Author and pastor Dan Kimball sits down with Mark and Rex to discuss his new book, How (Not) to Read the Bible: Making Sense of the Anti-women, Anti-science, Pro-violence, Pro-slavery and Other Crazy-Sounding Parts of Scripture.
Welcome to Jessup think I’m your host Mark Moore, and your co host, Rex Gurney. And Rex on the show today. I’m so excited because I have actually one of my personally favorite authors and pastors in the northern California region, Dan Kimball, he’s at vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz. And he’s also the author of an upcoming book called how not to read the Bible, making sense of the anti women, anti science, pro slavery, pro violence and other crazy sounding parts of Scripture. And there’s a
connection with him to be he’s he’s spoken in Chapel here a number of times and has a long, long history with the school. So he has a lot of good things to say.
Yeah, he does. It’s a fascinating conversation. And it’s a really important conversation for right now. Because Because Miss reading the Bible can actually lead people away from Jesus. And in the purpose of Scripture is to point people to Jesus. And so we hope you enjoyed this episode. There’s a lot to chew on and a lot to think about.
Well, Dan, are really excited to have you on the show. And we know that you actually have a little bit of a history with William Jessup University, or at least you’ve been, you’ve been here before and spoken at Chapel.
Yes, yeah. I’ve been there to chapel. I’ve met with john Jackson, I think a couple times and with Bryce Jessup several times as well. So William Jessup used to be in San Jose. And when it was there, when it was called San Jose Christian College, then it became William Jessup, our church used to get a lot of interns from William Jessup. And that was like, amazingly wonderful. And we were sad, actually, when you guys moved to Sacramento, but then glad that you could expand and have more property, and all of that, but yeah, I feel wonderfully at home at William Jessup, and it’s always so thankful for doing there in Sacramento and all the students that come from all over the place. We still
have a presence, I think in San Jose, but it’s it’s not the same sort of thing. Yeah. Are in Marin Rocklin area.
No, yeah. And Bryce Jessup. I have an 11 page, handwritten letter from Bryce Jessup, because when I first entered into ministry, at Santa Cruz Bible Church, I was very interested in I didn’t grow up a Christian. And then when I was entering into ministry, he spoke at Santa Cruz Bible. And I was wondering, like, you know, I really liked his message. And he was older at the time and wondered, you know, what sustains someone that is going into ministry, and he wrote me an 11 page, handwritten letter back, which I still have, because
it sounds like rice, it really does. Sounds like he’s that kind of guy. Yeah,
yeah. Well, I’ve great Yeah, he was such a encouraging person and loved when I was over there to be able to meet up meet up with them.
Oh, that’s great. That’s really great. We’ll have to take a peek at that 11 page letter sometime. I wish that has wisdom for us all. And yeah, it was great. It really was. And we’re excited to have you on the show with this connection, but also to talk about your new book, which is coming out in December from Zondervan, how not to read the Bible. And I love this subtitle, making sense of the anti women, anti science, pro violence, pro slavery, and other crazy sounding parts of Scripture. Yeah. And if the if the subtitle alone doesn’t make people pick up the book, I don’t know what would because I think that that draws us into, into an area of, I think, the Christian faith that we often don’t look at, and that is maybe how different aspects of the Bible are read. Or maybe misread or misrepresented, and how that can have an extreme effect on someone’s face. And, and in the book, you kind of start out with a story of a college student who grew up in, in a Christian home, right, grew up in with the Christian faith, but it was actually reading the Bible that caused them to leave.
