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

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When Dan Kimball first sat down to meet with a student who was disillusioned by Christianity, he wasn't ready for what he was about to hear. The student had a positive church experience. He was grateful for his youth leader. But he had serious objections to Christianity. Why? He had begun studying the Bible and found he could no longer accept what it taught. Reading the Bi When Dan Kimball first sat down to meet with a student who was disillusioned by Christianity, he wasn't ready for what he was about to hear. The student had a positive church experience. He was grateful for his youth leader. But he had serious objections to Christianity. Why? He had begun studying the Bible and found he could no longer accept what it taught. Reading the Bible had led him to become an atheist. In How Not to Read the Bible, pastor and bestselling author Dan Kimball tackles one of the most pressing apologetic challenges of the twenty-first-century church--how do we read and interpret the Bible? Kimball introduces several critical principles to utilize when you open a Bible or read a verse. Then, he looks at five of the most common challenges that arise when people read the Bible today, including: the relationship between science and the Bible, the violence we find in the Bible, the treatment of women in the Bible, the odd and strange commands we find in the Bible, and the Bible's controversial claim that there is only one way to know God. Kimball highlights several of the most common passages people find objectionable and shows readers how to correctly interpret them. This is an ideal book for those exploring Christianity or new to the faith, as well as Christians who are wrestling with questions about these difficult issues and the challenges of interpreting the Bible. Filled with stories and examples, as well as visual illustrations and memes reflecting popular cultural objections, How Not to Read the Bible will motivate readers who are confused or discouraged by questions they have about the Bible and guides them--step-by-step--to a clear understanding of what the Bible is saying in context. The book can also be taught as a six-week sermon series or used in small groups for study and discussion.


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When Dan Kimball first sat down to meet with a student who was disillusioned by Christianity, he wasn't ready for what he was about to hear. The student had a positive church experience. He was grateful for his youth leader. But he had serious objections to Christianity. Why? He had begun studying the Bible and found he could no longer accept what it taught. Reading the Bi When Dan Kimball first sat down to meet with a student who was disillusioned by Christianity, he wasn't ready for what he was about to hear. The student had a positive church experience. He was grateful for his youth leader. But he had serious objections to Christianity. Why? He had begun studying the Bible and found he could no longer accept what it taught. Reading the Bible had led him to become an atheist. In How Not to Read the Bible, pastor and bestselling author Dan Kimball tackles one of the most pressing apologetic challenges of the twenty-first-century church--how do we read and interpret the Bible? Kimball introduces several critical principles to utilize when you open a Bible or read a verse. Then, he looks at five of the most common challenges that arise when people read the Bible today, including: the relationship between science and the Bible, the violence we find in the Bible, the treatment of women in the Bible, the odd and strange commands we find in the Bible, and the Bible's controversial claim that there is only one way to know God. Kimball highlights several of the most common passages people find objectionable and shows readers how to correctly interpret them. This is an ideal book for those exploring Christianity or new to the faith, as well as Christians who are wrestling with questions about these difficult issues and the challenges of interpreting the Bible. Filled with stories and examples, as well as visual illustrations and memes reflecting popular cultural objections, How Not to Read the Bible will motivate readers who are confused or discouraged by questions they have about the Bible and guides them--step-by-step--to a clear understanding of what the Bible is saying in context. The book can also be taught as a six-week sermon series or used in small groups for study and discussion.

30 review for How (Not) to Read the Bible: 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. 5 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.

  3. 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 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 was 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 other suffering and pain as in numerous of the prophets. And don’t worry about the OT genocides, Jesus and Revelation look forward to the world-wide 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 market 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. 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 instruct 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 was 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, there is no way to live in the world and not be of it, instead we should kill all the heathen, 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 text 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.

  4. 5 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 5 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.

  7. 4 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Well-written and gracious study of the difficult passages in Scripture - Dan's experience working in a very open-minded college town as a pastor once again helps him deal thoughtfully and Biblically with these kinds of questions. Theologically sound without being preachy or dismissive... thankful that I took my time through this book to really let all of it soak in. Well-written and gracious study of the difficult passages in Scripture - Dan's experience working in a very open-minded college town as a pastor once again helps him deal thoughtfully and Biblically with these kinds of questions. Theologically sound without being preachy or dismissive... thankful that I took my time through this book to really let all of it soak in.

  10. 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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Boyd

    Great book! Every believer and/or seeker should read this. I have seen many of my friends, family, and public figures walk away from their faith in recent years because they ironically have a very literal, rigid, legalistic, pharisaical view of the Bible despite that being one of their big hangups/objections to Christianity. Dan Kimball does an incredible job of explaining how many of the faith-ending issues that people have are simply an elementary understanding of how scripture should be read a Great book! Every believer and/or seeker should read this. I have seen many of my friends, family, and public figures walk away from their faith in recent years because they ironically have a very literal, rigid, legalistic, pharisaical view of the Bible despite that being one of their big hangups/objections to Christianity. Dan Kimball does an incredible job of explaining how many of the faith-ending issues that people have are simply an elementary understanding of how scripture should be read and interpreted. No one should throw away their faith because they "don't believe in a talking snake"... that is ridiculous. The Bible cannot be understood or appreciated if someone's ideas are based on a flannel graph presentation or video featuring singing vegetables!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Gainer

