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EQUIVOCALITY OF THE BIBLE

TREDTRI Final Paper

The Seven Apostles Group


Greg Argulla Marnel Rae R. Castillo Pauline Louven D. Catolico Mary Joy G. Macayayong Bryan Joshua N. Nonaillada Charmaine Anne A. Picaa Carla Mae G. Silva S21

Submitted to:
Sir Christian Voltaire M. Metin

EQUIVOCALITY OF THE BIBLE

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Background

The Bible is a holy book for Christians where the words written in there are considered truthful and divine - Gods words as we may say. It is a guide for worship; a source of information; and a tool to guide us in leading our life. There are people who use the teachings in the bible to guide them as they live the life of Jesus Christ here on earth. However, the Bible is just a compilation of the accounts written by Jesus disciples and their followers. And these accounts were just gathered after sometime they are written which gives us an assumption that what is written there may contain errors. With that, the Bible cant be a divine message without any error. On the other hand, since the Scriptures are inspired by God (2Timothy 3:16), we cant even say that the Bible is just a human work and has errors. Hence, the Bible is defined as a divine revelation in human expression.

B. Problem Statement

As for the reason that Bible is just a man-work, ambiguity, confusion, and problems arise. Is Bible really a good guide for our life? Are all the passages true? Should we really believe in everything that is written in the Bible? If some passages written in the Bible are against the will of God, why were they written at the first place? Isnt it that dubious passages would just ruin the essence and main purpose of the Bible? Are the disputed passages were intentionally written to make us realize our own mistakes? What does the Bible really want to tell us? Seeming that the Bible is a doubtful book; passages are being questioned, problems are being created, and people tend to debate.

C. Assumption

This paper intends to question, interpret and somehow delineate two of the dark passages in the Bible that the group have chosen. We are concerned on the issues about Gods desires and commands, and the inequality in the society as women being oppressed and inferior to men. It is clear on the first passage that we have chosen, Deuteronomy 13:6-11, that

God commands us to kill with our own hands those people who try to turn us away from Him. As for our second passage, Genesis 3:16, it depicts how gender inequality exists even before. It is important for us to study passages such as these in order to interpret it properly; to reduce ambiguity and misinterpretations. Our main objectives are to enlighten and clarify the real meaning of the passages for the sake of the readers.

II. Passage 1: Deuteronomy 13:6-11 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, Let us go and worship other gods (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone him to death, because he tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again.

Analysis and Interpretation:

In the teachings of Jesus, it is said that we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). This tells us that even someone betrayed us or has done something wrong to us, we should still love and forgive them. This is because Gods very nature is love. He loves all of us even if we are sinners and have done mistakes. He has been forgiving all our sins when we ask for it. With this, we are picturing God as a loving and forgiving God. Moreover, even if we often neglect Him and put Him behind our personal desires, He still loves us and hoping that one day, we will come to realize what He has been doing for us so we can to turn to Him and love Him back. Surprisingly, in contrary to this belief is the passage written in Deuteronomy 13: 6-11, which we consider as one of the black passages in the Bible. The passage is addressed to those unbelievers of God, especially those people who try to turn His children away from Him, to be killed even if they are your friends, relatives, or loved ones. The worse thing about this issue of killing is that you will do it yourself, showing no pity. This passage is telling us to kill someone just because of them having different beliefs in life. The atrocious thing about this is that the

command itself came from God. It is like killing other people who have different religion aside from ours because they have different God. If this will happen, then half of the population will be killed. This passage contradicts the fifth commandment which states that we should not kill. Killing is known to be a mortal sin and of course, considered by many as a wrong doing.

Passage 2: Genesis 3:16 To the woman He said, I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.

Analysis and Interpretation:

In this verse, God is speaking to Eve after she and Adam had eaten the fruit from the tree which God forbid them to eat. This verse tells us what curse Eve received. The passage talks about two different things: the first one is about being a mother and another is about being a wife. First, as we all know at this present time, childbearing is never a curse for women; we believe that a child is a gift from God, a blessing from Him, which Genesis 3:16 contradicts. In addition, technically, the child is a product of the love of man and woman; the couple wanted it. The passage states that God wanted Eve, which represents the women, to suffer in severe pain by means of childbearing; but, we all know that God is loving, forgiving. It would be totally wrong for anyone to say that a woman is punished if she bears child in her womb.

