Engaging views and analysis from outside contributors on the issues affecting society and faith today.

CP VOICES do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

The day I almost trashed my Bible

Unsplash/Steve Johnson
Unsplash/Steve Johnson

I was ready to throw in the towel and my Bible into the nearest trash bin.

Have you ever felt like that? Troubles and sorrows just keep piling up, no relief is in sight, things are in no way working out as you had hoped, and heaven seems shut up tighter than a drum?

You cast an angry scowl upwards because inside you’re thinking, “… it is You who have done this … because of the opposition of Your hand I am perishing” (Ps. 39:9, 10).

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

For me, the day came not too long after I watched my very young wife die of cancer. I was sitting in bed listening to my 1-year-old daughter sleep in the next room.  She was now motherless. On my nightstand was my Bible, and next to that was my bedroom trash can.

I had an overwhelming urge to put #1 into #2.

But God, who has “mercy on those who doubt” (Jude 22) had teed up for me an essay, entitled “The Ministry of the Night,” which was in an A. W. Tozer devotional I was reading. The first line read: “If God has singled you out to be a special object of His grace you may expect Him to honor you with stricter discipline and greater suffering than less favored ones are called upon to endure.”

An explosion went off in my head and I picked up my Bible and found my way to Hebrews 11, which is the New Testament’s roll call of the faithful. I found the part where it says, “others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground” (Heb. 11:35-38).

Tozer’s statement was scary to read. So was the section in Hebrews 11. But they were also comforting at the same time.

Why? Because they perfectly reflect reality and what happens to even the best of us.  

That meant only one thing — my Bible wasn’t going anywhere.

Embarrassing things

Critics oftentimes blast Scripture as being a book of fairy tales. In reality, it’s anything but and that’s what kept me from trashing it that night.

Here’s the thing: if every story in the Bible pictured perfect people doing wonderful things with storybook endings and no head-scratching complications or tragedies, well, then I’d have to say it’s a lie and in no way represents the real world. But instead, we have just the opposite.  

We have accounts where a good brother is killed by the bad (Gen. 4:8), famines devastate countries (Gen. 41:27), beloved wives like Rachel die in childbirth (Gen. 35:19), nations are conquered by countries eviler than themselves (Dan. 1:1-2), livelihoods, families, and good health are destroyed by the enemy (Job 1-2), a man who paved the way for Christ is unjustly murdered in prison by an evil woman (Matt. 11:11; 14:1-12) while another righteous man is slandered and then stoned to death (Acts 7), some prayers lifted up to spare the life of great Christians are granted (Acts 12:5, 12) while others are not (Acts 12:2).

And let’s not forget the account of a sinless Man’s prayer to be spared a horrible death being ignored (Matt. 26:42), so He ends up being traded for a known murderer (Matt. 27:21) and then crucified.

Sound like rainbows and lollipops to you? I didn’t think so.

Let me give you something else to consider: maybe you’ve heard about a tool historians have in their arsenal called the “Criterion of Embarrassment,” which says an account has a strong likelihood of being true if the content embarrasses the author or those they are writing about.

Did you know the Bible is loaded with such things?  

For example, literally not one major personality in Scripture (with the possible exception of Daniel) is portrayed positively from start to finish (e.g., Abraham lies about his wife not once but twice in Gen. 12:13, 20:2; Jacob deceives his father to get Esau’s blessing in Gen. 27; David commits adultery and then has the woman’s husband killed in 2 Sam. 11).  

When Jesus starts preaching, His family comes to get Him because they think He’s crazy (Mark 3:21) and we’re told “not even his brothers believed in Him” (John 7:5). The leaders of the early Church are constantly pictured as being dim-witted and dull to what Jesus was telling them (Luke 18:34). Even in the garden of Gethsemane, the portrayal of the disciples is that of not understanding Jesus’ passion or predictions plus a complete lack of belief (Mark 8:31-33, 9:31-32, 14:27-31; Luke 24:11, 21).

Mark’s Gospel, which was dictated to him by Peter (according to some early church fathers) contains Jesus calling the oral author of the book and leader of the early church “Satan” (Mark 8:33). Instead of staying with their Leader and fighting for Him when He was arrested, we’re told His disciples, “all left Him and fled” (Mark 14:50).

In place of important men being the first eyewitnesses of Christ’s resurrection, we’re told women were the first to see Him (John 20:11-18). When Jesus appeared to His supporters we’re told “some were doubtful” (Matt. 28:17). A crucified messiah was a contradiction in terms, which the apostle Paul admits: “but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness” (1 Cor. 1:23).

Want more?

When it comes to the problem of evil, we’re told by skeptics that a good God could never have created a world with the wickedness ours contains. And yet the Bible doesn’t try to whitewash the problem but instead embraces it.

Isaiah 45:6-7 says: “There is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.” Amos says the same thing: “Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?” (Amos 3:6, emphasis mine).

When disaster befalls Job, we’re told: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away” (v. 21). Notice it doesn’t say, “The Lord gave and Satan has taken away”. The end of Job relays the same thing: “The Lord also restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased double all that Job had. Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all who had known him before came to him, and … comforted him for all the adversities that the Lord had brought on him” (Job 42:10-11, emphasis mine).

How and why God redeems good from evil and works within the boundaries of our free will is a mystery, but it's all over the Bible. Perhaps nowhere better is this seen than in the death and resurrection of Christ where we're told: "this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power" (Acts 2:23-24). 

So, what does all this mean for us?

Here’s the gist: awful things are splashed all over the pages of Scripture and, far from a fairy tale, mirror the seemingly unfair reality we walk in each and every day. In other words, there is no existential mismatch between it and our lives.

And if the Bible is not embarrassed about those embarrassing things, then it’s not unreasonable to believe it just may be speaking the truth about the rest: you know, those small things concerning salvation and eternity.

No, the Bible is anything but a collection of fables, and that’s what kept me from trashing my Bible that night.

Of course, all this won’t convince cynics who laugh at Scripture, but then again we’re told that “the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).

My Bible is staying out of the trash heap simply because what it says is true. And when it comes to believing what someone says about life, death, and what’s to come, I’ll listen to the Guy whose grave is still empty and am A-OK to be a “fool for Christ’s sake” (1 Cor. 4:10). 

Robin Schumacher is an accomplished software executive and Christian apologist who has written many articles, authored and contributed to several Christian books, appeared on nationally syndicated radio programs, and presented at apologetic events. He holds a BS in Business, Master's in Christian apologetics and a Ph.D. in New Testament. His latest book is, A Confident Faith: Winning people to Christ with the apologetics of the Apostle Paul.

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More In Opinion