Yeah, and I mean, the quick summary of that story, which is actually becoming more and more common is that you have, he was a college student, raised in a great church, and here’s what the differences I think, even from years past, he had a super positive experience in church and great youth leader. It was a contemporary church, good bands, you know, it wasn’t any type of cultural disconnect in the church itself. And it was a very loving church. And then he got to college and he joined intervarsity up on campus. And while he was at intervarsity, on campus, he they did a study of Exodus. You know, like the Goethe manuscripts studies that correct? Yeah. Yeah. And so he said he was studying through the book of Exodus. And then, you know, he grew up hearing all of you know, the Moses stories and, and all of those, but then all of a sudden he read that, God, he started thinking about it God, it was the Passover, you know, had the firstborn of the Egyptians killed. And he actually knows that 1819 year old, passed there, and said, that’s a pretty, you know, horrific thing that kind of was part of the story. But you know, they’re always the bad guys. And so that killing, didn’t think about it. Yeah. And then he started his question was, so what he said was his whole life growing up, he heard that how evil it was for Herod to kill the two year olds and under in Bethlehem, and that was evil, you’d never kill children. Yet, all of a sudden, he started, he realized that God did that in the book of Exodus. Then he said, he kept reading. And then he said, You know, he started reading about slavery. And he read the verse about, you know, selling your daughter into slavery, and then even the word, I believe it was property, as slavery. And he started saying, Wait a minute, these are things that have been in the Bible. Now, as an adult, as I’m studying it differently. I’m noticing these things more. And here’s where it gets off the words worse. But what he said was, he went and talked to his parents about it. And his parents said, Oh, that’s in the Bible, like they have one of those. And so he’s like, Oh, my parents have never paid attention to this. Then he asked his youth leader, and he started asking others and he he said something to the sort of, well, I kept saying, well, there’s many things and in heaven, well, no, so it doesn’t matter for now. And he said he could not intellectually, I guess, you know, agree with that, and be satisfied with that sort of brushed off answer. And then he said, again, it’s just like the story you hear over and over. So he started typing these verses in on Google. Right? Right. And what comes up is so many anti Bible, you know, websites, he said, he found one called evil Bible calm, and you can look that up, it’s still there. And then he just started saying, I didn’t I shot, there’s maybe a few things that I’ve seen, there’s, you know, dozens and dozens of Bible verses in passages that I never knew before. And for him, and it was over the course of months, he his faith started unraveling. his confidence in the Bible, was then you know, started deteriorating. And then like, last minute, the University leader sent me an email, Hey, will you meet with this person? And so I did. And he was a really sweet, intelligent guy. And it was kind of like the tail end of that. And he’s already sort of made up his mind, and we walk through it. And that was, like, all I can say is that is the common story you’re hearing over and over again, not just from 18, or 19 year olds, a lot of 30 somethings are now deconstructing faith and thinking about things they never did before. It’s always been in the Bible. But they’ve never stopped to like, look more closely. And that’s what’s going on today, I think.
Yeah. And I think what’s so interesting about that story that you point out is, and maybe what has been different in the last 20 years or so, is that it wasn’t a story of a negative experience of church. He was in a loving community. And you know, maybe 2030 years ago, there was more of those stories of church was really judgmental, or church, you know, the church experience, you’ve culturally there was a disconnect. But it seems like even today, you know, with maybe more loving communities, more communities that are open students, and we’re seeing the same thing and Jessup students, you know, I have friends who graduated from Jessup and I’ve stayed connected with and the more they look into scripture, which is the one thing we tell them to do, right? Or it’s like, Hey, we encourage them to read their Bible. But they come with more questions. And sadly, we often don’t or maybe we’re unprepared to be able to have those discussions. And, and so yeah, then they move to, to other online forums where they can hear people bring up but I think you do a good job just in that Prelude of really piling it on of like, yeah, it’s not just one or two verses in the Bible. It is. I mean, there’s a lot we have to process and work with.
Well even shows up and I actually have my little copy of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. And it’s almost like the first paragraph in that book. That of course, was a New York Times bestseller. And I would assume, I guess a lot of people read it, where he is basically, sort of sort of right away just sort of hits everybody with this with this stuff. The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction, which of course, makes my red flags go up right away, but still, you know, jellison, proud of it a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak, and on and on and on and on. And so this stuff’s out there. And folks, folks confronted all the time. And it’s good to acknowledge that and to realize that, that that’s not the end of the story we have, we have some things we can we can say about those misapprehensions of God’s character.
Yeah, and I love Dan, your, your honesty, and talking about the explanations and talking about those passages you say? And kind of the prelude. If these were the only verses in the Bible, you would run the other direction as well.
