According to that unholy monster, Wikipedia, I learned that biblical hermeneutics is “the study of the principles of interpretation concerning the books of the Bible.”
Why was I researching this, you ask?
None of your business–how do ya like that?!? Just kidding. I was doing it for my friends at Threads Podcast: Life Unfiltered.
See, I was perusing their social media and came across this:
I started doing research for this and came across an article about how the Bible is misinterpreted, and then goes on to correct the misinterpretations with more of its own misinterpretation. I’m tempted to put a link to it, but I’m trying to swear off sh*tting on stuff I don’t like, and instead focus on promoting positivity.
But it’s kind of hard when people use the Bible to promote religious xenophobia, which is a fancy word for not liking anyone who isn’t like you. (More or less.)
Alright, let’s get into it. Here are…
3 of the Most Common Biblical Misinterpretations
#1: Sex & Marriage
1 Corinthians 7 – “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman. But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.”
Paul wrote several letters concerning sexuality. He wasn’t a big fan, but saw some benefits. Mostly that people don’t do sinful stuff, but have their needs met by someone who cares about them, and vice versa, when they’re married. Early Christians, spurred on by Paul, “after producing several offspring, couples were expected to give up sexual activity” (if possible).
Compare that to now when, still reading those same passages, only 1 out of 3 Christians today say “absolutely not” to sex outside a committed relationship (not just marriage…).
Same religion. Different views on sex throughout the ages, unless the old schoolers were banging on the DL…
And marriage…don’t even get me started. Nope, too late; I’m started.
Genesis 2:24 – “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
You’ve probably heard this one used to further the Christian view that “marriage is a sacred union!”
Prove it. Jesus doesn’t say much about marriage. He DID get everyone wasted at a wedding reception, but they didn’t say anything about the wedding, which I can almost guarantee was not in a church. Can you imagine a religious couple skipping a church and pastor altogether? It happens, but it’s definitely not the norm, like it once was.
In the early days, people didn’t get married in a church. In fact, they didn’t think much of marriage as a *airquote* sacred bond. In fact, their view was that marriage was something families did to form a strategic/financial alliance with other families. There was a time when living children were married to the spirit of deceased siblings to strengthen spiritual bonds within the family. Imagine what the “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” crowd would say if they brought that back.
And also remember, the follow up on this verse is that a man, once married, becomes part of the woman’s family, but nowadays we expect women to take a man’s last name. Kinda f*cked up, right?
Anti-LGTB bias in the Bible?
Robert K. Gnuse nailed it with this passage from Seven Gay Texts: Biblical Passages Used to Condemn Homosexuality
There are seven texts often cited by Christians to condemn homosexuality: Noah and Ham (Genesis 9:20–27), Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:1–11), Levitical laws condemning same-sex relationships (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13), two words in two Second Testament vice lists (1 Corinthians 6:9–10; 1 Timothy 1:10), and Paul’s letter to the Romans (Romans 1:26–27). The author believes that these do not refer to homosexual relationships between two free, adult, and loving individuals. They describe rape or attempted rape (Genesis 9:20–27, 19:1–11), cultic prostitution (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13), male prostitution and pederasty (1 Corinthians 6:9–10; 1 Timothy 1:10), and the Isis cult in Rome (Romans 1:26–27)Seven Gay Texts: Biblical Passages Used to Condemn Homosexuality
Context–which is difficult to decipher after hundreds of translations, loads of misinterpretations, and hundreds of years of geopolitical change from the time of its writing–is important, and often lacking in Bible-fueled hate-speech.
Luke 12:48 – “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
Republicans slam Democrats for “wanting to raise our taxes!” Democrats use this verse to defend raising taxes, right? Well check this out:
“The quote…has nothing to do with taxes, and it is not even the entire verse. The parable itself refers to the need for Christians to always be ready since they will not know when Jesus returns. It has nothing to do with taxes or welfare systems.”Bible Verses Politicians Commonly Misuse – Beliefnet
Romans 13:1 – “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
I’ve seen some of the more vocal Trump supporters use this verse in pretty creative ways. Someone once yelled at me and called me a racist because (***they assumed***) I supported Biden. It was actually a Mexican-American, which through me for a whole other loop. But let’s focus…. I said, “Regardless what you think of any democrat, how can you put your faith behind a guy like Trump?”
His answer–though not in the way he intended–blew me away: “God is working through him, like He worked through other bad people in the Bible.”
The key assumption is that God will only work through the Republicans…
Think of it this way:
“If you believe the government is a sovereignly divinely appointed institution, then why lambast past presidents who disagreed with you, or current politicians who get elected in place of your preferred party? Could it be that one’s interpretation of whether they should “submit to governing authorities” is largely dependent on their political opinions, and whether their preferred brand of government is currently in power?”MISUSING ROMANS 13 TO EMBRACE THEOCRACY
by Stephen Mattson
Most Christian institutions today have a negative view of drugs. But the history of drugs in the church goes deep, y’all. Check this out:
Women used to be in charge of dispensing hallucinogenic drugs to people in a Greek ritual where practitioners could “see it all” while under the influence. But, according to Brian Muraresku, there’s “evidence of at least 45,000 so-called witches being executed, with ‘countless more’ tortured or imprisoned.” The church got rid of women in leadership and ditched the hallucinogens that were an integral part of communing with the hold spirit.
Now people invoke the holy spirit as a reason not to do drugs. But that doesn’t work, either. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “Overall, the impact of religiosity on reported drug use [of religious and non-religious youths] did not differ significantly.” So don’t say Christians didn’t use drugs, or try to use Christianity as a safe-guard against your kids using them either.
I enjoyed this quote from biblical scholar Douglas Estes:
“Scripture is about who God is and what God’s plan is; that’s what we need to have straight so that when we now start asking these modern-day questions, we can explicitly see how they fit into that narrative…. If a drug is okay to be used in healing, then maybe it’s okay for relaxation or entertainment.”Christianity Today: From Marijuana to Magic Mushrooms: Weighing Drugs’ Benefits and Detriments
I could go on and on, but watch the video on this one. (The guy who did the research has NEVER used drugs, so he doesn’t have a dog in the fight, outside of an academic one.)
Last Thing before You Go…
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Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? High five! Follow me here: