Monday, October 16, 2017

What. Does. That. Mean? (modified)

A question to any readers out there:

If you could have just one biblical passage explained to you, perfectly, with no possibility of error, which one would it be? I don't necessarily mean in importance--just one that bugs you because you have no clue what it is about. One that leaves you scratching your head.

For me it would be this:
16If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. (1 John 5:16-17
It doesn't matter how many commentaries I read. None give satisfaction on this passage. I don't get it. I don't get it at all. I do not buy the fairly common explanation that this is about sin that leads to immediate death, such as in the case of Ananias and his wife Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10). That explanation has the slimmest of purchase. Apart from somebody sinning and dying, it doesn't fit nor offer any help in understanding the passage as a whole. Not to mention that since Ananias and Sapphira were summarily terminated there has been an obvious paucity of people sinning and dropping dead on the spot. With nothing new under the sun, if there are sins leading to immediate departure, you would think it would not be a rare phenomenon.

No, I don't think that's it. It is not about Ananias and Sapphira.

Sigh. It's one of those instance were I am reminded of the aphorism that it is not what you don't understand about the bible that should keep you awake, but what you do understand.  I get that. But it's not helping. This passage has always been stuck in my craw.

Do you have a passage that drives you nuts?


  1. Genesis 3:16. Scholars disagree over the word "desire", and the Hebrew word is only used in Genesis 4:7 and once in Song of Songs. The interpretation from the early 1970's that read feminist usurpation into this verse has been the de facto position of evangelicals, which I strongly disagree with. IMO It was eisegetical and has done tremendous harm to the family of God because it sets up an adversarial relationship between men and women. If the default is wrong, relationships would be so much healthier.

    2nd place is Mal. 2:16. Another verse that is hotly disputed and used as a trump card against biblical reasons for divorce.

  2. 1 Cor 15:29 - "Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?"

    It bugs me.