    As a faithful and spiritual Christian who has read the Bible, this is a wonderful book written to help people understand a lot of things that Christians and non-believers have questions about. The one thing I didn’t feel was necessary was the constant repeating of the reasons in each section and chapter. I felt like there were times it was overkill. Overall, this was an interesting and scripture-based and influenced read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael Tabet

    As a youth pastor I picked up this book to see if it would be a good resource for my high school students. However, as I read I became convinced this was a book I needed to read and come back to with my questions, doubts and disappointments. It is a well written and accessible resource for both the pastor and lay-person alike. I look forward to gifting it to friends and those I meet who like me struggle with how (not) to read the Bible.

  14. 4 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.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Julian

    Loved this book. As a missionary who mentors young adults/university students, this is such a great and practical resource. Believers and non have questions about weird stuff in the Bible. And, admittedly, it's difficult to answer those questions about women, science, slavery and more. Kimball tackles many of those issues. Obviously, one of his spiritual gifts is teaching. If ever an online class, I would attend. Now that I am moving back to Brazil to work again with students, I will definitely Loved this book. As a missionary who mentors young adults/university students, this is such a great and practical resource. Believers and non have questions about weird stuff in the Bible. And, admittedly, it's difficult to answer those questions about women, science, slavery and more. Kimball tackles many of those issues. Obviously, one of his spiritual gifts is teaching. If ever an online class, I would attend. Now that I am moving back to Brazil to work again with students, I will definitely use this book. Can not recommend it enough. Simple yet tough!

  16. 4 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    John

    This is an excellent book by Dan Kimball. Perhaps the best compliment I could give to it is that I wish I had written it. Not only is this a book on how NOT to read the Bible, it’s a book on HOW to read the Bible. Kimball takes some of the biggest objections to Christianity and the Bible—usually illustrated and learned about through internet memes—and addresses them with humility and integrity. I’ve already bought a handful to give out to friends, and I’m already thinking through how to lead oth This is an excellent book by Dan Kimball. Perhaps the best compliment I could give to it is that I wish I had written it. Not only is this a book on how NOT to read the Bible, it’s a book on HOW to read the Bible. Kimball takes some of the biggest objections to Christianity and the Bible—usually illustrated and learned about through internet memes—and addresses them with humility and integrity. I’ve already bought a handful to give out to friends, and I’m already thinking through how to lead others the through this material. Thanks Dan Kimball for your labor of love in producing this work. Deeply grateful to you for it. —— Check out an interview with Dan Kimball on the Undeceptions podcast: https://undeceptions.com/podcast/100-... Sean McDowell interviews him here: https://youtu.be/jkeM3KHrEOY Frank Turek’s interview with Kimball here: https://youtu.be/Xfz5mJadcUQ

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joe Stone

    Awesome read very well written I was hesitant to read this from a position of very well read Christian and self taught theologian. This is one of the best books written in modern history and simplifying the idea why 1 verse theology is wrong or can be completely out of context. Thank you for your contribution of time & effort. I’m encouraged to always stay in context!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    So many non believers base their disbelief on their limited knowledge of the bible. This book digs into much of the crazy sounding things people bring up to defend their disbelief and gives the larger context that helps explain why those stories were included in God's holy word. It provides the knowledge needed to help believers understand, explain and defend our reliance on the bible as truth. If you've every read something in the bible that makes no sense to you this book might be of interest So many non believers base their disbelief on their limited knowledge of the bible. This book digs into much of the crazy sounding things people bring up to defend their disbelief and gives the larger context that helps explain why those stories were included in God's holy word. It provides the knowledge needed to help believers understand, explain and defend our reliance on the bible as truth. If you've every read something in the bible that makes no sense to you this book might be of interest to you.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Atkinson

    I most appreciated the chapter on science, and I think Kimball's overview of the Bible is particularly valuable for anyone who doesn't have that foundational knowledge. The book is frustratingly repetitive. He said there isn't enough room to address certain controversial verses, but he used so much room not getting to the point. I liked The Reason for God better as an apologetic book, but this book does a good job of explaining crazy sounding verses, which is the mail goal. I most appreciated the chapter on science, and I think Kimball's overview of the Bible is particularly valuable for anyone who doesn't have that foundational knowledge. The book is frustratingly repetitive. He said there isn't enough room to address certain controversial verses, but he used so much room not getting to the point. I liked The Reason for God better as an apologetic book, but this book does a good job of explaining crazy sounding verses, which is the mail goal.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Carlberg

    At first I was going to give this book 4 stars, but the longer I think about it's content the more I appreciate it. At first I felt like it was all review (which it is for some people), but in the end I think it will be helpful for anyone with questions about the Scriptures. Dan Kimball is someone I read and listen to now and again, and I always come away a more rounded perspective. I will most likely steal much of the premise for a summer series next year. Thanks for sermon fodder Dan! At first I was going to give this book 4 stars, but the longer I think about it's content the more I appreciate it. At first I felt like it was all review (which it is for some people), but in the end I think it will be helpful for anyone with questions about the Scriptures. Dan Kimball is someone I read and listen to now and again, and I always come away a more rounded perspective. I will most likely steal much of the premise for a summer series next year. Thanks for sermon fodder Dan!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Tancredi

