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How (Not) to Read the Bible Study Guide plus Streaming Video: Making Sense of the Anti-women, Anti-science, Pro-violence, Pro-slavery and Other Crazy Sounding Parts of Scripture

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In this six-session video study (video streaming code included) bestselling author Dan Kimball guides you step-by-step through making sense of the most misunderstood, difficult, and disturbing Bible passages. This study guide has everything you need for a full Bible study experience, including: The study guide itself—with discussion and reflection questions, video notes, and In this six-session video study (video streaming code included) bestselling author Dan Kimball guides you step-by-step through making sense of the most misunderstood, difficult, and disturbing Bible passages. This study guide has everything you need for a full Bible study experience, including: The study guide itself—with discussion and reflection questions, video notes, and a leader's guide. An individual access code to stream all six video sessions online (you don't need to buy a DVD!). For centuries, the Bible was called "the Good Book," a moral and religious text that guides us into a relationship with God and shows us the right way to live. Today, however, some people argue the Bible is outdated and harmful, with many Christians unaware of some of the odd and disturbing things the Bible says or how to understand them. Whether you're a Christian, a doubter, or someone exploring the Bible for the first time, Dan Kimball is your guide to understanding and contextualizing passages in Scripture that seem backward on topics related to women, science, violence, slavery, and world religions. Filled with stories, visual illustrations, and memes reflecting popular cultural objections, How (Not) to Read the Bible is a lifeline for individuals who are confused or discouraged with questions about the Bible. Sessions include: Never Read a Bible Verse Stranger Things Boys' Club Christianity Jesus Riding a Dinosaur My God Can Beat Up Your God Rated NC-17 This study can be done in youth groups, single's groups, small groups, Sunday classes, and by individuals. *Streaming video access code included. Access code subject to expiration after 12/31/2027. Code may be redeemed only by the recipient of this package. Code may not be transferred or sold separately from this package. Internet connection required. Void where prohibited, taxed, or restricted by law. Additional offer details inside.


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In this six-session video study (video streaming code included) bestselling author Dan Kimball guides you step-by-step through making sense of the most misunderstood, difficult, and disturbing Bible passages. This study guide has everything you need for a full Bible study experience, including: The study guide itself—with discussion and reflection questions, video notes, and In this six-session video study (video streaming code included) bestselling author Dan Kimball guides you step-by-step through making sense of the most misunderstood, difficult, and disturbing Bible passages. This study guide has everything you need for a full Bible study experience, including: The study guide itself—with discussion and reflection questions, video notes, and a leader's guide. An individual access code to stream all six video sessions online (you don't need to buy a DVD!). For centuries, the Bible was called "the Good Book," a moral and religious text that guides us into a relationship with God and shows us the right way to live. Today, however, some people argue the Bible is outdated and harmful, with many Christians unaware of some of the odd and disturbing things the Bible says or how to understand them. Whether you're a Christian, a doubter, or someone exploring the Bible for the first time, Dan Kimball is your guide to understanding and contextualizing passages in Scripture that seem backward on topics related to women, science, violence, slavery, and world religions. Filled with stories, visual illustrations, and memes reflecting popular cultural objections, How (Not) to Read the Bible is a lifeline for individuals who are confused or discouraged with questions about the Bible. Sessions include: Never Read a Bible Verse Stranger Things Boys' Club Christianity Jesus Riding a Dinosaur My God Can Beat Up Your God Rated NC-17 This study can be done in youth groups, single's groups, small groups, Sunday classes, and by individuals. *Streaming video access code included. Access code subject to expiration after 12/31/2027. Code may be redeemed only by the recipient of this package. Code may not be transferred or sold separately from this package. Internet connection required. Void where prohibited, taxed, or restricted by law. Additional offer details inside.

30 review for How (Not) to Read the Bible Study Guide plus Streaming Video: Making Sense of the Anti-women, Anti-science, Pro-violence, Pro-slavery and Other Crazy Sounding Parts of Scripture

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Cash (Mixtape Theology)

    Apologetics are essential, don't get me wrong. However, what many American Christians need is not more facts about intelligent design and cosmology, but rather how to read their Bible correctly. I've noticed that Christians who seem to be falling away are doing so not for a lack of available apologetic resources but because they were never taught sound hermeneutics. They don't understand what to do with the creation story, the mass killings in the Old Testament, etc. Rightly so. And, we can't de Apologetics are essential, don't get me wrong. However, what many American Christians need is not more facts about intelligent design and cosmology, but rather how to read their Bible correctly. I've noticed that Christians who seem to be falling away are doing so not for a lack of available apologetic resources but because they were never taught sound hermeneutics. They don't understand what to do with the creation story, the mass killings in the Old Testament, etc. Rightly so. And, we can't defend a book that we don't understand. Reading the Bible takes skill and practice to do it correctly. This skill has to be taught, and it's not always easy to do. And even when done correctly, there are still questions and disagreements on interpretation. But, Christians are not without best practices when it comes to understanding their Bible. This book models how to implement basic hermeneutic principles and it does it by tackling the "cringeyest" parts of the Bible that make some people want to walk away from Christianity. That's pretty bold, and I love it. When we understand what the Bible is saying, we see that the Bible can defend itself. And, we learn more about the awesome God of the Bible in the process. This book includes influences from some of my favorites - Tim Mackie/Bible Project, John Walton, John Sailhammer, and Michael Heiser. Their scholarship has helped me so much, and I was surprised and happy to see it here. Unfortunately, this book cannot be a very deep dive into the topics included. But, using the principles modeled in the book, the reader can decide to move forward with further study. The chart on Page 44 is worth the price of the book. I have already preordered the companion DVD on Amazon. I fully intend to use the crap out of this book and the DVD with my own kids when they reach about high school age.

