Top 10 Worst Bible Passages

Readers of the humorous Christian website shipoffools.com were asked to submit their ‘favourite’ worst verses to compile the list, in a light-hearted project called Chapter & Worse.  It’s an interesting list:

This is the top 10 list in full:

No. 1:St Paul’s advice about whether women are allowed to teach men in church:

“I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” (1 Timothy 2:12)

No. 2: In this verse, Samuel, one of the early leaders of Israel, orders genocide against a neighbouring people:

“This is what the Lord Almighty says… ‘Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” (1 Samuel 15:3)

No. 3: A command of Moses:

“Do not allow a sorceress to live.” (Exodus 22:18)

No. 4: The ending of Psalm 137, a psalm which was made into a disco calypso hit by Boney M, is often omitted from readings in church:

“Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us – he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.” (Psalm 137:9)

No. 5: Another blood-curdling tale from the Book of Judges, where an Israelite man is trapped in a house by a hostile crowd, and sends out his concubine to placate them:

“So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, ‘Get up; let’s go.’ But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.” (Judges 19:25-28)

No. 6: St Paul condemns homosexuality in the opening chapter of the Book of Romans:

“In the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:27)

No. 7: In this story from the Book of Judges, an Israelite leader, Jephthah, makes a rash vow to God, which has to be carried out:

“And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, ‘If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return victorious from the Ammonites, shall be the Lord’s, to be offered up by me as a burnt-offering.’ Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah; and there was his daughter coming out to meet him with timbrels and with dancing. She was his only child; he had no son or daughter except her. When he saw her, he tore his clothes, and said, ‘Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low; you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.’” (Judges 11:30-1, 34-5)

No. 8: The Lord is speaking to Abraham in this story where God commands him to sacrifice his son:

‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’ (Genesis 22:2)

No. 9: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22)

No. 10: “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.” (1 Peter 2:18)

I’ve heard most of these, but was surprised that the #1 verse was on the list until I realized that the original site is visited mostly by Christians. Many of them are used by non-Christians as excuses for continuing in rebellion against God, but they are also problematic for Christians to explain to the same non-believers.

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16 responses to “Top 10 Worst Bible Passages

  1. Speaking of Psalm 38:7…did you know there is a christian conspiracy website called “PID” radio. The first time I ran across that site, I giggled and thought surely these folks know what PID is? Guess not.

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    • I’m trying really hard to listen to a podcast and pay attention, asking ‘where’s the gospel?’ Haven’t heard nay yet, but I did go to the ‘Salvation’ page and noted that they, like most these days, assume that we all have the same free will that Adam and Eve had. I sent them a comment via their ‘contact us’ link.

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          • Yeah…I got in trouble from the husband of the husband wife team and he spoke about me on the air several years ago when I emailed about christian prayer mapping and going around looking for demons to cast out and how they were taking Daniel 10 severely out of context so they could support deliverance ministries and people like Russ Dizdar. I was told I was naive in email…and it was broadcasted on the next podcast. Wish i could remember which one. hehe. They did a whole segment on those naive christians that don’t understand we need to go around and find demons to cast out. Giggle.

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            • I have known some “demon caster outers”. In fact, a large megachurch here had folks running arund town with lots and lots of oil annointint everytning in sight and casting out “trerritorial” demons. I haven’t anything back from my contacts to them, The comments I posted to their “Salvation” page never made it and nothing from having done the email contact. I will need to listen to today’s broadcast after it goes up to see what they might have to say.

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  2. I find that many of the problem verses go away when we start with the fact that God is just and go from there. I mention this only because some of the common “problem passages” (not mentioned here in this list) were a stumbling block for me and led to years of rebellion. The only real problem in my case was that I presumed to set myself up as judge over God.

    God is just.

    Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just.

    ~Ezekiel 33:17

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