Yeah, I mean, absolutely. And I think you know, because I didn’t grow up in a church. And I would, I was never an atheist, I was probably more like a deist. I think there’s God, but didn’t think about it too much. So, but if I was only seeing, like fun growing up in our world today, and all I’m seeing is, you know, in the book, there’s I gave a lot of those memes. I don’t know, if you’ve looked at some of them, yes. All over the place, you know, and they’re taking Bible verses, and putting very clever graphics on them. And their actual Bible verses This is what I think is different than the past is that they’re actually using the Bible to discredit the Bible. And so they’re very compelling when you look at these verses, you know, if you have one about like, women be silent, you know, actually, you know, it’s, it’s a disgrace to know to speak in the church, you know, only go home and ask your husband’s questions, there’s submit, and you see those Bible verses with the graphical image of a woman with her mouth taped shut, and then, you know, it’s plastered all over? It’s like, I didn’t know that was in the Bible, you know, are the blatant slavery verses where the English word slavery is used? And I’m seeing these things, and especially when you get into young adulthood, when your quest you’re going to question things anyway, it’s normal. Right? Right. Yeah. But in the past, we didn’t have I think, you know, these are, these are not new verses in the Bible. But there’s an acceleration of information available, you know, if I was to, I would not have seen Richard Dawkins quotes, if it was probably 2530 years ago, pre Internet, and the other some books written by atheists that might be in the in the bookstore, but I’m not seeing those were today. They’re on meems. They’re, they’re very prominent, and I have access to that so easily. And that was not the case in the past. So I think that’s part of it, as well, is just the information is out there. And I don’t think we were prepared in proactively teaching enough about the problematic sounding verses that are out there.
One thing I was thinking when I was dipping into the first couple of chapters of your book, that it’s almost like reverse proof texting, you know, we sort of will take verses out of context in order to, you know, be an explanation for our favorite doctrine does your but this is sort of the exact opposite of that. There’s lack of context on both sides.
Well, that’s the title of the book, how not to read the Bible, right? It goes for Christians and non Christians, because we have been, you know, of course, you want to focus on MC like the nice happy versus on coffee mug. And those are those are important, because we want to be encouraged. But, and so but we have done, you know, we have, as you know, and teachings, the Bible at William Jessup, is that when you pull verses out, they might sound you know, all the happy ones. But are we using them correctly out of context? Are we just pulling them out and using them because they’re nice to sit and so we have been cherry picking the nice verses, you could say. And then the opposite is now going on? We’ve been they’ve been pulling out the evil sounding verses and the ones that portray God in a certain way or things and it’s the same fault. It’s not. It’s reading the Bible, not the way it was meant to be read, pulling verses out of isolation, to make cases towards something. And that’s what’s going on again, like all over the place, so Christians have been doing it, that happy way. And now we’re seeing one letter against, you know, the faith in the Bible doing it the, the unhappy way and pulling out those verses.
Yeah. And in the first chapter, you you highlight. It was a verse that actually came to my attention maybe five or six years ago, but as quickly become maybe one of my favorite verses to bring up to students and His numbers 2322 in the King James Version of the Bible, because it was another Bible, of course. That’s right. That’s right seven purified version. It says God brought them out of Egypt, he has, as it were the strength of a unicorn. Now, when that was first shown to me, my first thought was actually that children’s ministers worldwide had missed an opportunity, a golden opportunity, like we could have unicorn day at church. I mean, there could have been, but it’s what’s what’s interesting is, though, I’ll bring this up and kind of a sarcastically, serious tone with students like I want to share this verse. And when I read it, I can feel the tension in the room now where they’re like what, you know, you have 1819 year old students who’ve grown up in the church, and they’re like, the Bible talks about unicorns. So so how do we approach versus like that?