  2. 4 out of 5

    John Martindale

    The author is a John Walton fanboy, and in general, I do think among those with a high view of scripture, Walton is one of the better OT scholars, so I like that there is a popularizer of Walton's work. Still, there was plenty of cringe-worthy material sprinkled in, for example, things like brief mentions of the OT prophecies, like the one that Kimball thinks predicted Jesus' virgin birth. But If you read OT verses in context it is overwhelming obvious (unless a faith comment demands one to read The author is a John Walton fanboy, and in general, I do think among those with a high view of scripture, Walton is one of the better OT scholars, so I like that there is a popularizer of Walton's work. Still, there was plenty of cringe-worthy material sprinkled in, for example, things like brief mentions of the OT prophecies, like the one that Kimball thinks predicted Jesus' virgin birth. But If you read OT verses in context it is overwhelming obvious (unless a faith comment demands one to read into it what isn't there) that Isaiah predicted nothing of the sort. The only way to salvage the New Testament use of the old is to suggest, as many scholars have, the use of parallelism--that whenever NT writers saw some similarity between Israel’s scripture and Jesus’ life, they said Jesus "fulfilled" this, that this example was again filled up. The author definitely needs to work harder at his "not reading a bible verse" exhortation, for he does just that on numerous things that support his pre-packed evangelical apologetic views. My gosh, the end (the section on the violence of the Old Testament) was sooooo bad (it knocked the rating down from 3 to 1 stars). If ever there was presented a way NOT to read the bible, he gives it. He shouldn’t have included this section; I mean talk about counterproductive! If ever there was a reason not to become a Christian, he gives it in all of its tragic glory. His approach was bad on so many levels. First oft, since he is a die-hard inerrantist, who has bought into the fragile bubble model of faith that thinks even ONE tiny error in the bible would pop it all; so either every jot and tittle is perfect or the whole thing is garbage. This means he is forced to totally turn off the brain, makeup ridiculously vacuous justifications and desperate rationalizations that completely deny the obvious, and provide answers which will only be satisfying to others who have drunk the kool-aid and made absolute conformity to the evangelical package they inherited a matter of life and eternal conscious torture in hell. Ultimately, Kimball has to call injustice justice, evil good, hate love, and darkness light. It is the marvel and power of faith that otherwise intelligent people can do this so easily and live their entire lives in such happy delusions. Our brains are truly something else, in how they can guard and protect the gravest moral absurdities and cause us to think the depth of irrationality is perfectly reasonable because affirming the absurd it thought necessary for eternal salvation. Kimball needed to point out the God of the old is no different than the God of the new and does this by showing that Jesus and the New Testament are just as bad in the violence department as the old testament is, if not more so, in its eager apocalyptic anticipation of the imminent worldwide genocide followed by most of humanity being cast into a lake of fire to burn alive forever and ever and ever. Kimball points out how Jesus taught people would forever be regenerated, so to continually be eaten by worms and to be eternally burned alive, though never being consumed. He completely violates his rule of “NEVER READ A BIBLE VERSE” ignoring the context of what Jesus was quoting in Is 66, where it was corpses being eaten by worms and burned by fire, and undying worms and fire were simply an OT was of saying the bodies wouldn’t receive a proper burial but the worms and fire would do their work. He also points to the gorefest that is Revelation. So yes, what a wonderful start! Don’t be bothered by the genocide* in the old testament, for Jesus in the New Testament revels in having people pointlessly tortured for all of eternity for a finite amount of sin; and Jesus spoke about people being endless burned alive forevermore more than anyone else in the bible! And Jesus totally dug OT violence, all of it without exception: the children being killed for the parent's sin and the innocent being killed with the guilty in the OT and toddlers being hacked to pieces, women raped, and pregnant women stomachs being ripped open, and the commands to never forgive the Moabites, Ammonites, and Amalekites, and to never seek their peace, and Moses telling his men to murder all of the married women but to take the virgin Midinite girls as their own property, and responding with curses, calling fire down from heaven upon innocent messengers, celebrating others suffering and pain, as is seen in numerous of the prophets. And don’t worry about the OT genocides, Jesus and Revelation look forward to the worldwide genocide!!! God will have people burned alive forever and ever because we know God is just, and he is all about the punishment fitting the crime! Oh yes, good job Kimball, you are really making people want to embrace the bible! Then Kimball continues to make a completely indefensible claim that the genocides* only came after much patience and long-suffering from God in the OT. That is utter hogwash, mere time doesn't solve a thing. It wasn't like there is any evidence of God pursuing, sending missionaries and prophets to those who it claims he marked out for annihilation, in fact, there are examples of the opposite. Suppose the Hutus told their children to hold a grudge against the Tutsi and pass the hatred on to their children until 400 years had passed, and only then to commit genocide. Does the time really make it any better? No And no. Consider the Amalakites, for example, what is seen is that the Amalekites attacked Israel once when they came out of Egypt, and the text has God tell them NEVER to forgive them and to hate them forever, to pass the enmity on generation after generation until they can kill them all--tribalism at its worse. Finally, 400 years later, God then tells Saul to go slaughter every male and female, young and old. What is the warrant for genocide? It is that 400 years previously, the Amalakites attacked Israel. So the BIBLICAL justification for genocide IS SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED 400 YEARS AGO! This is the reason given! It justifies murdering the children for their great, great, great, great, great, great… grandparents offense, but Kimball would likely just go on about the grand mercy and love of God to wait 400 years until ordering the entire population murdered for the great distant ancestor's sin! Notice this text in 1 Sam 15 marks out an ethnic group for annihilation, and then Saul is judged for not being thorough in the genocide, so here herem clearly conveys murdering the entire population. The moral of the story = God tells you to murder everyone, you murder everyone, to obey is better than sacrifice! Later in history, this is how the passage was used, the native Indians were called Amalak, and Christians were told that if they didn't kill young and old that God would reject them. This story in 1 sam 15 is evil, pure absolute evil, the god the story presents is evil, pure evil, there is NO way around this, unless we want to call morality relative or say God's might makes him right, and thus again there is no moral truth, all attempts to do otherwise are the definition of clinging to the absurd. Anyone with a conscience and a moral sense would recognize what is presented is indefensible and wicked, it was then and it is now. So no, Kimball does no favor to God by attributing something so twisted and diabolical to Him in order to hold on to his notion of inerrancy. His commitment to inerrancy has forced him to call evil good, injustice justice, and darkness light and to slanderously attribute injustice and evil to God. IN these passages, if read in context instructs us that at least once in history, forever holding a grudge against an entire people group and to continuing to hate an entire people group generation after generation for a single offense, a finally 400 years later, going in unprovoked and hacking to pieces pregnant women and little girls and infants were just, good, moral and right! For these babies were like cancer that would corrupt the Israelities and bashing their heads against the rocks would send these parasites to heavenly bliss instead of everlasting torture. Kimball largely avoids the Amalekite genocide and comments on the Canaanite genocides. All land belongs to God so it is no big deal commanding his people to slaughter the inhabitants. But they were bad, some sacrificed their children to their god. So, what does God want, he wants them to go and offer EVERY ONE of their children as a sacrifice to YHWH. That is what the word herem means (according to numerous scholars), so yes, they were to slaughter the toddlers, the babies as human sacrifices to YHWH. How is it that Kimball thinks the way to solve the problem of some Canaanite babies as human sacrifices is to MURDER ALL OF THE BABIES!!??? Truly we have evangelical logic at its finest. My gosh, it is so repulsive! But again, if they didn’t murder every person, these babies would be cancer! My gosh, the author is channeling Hitler! The moral of the story is there is no way to live in the world and not be of it, instead, we should kill all the heathens, or else we will all give in to their evil ways! He does finally get to John Waltons take that the herem is the eradication of the group's identity, and only slaughtering those who don’t conform. Think of what Antiochus Epiphanes did against the Jews, or ISIS against Christians or what Stalin did in Russia, or the Spaniards in the new world, that is the utter destruction of the art, literature, culture, and religion and the ruthless slaughter of anyone who doesn’t buckle under the new tyranny. I suppose you can call this better than Hitler-like genocide. Of course, from how the author tries to claim what the bible describes isn’t genocide, so what Hitler did wasn’t genocide because it wasn’t thorough and Hitler actually protected some Jewish friends from being killed! So yes, Hitler was as merciful as God was with preserving Rehab the prostitute for showing hospitalities to the spies who came for her services, and thus what Hitler did shouldn't be called genocide either. * My gosh, he claims it wasn’t “genocide”. Read the definition of genocide! A few exceptions DON’T rule out the word genocide, claiming it wasn’t genocide because it had to do with murdering people in the people living on the land, rather than marking them for slaughter merely because of their ethnicity is ridiculous. What was commanded still fits the definition of genocide. It nations marked out for destruction, it stated no mercy was to be shown, no exceptions, No, even if they were given opportunities to repent, the Kimball kept saying, it doesn't change the act. If Hitler gave people the opportunity to renounce their Jewish heritage completely and continued the widespread slaughter of all who didn't, it still would have been genocide. Kimball simply cites a textbook example of genocide and then simply tries to give it a different name. This is something a politician does to hide the truth and try to make something evil look okay.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    This is an apologetical book on hermeneutics, essentially. Dan Kimball helpfully lays out the biblical narrative as a means of explaining some of the most difficult passages in Scripture. I was admittedly not very into the idea of this book. Typically, a guy writing a book like this is way too simplistic in his answers. I'll roll my eyes as they make a claim but don't engage with the myriad of other positions out there. But Kimball is extremely well-read! I was impressed! And he doesn't go too f This is an apologetical book on hermeneutics, essentially. Dan Kimball helpfully lays out the biblical narrative as a means of explaining some of the most difficult passages in Scripture. I was admittedly not very into the idea of this book. Typically, a guy writing a book like this is way too simplistic in his answers. I'll roll my eyes as they make a claim but don't engage with the myriad of other positions out there. But Kimball is extremely well-read! I was impressed! And he doesn't go too far in either direction. His goal is not to solve every issue, but to point to a logical framework in which to think of Scripture. It's extremely well-done, and I applaud his efforts. The big pros are 1) how accessible this book is. Pretty much anyone can read this, even those in junior high. 2) his commitment to the biblical narrative. So many people I talk to struggle with understanding Scripture because they can't tell me what the Bible is even about. They don't even recognize it as one story! 3) his use of memes are great and really point to just how much people are unfortunately "educated" by them. But they serve as real things out there telling people that christianity is silly. The reason this got 4 stars and not 5: 1) everything is overexplained. This book is about 300 pages. It could easily have been the low 200s with just with one explanation of each point, instead of the 2-3 routinely given. I love the accessibility, but the feeling of having read the same thing 2-3x per section (and sometimes paragraph!) was mind-numbing. 2) this a smaller complaint, but Kimball is clearly influenced by the "Council of God" folks, which is fine (I haven't studied enough on it, honestly). But it does shape his explanation on a few things that I wish he had just been a tad more vague on, instead of sort of making the claims as fact. They were never necessary to his larger point, and I feel it's odd enough that it actually could work against his own effort in making Scripture seem "less crazy". 3) his bit on talking snakes. I don't personally find this to be a huge issue, but Kimball made it a bigger one and then gave an odd explanation. In the book, he wants to explain to people that the Bible is not anti-science. The talking snake is obviously a common victory shout for skeptics, but Kimball's explanation was unsatisfactory. I quote, "So was there a talking snake as we so commonly find being mocked in memes and books? No... Rather, it was a divine angelic being of some sort appearing in serpentine form..." Well, I hope that puts the skeptic at ease. No talking snakes, just angels dressed up as snakes. Phew! I hate leaving it on a more negative note, so let me end on this: Kimball offers an excellent introductory level hermeneutic for new, uneducated, illiterate, or doubting believers and a logical framework for the non-Christian to begin working through Scripture. It is thoroughly Jesus-centric, and I will absolutely be recommending this to students and friends that are asking some of these questions. Many apologists want to get to so deep into the specifics, but Kimball rightly points, I think, to just helping get a grasp on the nature of Scripture. Once they have that grasp, they can begin to understand the specifics, which is a much better approach to evangelism and discipleship, in my opinion.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Roberts

