I have written that the Bible can stand the test of its claim to be divinely inspired. The writers sometimes claimed to be quoting the actual words of God (i.e. Ten Commandments). Either they are telling the truth or liars. The writers claimed at times their guidance was inspired by God. The phrase “Thus says the Lord” was used thousands of time by the prophets in the Old Testament. The New Testament writers claimed as fact, despite available eyewitnesses, that Jesus resurrected from the dead. The New Testament has no credibility if proved a story was made up by first centuries Christians and perpetuated over the next two thousand years and the empty tomb is not a historical fact beyond reasonable doubt.
Some though may rightly doubt the Bible is inspired because of certain interrupted characterizations of God in the Bible. Many insinuations made about God in the Bible perhaps deserve a second look. We are made in God’s likeness so we are not totally clueless of what God is really like. When two debatable interpretations in Scriptures exist, we must err on the side that portrays God as the most relational and rational to the human mind. Our biblical interpretations must be plausible based on what a loving God should be like.
There are many misbeliefs about God in my opinion that I heard growing up. If certain beliefs about the Bible are not true, we may look at the Bible and God in a different light. God is not a hellish, sadistic torturer! Jesus never threatened anyone with Hell as if that inspires a relationship. The Greek word Gehenna in the NT wrongly translated as Hell was a proper noun and the name of a valley nearby Jerusalem with a history. Hell is no more a translation of Gehenna than Atlanta is for Chicago. Hell was an invention to scare people into submission.
God does not favor men over women in leadership roles. The Apostle Paul encouraged husbands to be loving servants with their wives. Best friends, in marriage or other dyad relationships, don’t require a leader. One main passage is referenced to argue women cannot be ministers. Paul was only saying that there may be circumstances when women shouldn’t lead a group as there are times when men shouldn’t lead. God is about peace. Many religions describe certain gender roles that just can’t be right about an impartial God. Ministry is not about women’s rights or equality but a privilege and opportunity to use one’s God-given gifts to serve others.
God did sometimes approve the killing of men, women, and children in times of war. Many are familiar with passages in the OT where God actually advised the Israelites to destroy the enemies’ land and those who inhabited it. Evil is real. In OT times men and women would appease the appetites of their supposed gods by sacrificing their children to their gods. Some leaders today participate in or allow the raping of women and slavery of children by doing nothing. If my neighbor has his daughter barricaded in his home and is regularly abusing her, the police must do all they can to stop such injustice even if killing is required.
The Bible records that evil had become so rampant that God practically destroyed the entire human race, including innocent women and children, during Noah’s time and started over. Evil may have progressed to the level of sacrificing children to supposed gods. God would not have rejected anybody from entering the Ark if they wanted anything to do with Noah’s God. It takes courage to leave one’s family, so I don’t judge because I am not sure what I would do. Corruption can infiltrate a society so much that a fresh start may be the most merciful thing to do. There may be a better place after death more merciful than abandonment, starvation, disease, or being torn apart by wild animals (Ex 23:28-29). The Flood was not doing evil that good may come; it is ridding of the cancer that can eventually destroy any good for future generations.
Speaking of gods that demand the sacrifice of their children, did God’s anger have to be appeased by the death of His Son so He could love us? Jesus died not to change God’s attitude but our attitude toward God. Jesus was willing to walk in our shoes to gain credibility and influence so we might consider His ways. Loving others as you want to be leads to true happiness in the long-run. God only desires a contrite heart for everyone’s good. Cultures in OT times worshipped idols and developed their own sacrificial ways to worship or please their different gods. God used the sacrificial system to show the differences between “God and gods.” OT sacrifices for sins revealed the cost of selfishness toward others and helped people to anticipate and understand a Messiah was coming.
Finally, Jesus said some pretty outlandish or close-minded stuff while claiming to be impartial. Jesus said He was the only way to God (John 14:6). This doesn’t bode well for the millions over the centuries that have never even heard the name of Jesus. Some parents badly misrepresent Jesus, so will their children not be in “the club” with those that had more rational parents. Will the thief who was only sorry when hanging on a Cross with Jesus go to paradise while those who don’t claim the “Christian” God, but lived conscientiously, be out of luck? The Bible also says “whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (I John 4:7). No one obviously loves perfectly or God and Jesus are going to be pretty lonely together. Jesus surely doesn’t just love those who have heard or speak His name.
There are other beliefs taught they can make one doubt the Bible is inspired. Do we really think God doesn’t intervene more in times of undeserved suffering because God doesn’t care or believes we deserve to suffer because none of us are perfect? Maybe there is a rational explanation to how God’s goodness and evil can coexist. Does God really say pray and you get whatever you want, even if your partner likes drinking and could care less how their actions hurt others? Does God really condemn monogamous, homosexual relationships or instead violent sexual activities against one’s will? Who doesn’t know that sexual behaviors, forced or not, that are mindless, selfish engagements are wrong!