Second, this shows the inequality between men and women; the notion about the male dominance over female which started as early as that time is very observable. We are all aware of the teaching that we are all equal, meaning, no one is superior nor inferior in Gods eyes. But looking into the meaning of this verse where God told Eve that the man shall rule over her, we can see the inequality shown by God. We can also interpret it as God being the one who instituted the disparity in society.

III. Conclusions and Findings

Through the Bible, life story and teachings of Jesus still remain. People of today can still know what happened before, during and after the time of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. It is still used until today to proclaim the Good News. The Words in it has never fade and are still relevant to us today. History repeats itself, as they may say. There are still happenstances that are happening today which are similar to what had happened before. In order for us to be au fait with Bible, we looked for the answers to our questions. Passage 1: Deuteronomy 13:6-11 During the Old Testament time, the people who were like our government today, and even the citizens themselves, were very strict in implementing their laws and were giving harsh punishment. For example, when a woman commits adultery, she must be stoned to death. The same thing in Deuteronomy 13:6-11, when somebody told you to worship other gods, you must put him to death with your own hands. In fact, God was very tough too in giving punishments during that time. Just like what happened in the time of Noah. God saw how great mans wickedness had become, and that every thought of his heart was evil, so He decided to abolish everything on earth including men and animals. Noah was the only person whom God favoured, so only his family and him, with some pairs of animals, survived from the great flood. The same thing happened in the Passover. When the Pharaoh of Egypt did not let go of the Israelites, he brought plagues on Egypt: the plague of blood, frogs, gnats, flies, livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the worst is the plague of the firstborn where every first born son in Egypt died, from the son of the Pharaoh to the son of the slave girl, and even the firstborn of the cattle. However, God gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for the humanity to be saved from sin. So after Jesus Christ was crucified, after He gave up His life for us, the humanity is now living by the grace of God through faith, which is a gift from God and not the result of our own works that no one should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). With that, we now owe our life to God, not to anybody else. Thats why people dont have the right to take away others life. In the New Testament, in Matthew 18:15, it is written If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. Unlike what is written in Deuteronomy, which is a book in the Old Testament, this passage in the book of Matthew tells us that when somebody tells us to do evil things like

worshipping other gods, we just have to tell him his fault, then we already have won over him if listens. Moreover, God wants us love and forgive those who sinned against us. He doesnt want us to repay anyone evil for evil. He doesnt want us to take revenge too because it is He, not us, who will see that justice is done. (Romans 12:17, 19) From the Old Testament to the New Testament, there are some changes. And these changes were done because of the sacrifice which God has done for us and because of the grace of God which we have received from the time Jesus Christ died on the cross. Its also the same reason why after Jesus Christ has offered himself, people who originally were offering lamb without defect as a sacrifice for their sins, dont have to offer anymore because Jesus Christ is the perfect Sacrifice. It is mentioned in the interpretation of the passage, Deuteronomy 13:6-11, that it was God who commanded to kill the person who tells you to worship other gods. In fact, it is not. Moses was the one who wrote the book of Deuteronomy. If we will study how the verses on all the books written by Moses, we can see that if the words were written as if they are just being spoken, then they were put in quotation mark. In chapter 13 of the book of Deuteronomy, the only words that are in quotation marks are (from NIV) Let us follow other gods and Let us go and worship other gods. The part which tells us to put the person, who said these words, to death is not quoted. If we will look at Exodus 20:1-17 which contains the Ten Commandments of God, we can see that each commandment is quoted because it was written on how God told it to Moses. In addition, in Moses writings, it is indicated who said the message. For example, Jacob heard that Labans sons were saying (Genesis 31:1, NIV); Moises said to the assembly (Leviticus 8:5, NIV). Since in Deuteronomy it was not indicated that God said it, then we cant assume that the command to kill the person who tells you to worship other gods is from God. On the other hand, in regards to the interpretation of the passage that you have to kill the person who has different beliefs as yours and try to take you away from God, isnt it that interpreting the bible is not taking its literal meaning? The bible is different from the normal books that we have. Messages that are written in it have deeper meaning. One must have to read between the lines in order to grasp its meaning. And it takes the wisdom from God to be able to fully understand the message behind the passages in the bible.