    This was a great book! I had taught on this subject for years at a local Christian school and now someone has done a bang up job explaining all the topics I had covered, but it a much more thorough and clear way! Dan Kimball has done a huge service to the church. Using memes to illustrated the online claims and then explains them away. I liked this book a lot and I am excited to use the video curriculum with an adult Bible study at our church. Recommended

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kiel

    Not merely a work of apologetics, but a beginner’s and/or skeptic’s guide to the Bible and the Christian faith, author and pastor @dankimball has produced a timely and faithful work for the church. I met the author many years ago in Missouri at a youth leaders conference. I was in Bible college at the time and I often to think back to the ministry influencers of this era. In time most of them sorted into existing theological camps along conservation and liberal lines, merely adding new networks Not merely a work of apologetics, but a beginner’s and/or skeptic’s guide to the Bible and the Christian faith, author and pastor @dankimball has produced a timely and faithful work for the church. I met the author many years ago in Missouri at a youth leaders conference. I was in Bible college at the time and I often to think back to the ministry influencers of this era. In time most of them sorted into existing theological camps along conservation and liberal lines, merely adding new networks and organizations with updated branding. I’ve watched and witnessed, sometimes from afar and sometimes up close, the arc of many of these influencers reach their ignominious end. Somehow Kimball has avoided all that. In this, his latest book, you will find his testimony of why he follows Jesus, his kind approach to pleading with you why you should do the same, and his understanding as to why so many don’t. It’s always a pleasure to read a Christian leader who loves people enough not to belittle their questions, and who loves God’s word such that they don’t belittle it. It’s rare for me to read a book and consider passing it on to my students because it so carefully meets them where they are and does so without compromising. This is such a book. 10 hours or 336 pages of Bible, Christ, and some lovingly honest pastoring.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Beth Thompson

    I’ve followed Dan kimball for probably 20 or more years. I appreciate his stance on this book and his willingness to address the deep cultural influences on the Bible. I wish Kimball had spent less words on the laws of Leviticus - interesting but quickly explainable - and more on the Bible’s stance on LGBT issues, racism, etc. These issues were noticeably missing from this book. Dan takes an inerrant view of the Bible, which makes the violent stories of the old testament difficult for even him t I’ve followed Dan kimball for probably 20 or more years. I appreciate his stance on this book and his willingness to address the deep cultural influences on the Bible. I wish Kimball had spent less words on the laws of Leviticus - interesting but quickly explainable - and more on the Bible’s stance on LGBT issues, racism, etc. These issues were noticeably missing from this book. Dan takes an inerrant view of the Bible, which makes the violent stories of the old testament difficult for even him to explain. My main critique is his explanation of Gods violence by way of saying the other cultures did much worse. Otherwise I am thankful to Dan for putting forth a push for Christians to known their Bible well and not take things out of context.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Christy Ryan

    This is the first time I've ever finished an audio book and immediately ordered the paper version online. It's for sure one I want on my shelves because it is so helpful in understanding the really hard parts of scripture. This is the first time I've ever finished an audio book and immediately ordered the paper version online. It's for sure one I want on my shelves because it is so helpful in understanding the really hard parts of scripture.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kat Armstrong

    I'm going to recommend this book to every Christian studying the bible. So good! I'm going to recommend this book to every Christian studying the bible. So good!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Evan Minton