Well, I mean, you’re, you kind of already said some of the problem, what it was, but again, like in the past, you wouldn’t have heard necessarily the word unicorn associated with the Bible and contemporary times, but like my Barber, who was not a Christian, I’m gonna see him tomorrow. And we, we talked about Bible and theology very openly. And he’s the one that raised the unicorn thing up to my attention, because I had not actually seen it before. And I’m like, No, there’s not a unicorn in the Bible. So I look it up and type corn Bible on Google. And then you’ll see all of these images that come up. And this what you said was right, like, you’ll see the unicorn. And then the Bible verse, I think there’s eight or nine of them. One of them some numbers that will say like, the word unicorn from in the Scriptures, some seeing an image or unicorn, there and quoting a Bible verse, and then the mockery, you know, Christians believe in mythical animals, like the unicorn, you know, and, and at surface glance it and especially seeing eight or nine verses that’s convincing, like, oh, my goodness, I didn’t know that was the Bible is there? And that’s even if I know the Bible, you know, for all of those that have no Bible knowledge, that’s all. And then the answer is simple as use basic Bible study methods. But look at that word, you’ll find out that the word unicorn was a translation from I was the Hebrew word and R e m, I think it’s M and eating wild ox, I would I would get translated today. But in 1611, they didn’t know what word to use. And so they use the word unicorn, because it’s a verse that is talking about an animal with some sort of prominent horn. And they just put that word in there. And today, it more means more of a mythical animal. And it has it’s an incorrect word to use for modern tariff translation. It’s not an that’s an easy one to answer. But it certainly makes a good meme. It’s certainly good, like, look at what the Bible says. And it’s just one of many.
And of course, where the where the rubber hits the road is it’s not actually just on unicorns, but it’s on all the other stuff that you’ll find on the means right about slavery and women being silent in church and things like that. I think in your book, though, you suggest that actually the same process of dealing with that with dealing with a unicorn is a helpful process with dealing with some of these other things that admittedly are, seem to be on the surface more troubling than that.
Yeah, I mean, it is. You know, and that’s why I appreciate you know, William Jessup University, also, you know, having like you guys that are, you know, focusing on theology and Bible you were talking to earlier, like, what a great thing like having film and then looking at it theologically. That’s, that’s so important. And I think we have not done that well, and a lot of churches, so therefore, that’s why it’s a bigger problem today. But what you said is, it’s, you know, it’s how, it’s, it’s how not to read the Bible so that you’re Miss interpreting the verses that are causing so many of these problems. And the majority of them that you’ll see on memes, you know, do not eat shrimp, you know, it’s like, God hates shrimp. There’s actually a website, God hates trump.com. He so often on signs, you know, they’re protesting, things like Christians are hypocrites, and they list you know, a lot of Levitical laws and they’ll pull out things. Does it say not to eat shrimp in the Old Testament? Yes. Right. So, right to Can we eat shrimp today? The question is, alright, can we you then do a study of what who is the limit of good Levitical law written to? You know, what happened in the New Testament? Was it something that continued the New Testament after Jesus or not? You’ll find out that no, that was not the case. We have all the freedom in the world to eat shrimp today. But without doing that study you then you You can just look at a Bible verse and say we’re not supposed to eat shrimp look at these hypocritical Christians, because it is a Bible verse talking about shellfish slavery, same thing. I mean, they took a billboard out these were actually, when I say atheist, I ate that there is a wide variety of atheists, as you know, actly, right. And so like, you know, those atheists that there is kind, loving, peaceful, they are not trying to prove Christians wrong, you know, atheists, and then there are the more vocal ones that are. So when I’m saying atheist, you know, the majority of them are not anti Christians, they’re just atheists, they don’t believe in God. But the ones who are the ones that are using it, you know, as a, almost as a, you know, it’s like an activist almost like, I’m going to show Christians they’re wrong, you know, they rented a billboard. And it shows, you know, this horrific picture of like, what American, this hurt the horror, and evil of when we had African slaves in America, and they had a big image. And then they’ll quote, Old Testament verses and put them up or New Testament verses, and saying, Look, your God is endorsing slavery. Now, you see the Bible verse, you see the image. I’m like, I don’t want to have to do anything with that. But I didn’t realize Christianity would endorse slavery the Bible does. And again, it’s like, the imagery, the actual Bible verse, it certainly seems like, that’s what’s going on, at a surface level. And then you have to do the study of like, what does that mean? Was it slavery? What was you know, what was slavery? Like New Testament times? What was slavery? Like an Old Testament times? And, you know, the quick answer is just, it was an entirely entirely different form of slavery than we think of today, not race based. People actually give themselves into slavery, you know, there’s, as a scholar, you know, this, so, but it certainly makes a good case, to say the Bible is evil. And this God is evil, if this is what they’re promoting, from these verses.
