Our young people face an unprecedented assault on their faith. It seems to come at them from every side. One area that is effectively used by the enemy is social media. On media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it is very easy for people to share rhetorically powerful posts that can leave young Christians scrambling to find an answer.
Recently, my 14-year-old niece showed me a meme that generated a lot of debate on Instagram. The meme pictured a Bible lying on its side with hundreds of colored tabs sticking out of it. The meme said, “The Good Book? Pink tabs are for murder, purple for human or animal sacrifice, blue for rape, yellow for slavery, and green for misogyny.”
The question that this meme was trying to raise was pretty clear: How can a book that contains murder, animal or human sacrifice, rape, slavery, and misogyny be called good?
When challenges like this come up, I have a question: Does a book necessarily approve of everything it records? The answer is obviously, no. Consider your favorite news reporter. Just because she tries to accurately report on immoral events, like murder and rape, that does not mean she is an evil person. In fact, the news reporter could be a good person and abhor the immoral behavior that she reports.
So this challenge rests upon a demonstrably false assumption. This challenge assumes that everything contained in the Bible is commended by the Bible. This is simply not true. There are many things in the Bible that are described, but not prescribed. For example, David’s sin of murder and adultery are faithfully recorded in Second Samuel. However, it would be a gross mistake to conclude that God, therefore, approved of those immoral acts. On the contrary, the Bible condemns both murder and adultery (Exodus 20:13, 14).
Therefore, it is mistaken to think that God approves of all that the Bible records. So going through the Bible and marking off every instance of murder, animal or human sacrifice, rape, slavery, and misogyny will not tell you if the Bible is a good book or not.
There is a reason the Bible is called the Good Book, and it has to do with all the evil that is recorded in the Bible. Romans 5:6–10 says,
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
The Bible shows us just how wicked we really are. Read it for yourself. Everyone who has ever drawn breath is a sinner. Paul calls us all “ungodly” and deserving of the wrath of God. That is the bad news. The good news is that God has a plan to save us. The Bible is a record of the unfolding of the plan of redemption. So the Bible is called “the Good Book” because it contains the good news that Christ has died to save sinners like you and me. That sounds pretty good to me.