    I read "How Not To Read The Bible" by Dan Kimball. It's very good. It's basically a big response to the "Evil Bible" crowd. Claims from bible verses attempting to paint God as this evil mysognist pro-slavery being who gives us a bunch of rules and regulations that make no sense is what this book is meant to respond to. I consider it to be both an apologetics book and an Old Testament biblical studies book. Before he even gets into exegeting the parts of the Bible skeptics use to make God seem ev I read "How Not To Read The Bible" by Dan Kimball. It's very good. It's basically a big response to the "Evil Bible" crowd. Claims from bible verses attempting to paint God as this evil mysognist pro-slavery being who gives us a bunch of rules and regulations that make no sense is what this book is meant to respond to. I consider it to be both an apologetics book and an Old Testament biblical studies book. Before he even gets into exegeting the parts of the Bible skeptics use to make God seem evil and The Bible primitive nonsense, he basically gives the reader a crash course in hermeneutics. I'm also pleased that he's read and is influenced by the works of John Walton and Michael Heiser, which ironically is something some reviewers on GoodReads hold against him. This shows he's actually following actual biblical scholarship and not just pop-apologetic commentaries on The Bible. I also like all the memes that referenced. Some have found this offputting because it seems rather juvenile, but this is (A) a popular level book, and (B) it's clearly aimed at my generation and Gen Z who grew up in the internet age and spend a lot of time on Facebook and other social media platforms where we're bound to run into these arguments in meme form. I'm ok with it. The content is good, the arguments are persuasive, and let's face it, this is where most of us are going to encounter them anyway besides YouTube videos and Dan Barker debates.  Kimball also deals with the creation/evolution controversy very excellently, as I suspected he would given what I what I said about his Waltonion and Heiserian influence above. He doesn't do what a lot of typical contemporary apologetics books do. He doesn't try to resort to creation science to disprove an old earth and evolution and then triumphantly say "Look, The Bible was right all along!" Instead, he realizes that The Bible is not intending to teach scientific truths in any of its verses. The questions Genesis was seeking to answer were not the questions we in the scientifically minded 21st century west are asking. Their questions were things like "Why does everything exist?" "Who made everything? Many gods or just one?" "If one God made everything, who was it?" Why do the sun, moon, and stars exist?" "What does our creator(s) want from us?" etc. The author of Genesis didn't write the creation account as a polemic against Darwin, but as a polemic against pagan creation myths (among other things, as I talk about in my paper "Genesis 1: Functional Origins, Temple Inaguration, and Anti-Pagan Polemics" as well as my other blog posts on Genesis 1). He talks about ANE Cosmology that can be found in the biblical text, and explains how God accommodated His theological truths within the framework of the commonly accepted, cosmological, biological, and geographical understanding of the day. All of this will be far more helpful to the audience that Kimball is trying to reach than either arguing against established science or trying to do eisegetical day-age apologetics like you often see in your typical apologetics book on the science/faith controversy. As far as which of the interpretations of Genesis 1 Kimball takes himself, he doesn't really push one view over the other. Instead, he provides a broad overview of the different interpretations and leaves it up to the reader to look into them in more detail elsewhere. This is what Deborah and Loren Haarsma did in their book "Origins: Christian Perspectives On Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design". Though Kimball doesn't do it in as much depth as the Haarsmas.  My only complaint in this section is that he treats "The Evolutionary Creation" interpretation as somehow a distinct view of Genesis than The Cosmic Temple Inaguration, Gap, or Day-Age views. Evolutionary Creationism is a scientific and theological view about how God materially brought all life into being (i.e He used evolution). People who affirm this (like myself) may also adhere to The Cosmic Temple Inaguration view (I certainly do), or they may affirm some other view of Genesis 1 like the day-age or gap view. Evolutionary Creationism should be viewed a view on creation, not on Genesis. The former is a result of reflecting on theological and scientific questions. The latter is an exegetical question. You can hold to The Cosmic Temple, Day-Age, Gap, Framework, Proclamation Day, etc. and NOT be an evolutionary creationist. So I think this muddies the waters a little. And I also think he makes this same mistake with "The Appearant Age Theory". This is not an independent interpretation of Genesis either. It's a theory many proponents of the Calendar Day Material Origins (i.e YEC) view embrace to explain the overwhelming scientific evidence that the Earth is billions of years old.  Another complaint of mine about the book overall is that the book is a little repetitive. Some things are overly explained.  His section on the complaint about Jesus being the only way to God, what he titled "My God can beat up your God" left a lot to be desired in that first chapter of the topic. His argument was basically that the evidence showed non-monotheistic religions evolved from monotheism rather than the other way around. I agree with this, but that doesn't really give you epistemic warrant or justification for saying Christianity is true rather than any other religion. Monotheism could have been the first religious system and Christianity still be false. Monotheism being the first way of thinking about God doesn't entail that Monotheism is true. This very subject; "Why accept Christianity instead of the thousands of other religions" is what I devote a whole book to in my book "The Case For The One True God: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Historical Case For The God Of Chrisianity". My argument is basically that when you examine The Kalam Cosmological, Fine-Tuning, Moral, and Ontological Arguments, they establish the existence of Being that bares certain attributes. When you compare the attributes of the God the aforementioned arguments exist with the God described in The Bible, you find that they match like a hand in glove while no other concept of god can. This provides an inference that the God who is established to exist by these arguments is the same God who inspired the writers of scripture because if the writers of scripture were just making a god up out of thin air, what are the odds that they would describe the Maximally Great Being of The Ontological Argument? It makes more sense to believe that The Maximally Great Being who exists in all possible worlds including the actual world was in communication with these writers . Of course, I also argue that we're justified in believing that Christianity is true over other religions on the basis of the evidential case for The Resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus claimed to be God, and then He died and rose from the dead then that is pretty good evidence that He was telling the truth. God would never raise a heretic and a blasphemer (which Jesus would be if He claimed to be God but is not God). That God raised him from the dead means that God put his stamp of approval on everything Jesus taught; from His claim to be God to His claim that He is the only way to Heaven to His teaching that The Old Testament is divinely inspired and authoritative. I go into this in my YouTube series "The Case For The Resurrection Of Jesus" on my YouTube channel; Cerebral Faith Video.  That said, his dealing on what is known as "The Problem Of The Unevangelized" is good.  Overall, it's a great book. Kimball's book is great for new, uneducated, illiterate, or doubting Christians. I also find that it's good for non-Christians who might find some of the strange things in The Bible to be an intellectual stumbling block to embracing Christianity. I definitely recommend this to students to all asking some of these questions. Other works on this subject get really deep into the weeds, and that's a good thing. There should be books that get deep into the weeds. However, we don't want to miss the forest for the trees. As Kimball rightly points out, just helping get a grasp on the nature of Scripture can make a tremendous difference. Having grapsed, they can begin to understand the specifics.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Casey Holencik

    I have an interesting relationship with this book. Some parts were 4 stars or better, and others were two stars or worse, so I settled on an uneasy 3 stars. First of all, I love the premise, that there are ways that we can understand parts of the Bible that other people think are “crazy-sounding,” and that it is all about Context. I enjoy how the author continually went into the context and the original audiences. His continual repetition of “Never Read A Single Bible Verse’” is already somethin I have an interesting relationship with this book. Some parts were 4 stars or better, and others were two stars or worse, so I settled on an uneasy 3 stars. First of all, I love the premise, that there are ways that we can understand parts of the Bible that other people think are “crazy-sounding,” and that it is all about Context. I enjoy how the author continually went into the context and the original audiences. His continual repetition of “Never Read A Single Bible Verse’” is already something I am repeating. I don’t agree with all of the findings and conclusions. In the section of science, it feels like he is using modern scientific understandings to interpret the Bible as opposed to using the Bible to interpret scientific understandings. While I am in agreement with his addressing of the Old Testament verses on men and women, though I disagree with him regarding roles of men and women in the church. The context regarding the order of service and the dress was particularly good. However, I think one verse he seems to mis regarding his views is 1 Timothy 2:13. Whatever you see Paul as saying here, whatever the context, you have to account for Paul grounding it in the creation order. The author does not address that. I love that he points out the context that God is working for our benefit (humanities benefit and specifically the Israelites) in their time and culture when he passed down the laws to Moses. Many of those laws were very clearly and purposefully to distinguish (or set aside) the Israelites from the culture and the different religions surrounding them. Overall, I share the same passion the author does in that everything is context dependant. This doesn’t mean it changes depending on the context, instead it means what it meant in the original context. As one theologian said, “The text can never mean what it never meant…” And it is because of this shared passion that I loved the parts I loved and was disappointed in the parts I didn’t. It simply means we disagreed on the context, not that we disagreed with who Christ is or our salvation. Overall, Im glad I read it, and I will refer back to it on certain things and certain verses.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Stephani Fannin

