Scripture for Skeptics: Lesser-Known Verses

Critical Thinking in the Bible
Old Testament
New Testament

Critical Thinking in the Bible

Examples of critical thinking being taught and practiced in the Bible:

A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps. (Pr 14:15)

It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way. (Pr 19:2)

Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. (Jn 10:37)

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)

Test everything. Hold on to the good. (1 Thes 5:21)

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 Jn 4:1)

As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ," he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. (Acts 17:2-4)

For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. (Acts 18:28)

Then Jesus said to them, "How is it that they say the Christ is the Son of David? David himself declares in the Book of Psalms:

"'The Lord said to my Lord:
"Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet."'

David calls him 'Lord.' How then can he be his son?" (Lk 20:41-44)

Old Testament

People see God as angry and wrathful in the OT, but his love and mercy are often displayed as well. (See also God's love in the OT)

As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. (Ezek 33:11; see also 18:32)

If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. (Jer 18:7-8)

Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city. (Jer 5:1)

Food for thought on God's jealousy and wrath:

They did not destroy the peoples as the Lord had commanded them, but they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood. (Psalm 106:34-38)

They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger. But am I the one they are provoking? declares the LORD. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame? (Jer 7:18-19)

The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. (Is 57:1)

For more, see Workfare, Justice For the Poor and Other Overlooked Mosaic Laws.

New Testament

Many Christians as well as non-believers don't realize that there are degrees of punishment in hell. (See also the article on hell.)

That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. (Luke 12:47-48)

One example of love and respect for Jews in the NT (see also Is the New Testament anti-Semitic?):

I speak the truth in Christ - I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit - I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! (Rom 9:1-5)

Those who take issue with "Wives, submit to your husbands" should read the verses that come before and after:

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Eph 5:21)

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Eph 5:25, 28)

Top of page