My Bible reading this morning took me to the 23rd chapter of Ezekiel. The Lord’s message for the people came in the form of an analogy of two sisters. It is a passage that I found to be very explicit (even more so if you read it in a modern translations, such as the NLT, like I did).
After reading it, I thought of similar passages in the Bible that don’t sit well with our sensibilities; passages that depict sensuality, rape, or gore. I wondered for a few minutes: If I were reading the Bible with kids, would I deem it correct to read such a passage with them? Or even with adults at a Bible Study?
I entertained the idea of a censored Bible briefly, but my conclusion was that the Bible should not be censored.
Take Ezequiel for example. His messages were given to the people through very dramatic representations. Obviously they were meant to catch the attention of people–and so they did (and still do–at least to me). I’m sure the Israelites were shocked when they saw him cut/shave his hair and beard (taboo for Ezequiel who was a priest). Or intrigued when he did his own one-man skit and dug a hole in the wall of his house through which he went out into the night to show the coming exile of the people in Jerusalem. Those are a few very dramatic ways of delivering the message that would be more likely to remain in the minds of the people.
But can dramatic effect fully explain why we should keep in a kid’s Bible passages such as Lot’s daughters, the raped and butchered concubine, or the unsavory details of fat king Eglod’s assassination? Obviously there can be more than one way of looking at the issue. The first is that no one can or should have the authority to take away from God’s word just as no one can add to it, after all, who is to say what can be kept and what can’t?
The second is that I believe that passages like this give insight to the real nature of sin–a glimpse of what it can drive us to do if we let the enemy take over our lives and if we reject God.
Furthermore, as a pastor of mine once told me, the Bible must be read Canonically. We must take into account the whole context of the Bible, so we don’t only make a point based on the unsavory bits, but on the whole.
Therefore, I am ok with seeing that the Kid’s Bible I bought for a little church friend of mine is in its entirety. The whole message is there, and it’s up to parents to realize that it is a great responsibility and a privilege to read it to/with their kid, and answering the many, many questions that will arise.