The God of the Old Testament and the Apostle Paul have developed a baaad reputation to those outside of the faith, and even those in the faith. And even though Jesus is oftentimes considered the more peace-loving, prophet type, he did throw a table, remember? What gives with these stereotypes? Do they hold validity? The “Behaving Badly” series covers these very topics. Which is excellent for fortifying the faith of the believer and answering tough questions to our friends.
Since they’re such a handy resource, we thought we would show you. So, we’re going to give you a mind-blowing insight from each book that will show you that God isn’t a a kill-joy, genocide inducing maniac. Paul isn’t a chauvinist slavery lover. And Jesus isn’t Barney the Dinosaur, but he isn’t a tyrant either.
We can only touch on so much because space is limited, but you can see a full scope of what we’re talking about by picking up the books yourself.
God Behaving Badly: Was God Racist or Hospitable Towards the Canaanites? (pg.79)
There’s certain things to consider with the commanded attack on the Canaanites that we may not gain from surface reading of the Old Testament text:
- God gave the Canaanites centuries. Yes, centuries to repent.
- The Canaanites participated in some of the most wicked activities including child sacrifice.
- The attack could be considered self-defense for the Israelites. The Canaanites attacked the Israelites prior to the Israelites conquest in the land. The attacks by the Canaanites were unwarranted, the Israelites were defenseless, and they used the Isrealites weak position to their advantage.
- The Israelites themselves were not off the hook. God punished them for their misdeeds so this was not an issue of race or favoritism on the part of God.
- God gave other nations/races the opportunity to be engrafted into Israel.
- God had mercy on a Canaanite, Rahab.
“If Yahweh were racist, he would punish only other nations and not his own.”-David T. Lamb
For more on God Behaving Badly, click here.
Paul Behaving Badly: Was Paul being sexist when he said women would be saved through childbearing? (pgs. 118-119)
We’ve both wrestled over this verse before the reading of this book. But Paul Behaving Badly thankfully clarifies some misconceptions:
- Paul could have been talking about the wealthy young widows of Ephesus who had a reputation of causing chaos in the church of Ephesus. In this sense, Paul could have meant that childbearing would save them from conducting further chaos. Their time would be spent with a worthwhile activity: child-rearing.
- Then there have been some who have said that if Paul speaks the word “saved” he’s always talking about salvation. But from this perspective, Paul very well could mean that women everywhere are saved through the greatest childbirth from a woman: the birth of Christ.
- In this way, Paul could mean that sin originated through the act of a woman (Eve) and salvation came about from another woman’s act (Mary, through the birth of Christ).
For more on Paul Behaving Badly, click here.
Jesus Behaving Badly: What was with Jesus’ apparent fixation on punishing the wicked in eternity? Where was his compassion?
Some things Jesus Behaving Badly has us consider:
- Justice is not always served in this life. Plenty of serial killings and other major crimes go unsolved leaving the perpetrator completely free of any punishment.
- Hell is the promise from God that justice will be served.
- Hell is a necessity for a God who hears the cries of the oppressed.
- Imagine a story where the ending didn’t include punishing the wicked. The ending would feel incomplete and unfair. The new heaven and new earth will usher in a time where all wrong will be made right.
For more on Jesus Behaving Badly, click here.
As you can see, the “Behaving Badly” are great resources to help you and your loved ones with tough questions about the Bible that many of us have wrestled with. They’re highly recommenced resources from us.
We generously received these books for free from IVP. All opinions and images are our own. Please do not use without permission.