Dan, you have an intriguing statement early on in your book, in fact, enough that, you know, I almost like want to write it and keep it on the wall of my office actually, is some something to the to the something like the Bible is not written to us, but for us. And and I think that’s, that’s very, very helpful statement, because us is elaborate a little bit on on that.
Yeah. dr. john Walton from Wheaton came up with that statement, and what and it’s, again, it’s, it’s an incredibly important statement, because what we’ll often do, is that we will open up the Bible and immediately think, like, is supplying to me, or we will read into it? I mean, that’s what we naturally want to look at. How does this affect me? What is it about me? You know, and we’ve made the Bible often very me centered, because we’re, we want to know, you know, how does this apply to me? But when the Bible wasn’t written to us, not one single book of the Bible, you know, is written directly to us in the year 2020. And, you know, Northern California, right, in our world here. So it was, we have to say, you know, who was the book of Romans written to write to us when the Romans, so right, the Roman Church? So then you have to like, right, what was going on, like, politically what was going on with Christians at the time what was happening in that context, so that we can see, what was the Spirit of God, doing through Paul, in writing this out to give to a church that was in a specific geographic location at a specific time, so that we can understand it more from then that’s another one of the most number one problems in Bible interpretation. If we don’t do that, of course, we then can glean amazing truths that apply to our lives. But if we’re not foremost looking at who it was written to, and not in realize it wasn’t all written to us today, we will read into our reading our modern mind view and our problems and, and come to is probably some incorrect application for our lives. And that’s a major thing. That’s and that’s why somebody’s written. So many verses are seen as crazy because they’re not applicable for us today. It wasn’t written to us today.
Little Jessup shout out here Actually, we in our Bible, and theology minor that everyone has to take, they’ll have to take an introduction to Old Testament introduction in New Testament, but everybody has to take a biblical interpretation class, you have to do that you that’s just important. It doesn’t just stand alone. You need to learn how to do this and do this in a in a good way.
Every Christian in the world should be Tonight, for Mark more worked up on this because like it’s so urgent today. Like, I think in the past, we could kind of get along with it like, but like we can’t anymore because this is this is why I wrote the book lives are at stake. I mean, decisions about following Jesus are at stake here, impressions of who Jesus is, which ultimately then applies to what you believe in His atoning death on the cross and resurrection, as a real thing are at stake here. Because these kind of things will then push people away from taking the rest seriously, if that’s all they think it is. And of course, God’s Spirit can do anything, it’s God’s Spirit, who moves people, you know, towards, towards him. But we as human beings then have to address the issues of our day. And that’s what I believe this is a major one, these are major in our day, you know, in the days the creature written there, we’re dealing with other things. So the wrote the creatives, I think, the biggest problems today is the Bible being seen as almost an evil book. And, and then you see younger Christians and older abandoning faith and no one’s talking, there’s a science to like, all this stuff, the science, this is another one like, you hear. These stories sound almost cliche, but they’re real stories is not right, about human beings, younger people, often who are now confronted with things that they never thought of before, right, when, right in the time of our, you know, our faith, our faith was falar stages of faith, if you know that book, you know, and identifies like, when you hit your late teens and your 20s, you’re going to be questioning, things aren’t black and white anymore. It’s a beautiful thing. And right at this time of questioning, then all of a sudden, you’re hearing you know, maybe what you were taught as a kid is not that simple. You’re taught at Noah and the ark, they were painted in your children’s classrooms, as it’s a cool thing, God rescued, right. But then you’ll see there’s a book out called awkward moments children’s Bible, and the cover of it is they take Bible verses, it’s it was the best selling book on Amazon. It was written by a former Christian. And I’ve talked to him before. And he you know, the cover of the book is no on the flood of sorry, the floods happening, but then all around the ark. And it’s like a beautiful children’s, like, looks like a children’s book. And yeah, all the dead bodies floating around the water right? Right