything In The Bible (And Neither Do You)

I Don’t Believe Everything In The Bible (And Neither Do You) April 5, 2018

Before you hit “unfollow” or reach for the pitchforks, let me clarify what I mean by this statement.

There are dozens of scriptures and ideas in the Bible that even the most devout Biblicist flat out rejects and ignores.

For example:

Most Christians do not greet one another with a holy kiss, although Paul commands Christians to do this four times in the New Testament.

Most Christians do not forbid women to cut their hair, nor do they consider long hair on men to be sinful; something Paul appears to command churches to enforce in his letter to the Corinthians.

Most Christians would not approve of slave-labor, even though Paul affirms the practice of slavery and tells slaves to remain with their masters and masters to be nice to their slaves.

Most Christians today would not endorse polygamy, even though the Bible nowhere speaks out against the practice.

Most Christians don’t gather with signs at the County Court House to protest divorce, even though Jesus specifically speaks against it and equates it with adultery.

So, obviously, these same Christians who make bold claims about “believing everything in the Bible”, outright dismiss many things that this same Bible tells them to do, or not to do.

That means, Christians really don’t believe everything in the Bible, even if they claim to believe that the Bible is the “Word of God” and infallible.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to argue that Christians today should take a “God said it, I believe it and that settles it” approach. Not at all. I think it’s a wonderful thing that we’ve continued to think about what the Bible teaches in the light of who Christ is, rather than holding blindly to the letter of the Law.

The driving factor here is the indwelling presence of Jesus. We’re not left with a book to guide us. We have the living Spirit of Christ – the actual “Word of God” – living within us.

In other words, over time the Church has slowly begun to see more truth as it is continuously revealed through the eyes, character and heart, of Jesus.

Our Lord commands us to love God and to love others as we love ourselves, even to love our enemies and do good to them. So, in light of this radical way of re-thinking everything, we find ourselves realizing that loving people means not owning them as property, and loving one another means not condemning people for their brokenness, and faithfulness to our spouse means not bringing anyone else into the relationship, etc.

There was a time when society owned other people and treated them as property. Christians in the South could even quote New Testament scriptures to justify owning slaves. But, as the church began to draw nearer to the spirit of Jesus, they realized that everyone is created in God’s image and no one should be bought or sold. The spirit of Christ transformed the letter of the Law to reveal the heart of the Father.

There was a time when polygamy was the norm. No one thought it was weird or wrong. Even the Bible had nothing bad to say about it. But over time, as we began to see things through the eyes of Jesus, we realized that marriage was meant to reflect the relationship between Christ and the Church, and we abandoned those old practices and embraced monogamy.

[SIDEBAR: I’m not even talking here about everything in the Old Covenant scriptures that have all been fulfilled in Christ and have no authority for those under the New Covenant; like offering animal sacrifices, observing the Sabbath, shunning women in their period, stoning homosexuals, etc.]

**

So, does this mean that Christians can start ignoring parts of the written Word they don’t like? No, that’s not what I’m saying. The pattern I’m pointing to involves drawing nearer and nearer to Jesus and allowing Him to guide us into all Truth by His Spirit. As we experience an increase of light from the indwelling Spirit of Christ, we find ourselves being led away from rules and laws [“don’t handle, don’t taste, don’t touch”] and closer to the heart of who Jesus is – and who He is calling us to be.

My point is that Jesus is the Truth. He is the Way. He is the living “Word of God” which was made flesh and has come to dwell among – and within – us.

Finding Truth involves more than just pointing to a verse in a book and proclaiming, “The Bible says…”.

**
If we have the living Word of God inside of us, we can discern whether or not slavery, or polygamy, or short hair on women, etc. is “an abomination” or not. We are not bound by words on a page, we are set free by The Word in our heart.

Everything we believe must be processed through the person of Jesus. If it does not align with who He is, then it is in direct opposition to the “Word of God” and must be conformed to His image.

**

Please, join me at one of these upcoming events:

*Organic Church Conference with Neil Cole, Ross Rohde, Dan Notti and Keith Giles on Saturday, May 12 in Long Beach, CA. Register here>

*The Nonviolent Love of Christ: How Loving Our Enemies Saves The World, with Joshua Lawson and Keith Giles on Saturday, June 16 in Portsmouth Ohio. Register here>

***
Keith Giles is the author of several books, including “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”. He is also the co-host of the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Orange, CA with their two sons.

Unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more on my Patreon page.

"I do not have formal training on this matter, but I have a strong impression, ..."