This passage tells us to kill that person. When someone is born again into Gods family (by being born-again, it means (1) acceptance which is accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour; (2) repentance which is admitting that we have sinned, asking for forgiveness, and not doing it again; (3) Believing which is fully trusting the Lord.), then he is having a new way of living which is according to the will of God. It is written Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come (2Corinthians 5:17). In relation, the passage in Deuteronomy 13:6-11may mean that we have to kill that persons old self, which is having false gods, so he can have a new life in Jesus Christ. In addition, having different religion doesnt mean that you have very different beliefs. Usually, the difference between religions is the ceremony or the rituals that they have. However, it doesnt also mean that all religions have the same beliefs. We cant erase the fact that there really are false religions as what is stated in the bible that many will be deceived by false prophets. Passage 2: Genesis 3:16 This passage talks about two things: being a mother and being a wife. God created sex as a good thing. He intends it to unite husband and wife, and for reproduction. This means that it was given that the wife will bear a child. But since Adam and Eve have sinned, the consequence of this is punishment which both of them had. The punishments they received were associated with what God intended them to do. God created a man, which was Adam, to work and take care of the Garden of Eden. The punishment he received was: he will have to work hard to be able to eat; he has to do something first before he can have what they need. Meanwhile, a woman, which was Eve, was made so she can help the man with the tasks given by God, and of course, for reproduction. Her punishment was to experience more pain in child bearing. It is written I will greatly increase this means that woman would naturally have pain in childbearing, but since Eve has sinned, the pain which she would naturally have will just increase. Since both of them received punishment (actually the serpent also had cursed), we cant say that theres an inequality during that time. Moreover, since God intended to have the woman for reproduction, then bearing a child is not a punishment; instead, it is the extent of the pain that the woman will have. Furthermore, what is written in Genesis 3:16, doesnt really contradict the fact that children are gifts and blessings from God.

The woman was the one who was deceived by the serpent. It is her who caused the both of them to commit sin and be punished. Thus, God has put her under his husbands rule. Besides, it is written she shall be called woman for she was taken out of man. However, God didnt really give the man too much control over the woman. It is said that the woman was not taken from the foot of the man for him to step on her; neither from the head for the woman to boast; rather, from the rib, near the heart, for the man to love her. With that, we really cant say that God had already instituted the disparity in society among men and women. Furthermore, in the third millennium B.C., women were given a position that is almost equal to what men have. Women, for example, were given the rights to own and have control to properties. They were also given a chance to be educated. In conclusion, the bible is really a good life guide for it contains the life of Jesus Christ on earth which is what were supposed to do, to be like Him. It encompasses stories and passages which we can relate with and can teach us on how to deal with particular circumstances that we are facing. If we just read through the bible, we can see that the answer to almost everything that we are experiencing is there. We just have to spend time on it. We have to invest a part of ourselves to achieve it. In regards to whether the bible is true or not, actually it depends on human perception, on how they would see it and how they would interpret it. We just have to remember that we should not take the messages in the bible literally. The authors may have written the passages in a different way and in a figurative approach, but what really important is the message that God wants us to acquire. Thats why its very important to have the wisdom from God to be able to properly perceive the message.

IV. References

International Bible Society. (1984). The holy Bible, new international version. Colorado, CO: International Bible Society. Lim, B. (1992). Practical Discipleship: A Step-by-Step Approach to the Christian Life. Manila: OMF Literature Inc. Schenk, C. (n.d). A call for national dialogue. Retrieved last December 3, 2011 from http://www.cta-usa.org/wicl/4jesusandwomen.html Tetlow, E. M. (1980). The status of women in Greek, Roman and Jewish society. Retrieved last December 3, 2011 from http://www.womenpriests.org/classic/tetlow1.asp