Why I Struggle With The Old Testament

Problem with BibleWhy I Struggle With the Old Testament

I’ve posted a few articles recently about the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. I was inspired to do so by a seminary student friend who used to be an atheist. He told me he became a Christian when he learned about the reliability of the New Testament scriptures. But he also explained to me the process the Jewish people went through to copy the Torah. If they made a single mistake they would destroy the document and start over. The ancient Hebrew, like English today, has a numeric value associated with each letter (in English A=1, B=2, C=3, and so on). After copying each line of scripture, they would add up the numeric value of each line and compare it to the original. If there was a difference, they destroyed the document and started over.

It’s Not the Accuracy, It’s What It Says

So it’s not the accuracy of the Old Testament scriptures that bothers me. What bothers me about the Old Testament is what’s written. Some of the Continue reading

Don’t Sacrifice What You Know, On the Altar of What You Don’t Know

Photo Credit: BiblePlaces.com

Young Man: “But what about some of that stuff in Leviticus, and Numbers, and Deuteronomy? It doesn’t make sense to me.”

Old Man: “Don’t sacrifice what you know, on the altar of what you don’t know.”

In Deuteronomy there’s page after page of ancient laws, rules, and regulations. Most of them make obvious sense or they’re explained in scripture. A few seem awkward and strange, and are presented without explanation.

Of course all of us have questions about certain scriptures in the Bible. But when that becomes your focus, I think you’re walking into a trap. If I become obsessed with those parts of scripture I don’t understand, I risk discounting, or even sacrificing all the rest of scripture, most of which I do understand and recognize to be true.

A convert of the great revival leader, Charles Finney, drew this analogy concerning focus on what you don’t understand in the Bible. He said of himself, before his conversion:

“It’s as if I had been called to pass judgement on some splendid piece of architecture, some magnificent temple; and that as soon as I came in view of one corner of the structure, I fell into disgust, and turned away and refused to inspect it farther. I condemned the whole, without at all regarding its proportions.”

Give regard to the whole of scripture. Give regard to its proportions. Focus on what you do know. Live out what you know to be true. Give thanks for the scriptures God uses to reach you.

At the regular weekly Bible study I attend, we’re in Deuteronomy right now. And speaking of these matters our pastor made the wise statement: “Don’t sacrifice what you know, on the altar of what you don’t know.” (see Wednesday, May 16, 2012 teaching at JonCouson.com)

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”

-Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:17-18


News of the tsunami headed for Hawaii today left me concerned about Bob, a friend of mine who lives very near the beach in the Honolulu area. I emailed him and asked if he was OK. I asked how the tsunami was going to effect his life. I’m not sure what I expected for a reply — a rundown on what he’s done to prepare perhaps or an account of how he’s feeling about the imminent event? What I didn’t expect was this photo along with a short message — Bob simply said,

BRING IT!!!! I’m ready

Ya gotta love Bob.

Your Life:

In Job chapter 1 Satan says to God,

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied.  “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?”

Job 1:9, 10

As Christians we enjoy the same hedge. We can rest in the fact that, like Job, no harm will touch us except that which the Lord allows. Be like Bob (goggles and snorkel optional) — take courage in the knowledge that God is on the throne and in control of your life. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6