The Bible – A review

The Bible is never really treated like other books. Since The Bible is a major source for how we understand God we usually shy away from criticizing it, at least out loud for fear of being sacrilegious, but the truth is that sometimes we, or at least I, think things in the Bible are weird or confusing. Would I be ok with that in any other book? I don’t know, but I thought it would be interesting to look at the Bible as a book and review it like I would other books, just for fun… I apologize if my thoughts offend you; please know that I believe the Bible is true and this is just an attempt to humorously share my struggles with understanding it. 

The Bible
By God (sorta)

Synopsis: Well this book starts out with some really bizarre stuff about talking snakes, girls trying to get their father to impregnate them, a dude killing his kid to thank God for helping him win a battle, the sun standing still in the sky, people blowing trumpets to knock down walls, some kids getting eaten by a bear because they called a prophet bald, and a bunch of other really weird stuff.

The story is mostly about this guy, God, and the people that he created. For a big part of the book it focuses almost exclusively on God dealing with a certain racial group, the Jews. They are special to him for some reason, but they keep doing things he doesn’t want them to do, so he punishes them but makes all these promises that he will make things good for them again someday.

The major shifting point in the book is when this guy Jesus is born. Apparently he is God’s son who is planted in Mary without the, umm, normal means of seed planting, so to speak. Not a lot of people really seem to get who he is or what he is supposed to be doing, but they are all pretty interested in him because he can heal sick and handicapped people, he talks like he has God’s authority, and he just seems to get what’s going on better than anyone else. Some people think he is going to be the Jews’ new king and overthrow the Romans who are oppressing them, but he says that he is supposed to be a “spiritual” king which I can only imagine some people saw as a cop-out. So, he seems to want people to change and not be so comfortable and they don’t really like that so they have him killed, but then he comes back to life after being dead for three days.

Some of his followers go on to other places to tell other people about him and now it seems like the focus of the book largely shifts from God caring about just the Jews to him caring about everyone again. The book ends with some really weird stuff about lamps and bowls and Jesus coming back to earth again and making everything all better finally.

My Opinion: So, this is like God’s autobiography. I don’t think he casts himself in a very good light. First of all he seems racist when he is so preoccupied with the Jews and trying to get them to kill everyone else. Why should all those other people die? Just because they aren’t Jews? Seems kinda messed up to me. Another thing is that God seems to be all about himself. I mean the book is full of really awesome things that he does, but he always seems to do them so people will think he is great.

Another problem I had with The Bible is that there are so many confusing parts like the prophecies and the stuff about Jesus coming back and all the stuff that was going on with the Jews. It just seems to me like the book lacked focus and clear direction. The reader was left to infer a bunch of meaning and connections in the plot. Seems like a novice mistake by the author. There also seem to be a lot of contradictory facts, like how God chooses people he wants to follow him, but at the same time people choose to follow God. If he could have ironed all that out a little better I think it would have made more sense.

Some of the characters were confusing too. You weren’t sure if they were supposed to be good guys or bad guys. Like this one guy David who seems like he is all about following God and then he sleeps with another guy’s wife and kills the guy! What is that about?!?! Or David’s son Solomon who is supposedly super wise (like Mr Miyagi or something) yet he marries a bunch of women, and turns away from God to impress certain chicks? Doesn’t seem even slightly intelligent to me.

So much of this book’s plot, characters, and morals are confusing. You get a general idea that people are bad, that God loves them but he’s upset with them, that Jesus loves them and that him and God made a way for them to follow him. Love seems like a big deal. Humility seems like a big deal. God seems pretty interested in everyone knowing how awesome he is. Beyond that I just didn’t get much else.

FYI: there are several unofficial sequels and bonus materials to go along with The Bible like The Book of Mormon, The Apocrypha, and several additional gospel sections

The Bible at amazon.com
Or read it free lots of places online. I like reading it at blb.org

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About Dan Allen

Just some guy trying to figure stuff out... View all posts by Dan Allen

3 responses to “The Bible – A review

  • Seth

    Liked your candidness in this review.
    A couple of thoughts that came to mind that you may already be aware and have helped me to some degree, at least when it comes to the cohesiveness of the overall story. Is that the way the various books are assembled in the bible is not chronological for the most part. When I realized this it helped some. For instance a lot of the books by the prophets could be dropped right into various parts of like the book of Kings or Chronicles or where ever they go and then they would actually be in a context that helps to understand them a bit better.
    Fortunately there are really smart people who have taken their best stab at reassembling them chronologically. Concerning the NT a great book I read that did this with the epistles and dropped them into the book of Acts chronologically is called “The Untold Story of the New Testament” by Frank V. This helped a lot for me. Just a couple of cents thrown out there.
    One last thing you didn’t include in your review and it may have been on purpose since you were looking at is as an entire book is that there were over 40 different authors from various walks of life and wrote these various books over a span of 1500 years. I personally think that its amazing how amongst all the weird things in the Bible it still all points to one Person. Pretty cool stuff.

    • Dan Allen

      Seth

      Thanks for the comment! I hope that I did not give the wrong impression of my views on Scripture. I believe strongly that the Bible is true. I also agree with you that it is “amazing” and that it does “all point to one person.” I also think that some of the points you make are really helpful in understanding it better. To read the Bible as one book by one author is somewhat absurd (which was part of the joke of this post). It is important to recognize variations in genre, culture, and author, as well as recognizing that it is not structured chronologically. Studying the epistles within the chronology of Acts is n amazing study and definitely something I would encourage others to do as well. I’m sure the same goes for the prophets within Kings and Chronicles.

      The real point of this “review” was to be honest, and honestly, despite the fact that I know a lot of the things you are talking about, sometimes I think there is weird and confusing stuff in there. It doesn’t stop me from believing it but sometimes it makes me scratch my head. I’m fairly confident that I’m not the only one who has felt this way, which is why I wanted to share it to encourage people that they aren’t alone in their confusion or head scratching.

      But I do think the Bible is quite amazing, the fact that it was written over so many years by so many people yet tells one amazing story that is surprising cohesive and the fact that it has been so well preserved and the confidence we can have in knowing that what we see is extremely likely to look like what the original authors penned 1000s of years ago is simply astonishing.

      Again, thanks for your comment and thanks for the helpful tips (which are certainly useful in understanding why the Bible has such diverse content, yet tells one story)!

      Dan

  • Seth

    Hey Dan. Yeah I kinda of thought you were leaning more towards the lighter side in this. And its funny when you step back and look at the weird things like how Samson tied 300 foxes together by the tails (two by two) then set them on fire and sent them into the fields of the Philistines. Now how the heck did he do that? I think that would take a lot more than just strength to do that. Maybe like knowing a fox farmer would help 🙂 But like you I just say ok. I have learned to be content with not understanding fully things that are either in contrast or just don’t make sense.
    Anyways, thanks for responding I enjoyed reading your honest yet satirical review.

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