Why Paul Literally Takes the Old ..."
"You seem very interested in this kind of discussion, but only to criticize it. Take ..."

Why Paul Literally Takes the Old ..."
"The more I read Jesus and Paul, the more I realize how radically not about ..."

Why Paul Literally Takes the Old ..."
"That's kind of fun. Just as science tells the story of what is factual whether ..."

Unwrapping Presence

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Tim

    Absolutely right.

  • Clayton Gafne Jaymes

    Yes, I do believe it all. Unfortunately, you missed the point of whether or not all practice those points you bring up. And as you pointed out, Jesus did speak of divorce and that that ‘could be’ a matter of adultery. Though the way you mentioned it was simply not accurate. I am sure you would agree that accuracy of the passge matter, right?

    Also,God did tell His ppl not to ‘multiply wives’. Though there were men who married other women in order to have children that is first wife was apparently unable to produce.There are a few other reaons as to why a male would take on another wife in order to fulfill certain laws given by God. After this, Paul did make it clear that we are to be ‘husbands of one wife’ not multiple wives be it 2 or more.

    While you are making a case for all descriptions of slayes being morally wrong, do you forget that Christians are repeatedly referring to themselves as ‘slaves of God and of Christ’? Do you not think that there are cases where ones could deeply benefit by having a ‘master’ that is over the things they serve and work for and when things go wrong they can go to this person to handle the things coming up?

    You did also miss Paul’s saying that if the slaves could become free from the owner they had then they could do so. But if not, they shouldn’t rebel against the situation they were in but to bring glory to God.

    As for the long hair for the women- that is something one can believe but not practice for whatever their reasoning is. Just as males aren’t to have ‘long hair’.

    The ‘greet…with a holy kiss’ is a matter of greeting each other with holiness. This doesn’t literally have to be a ‘kiss’ so much as a handshake/hug and ‘up-building words’ to each other and not things that ‘tear down’.

  • Steven Waling

    I sse the bibliolator in chief is back.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    “This doesn’t literally have to be a ‘kiss’…”
    So you don’t take everything in the Bible literally, just like the article says you don’t?
    And even if you try to claim it is just that one thing in the whole Bible, and you follow completely and literally all the rest, don’t forget what James 2:10 says: “Whoever breaches one commandment breaches them all.” Unless you don’t take that verse literally either, by failing to greet with a holy kiss, you are also a murderer, adulterer and thief.
    Of course, you aren’t any of these things, but you are a hypocrite (as, to be fair, most if us are to some degree).

  • Cliff

    Such drivel….

  • Oh, I don’t know about that, Clayton when ya state, “God did tell His ppl not to ‘multiply wives”’ kind of, but surely goes against what 2 Samuel 12:8 emphatically states when God himself says, “and I gave thee thy master’s house and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.” After all, God did give David all of Saul’s wives…

  • It’s damning that modern Christians have to skip over the bits supporting slavery, polygamy, and the second-class status of women. Instead of modern Christians dragging the Bible into a correct (or at least modern) moral view, why isn’t it the other way around? Why do we never see any radical moral teaching in the Bible that society adopts which is a positive advance?

  • The Mouse Avenger

    I totally agree with you wholeheartedly! ^_^ Wonderful post!

  • The Mouse Avenger

    Funny, I think a lot of Jesus’ sayings would count as positive, radical moral teachings. 🙂

  • Some are positive, some are negative, and some are missed opportunities (Jesus said nothing against slavery, for example).

    I think my point still stands that Christians must drag the Bible into a better moral reality rather than the other way around.

  • saffiregal

    Excellent points!

  • Chari McCauley

    One thing, if The Father gives us warnings, would He also give us examples?
    I feel He gave us ten rules that includes both fathers and mothers (honor both); the rest of the bible is what happens when we ignore those rules, finding reasons or excuses to ignore them. Father complains about that, a lot. Isaiah and Jeremiah are full of the things that frustrate Father about His kids.

    He does have enemies, unless you think He is lying. He’s a Father trying to get a planet full of kids to get along, keep their room clean, share, don’t lie, don’t steal…things we normally teach our own kids.

    Are parents who teach their kids…NOT…to be in a car while someone is drinking, but still lose that child in a crash, to blame? Do we really think locking kids up from the “danger” rather than teaching wise choices and respect for others is better? Some parent do that. They think they are protecting, but the child isn’t learning.

    If the teacher does all the homework, or the parent, the teacher and the parent are the only ones who learned anything.

  • Chari McCauley

    Really? Judas literally kissed The Lord….
    How literally do you take the bible, exactly?

