Dan Kimball Addresses Difficult Bible Passages in New Book

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In his new book How (Not) to Read the Bible: Making Sense of the Anti-women, Anti-science, Pro-violence, Pro-slavery and Other Crazy-Sounding Parts of Scripture, Western Seminary’s Dan Kimball offers a guide to understanding difficult and disturbing Bible passages. Kimball recently sat down to talk about his motivation for writing the book, which was released on Dec. 1 by Zondervan.

Why did you write this book?

"This was a book that I felt like I had to write. These are the real-life questions that we are dealing with in our culture. For a long time, the church has focused on teaching on the wonderful truths of Scripture. But we haven’t always done well focusing on the complex things in the Bible. I hear so many people asking questions like 'What about all the violence in the Bible?' or 'How do we understand ‘women be quiet in the church?' I wrote this so we could have ways of responding to these questions."

Who did you write this book for?

"I see a crisis of belief among young people right now in the church. These questions are being asked right at the crucial moment of faith. I keep hearing young people telling me over and over again, 'When I asked my youth pastor or my parents, they say, "I don’t’ know."' And this is right when young people are looking for ways to not believe."

Why did you decide to incorporate memes and illustrations into the book?

"Memes are out there all over the place and being seen by so many people. If I search for a problematic Bible verse on the Internet, these memes I used are actually some of the results that show up first."

Why are you so passionate about training young church leaders?

"These leaders are on the forefront right now of all the cultural questions about faith. But the problem is that often younger leaders aren’t trained. They’ve been brought onto staff at churches because of their skills and abilities, but they usually don’t have the theological background to provide credible answers to these difficult theological questions."

So what’s the solution?

"Young leaders need theological training. Our churches really need to see the need and get behind the idea of providing theological training to their young leaders. If these leaders can give young believers and non-believer reasonable answers to the hard questions, it can make a huge difference at such a crucial moment of faith in their lives."

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Kimball is the director of the Regeneration Project, a gospel-centered ministry of Western that exists to help church leaders respond to difficult questions about theology and the Bible. He also hosts Western’s Bay Area Cohort, a degree program specifically designed for Bay Area church leaders.