    We’ve all seen them: the memes on social media that highlight a random quote from scripture that make Christianity seem completely ridiculous. When read on their own, some verses can sound outlandish, misogynistic, and downright horrifying. In this book, Dan Kimball stresses the importance of Christians knowing the context and audience for all scripture to truly understand what is being said. He introduces these four points on how to read and how not to read the Bible: 1. The Bible is a library, We’ve all seen them: the memes on social media that highlight a random quote from scripture that make Christianity seem completely ridiculous. When read on their own, some verses can sound outlandish, misogynistic, and downright horrifying. In this book, Dan Kimball stresses the importance of Christians knowing the context and audience for all scripture to truly understand what is being said. He introduces these four points on how to read and how not to read the Bible: 1. The Bible is a library, not a book. 2. The Bible is written for us, not to us. 3. Never read a Bible verse. 4. All of the Bible points to Jesus. I like how he compares crazy-sounding Bible verses to crazy-sounding laws found in certain states. For instance, it’s against the law to let a donkey sleep in a bathtub in Arizona. This sounds ridiculous! But, much like with scripture, once you investigate and learn more about the context surrounding the situation, it makes a lot more sense. (Apparently in 1924, a dam broke while a merchant’s donkey was sleeping outside in a bathtub. The water washed the donkey and bathtub downstream, and the townspeople who used a lot of risky manpower and resources to rescue the donkey decided they never wanted that to happen again.) :) Overall, this book is well-written, clear, and concise. He doesn’t go into great depth explaining every hard verse found in the Bible, but he equips readers with some great tools to better understand God’s Word.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Adelle

    This book started out slow. After the first two chapters, I wasn't sure if I would learn much. When he finished the overview of the Bible and started actually explaining, it was much more enjoyable. He also throws in random memes for illustrations, which I thought was great. Chapter 3 is entitled "Never Read a Bible Verse" which strongly emphasizes reading Scripture in context. Highly agree. That alone solves a lot of these questions. The debate between the Bible and science has been long-standi This book started out slow. After the first two chapters, I wasn't sure if I would learn much. When he finished the overview of the Bible and started actually explaining, it was much more enjoyable. He also throws in random memes for illustrations, which I thought was great. Chapter 3 is entitled "Never Read a Bible Verse" which strongly emphasizes reading Scripture in context. Highly agree. That alone solves a lot of these questions. The debate between the Bible and science has been long-standing. I found his explanation of the Bible's scientific "inaccuracies" intriguing. God was writing the Bible as a relational book, not a book of scientific theory. He wrote to connect to the world the Hebrews understood, and it's fascinating. Go check out the ancient Hebrew view of the earth sometime. "Was Jesus intolerant?" He surpassed my expectations by proclaiming boldly that all religions are not the same, and yes, Jesus as Messiah is the only way to heaven. He also addresses slavery, the woman's role in the church, creation, and the terrorist God that appears in the OT. A worthwhile read. Four stars because it felt a little over-explained and because I didn't like his explanation of the talking snake.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    As a pastor, I talk to people about the topics in this book a lot. Many times it is because they have never really read the entire chapter of the Bible where the difficulty is. They mainly see something on social media or get blasted by someone and it leaves their faith shattered. This book is a really well thought out, systematic walk through many of these topics. I especially appreciate where the author empathizes with the questioner. He doesn’t shy away from difficulty and, at the same time, As a pastor, I talk to people about the topics in this book a lot. Many times it is because they have never really read the entire chapter of the Bible where the difficulty is. They mainly see something on social media or get blasted by someone and it leaves their faith shattered. This book is a really well thought out, systematic walk through many of these topics. I especially appreciate where the author empathizes with the questioner. He doesn’t shy away from difficulty and, at the same time, offers clarity. Highly recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jacob O'connor

    I've never been more confident that the Bible is the word of God.  It isn’t because I have the answers to all the gotcha passages covered in Dan Kimball's very good book.  It isn’t because I don’t think there are challenges.  It is because I've experienced the Bible from the inside out.  I see the bigger picture, and I've come to know the God it describes.  This gives me perspective when I encounter these troubling texts.  I can definitely recommend How (Not) to Read the Bible.  But I more so re I've never been more confident that the Bible is the word of God.  It isn’t because I have the answers to all the gotcha passages covered in Dan Kimball's very good book.  It isn’t because I don’t think there are challenges.  It is because I've experienced the Bible from the inside out.  I see the bigger picture, and I've come to know the God it describes.  This gives me perspective when I encounter these troubling texts.  I can definitely recommend How (Not) to Read the Bible.  But I more so recommend the source material.  There is no better apologetic for the Bible than the Bible.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gareth Clark

    Great introductory resource. If you still have questions after reading this book, don't think this is the complete coverage of any of these topics...its just the beginning. I would recommend as a easy gift to someone who is asking questions about Christianity but does not want to read dense wordy material. Great introductory resource. If you still have questions after reading this book, don't think this is the complete coverage of any of these topics...its just the beginning. I would recommend as a easy gift to someone who is asking questions about Christianity but does not want to read dense wordy material.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Austin Weece

    A really solid and honest look at tough questions from some hard passages of scripture. But even more valuable were the simple reminders and directions given for biblical interpretation. Doesn’t assume you know anything, but gives clear steps to take when trying to find meaning behind any text you might open to. Highly recommend.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Renée Odell

    Great book that helps you understand what you're reading. definitely recommend this book to anyone who questions the bible and to anyone who gets overwhelmed when reading the bible. Great book that helps you understand what you're reading. definitely recommend this book to anyone who questions the bible and to anyone who gets overwhelmed when reading the bible.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ethan Maners

    A great entry-level start at tackling questions that deserve lengthy answers. As the title suggests, it teaches the reader how to approach the parts of scripture that surprise us, rather than chasing down every answer to each concern one may have.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Very very helpful!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Adam Jarvis

    This was an interesting, light read that addressed some serious issues some people have with the Bible. I really like what the author said about slavery, although I thought he was a little iffy on the subject of women, and also creation, (he does not personally hold to a literal, six 24 hour day creation) but I appreciated his graciousness in not expecting everyone to walk away from this book holding dogmatically to his own ideas. The whole book was a very gracious approach to believers and non- This was an interesting, light read that addressed some serious issues some people have with the Bible. I really like what the author said about slavery, although I thought he was a little iffy on the subject of women, and also creation, (he does not personally hold to a literal, six 24 hour day creation) but I appreciated his graciousness in not expecting everyone to walk away from this book holding dogmatically to his own ideas. The whole book was a very gracious approach to believers and non-believers alike, confronting some of the internet memes used to mock the Bible. The author has a sense of humor, and this is a good introductory book for someone who wants a theological perspective without getting bogged down with theological jargon.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amberly Dueck

    I have mixed feelings about this book. It was well researched and well-written, but didn’t deliver the clarity it promised. Some of the reasoning felt far out, and at places it seemed like the author was apologizing for God doing and saying the things He did. The author also doesn’t adhere to the literal interpretation of scripture, so I had a difficult time accepting some of his logic. If you’re looking for new ideas to consider and a fresh perspective then maybe I would recommend this book, bu I have mixed feelings about this book. It was well researched and well-written, but didn’t deliver the clarity it promised. Some of the reasoning felt far out, and at places it seemed like the author was apologizing for God doing and saying the things He did. The author also doesn’t adhere to the literal interpretation of scripture, so I had a difficult time accepting some of his logic. If you’re looking for new ideas to consider and a fresh perspective then maybe I would recommend this book, but if you’re actually looking for a lot of solid answers, I don’t think this is the right book to read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Hillary

    This book gave an honest, heartfelt overview of several passages of scripture that, at the surface, seem cringeworthy and wrong. The author is honest on the points where there is no clear answer, but offers good tools to read the Bible and help understand better. The author obviously cares deeply for people and believes that the Bible is true and wants to help guide his readers to a better understanding and ultimately a relationship with Jesus.

