We sometimes get mail from skeptics referring to “Bible horror stories.” That indicates the writer does not understand the biblical message. For example, a recent letter referred to the “horror story of a guy cutting up a woman and mailing her body parts to people all over the world.” This is a classic example of an atheist lashing out at the Bible without thinking or understanding the biblical account.
We need to remember that the Bible reports history as well as giving God’s instructions. The fact that your local newspaper reports a murder does not mean that the newspaper did the killing or endorsed it.
The passage that the skeptic referred to is Judges 19-20. This is a horrible story of a woman companion of an unnamed Levite who is raped and murdered by a group of men. The Levite cuts up her corpse and sends it to the 12 tribes of Israel to motivate them to retaliate against the murderers. This mutilation was not something the Levite did as a command of God.
At the time of this Bible horror story, there was no justice system in place. The book of Judges ends with the statement, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). There was a code of conduct but no legal system to enforce it.
Colossians 2:12-23 tells us that Jesus Christ did away with the legalistic rules that no one could follow completely. The teachings of Christ in Matthew 5–7 are in stark contrast to the violence and power struggles in the Old Testament. The Bible horror stories are accurate records of evil actions. We learn from history, so we don’t repeat the mistakes. The New Testament is NEW!! There is no horror in the gospels except what evil men did to Christ.
— John N. Clayton © 2021