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My problem with the Bible

My problem with the Bible

Brian Zahnd notes that many of us in church are more like the Pharaohs, Romans, religious leaders and royal elite than “the poor, the oppressed, the enslaved, the conquered, the occupied, the defeated” who are given hope in the Bible. From his blog:

Here’s my problem…

I’m an ancient Egyptian. I’m a comfortable Babylonian. I’m a Roman in his villa.

That’s my problem. See, I’m trying to read the Bible for all it’s worth, but I’m not a Hebrew slave suffering in Egypt. I’m not a conquered Judean deported to Babylon. I’m not a first century Jew living under Roman occupation.

I’m a citizen of a superpower. I was born among the conquerors. I live in the empire. But I want to read the Bible and think it’s talking to me. This is a problem.

Is there Good News for me, he asks? Read more here.


Image by Chagall from Zahnd’s blog


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Emily Windsor

Sorry I left these out.

Psalm 25:5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Psalm 15:2 [Let us] walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth [from the] heart.

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Emily Windsor

The problem I have with the Bible is exemplified by the fact, there are 25 references in the Old Testament to the word “truth,” and you can validate this in any concordance.

But in the gospels and epistles, there is only 1 reference to truth all told in all books combined.

No doubt this near omission has had something to do with the problems in behavior (because certain behaviors always result in certain TRUE outcomes) among all Christiandom’s splintered sects and denominations.

Would the Inquisition have occurred if Christians were competently focused on “truth” and not “dogma”? I doubt it.

Same today. Holy Law teaches us, repetitive behaviors have predictable outcomes. Outcomes can be described as truth.

If we stand for good outcomes, as Holy Law does, then we are not also standing for dogma, doctrine or political-correctness.


Chaz Brooks

“You can validate this in any concordance.”

Can I? A quick search found 109 instances of the word “Truth” in the New Testament and 50 instances of the word “True.”

It seems even more ominous for your anti-dogma stance that the word “believe” occurs 237 times in the New Testament. Believe what?

Rod Gillis

One of the best resources to check is Walter Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon ( of the NT and Other Early Christian Lit.), it references not just frequency but also nuance, context, chapter verse and the like. Old School but pretty much dead on.

Rod Gillis

It can be difficult to relate to a texts written when there was no middle class. Guilt is an understandable response. The article points to the work of Mark (Moishe) Chagall. Fabulous. His art transcends both economic class and dogmatic rhetoric.

Chaz Brooks

Seems to me the problem is simplistic, reductionist readings of the Bible.

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