now, and they’re saying, you know, look what you’re promoting the story, but God killed? Who knows how many people and there’s all their bodies floating around the water? You forget that part? Don’t you Christians, you know, you just like the happy part, or the science? We the john Walton, you know, why? Why do we read into this is like another one that affects so many people? Why do we read Genesis to be with through our modern mindset and asking the questions that we have today that were never questions for them back then. So Genesis was not written to answer our questions. The early chapters, it was written to address like, who was written to know the Israeli people coming out of Egypt after 400 years and in a polytheistic, culture and slate while they’re in slavery in Egypt, and God wanted to them No, don’t worship the sun, I created the sun, in the early chapters of Genesis, were not written to us. But they’re written for us to understand like, who God is, but their questions were like, which God is real, which they weren’t saying, like, you know, how do you work? The fossil records? Or what about diamonds? Right? I didn’t even know like, when we think of the word Earth, as you know, like, they didn’t, that when we think of the word Earth, we often will think of it, you know, the outer space, right view, right? Or when was that first photographs on like, 1950s? I forget what year? Yeah, yeah, have that image until right? So they don’t think of things and we can’t underestimate that. And it’s not meant as if we start dissecting it today, and then having problems coming up. That’s we’re missing the entire point of it. And sadly, it’s not just an argument, it’s about people’s lives, who will then say, I don’t think I can believe this anymore. Right? I didn’t vote button and it’s and that’s why I’m so intense about this because I’m seeing people go through these deconstruction stories and the same ones are coming up.
And I just know, I’m so thankful you’re doing it William Jessup because you’re teaching the that age group, right as they’re hitting that age. Understand how to look at the scriptures more, so that through their lives, you know, there’s going to be dozens and dozens of weird passages, they’re going to find that they’ll be able to not get caught off guard, not be freaked out, understandably. But then like, oh, there’s another one, there must be a way of understanding this and, and not having to say I can’t believe in this stuff anymore.
Yeah. And in in one of your earlier books, Dan, they love Jesus but not the church. You use this illustration of the tube to bridge illustration, right, that we have the classic bridge, you know, that Jesus, that were separated from God by sin, and Jesus is the bridge to God, right? That’s kind of the classic conversion. But you highlighted in that, that there’s this second chasm, which at that time, you kind of highlighted as Christianity or Christian subculture in it seems like almost the Bible now is in that second chasm, that that that Bible, that of approaching the Bible or reading the Bible wrong, or misunderstanding the Bible, is a is a bridge people have to cross before they can even maybe get to that place to even think about those deeper theological things about like, who Jesus is, and and what he’s done for us.
Yeah, absolutely. You know, because I, you know, the story that we started out with, I think, was a good an example, where maybe in the past, or is still valid, not just in the past, but like, now the big ones were, well, you know, I found out that all these Christmas Christians were judgmental, you know, or they had irrelevant music, or that kind of a thing. And that became a barrier to, to overcome before you then move into a place of, of maybe being open to have some I’m speaking about the gospel to you, where today, I mean, it’s accelerated with the internet and the awareness of things. Right, is that now is that’s why like Christians in the Bible is becoming seen as more of an evil book, like, and I’m not hyper exaggerating this, right. If you knew me over my 30 years of ministry, I’m not like an alarmist, like, or, or it’s, but it when you start seeing it, like here, then you hear another story. And then you hear another story and another story, and then hearing some, you know, even well known Christians that are no deconstructing faith. And then they’ll say, Well, I can’t believe in this. So I moved to more of a progressive form of Christianity, which to me, I don’t know, you know, I couldn’t be a progressive Christian, because then they interpret the Bible entirely differently. And then I would make a move me into all different realm. I be an agnostic, be. Yeah, person. But in other words, that’s the default, you know. And that’s why it’s happening so much, is why I think we have to be diligent and this all the more. So what
can we do? I guess, briefly in the local church, you know, besides like, handout copies of your book to
start, that’s a start,
that’s a good thing.
