I should start by saying that I’ve never read the Bible outside of a church service. This is all new territory for me. I’m going to be honest about what I read and how I feel, and I hope that you will keep in mind that this is just my humble opinion. I know the Bible can be a touchy subject, and I want to make sure we all stay friends.
I’ve just finished the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament. That includes Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. To save a lot of space and a few brain cells, I’m not really going to do a summary of the Bible. It’s a lot of material. Suffice it to say that we covered creation, the first family, the plagues, and leaving Egypt. We don’t quite make the promise land in this section.
There is a lot of incest in the early part of the Bible! I was rather shocked. And then there was Lot, who tried to throw his daughters out the door for the men to rape at Sodom (just as a distraction). Some pretty strange things. It does seem to settle down some once you get out of Egypt.
Mostly I’ve been interested in how a lot of the material is administrative. There are all the commandments, which includes a lot more than the basic ten. There are rules for cleanliness and legal issues, divorce, rape, wills, the works. Listed here is everything that a new society might need to govern itself. To me that was amazing. I never thought of the Bible as being so literal a book of law. It was also kind of cool to see the things that they thought were really important and how they treated cleanliness and all manner of human secretions.
I am a little disturbed by the extremity of this Old Testament God. He either really loves you or really hates you. I believe in a loving, supportive God, who loves you no matter what. The idea of God instructing Israel to show no mercy to the people whose land they are taking was hard for me to reconcile. He actually tells them to kill every man, woman, and child. I can deal with war, and I can deal with conquest, but genocide, which is what that is, is never OK. I still don’t really know how to address that from a faith perspective. How could God tell his chosen people to do that but then Jesus’ teachings are very different? Any help on that one is appreciated.
The Bible, especially in the rules part, is not always a page turner, but I am looking forward to reading more. I feel good that I am becoming more informed as a Christian. Plus, there are several extra Jeopardy clues I can answer now.