    It wasn’t the kiss that got Judas in trouble; it was the lie behind the kiss; the money; the politics; the political assassination that just happened to be by crucifixtion; the crowd of “chosen people” calling for The Lord’s death, after Pilate gave them the decision….

  • Chari McCauley

    Slavery, forced labor without pay or consent, to include sex, whenever the owner wishes. Would you volunteer? Do you want to be treated that way, you don’t get a choice, though so, what YOU want does not matter, anyway. Maybe they only want the women in your family so, they separate you, maybe kill your sons, take your daughters for entertainment purposes…

    And, why DO we need a bible to tell us that would suck!!!
    Why do we need a bible to tell us that being raped…period…would suck! Man or woman, boy or girl.
    People who think rape is a joke have never been raped.
    (Not the same as working off a bill, volutarily.)

  • saffiregal

    What on earth are you talking about? I gave a short comment to Clayton about month ago and you come in here to preach to me.

  • Yes, it would be refreshing to hear Bible-defending Christians volunteer for the same treatment they think was just.

  • Chari McCauley

    My point was that The Crucified Man WAS/IS on the same page; and, so is His Father. They are a team; something blind people refuse to see. (Physically blind people SEE BETTER!) (Physically deaf people HEAR BETTER!)

    Also, I am a bible defending…Oldest Living Minds…defender. I’m most likely, and have been called (working for satan) by the blind minds. So, I don’t care what you call me. If death IS IN FACT permanent sleep; it can only be better to relieve the pain of the mean people.

    Why do people not think they would give us examples of both what happens when you try to keep peace; and what happens when you want to be GOD. Father is NOT a god; anybody could fill a jealous god’s chair!!!!!! Ther are SO many jealous/envious people, who can be bought with a shiney, silver (plated, even) coin.

    If the people who CLAIM to be certain participants in Heaven really are? I’d rather be dead, anyway.

  • Chari McCauley

    Sorry so late, I was getting half of my chest cut off, Good day; and hope you get a little light. There’s a difference between spotlights that blind you; and the light that helps you see.

  • Chari McCauley

    I will ask, one more time…. So many people here have NOTHING LEFT to learn; surely you can tell me. Have you EVER had to feel like a disposable diaper???????

    WHY????? do we find so much entertainment making other people feel like garbage!
    It could be YOU labled as garbage to be thrown away!!!!!

    THAT’S what The Man Crucified was trying to say.

  • saffiregal

    Get Lost!

  • Chari McCauley

    Good to know you won’t be one of the people who helps get peoples head out of their arses. I’m almost out, but not soon enough.

  • saffiregal

    Inheriting a former kings position, power and all possessions would include wives. David was to provide for them. I don’t believe this suggests he should have marital relations with them. Just a thought!

  • The Mouse Avenger

    Ah, I see what you mean. 🙂 And I can agree with that.

  • bill wald

    Two observations:

    1. “The side that wins the war writes the history.”

    2. The art of reading and literary forms and “kinds” of texts is not taught in public schools . . . if it ever was.

  • bill wald

    Since the industrial revolution, slavery has become economically inefficient. It was tried in the New England mills and failed the test. The slaves were an asset that had to be maintained during the winter when the mills were closed. It was more profitable to hire poor white people, lay them off and let them freeze on their own time. Poor people are a commodity to be consumed. Jesus promised we would never run out of poor people.

    500 years ago, most “freedmen” were poor. In this century, half of us are “freedmen” who work for, sell to, or buy from the international corporations. Why should the corporations care for whom we work. Thanks to automation, the bottom half or more of us are a commodity to be consumed, not an asset to be protected.

    Our mobility and ability to complain creates the illusion of political and economic freedom. Karl Mark’s economic/political analysis was correct but his solutions were goofy.
    Marx thought that human nature was evolving and we could be taught (trained?) to be wiser. Human nature has not changed in 10,000 years.

  • Aberam Wiebe

    I believe love your neighbour as yourself! pretty much covers the idea that slavery would never be endorsed by Jesus. Just because their is no direct quote from Jesus; doesn’t mean we can’t know how he felt about it.

  • Jesus said, “not a jot or tittle of the Law shall change,” right?

    Yes, it’s clear how Jesus thought about slavery.

  • Aberam Wiebe

    I guess if context is not import than one could argue that Jesus meant the old Testament law still stands.
    I do not for a second buy that! The fact that he fullfiled the law makes it null and void forever.

  • makes it null and void forever.

    The Old Testament is no longer part of Christian canon?

  • Thought taken but the implication…nah…