Terrible Texts

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Throughout his book, Sins of Scripture, John Shelby Spong identifies various biblical verses as "terrible texts." Here is a consolidated list of those verses:

Terrible Text #1

Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.
Genesis 1:28

Terrible Text #2

Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner." So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
"This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called Woman,
for out of Man this one was taken."
Genesis 2:18-23


For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. neither was man created for wioman, but woman for man.
1 Corinthians 11:8-9

Terrible Text #3

But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may know them."
Genesis 19:4-5


You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22


If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.
Leviticus 20:13


Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and 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 1:22-27

Terrible Text #4

Those who spare the rod hate their children,
but those who love them are diligent to discipline them.
Proverbs 13:24


Do not withhold discipline from your children;
if you beat them with a rod, they will not die.
If you beat them with the rod,
you will save their lives from Sheol.
Proverbs 23:13-14


Folly is bound up in the heart of a boy,
but the rod of discipline drives it far away.
Proverbs 22:15

Terrible Texts #5

So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood;1 see to it yourselves." Then the people as a whole answered, "His blood be on us and on our children!"
Matthew 27:24-25

Terrible Text #6

Beloved, while eagerly preparing to write to you about the salvation we share, I find it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
Jude 1:3

Terrible Text #7

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6