Monday, September 25, 2017

The parts of the Bible that I don’t understand

“It’s not the parts of the Bible that I don’t understand that bother me; it’s the parts that I do understand.” This quote and similar versions (e.g. “It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”) are usually attributed, unsourced, to Mark Twain.[i]

If Twain actually said or wrote this, he probably had a different connotation and meaning than I have when a think of it. He wasn’t a great friend of the Bible and Christianity. When I think of “the parts of the Bible that I do understand bothering me,” it is those passages that are clear but hard to live up to – “turn the other cheek…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you,” for example. 

With biblical passages that are difficult to understand, I find “I don't know” to be a completely honest and acceptable answer.

[i] For example, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain edited by Alex Ayres, 1987, p. 24; Based on an inquiry I made, Quote Investigator took up the question and gives some interesting findings HERE.

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