  23. 5 out of 5

    C

    Gives guidelines for working through difficult passages in several categories: those labeled anti-science, pro-violence, anti-women, pro-slavery, bizarre commands, and intolerant (teaching there's only 1 way to God). It addresses caricatures and criticisms of the Bible, and includes as examples many popular memes that mock Christianity. It doesn't deal with all difficult-to-understand verses; it deals with a few, and teaches principles for handling others. Kimball's goal is for Christians to be d Gives guidelines for working through difficult passages in several categories: those labeled anti-science, pro-violence, anti-women, pro-slavery, bizarre commands, and intolerant (teaching there's only 1 way to God). It addresses caricatures and criticisms of the Bible, and includes as examples many popular memes that mock Christianity. It doesn't deal with all difficult-to-understand verses; it deals with a few, and teaches principles for handling others. Kimball's goal is for Christians to be deeper thinkers, to know the Bible, to know what they believe, and why. Kimball has a high view of the Bible, stating, "All Scripture is 100% God-breathed, authoritative, trustworthy, and useful for many, many things," and, "Once you abandon the belief that God oversaw and inspired every line of the Bible, it brings everything in the Bible into question. We no longer have any way of knowing what God said or didn't say. … Logically, I'd have to reject the entire thing." Books like this are needed, but unfortunately, I can't recommend the book because not all the guidelines nor conclusions are Biblical. Too often abandons the straightforward reading of the Bible in favor of an alternative reading that's more palatable to non-Christians (more politically correct). One of Kimball's 5 principles for reading the Bible is, "The Bible was written for us, not to us." I know what he means, and there are parts of the Bible that contain laws that applied to OT Israel but not to NT believers. However, I think Kimball takes this principle too far in seeming to overlook that although we aren’t the primary audience, we are the secondary audience. God intended His people to read the Bible for thousands of years, well beyond the original audience, and 2 Tim 3:16 says, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." Writing about Adam and Eve prior to the Fall, Kimball says, "There is no indication of hierarchy or superiority in any way." He says that it was the Fall that brought hierarchy. But the Bible teaches that 1) men and women equally bear God's image and have equal access to salvation with 2) the hierarchy of husband and wife within marriage (add passages). Yet before the Fall, God created Adam first, then Eve out of Adam to be a helper for him (Gen 2:18), God gave Adam the responsibility to name the animals (Gen 2:19-20), and God held Adam accountable for the Fall (Gen 3:9). 1 Tim 2:12-14 says, "… I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. …" and 1 Cor 11:8-9 says, "For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man." Human marriages are to reflect Christ's marriage to the Church, and in that marriage He has authority (Eph 5:32). Kimball says God could've literally created Eve from Adam's rib or side, but that's not what happened; the Bible only means figuratively that Adam and Eve were made of two equal "sides." Yet a straightforward reading of the Bible shows this was literal; besides the description in Gen 2:21-22, there's Adam's response in Gen 2:23, saying Eve is part of his bone and flesh, and 1 Tim 2:13, saying Eve was formed after Adam. Kimball says Phoebe was a deacon (Rom 16:1-2), and Junia was probably an apostle (Rom 16:6-7). He doesn't mention that many scholars believe (and have for 2,000 years) that Phoebe was a deacon (literally "helper") in the informal sense of helper, not the formal sense of holding office of deacon, or that Junia was notable among the apostles, not one of them. Kimball also doesn't mention that the qualifications for office of deacon and elder (1 Tim 3:1-13; Titus 1:6-9) requiring that person be a "one-woman [faithful to wife] man." Kimball says some churches allow women to be pastors and elders, and others don't, so you should discuss this with your church leaders. Kimball says God could've created the universe in 6 24-hour days, but spends a lot of time pointing out apparent scientific problems with this view, and describing alternative interpretations, including theistic evolution, which seems to be his view. Kimball says Genesis doesn't address any of our scientific questions about the universe, and its message is simply that God created everything. However, although the main point of Genesis isn't to answer scientific questions, that doesn't mean that we can't learn some important things from Genesis that can inform our scientific understanding of the universe. Kimball points out apparent scientific problems with young-Earth creationism (the solar system without the Sun at its center, light without the Sun, etc.), but there's no reason God couldn't work supernaturally in these situations, as He has in others throughout the Bible. Several detailed possible explanations are available from icr.org and answersingenesis.org. Kimball argues that the Hebrew word "yom" doesn't always mean a 24-hour day, but doesn't mention that everywhere else in the OT, when "yom" appears with "evening" or "morning" or is modified by a number (e.g., "third day" or "five days"), it always means a 24-hour day (https://answersingenesis.org/days-of-..., https://answersingenesis.org/days-of-..., https://www.icr.org/article/does-gene...). Kimball says God could've literally created Eve out of Adam's rib, but later says, "there was no rib woman," and this was figurative language to show that Eve was an equal partner with Adam. He doesn't explain why, from the Bible (rather than from a desire to make Christianity more appealing to non-Christians) we should rule out this being literal. Kimball says God could've allowed the serpent in Garden of Eden to talk, but that Genesis is actually speaking figuratively about an angelic being "in serpentine form." Again, he doesn't explain why, from the Bible (rather than from a desire to make Christianity more appealing to non-Christians) we should rule out this being literal, nor does he doesn't comment on Balaam's donkey which speaks in Numbers 22. Despite his many attempts to convince readers to not take those Bible passages literally, Kimball says Jesus' miracles and resurrection (which "defy all we know of science") were literal, and says we "can't explain these miracles away with metaphors or figurative speech." It's unclear why he accepts the Gospel accounts as historical narrative but not the early chapters of Genesis, despite the rest of Genesis being obvious historical narrative, unlike books such as Psalms or Revelation which are different genres. Notes The Bible Was Not Written to Us Many verses that don't make sense to us made sense to original readers. We can try to understand their time and culture to better understand these verses. Never Read a Bible Verse Jesus and other NT authors quote single verses, but in their time, when you quoted a verse, it was understood as a shorthand reference for the larger section of Scripture around that verse. Principles for Bible reading 1. The Bible is a library, not a book 2. The Bible was written for us, not to us. 3. Never read a Bible verse outside of its context. 4. All the Bible points to Jesus. The Art of Not Cherry-Picking Bible Verses God didn't want Israel to adopt practices of nearby nations (degrading sexual rites, family members in prostitution, child sacrifice), so He gave restrictions to keep Israel separate and distinct from surrounding nations. Prohibition of mixing seeds, animals, fabrics (Deut 22:9-11; Lev 19:19) were to set Israel apart from surrounding nations, and to keep them from adopting fertility cult practices of surrounding nations, which involved mixing seeds and other things. Priests' clothes were blends, and to set them apart, non-priests weren't to use blends in their clothes. Dietary laws were likely to set Israel apart from surrounding nations; at the time, dietary choices signaled ethnic and religious affiliation. Or, dietary laws may have been to protect His people from sickness and harm (or both). Prohibition against boiling a goat in its mother's milk (Ex 23:19; Deut 14:21) may have been given to prevent Israel from practicing this Canaanite fertility ritual, or because God wanted His people to keep life (mother's milk) and death (dead young goat) separate, or because the goat was part of Israel's atonement ritual. Prohibition against pigs may have been because surrounding nations ate pigs and used them for religious rituals (tied to their netherworld gods). Prohibition against tattoos (Lev 19:28) was about Canaanite religious practices that involved cutting and marking their bodies to honor their gods and the