Sex and Violence in the Bible

| February 25, 2015

Joseph W. Smith. Sex and Violence in the Bible: A Survey of Explicit Content in the Holy Book. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2014. 256 pp. $16.99.

Sex and Violence in the Bible goes where the prudish, squeamish, and sheltered fear to tread. The subtitle, A Survey of Explicit Content in the Holy Book, delivers on its description. These are the topics that make parishioners blush and pastors perspire. 

I knew I wouldn’t study Scripture’s passages on sex and violence deeply enough unless I had to read a book about it. Reading verses about sex make me feel like a little kid asking his parents, “Where do babies come from?” And reading verses about graphic or massive bloodletting have me alternating between a thirst for adventure and baffled disgust. Sometimes the Bible is hard to understand. Add to that the fact sex and violence aren’t typical dinnertable topics, and you have a critical need for this book. 

Stack of Library Books

Joseph W. Smith III writes for both the preacher and the layperson. An average churchgoer can read this extensively researched volume without being troubled by complicated jargon or convoluted Hebrew and Greek word studies. At the same time, a minister of the Word can find rich and nuanced commentary to aid in preparation. 

The book is arranged in three sections…

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