This is gonna sound like so like, easy. Because in a way, it is easy. It just means, you know, in today’s world, we have to go down to elementary age. And we have to start even at that age, start teaching the Bible storyline more, not just the you know, the nice story of David like, because, you know, like David, and he any sin with Bathsheba, right then like, Okay, he’s a good king and all that. And he had heart after God, they even look at his life. And he killed 200 Philistines and cut off their four skins and presented them to like, like, bright things. And, and the, you know, and he had, what was it eight wives and concubines, like, wasn’t just one and the back and you we have to teach earlier on the storyline, I think I the best thing I would recommend to youth leaders, is grab these memes off the internet, put them up on the screen, and then say like, how do you answer this? Because it’s shocking, you know? And then you’ll be I don’t know, like, and what a great, great energy kind of like what you said in the class to to be then how do I solve this? Because when you’re pushing those problems out, then they’ll see that there’s answers and you’re teaching them how to study the Bible correctly, then when they do get confronted by them later, it won’t be such a shock. It’s not going to be like I didn’t know that was in there. I just think we know got to like, pull the covers up more in the Bible and pull out not just the nice stories, but the bad stories and bad sounding stories. Yeah. And and address those. And that’s what I’d highly recommend children’s leaders at the right time, especially youth leaders, college leaders, to be making sure this is in their diet of teaching through the through the calendar years. They plan out what they’re teaching about. I couldn’t agree with that answer more.
Yeah, and One of the things that I really appreciated about the tone in your book as well, Dan, is that you as you’re highlighting this, right, and even noting, like it is a simple solution, but we also know that it’s not simple. And, and and recognizing that these passages are difficult, and they and they need to be struggled with, you know, and I think maybe within the church, too, we’ve we’ve defaulted. And you highlight this in the book, we defaulted to kind of simplistic answers to these tough questions. And that doesn’t, that doesn’t suffice anyone’s real desire to understand why these are in the Bible, and how it fits. And so I think it is really important for us to, like I said, to start tackling it so much younger, where we often try to maybe shield them from it. But approach it and, and really work with people and let them know that we also recognize that these are difficult passages that we have to work with that we can’t there’s there, there are just simple answers. But there are answers, right there. There is explanations, and we can talk about them.
Yeah, I mean, I would I would not, I would not be a Christian and still take the Bible seriously, if I started finding, I couldn’t believe in this anymore. You know, I would, I would say there are answers, but what you said, there are some things This isn’t like an apology saying like, Oh, just, you know, we’ll just going to soften all the difficult things. Right, some of them are going to be very, very difficult. God still ordered killing of people, right? There’s no, you know, we know erasing that. Right. But when we do look at it, why he did it, his patients and waiting for them, you know, always saying like, please turn, you know, and then looking at, you know, in the Old Testament, some of the practices that you’ll see, you know, of like, you know, when there were sacrificing babies and hot, horrible, horrible things, like, you start seeing that there is reasons going on, for these things, but it still is a very difficult thing to say, God used violence, and that is, but it’s not random. You know, as mayor, like, he just, you know, he’s so bloodthirsty, he’s just killing people left and right, that type of a thing. In other movie. If you go on Google, and you type in scary, Mary, I might have to remember I did a leaders thing there I’m pretty sure I showed this video there a minute long. And they take Mary Poppins to the movie. And they just pull out tiny little, you know, sections of when Mary is like, looking out the window. And those all of the the, the you know, the the maids or whatever, like they are the ones that are wanting to do her job all get blown away. Yeah, thing and then you know, they’re she’s staring at the kids and they get sucked up in the chimney. And so they they piece out the actual, you know, little parts of the movie, piece it together. And that the end the children, you see them running, running away. They’re like Hydra children scary Mary. So if you only see those things, of course, you’re gonna look at Mary Mary Poppins is a horror film, you know, this woman’s evil and all she’s doing, but we know the whole story. So therefore, those things are happening. It’s in the framework of the whole story. And that’s like the scriptures when God did use violence and it did happen We then see the this framework of the whole story of what was going on. And then we see his consistent compassion, love patience in all of these things. And a lot of the violence he didn’t order humans being beings did it on their own. So it’s there’s there’s graphic stories of violence that God was not the one that said do it. It was just human beings killing each other and things so right that’s, that’s so important. Again, it’s piecing out little clips, and you can turn Mary Poppins into a you know, a horror film. And that’s what’s going on with the Bible pulling out little pieces, turning it into evil book, don’t trust what’s going on there can’t be real God wouldn’t be that the God that we believe in is love. You wouldn’t do this. And then you start worshipping or believing in a false god, then that’s what’s going on false Jesus, all of us.