dead. Making Sense of Shrimp, the Skin of a Dead Pig, and Slavery Many OT laws ended with Jesus (Gal 3:23-24; 6:2; 1 Cor 9:21): civil laws (ordering Israelite nation), ceremonial laws (sacrifices), dietary restrictions, some holiness laws. NT law is about loving God and others, and how to do that is explained in Gospels and rest of NT. Jesus fulfilled OT law, but that didn't completely abolish it; NT reveals that OT moral, non-ceremonial laws continue into NT (e.g, murder, marriage and sexual ethics). These are often repeated or affirmed in NT. Bible teaches slavery (taking a person against their will, forcing them to become property of someone) is evil. God didn't create or command slavery; humans did, and God gave rules to regulate it, to protect slaves and limit evil (Lev 25:43; Ex 21:20, 26-27). Slavery in the Bible wasn't predominantly like the race-based, chattel, transatlantic slavery of the early US, which involved kidnapping and forced labor. "Slaves" in the Bible were more like servants or bondservants. People could sell themselves into slavery for a time to escape poverty or pay a debt (Lev 25:39). Parents could sell their children into slavery (Ex 21:7), likely to prevent children from starving or being abandoned. God commanded death penalty for those who kidnapped people and made them slaves (Ex 21:16; 1 Tim 1:10). At time of NT, ~1/3 of people in Roman and Greek world at that time were slaves/servants. They could be doctors or lawyers, go to school and be educated. Can't Keep a Good Woman Down Requirement that rapist marry raped woman (Deut 22:28-29) was to protect woman, in time and culture when raped women would have difficulty getting married or providing for themselves living alone. Requirement was to provide accountability and deter crime. Raped women could choose not to marry rapist. Rape in Bible is always depicted as evil. 1 Cor 14:34-35 doesn't mean that women should literally be completely silent the entire time they're at church; elsewhere in 1 Cor Paul writes without disapproval of women prophesying, praying aloud, and singing. Instruction for women to ask their husbands questions at home rather than at church (1 Cor 14:35) may be because women were less educated in that time and place, and it led to more orderly church services for them to hold their questions until they were home. Or it could be that women sat separately from men, and it was disruptive for wives to shout questions to their husbands. Making Sense of the Intolerant-Sounding Jesus Founders of non-Christians religions claim they are prophets to help you find God. Jesus came to say, "I am God, come to find you." Founders of non-Christians religions claim to point you to truth. Jesus said, "I am the Truth." The God of Compassion, Slow to Anger, and Forgiving God isn't reactionary, with out-of-control anger, striking out randomly for no reason; He's patient, compassionate, and forgiving, pleading for change and warning before acting in judgment. His anger is a result of His just love and protection; it's not vindictive or selfish. Making Sense of the Texts of Terror Israel's battles when entering Canaan weren't genocide, because they weren't based on race or ethnicity; they were based on occupation of the land. The battles were against people who chose not to join Israel and turn to God, and remained in rebellion against Him. God later allowed His own people to be captured and killed when they rebelled. Canaanites were extremely wicked (e.g., child sacrifice, child prostitution, bestiality), and God didn't want them to influence Israel. Ps 137:9 is a poem/song expressing anguish and grief expressing horror of what had happened to Israel when they were taken captive, and asking for poetic justice. Postlude: Jesus Loved His Crazy Bible (and Why Trusting It Isn't that Crazy) Jesus knew the OT Bible well, frequently quoted it, and believed it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I wasn't really sure what to expect with this book, but was drawn to check it out solely based on the title. And I'm glad I did because it was AMAZING. Dan Kimball you are one of my new heroes. In this book Kimball explores 5 areas of "crazy" things found in the Bible - weird Old Testament laws, misogyny in the Bible, the Bible vs. science, the claim that Christianity is the only path to God, and violence in the Bible. The first section of the book explains in further detail the importance of re I wasn't really sure what to expect with this book, but was drawn to check it out solely based on the title. And I'm glad I did because it was AMAZING. Dan Kimball you are one of my new heroes. In this book Kimball explores 5 areas of "crazy" things found in the Bible - weird Old Testament laws, misogyny in the Bible, the Bible vs. science, the claim that Christianity is the only path to God, and violence in the Bible. The first section of the book explains in further detail the importance of reading the Bible "correctly" which really means how it was originally intended. One quote he says a lot that I very much appreciate is that "The Bible is written for us, but not to us." Basically, as a Christian the Bible is for us, but it's not meant to be an explanation of every question for all of time. Kimball does a really, really good job of breaking things down and explaining the historical context of the different books of the Bible and how we can use these books today as Christians. It's all very common sense, but sadly many people don't have any common sense and want the Bible to be a literal roadmap for our lives or want to apply everything in it in a literal way and that is just not how it was written or how we are supposed to use it. I'm not a Biblical scholar, but I do read a LOT about a lot of things and I was beyond impressed with this book. This is one I am definitely going to buy! Some quotes I liked: "I love that the Bible itself says that some of the Bible will be hard to understand. So when we struggle with something in the Bible, we have to remember that even Peter admitted that not all of it is easy to understand. It also says that people will 'distort' the Bible. This reaffirms what we've been learning, that it is critically important to invest time and effort into understanding how to and how not to read and study the Bible." (p. 33) "In general, Jesus did not focus on specific civil laws or governments, but addressed the desires and motives of the human heart." (p. 98) "Overall, the world that Jesus lived in and the world the church was born into did not have equal respect, value, and rights for men and women. So when we read what Jesus did with regard to women, it should be recognized as countercultural, highly shocking, and extremely challenging to the religious leaders of his day. We see Jesus striving to change the culture he lived in through the way he treated women - with respect, dignity, and equality." (p. 121) "Jesus could have appeared to anyone after his resurrection, but he chose to reveal himself first to women...According to Jewish law, women were not allowed to bear legal witness. Yet Jesus gave them the honorable task of being the very first to see him resurrected and the very first to tell others about it." (p. 124) "Every time we see a list of gifts that God's Spirit gave to enable the church to function on mission, we see no distinction made between men and women. We never see in these lists of what we call 'spiritual gifts' in the New Testament that only certain gifts were for men and some were only for women. Read those lists and you will not see any such labeling." (p. 127) "Dr. Rodney Stark, a sociologist, writes in his book The Rise of Christianity that 'Christianity was unusually appealing [to women] because within the Christian subculture women enjoyed far higher status than did women in the Greco-Roman world at large.' He notes that the early church 'attracted an unusual number of higher-status women.' Has the church throughout the ages used certain Bible verses against women in wrong, even harmful ways? Sadly, yes. There have been - and still are - some churches and Christians who misuse the text to create misogyny in God's name. But when you study the Scriptures and seek to understand them in their cultural context, it's clear that the Bible is not against women, but an advocate for women." (p. 147) "God punished Egypt with a series of ten plagues to knock down the arrogance and confidence of Pharaoh, the Egyptian leader, and force him to release Israel from slavery. The plagues God chose were not random events - they were quite intentional. Each of the ten plagues was a direct assault on one of the gods of the Egyptians. For example, Egyptians worshiped the god Hapi, the Egyptian God of the Nile River, and it was believed that the god Osiris had the Nile River as his bloodstream. God demonstrated his power over the river - and the Egyptian gods - by turning the river water blood red." (p. 167)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katie Book Rodriguez

