12 Apr 2019

Bible Passages My Preacher Never Taught Me

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Bible, Bobby's World, Christian hope, Grace, Holding On, Precision Obedience, Uncategorized, Women

Passages of the Bible I wish I had known growing up in Churches of Christ. I grew up in a Bible believing home and in a Bible preaching church (supposedly). I learned about TOPICS that were important to our social identity in northwest Alabama. But there was a massive amount of Bible I did not have nay inkling about. While I could quote the textual variant Mark 16.15-16 (while ignoring the fact that it is not genuine but my preacher never told me that), Acts 2.38, 1 Peter 3.21, Jude 3 and Romans 16.16 (always incorrectly btw). But if were to go back in time and talk to a younger me, I would say “Bobby get to know these texts.”

1) Exodus 34.6-7 … one of the most important texts, hands down, in the entire Bible. I had never even heard of it. I now refer to this text as the “God Creed.”

The Lord, the Lord,
a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness

keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation,
forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.

This passage recurs in whole, or in part, throughout the rest of the Hebrew Bible dozens of times. This was the “anchor” of hope for Israel. I never heard of it.

2) Leviticus 26.11-12 … the marvelous promise of divine presence. God wants to LIVE with US. I had never heard of it.

I will place my dwelling in your midst, and I shall not abhor you.  And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people.

It is a veritable return to Eden. God lives with Israel, God walks with Israel, God marries Israel. I never heard of it. I call it the “Immanuel Creed.”

3) Numbers 6.22-26 … God’s blessing upon his people. I had never heard of it.

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord makes his face shine upon you,
and be gracious to you,
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you shalom

What a word of grace, what a word of hope that Yahweh gave to the Israelites when they came to the temple to worship and commune with him. The “priestly blessing” touches the longing of all of us. But I never heard of it.

4) Deuteronomy 10.12-22 … the whole shebang of the Hebrew Bible in eleven verses. I had never heard of it. What did God demand of those Jews? God demanded precision obedience to 613 commandments, I was taught. The slightest lack of precision in one doomed the poor Jew. But that is not what Moses taught at all …

So now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord your God and his decrees that I am commanding you today, for your own well-being. Although heaven and the heaven of heavens belong to the Lord your God, the earth with all that is in it, yet the Lord set his heart in love on your ancestors alone and chose you, their descendants after them, out of all the peoples, as it is today.

Circumcise, then, the foreskin of your heart, and do not be stubborn any longer.  For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe,  who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the Lord your God; him alone you shall worship; to him you shall hold fast, and by his name you shall swear.  He is your praise; he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things that your own eyes have seen.  Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy persons; and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in heaven

Here are three requirements that are really only two: Love Yahweh and Love the alien – all in response to God’s astonishing love. Circumcising our heart is what makes it possible to remove our idolatry of self so we can love God and love our neighbor. But I never heard of it.

5) Deuteronomy 34.9-12 … all I knew about Moses was he gave stuff we wanted to get rid of and failed at precision obedience by striking that rock. For all I knew he was going to hell. But God loved Moses, knew him face to face. Every prophet is measured by Moses, including Jesus. I had never heard of it.

Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.  He was unequaled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land,  and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.”

But I did not know this wonderful description of Moses and that God knew him “face to face.”

6) 2 Chronicles 34.22-28 … I did not know women did anything in the Bible. Huldah preached the word of the Lord and she is the first person in recorded history to state that a text was Scripture. Here this woman of God instructed the king, the high priest, the secretary of state and others. She brought about a massive reformation. I never heard of it.

7) Esther 9.29, 32 … Esther threw herself before the King. I did not know that she wrote the law for the Feast of Purim … I never heard of it. Seriously, though I knew the story of Esther, the only lesson I can ever recall from Esther was not even on Esther but Vashti who refused to dance! And our lesson was on dancing!

Queen Esther daughter of Abihail, along with the Jew Mordecai, gave full written authority, confirming this second letter about Purim. Letters were sent wishing peace and security to all the Jews, to the one hundred twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus,  and giving orders that these days of Purim should be observed at their appointed seasons … The command of Queen Esther fixed these practices of Purim, and it was recorded in writing.”

A woman exercising authority over the people of God? A woman directing worship? I never heard of it.

8) Jeremiah 3.8 … after seeing many people treated like pariah’s after a divorce, it was quite startling to learn that GOD had gone through a divorce! … I had never heard of it.

for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce; yet her false sister Judah did not fear

As a divorcee, I find it strangely comforting that God has had a divorce! I never heard of it.

9) Romans 5.6-11 … God sent Jesus to PROVE his love for his ENEMIES. I would tell myself to not be afraid to believe it. I am not so sure I knew that I actually had a Savior.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die.  But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.  Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

Is this not an amazing passage? Why didn’t I know it?

10) Jude 24-25 … I had Jude 1.3 drilled into my head. But I would not have been able to tell you what v 2 nor v 4 was about. Today, I would tell my fifteen self, memorize verses 24 and 25 … I never knew they were in the Bible. In fact I knew nothing of the letter of Jude except that our preachers and debaters quoted a single verse but when they quoted it, I am certain they did not include verses 24-25 as part of the “faith once delivered.”

Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen”.

What an astonishing text. It resounds like the blessing in #3 and echoes Psalm 124. God can keep us standing and keep us from falling! I never heard of this text!

Ten texts I wish I had grown up knowing. I wish the preachers, teachers, elders, and debaters I knew had stressed these wonderful texts. My life might have been different in those early years. They are awesome. Memorize them.

The Word is Life to the perishing.

5 Responses to “Bible Passages My Preacher Never Taught Me”

  1. john acuff Says:

    thanks as usual have you read Steve Simms book on race

  2. Tim Says:

    A great passage in Exodus 34, have claimed as an adopted child of Abraham’s promise that promise myself. So grateful for the start in faith of my own parents and hoping to see it passed on to my children as many generations as He tarries. I found the other half of this promise equally descriptive and incisive of God’s Almighty intentions, and as a powerful “backstop” on the Exitus.

    “Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

  3. Jess Nichols Says:

    I like this very much Bobby.

  4. Dwight Says:

    A great book is the Jesus Creed that looks at OT scripture that were repurposed for the NT times by God.
    There are many things that we never approach from the scriptures, mainly because they don’t fit our narratives.
    One of my favorites is Esther and how, not God, but she instituted the Purim feast along side of all of the other feast commanded by God.
    From our standpoint she obviously went beyond what God said, due to silence of the scriptures, but God didn’t seem to mind.

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