Yeah, and and i think within maybe a good place to kind of wrap up our conversation is you, you give kind of for and Rex mentioned one of them, you’ve kind of four ways of approaching the Bible, right or reminder that the Bible is a library and not a book. And I find that having to Ryan reminds students who’ve grown up in the church of that all the time that this is a library, and oftentimes people are like, I’m going to read the Bible. So they start on what they think is page one. And data is one and that’s you know, with it being a library it is all these different books. The Bible was written for us but not to us. never read our Bible verse, which is Adam, is that a nod to Wayne’s World? The never read a Bible verse like
that statement, never read a Bible verse, you know, just like saying, Don’t pull, just don’t read the verse always go back. The whole part of it. Yep.
Yeah, I think it’s brilliant. It’s really helpful. And then the last point, is the idea that all of the Bible points to Jesus. And, and one thing that I try to help our theology students realize, and this really gets fleshed out, I think, best by Bart, is that Jesus is the revelation of God. Like if you have a question about who the God of Christianity is. Jesus is the revelation of God, right? So the God we serve, is revealed to us by Jesus written in Scripture, right, proclaimed by the church. And so I think it’s so important. Yeah, all of this to to, like you said, read the whole story. And know that this whole story flows through this lens of Jesus, that gives us a drastically different picture of God, then if you just pull one or two verses out,
right, and you hear people like church history, we’re talking about the importance of you and people know in church history. marcian, who said, Old Testament God, I can’t believe in that Old Testament God, because he’s evil. But Jesus knew the Old Testament. That was his. You never see him dismissing it, he used it, he loved it, he was quoting it. Jesus knew all of the wacky stories in the Old Testament, saying, Hey, guys, this was that that part’s not true. You know, he emphasized, you know, all of the Scripture is from God. So it’s like, bow and that’s why I wrote this, you know, the first section is what you said, the first part is just a basic how to read the Bible, taking storyline, and those four things you say, and then we get smack into the verses about Levitical laws and, you know, tattoos and And should you wear it, you know, it can eat shrimp, and all of these things that are being pulled out today and mocked, you know, like, look at these bizarre things, and then the anti women versus which there’s plenty of them and anti science verses and all the violent verses, and then the hard truth that when Jesus said, there’s only one way to God, and is that an a, you know, is that a arrogant and horrible thing to say, and so we go into those specific verses, and I hope by the end of it, people not just know those verses, because there’s 500, more, but just like, Ah, now I can have confidence, and I do hope even parents and grandparents will pay attention to this to say, this is something to you know, pay attention to, that your kids are probably becoming more and more aware of. So be ready for questions. Don’t be like that one parent who said that’s in there, you know, like, yeah, cuz that’s, that’s important.
All right, guys, thank you so much for being on the show. And your book, again, is how not to read the Bible, and is available now published through Zondervan. So we really encourage everyone to check it out. We know, I know, I’m going to be utilizing it here and just to kind of help our students walk through these tough passages. So thanks again, Dan, for your work and being on the show.
Yeah, you bet. I mean, we’re putting up some videos and other stuff on Dan Campbell Comm. Zondervan is making these syllabi, like extra helps for people too. So I and thank you so much for being faithful to the Lord faithful to the scriptures that William Jessup through all these years, you know, you’re not wavering and just, you know, being caught off by culture and shifting things. Thank you for your faithfulness to raising up leaders of all vocations through Weiler at William Jessup. Yet, thank you for doing that and for sticking with the truth.
Thank you for listening to Jessup. Think Be sure to follow us on Twitter at Jessup think we would love to hear your thoughts on the episode and engage with any questions you have. Our aim is to provide a framework for further reflection and deeper exploration of these important topics. You can also help the show by leaving a review on iTunes these reviews help the podcast reach new listeners. Until next time, I’m Mark Moore and this is Jessup.
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