    This took me a bit to read but it is soooo so good. He really honestly confronts hard questions & bible verses that people cherry pick that truly do sound horrible. Half the stuff he talked about I was like “I didn’t even know that was in there!” He unpacks context & provides very reasonable explanations & shows multiple sides of different debates. I learned some very practical ways of how TO read the Bible that I’ll use for the rest of my life!! It was so encouraging & well researched & I feel This took me a bit to read but it is soooo so good. He really honestly confronts hard questions & bible verses that people cherry pick that truly do sound horrible. Half the stuff he talked about I was like “I didn’t even know that was in there!” He unpacks context & provides very reasonable explanations & shows multiple sides of different debates. I learned some very practical ways of how TO read the Bible that I’ll use for the rest of my life!! It was so encouraging & well researched & I feel so much more confident in these questions & equipped to talk about them!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Walter Harrington

    This is a good primer on several categories of difficult passages in the bible, especially as they are read/heard in our cultural context today. Kimball sets out in this book to help people who have been challenged with bible verses that are shocking/surprising or those who are skeptical or reject the bible altogether based on these verses to begin to understand what they mean in context and how they affect us today. One of the main reasons I appreciate Kimball's voice here is because he was not This is a good primer on several categories of difficult passages in the bible, especially as they are read/heard in our cultural context today. Kimball sets out in this book to help people who have been challenged with bible verses that are shocking/surprising or those who are skeptical or reject the bible altogether based on these verses to begin to understand what they mean in context and how they affect us today. One of the main reasons I appreciate Kimball's voice here is because he was not raised in a Christian family, nor did he have Christian friends urging him to convert. He came to the faith-based on his own study and his interaction with Christians in a college campus ministry. Thus, his answers to these questions aren't just the answers he has been fed all his life, but answers he came to while studying. Kimball sets out on a huge task of dealing with six different areas of controversy (weird laws in the old testament, patriarchy, biblical cosmology, exclusivism, slavery, and the violence of God), and because of this, his treatment of each section is understandably brief. This is not the book to go to for an in-depth look at any of these subjects. That being said, this is a good place to go to begin to look at any and all of these subjects, and Kimball points to helpful resources for further study of any particular issue. There are things that I probably would have nuanced in a different way and some things that I somewhat disagree with, but overall I found that his approach to each subject was a good approach, bringing in interpretations and perspectives that aren't often appealed to for these subjects. I heard echoes (and sometimes quotes) of John Walton, Michael Hesier, N.T. Wright, Scot McKnight, Paul Copan, and more, scholars whose work has deeply influenced me on these subjects and who I would also point to for further study. If you are new to the discussion or would like a good resource to begin to think through these issues, this book is a good book to read. If you have been in the discussion for a while on any of these issues, you may hear a new perspective or two worth your time, but you likely will have covered most of the ground already covered in this book. This is not a criticism of the book, as it is not intended to be an in-depth study with all the answers, but rather a launching point for a relatively new audience. It also might be a good read if you aren't familiar with how these verses might sound to someone outside the faith looking in, as sometimes we just get in our echo chambers and we don't think about how these vereses really sound to someone who doesn't share our convictions about scripture and Christ.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Caleb Lagerwey

    After hearing Kimball interviewed on The Holy Post, I knew I had to read this book. I really appreciated Kimball's approach: this book is half apologetics and half instructions on how to read your Bible better (and more often). One of the best sections of the book was toward the beginning when Kimball laid out his advice for reading the Bible. While reading the Bible in context and avoiding verses out of context isn't revolutionary or novel, it is sound advice and he makes an excellent case for After hearing Kimball interviewed on The Holy Post, I knew I had to read this book. I really appreciated Kimball's approach: this book is half apologetics and half instructions on how to read your Bible better (and more often). One of the best sections of the book was toward the beginning when Kimball laid out his advice for reading the Bible. While reading the Bible in context and avoiding verses out of context isn't revolutionary or novel, it is sound advice and he makes an excellent case for better Bible reading by critics and believers alike. I also really appreciated the sections on science and Old Testament purity laws since the former was charitable toward many Christian views and the latter was a succinct summary of covenantal changes between the Old and New Testaments. It's probably the nature of the difficult topics themselves and Kimball's overly cautious theological approach, but I felt that the book was the least useful when discussing women in the New Testament/Paul and Old Testament violence. Kimball admirably admits he doesn't have all the answers, but I couldn't help but compare those sections to Barr's The Making of Biblical Womanhood and Evans' Inspired, each of which addressed those topics more helpfully for me. Still, the book is an excellent resource and I recommend it to pastors, Bible teachers, Christian science teachers, youth leaders, those struggling with the Bible, or those looking to engage skeptics.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Austenn Akers

    read this after hearing the author on the bible project podcast and learned a ton from it. key points that pretty much spoil the whole book: the bible is written for us, but not to us. we must understand the context of who it was written to, where it was written, when it was written, and the circumstances it was written amongst. i want to make a shirt that says “context is cool” now. any takers? the bible is not a book, it’s a library of books. we are to go to each book in the bible within the fr read this after hearing the author on the bible project podcast and learned a ton from it. key points that pretty much spoil the whole book: the bible is written for us, but not to us. we must understand the context of who it was written to, where it was written, when it was written, and the circumstances it was written amongst. i want to make a shirt that says “context is cool” now. any takers? the bible is not a book, it’s a library of books. we are to go to each book in the bible within the framework of the genre it’s written in (poetry / wisdom literature / gospel accounts / minor prophets / etc) never read a bible verse. always read the whole chapter. meaning, it’s too easy to take a verse out of context, which is where we get both the prosperity gospel as well as many arguments against the faith. we are to read all verses within the framework in which they were written. verse of the day is cool and all, but some days i may get the notification and think imma be rolling in a tesla soon. the bible is a unified story that leads to jesus. from beginning to end. pretty dope.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karna Bosman

    I found this book to be engaging, but I'm pretty sure that is because I'm already a Jesus follower. I had hoped that it would be something that my unbelieving family might take the challenge to read, and I don't think that will be the case. None the less, I come away encouraged to be careful to not take anything out of context and to dive deeper when there are things that are hard to swallow (such as God killing all the Egyptian newborns). I am that Christian who gave my kids Bibles but kept the I found this book to be engaging, but I'm pretty sure that is because I'm already a Jesus follower. I had hoped that it would be something that my unbelieving family might take the challenge to read, and I don't think that will be the case. None the less, I come away encouraged to be careful to not take anything out of context and to dive deeper when there are things that are hard to swallow (such as God killing all the Egyptian newborns). I am that Christian who gave my kids Bibles but kept them from any violence or immorality on TV. I have memories of Moses and Noah on a felt board ..... in the middle of stories that have a lot of death and hardship - and somehow they were fun children's stories. If anything I come away wanting to dig deeper, be more curious, and connect the dots..... as always, we don't know what we don't know, and we don't know what goes without saying in previous generations.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Roger Bradley

    A book to read for anyone who believes that the Bible is irrelevant and/or dangerous. A book for everyone. I find this book to be very thought provoking. Any criticisms of the bible about it being a book of violence misogyny, anti science, arrogance or etcetera are dispelled in this book. I understand that this book will probably not change the minds of those who just want to tear the book apart. There are so many different books besides this book that have addressed the criticisms about the bibl A book to read for anyone who believes that the Bible is irrelevant and/or dangerous. A book for everyone. I find this book to be very thought provoking. Any criticisms of the bible about it being a book of violence misogyny, anti science, arrogance or etcetera are dispelled in this book. I understand that this book will probably not change the minds of those who just want to tear the book apart. There are so many different books besides this book that have addressed the criticisms about the bible being misogynist, violent, anti science and whatever else but this is one of few books that I've read by an author who is not necessarily an expert theologian or apologist who has taken the time to study the difficult parts of the bible and to bring it to a a more clearer understanding. I recommend all of Dan Kimballs book to anyone with this book being his best.

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