17 Controversial Bible Passages That Churches Conveniently Ignore

17 Controversial Bible Passages That Churches Conveniently Ignore

The Bible is supposed to be the ultimate guide to living a righteous life. However, as it turns out, there are quite a few passages in there that churches tend to skip over. You won’t hear them preached from the pulpit on Sunday morning, that’s for sure. These controversial scriptures challenge some of the most cherished beliefs and practices of modern Christianity.

1. Deuteronomy 21:18-21 — Stubborn and rebellious children should be stoned to death.

Yep, you read that right. The Bible says that if you have a disobedient kid who just won’t listen, you should take them outside the city gates and stone them to death. Seems a bit harsh, doesn’t it? I mean, I get that parenting can be tough, but this is taking discipline to a whole new level. Good thing most churches don’t take this one literally.

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2. 1 Timothy 2:11-12 — Women should be silent in church and not teach men.

man's hand on bible

This passage has been used for centuries to justify the subordination of women in religious settings, Oxford Academic explains. It says that women should learn in silence and submission, and that they’re not allowed to teach or have authority over men. Funny how some churches are all about gender equality, until it comes to leadership roles.

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3. Leviticus 20:13 — Homosexuality is an abomination punishable by death.


This is a big one. The Bible is pretty clear that homosexuality is a sin, and that those who engage in it should be put to death. But in today’s world, more and more churches are embracing LGBTQIA+ community members and even performing same-sex marriages. It’s almost like they’re picking and choosing which parts of the Bible to follow.

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4. Exodus 21:20-21 — It’s okay to beat your slaves, as long as they don’t die.

Slavery is condoned throughout the Bible, and this passage even gives instructions on how to properly beat your slaves. As long as they don’t die within a day or two, you’re in the clear. It’s hard to believe that an all-loving God would be okay with this kind of cruelty, but there it is in black and white.

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5. Numbers 31:17-18 — Virgin girls should be taken as spoils of war and given to the soldiers.

After a battle, the Israelites were commanded to kill all the men, married women, and boys, but to keep the virgin girls for themselves. These girls were essentially treated as sexual slaves, given to the soldiers as rewards for their violence. It’s a far cry from the “love your neighbor” message that churches preach today.

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6. Mark 16:17-18 — True believers can handle snakes and drink poison without being harmed.

This passage suggests that those who truly believe in Jesus will be able to perform all sorts of miraculous feats, like casting out demons, speaking in tongues, and even handling snakes and drinking deadly poison without being harmed. While some fringe churches do practice snake handling, most mainstream churches steer clear of this one.

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7. Matthew 19:21 — To be perfect, sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor.

Jesus told a rich young man that if he wanted to be perfect, he should sell everything he owned, give the money to the poor, and follow him. But how many Christians do you know who have actually done this? In a culture that values wealth and materialism, this teaching is often conveniently ignored.

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8. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 — Women should be silent in church and ask their husbands at home if they have questions.

Here’s another passage that’s been used to keep women in their place. It says that women should be completely silent in church, and if they have any questions, they should ask their husbands at home. Because apparently, women are incapable of understanding spiritual matters on their own.

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9. Deuteronomy 22:28-29 — A rapist must marry his victim and pay her father 50 shekels of silver.

According to this passage, if a man rapes an unmarried woman, he must marry her and can never divorce her. Oh, and he has to pay her father 50 shekels of silver for the trouble. It’s a horrifying example of how the Bible often treats women as property rather than human beings.

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10. Ephesians 6:5-8 — Slaves should obey their masters, just as they would obey Christ.

This passage instructs slaves to obey their masters with fear and trembling, as if they were serving Christ himself. It’s a troubling endorsement of slavery that goes against modern values of freedom and equality. But you won’t hear many sermons preached on this one.

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11. Leviticus 19:19 — Don’t wear clothing made of mixed fabrics.

The Bible is full of bizarre laws, and this is one of them. It says that you shouldn’t wear clothing made of mixed fabrics, like wool and linen together. I guess God is really particular about his fashion choices. But seriously, how many Christians actually follow this rule?

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12. 1 Peter 2:18 — Slaves should submit to their masters, even if they’re cruel.

Here’s another verse that condones slavery and tells slaves to submit to their masters, even if they’re harsh and abusive. It’s hard to reconcile this with the idea of a loving and just God who cares for the oppressed and marginalized.

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13. 1 Timothy 6:1-2 — Slaves should consider their masters worthy of full respect.

This passage goes even further, instructing slaves to show full respect to their masters, especially if their masters are believers. It’s a disturbing example of how the Bible has been used to justify oppression and inequality throughout history.

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14. Deuteronomy 25:11-12 — Cut off a woman’s hand if she grabs a man’s genitals during a fight.

Okay, this one is just bizarre. It says that if two men are fighting and one of their wives grabs the other man’s genitals to help her husband, you should cut off her hand as punishment. It’s a strange and violent law that has no place in modern society.

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15. Psalm 137:9 — Blessed are those who dash babies against the rocks.

This is one of the most disturbing verses in the Bible. It says that those who take the babies of their enemies and smash them against the rocks will be blessed. It’s a shocking example of the violence and cruelty that can be found in some parts of scripture.

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16. Leviticus 21:16-23 — People with disabilities cannot approach the altar of God.

According to this passage, anyone with a physical disability or deformity is not allowed to approach the altar of God or offer sacrifices. It’s a cruel and discriminatory law that goes against the idea of a God who loves and accepts all people.

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17. 1 Corinthians 11:5-6 — Women should cover their heads or shave them.

This verse says that if a woman prays or prophesies with her head uncovered, it’s a disgrace. And if she refuses to cover her head, she should just shave it all off. It’s a bizarre and sexist teaching that most churches have abandoned, but it’s still there in the Bible.

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Jeff graduated from NYU with a degree in Political Science and moved to Australia for a year before eventually settling back in Brooklyn with his yellow lab, Sunny, and his girlfriend, Mia. He works in IT during the day and writes at night. In the future, he hopes to publish his own novel.