Not too long ago, the popular Bible app YouVersion released quite a bit of data. Both Christianity Today and Religious news service took a look at the data. They found what some of people’s favorite verses are, according to the data.
The 5 most shared verses include Philippians 4:13, Psalm 118:24, 1 Peter 5:6, Isaiah 41:10, Matthew 7:7, and Isaiah 40:31.
Religious news service said it becomes apparent looking at the data that people like verses with big ideas listing the following.
Romans 8 — Living a spiritual life and hope for eternal life
Romans 12 — Loving God, the church, and others
Matthew 5 — The Sermon on the Mount
1 John 4 — God is love
Hebrews 12 — Why God allows hardship and how Christians should respond
These give us some passages people clearly like. But what about those people do not like: what about the passages so objectionable that people may even look *for* them? One can certainly find lists with those as well. The Skeptics Annotated Bible and like-minded forums and blogs often have lists, their own commentaries, and explanations of the “worst” bible verses.
However, even Christians, like those at the humor website “Ship of Fools” discussed these modernly most infamous verses on their forums. (Here’s a Telegraph article about it). The “worst” verses have quite a bit of overlap with the skeptic’s list. Here’s their Top 10 worst:
No. 1:St Paul’s advice about whether women are allowed to teach men in church:
“I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” (1 Timothy 2:12)
No. 2: In this verse, Samuel, one of the early leaders of Israel, orders genocide against a neighbouring people:
“This is what the Lord Almighty says… ‘Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” (1 Samuel 15:3)
No. 3: A command of Moses:
“Do not allow a sorceress to live.” (Exodus 22:18)
No. 4: The ending of Psalm 137, a psalm which was made into a disco calypso hit by Boney M, is often omitted from readings in church:
“Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us – he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.” (Psalm 137:9)
No. 5: Another blood-curdling tale from the Book of Judges, where an Israelite man is trapped in a house by a hostile crowd, and sends out his concubine to placate them:
“So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, ‘Get up; let’s go.’ But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.” (Judges 19:25-28)
No. 6: St Paul condemns homosexuality in the opening chapter of the Book of Romans:
“In the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:27)
No. 7: In this story from the Book of Judges, an Israelite leader, Jephthah, makes a rash vow to God, which has to be carried out:
“And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, ‘If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return victorious from the Ammonites, shall be the Lord’s, to be offered up by me as a burnt-offering.’ Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah; and there was his daughter coming out to meet him with timbrels and with dancing. She was his only child; he had no son or daughter except her. When he saw her, he tore his clothes, and said, ‘Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low; you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.’” (Judges 11:30-1, 34-5)
No. 8: The Lord is speaking to Abraham in this story where God commands him to sacrifice his son:
‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’ (Genesis 22:2)
No. 9: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22)
No. 10: “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.” (1 Peter 2:18)
Of course, the “Worst” list is not based off of any aggregated data from as large of a base as the YouVersion favorites. It is a different type of informal survey.
It does seem that these verses, or those like them, may often come up in discussions online, regarding the Christian faith. They seem to be at the forefront of people’s minds. What, then, are the most overlooked passages? Do you have a verse, passage, or story which you never see discussed? Maybe it’s because it’s just not taught. Maybe it is because it is confusing or obscure. Maybe it’s just a boring passage.
That’s what I want to know: we have data on what people (presumably) like. We have quite a few other sources listing the most disliked passages. What are the most overlooked Bible passages and verses?