    This book was easy to read and process and a great place to start if you are struggling with some of the more difficult passages in the bible. He does not go over every single verse but gives examples and a process to follow when reading. As a side note I would recommend purchasing a physical copy and not the kindle version. I purchased the kindle version (cheaper) and wished that I had it physically in front of me because of Dan's use off pictures and graphs. This book was easy to read and process and a great place to start if you are struggling with some of the more difficult passages in the bible. He does not go over every single verse but gives examples and a process to follow when reading. As a side note I would recommend purchasing a physical copy and not the kindle version. I purchased the kindle version (cheaper) and wished that I had it physically in front of me because of Dan's use off pictures and graphs.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Braden

    Fantastic! Great discussion in our college class at church as we went over this book. Deepens your faith and gives answers to questions most people have had their whole Christian lives but have been too afraid to ask. Highly suggest it!

  24. 4 out of 5

    William Calvo

    A most excellent read... I admire and appreciate any person that is willing to address the most unsettling verses in the Bible, but do it with humility and respect. Absolutely loved this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This was an easy read and very informative. It was extremely repetitive and seemed to have entire paragraphs copied and pasted. I don’t like how the author has zero women scholars, authors, preachers or theologians to acknowledge in his acknowledgements section...

  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

    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.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Blake

    A concise, layman-friendly explanation of the stranger passages of the Bible. By providing historical information and putting the verses in their full context, Mr. Kimball deftly shows how quote-mining, cherry-picking, and false attribution have been used to discredit the Old Testament. I was a staunch anti-theist for all of my teenage years and into my 20's and much of my derision was based on verses like these and what I was told about them by atheists. It was very humbling to see just how wro A concise, layman-friendly explanation of the stranger passages of the Bible. By providing historical information and putting the verses in their full context, Mr. Kimball deftly shows how quote-mining, cherry-picking, and false attribution have been used to discredit the Old Testament. I was a staunch anti-theist for all of my teenage years and into my 20's and much of my derision was based on verses like these and what I was told about them by atheists. It was very humbling to see just how wrong I was. This is the first book I would recommend to someone struggling to take the Bible seriously, as it will help them clear the largest obstacles and allow them to engage less self-consciously and judgmentally with the Gospel message. After that, Mere Christianity. Above all, the Bible itself - never doubt the power of God's Word to change hearts directly. When I made myself read from the New Testament, that was the first step in my journey back to Christ. Many wonderful apologetics works have helped clarify the Bible for me, but Scripture is the source of grace, and we should never let other books supersede it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Hicks

    This was a great read for people who have faith in God and those who question having any faith. Dan Kimball brought the topic of Bible reading to different levels. I appreciated learning and thinking through the hard topics that come with God and the Bible. Not all of us talk, research and see the memes about the Bible. Personally, I never knew these memes, but I have had many thoughts related to these memes. Kimball brought these memes and hard discussions out, thank you. I know my faith grew i This was a great read for people who have faith in God and those who question having any faith. Dan Kimball brought the topic of Bible reading to different levels. I appreciated learning and thinking through the hard topics that come with God and the Bible. Not all of us talk, research and see the memes about the Bible. Personally, I never knew these memes, but I have had many thoughts related to these memes. Kimball brought these memes and hard discussions out, thank you. I know my faith grew in my reading this book and thinking on these hard topics about God and the Bible. Kimball discusses science, which God gave, world religions, explaining the differences, and what Christianity means, the triune faith and Jesus was always there with God since the Old Testament. I appreciate how this book brought growth in my faith because life is a journey, just like the people in the Bible.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mike Sullivan

    Am reading this book and I find it interesting. I like the author's writing style. He is not pushy or preachy. He does his level best to explain the anomalies in the Bible. His tips: the Bible is written for us but not to us; never read a Bible verse (w/o context); the Bible is a library rather than a single volume hence has poetry, history, allegories, and fits in multiple shelves rather than one; the Bible points to Jesus. Those are valid points and worth exploring. Will continue reading befor Am reading this book and I find it interesting. I like the author's writing style. He is not pushy or preachy. He does his level best to explain the anomalies in the Bible. His tips: the Bible is written for us but not to us; never read a Bible verse (w/o context); the Bible is a library rather than a single volume hence has poetry, history, allegories, and fits in multiple shelves rather than one; the Bible points to Jesus. Those are valid points and worth exploring. Will continue reading before giving it a final rating. Completed it, have some questions that are unanswered. Never explained about the biblical stories of massacres of infants. Points out that Jesus/Christianity is unique different from other religions but he does not explain how Jesus is the key in a rational way. Essentially Dan puts forth a lot of his trust in faith, which is fine in itself but as for me, I wanted him to provide a logical rationalization to these questions. Therefore I liked it but can only give it 3 stars b/c I wanted more and not just a reference back to scriptures as the explanation. Am a big believer in critical thinking, still think it is valid when one looks at these topics.

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