Hard Passages in the Bible to Understand is what we are discussing on today's RIOT Podcast, Christian Podcast. The Bible contains a variety of genres or styles of writing ranging from the overtly poetic, such as the Psalms, to prophetic writings, wisdom literature, apocalyptic literature and more. Knowing what kind of passage we are dealing with often helps our interpretation of it. Related to this are questions of interpreting the Bible literally or figuratively
So we must study the passage in content as well as interpret the text correctly. To do so bible scholars call this exegesis and hermeneutics. Exegesis has to do with reading and interpreting the text by drawing out from it what it is communicating. Hermeneutics is about the ways you discover meaning in the Bible for your life and your era today. It’s a type of discernment process.
The truth of the matter is that there are no hard questions that have not already been asked and answered many, many times. All we need is the willingness to seek an answer.
1. What Jesus Knows- Mark 13:32 But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
The passage can’t be plucked out and interpreted in isolation, but must be understood with other comments in which Jesus discusses the relationship of the Father and the Son.
• It is similar to Matthew 20:23, “To sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
• Yet it must be placed alongside Matthew 11:27, “All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him,”
• John 3:35, “the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand,” and similar passages attesting to the divinity of the Son.
2. Lot Offers His Daughters for Rape Genesis 19:8 Behold, I have two daughters who have not known man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.
The offer of Lot to sacrifice his daughters echoes other sacrifices of loved ones in the Bible, such as Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Sarah (twice, in Genesis 12:13 and 20: 2) to the lust of Abimelech and Pharaoh, and the sacrifice of Isaac. In none of the cases is the sacrifice necessary, but it is offered to show the seriousness of the situation.
3. Children Eaten by Bears 2 Kings 2:23- 24 [Elisha] went up from there to Bethel; and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys.
This is just a tale to instruct children in respect, and therefore it’s meant to teach a lesson and not literal. It was meant to show the power of the prophet’s word and the respect due to him. It’s also worth noting that the word translated as “small boys” in English can also mean young men. This may well have been a mob intent on doing Elisha harm.
4. Amputation for Touching a man’s genitals- Deuteronomy 25:11-12 When men fight with one another, and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, then you shall cut off her hand; your eye shall have no pity.
JPS Torah Commentary says: “The meaning is: If a person is attacking another in a potentially lethal way (such as seizing his genitals, which is considered a lethal spot), you may even wound the attacker if that is necessary to save the victim (‘you may even cut off her hand’); if that doesn’t suffice, you may kill the attacker (‘show no pity)
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