An Outsider’s Survey of the Bible

by Todd Hunter

October 26, 2012

Were I having coffee with Charlie and his friends I’d say it straight out: in spots, like the ordering of the slaughter of whole villages, the Bible is hard to understand. I’d admit this too: I do not know why the Bible can be difficult.

I think most of us have wondered about “the God of the Old Testament” versus the “The Jesus of the New Testament”. Further complicating things, as Charlie said, is Paul. He gets blamed in turns for either polluting Christianity or inventing it.

Charlie and his friends are of course not the first people to have had these thoughts. There are historic answers to their questions. The main solution being that the OT was a Divine process carried out within a certain mysterious MO whereby God prepared and preserved a people who could actualize the covenant with Abraham by finally receiving Jesus and his kingdom.

So…if you struggle with the God of the OT and Paul, go ahead and start with Jesus and the Gospel Jesus preached: the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Trust and follow Jesus. Doing so would helpfully reverse Charlie’s charge that “The biblical Jesus is not that prominent in modern Christianity”. Trust and follow Jesus. He’ll help you sort out Paul and the OT.

One last tip: the difficult parts of the OT and Paul’s letters are not the end of the story. We do not know what ultimately, for eternity, happened to those killed in the OT. But we do know this: for all who will follow him from every nation, tribe and language, God’s purpose is have a people to live with him forever as his cooperative friends. (Revelation 22:5)

Charlie said, “That’s just my take…I’m just an atheist.” I say, “Welcome to the conversation, Charlie. The above is just my take too…I’m just a follower of Jesus.”

Why do we feel so defensive about the Bible?
Is there way to think about it and talk about it effectively?
How about this as a way forward: The Bible, like Jesus in his incarnation, is fully Divine and fully human; sponsored and protected by God over the millennia, the Bible remains suitable for his proposes.


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