“Clobber Verses”

“Clobber Verses”

This week, the sermon comes with a “content warning.” I really want everyone to be aware that I will be talking about the particular Bible verses that are referenced whenever people discuss homosexuality. Many people refer to these few verses collectively as the “clobber verses.” 

Isn’t that something?

This group of verses has earned a nickname. They have so often been read as ways to “clobber” people, wielded against people as if the Bible is a weapon, that they are known by that reputation. That, in and of itself, is worth thinking about. 

Of the many and various things that the Bible is to me, a weapon is certainly not on my list. And knowing that it has been experienced as a weapon is both heartbreaking and infuriating. As someone who is guided by the words of Scripture, who has devoted my vocation to the interpretation of its words, who studies the original languages, historical context, and literary forms, I categorically reject any malevolent use of the Bible.

I’ll be honest, knowing that there are people who brandish selected Bible verses with the intention of hurting others makes me angry, and that anger motivates me in my work. Each week as I dig into the Scriptures, reading the various translations, looking up words in Greek and Hebrew, reading multiple commentaries from Biblical experts at work in the field, I am inspired by the living, breathing text. And in my preaching I hope others hear the Word of God as a living, breathing reality, rather than an archaic, stagnant religious tome. 

When Solomon took the throne in ancient Israel, he prayed for wisdom. He asked God for a discerning mind, to better understand God’s desires for him, and for the people. This should be our prayer every time we take up the Bible to read. As we process the words on the pages of Scripture, we pray for the Holy Spirit to inspire us to a deeper understanding, not of the words, but of the Word, of the real presence of God in our midst. 

So we will talk about the handful of verses in Scripture known as “clobber verses” this weekend, and we will pray for inspiration, for discernment, and for the wisdom of the Spirit as we do. 

I’ll see y’all in church.