Redeeming Violent Verses (Paper)

A Guide for Using Troublesome Texts in Church and Ministry

  • 9780664264680
  • 6 x 9
  • 68.75
  • Paper
  • 0664264689
  • 11/7/2023
  • 7-10 days processing
$ 25.00


"One the greatest challenges the church faces today," writes Jerome F. D. Creach, "is to interpret and explain passages in the Bible that seem to promote or encourage violence" (Violence in Scripture, 1). In the past fifteen years, a number of books have been published to help people make sense of God's violent behavior in the Bible. Yet very little has been written about how to use these (and other) violent texts constructively in church. This leaves religious practitioners—pastors, priests, Sunday school teachers, worship ministers, lay leaders, and others—at a real disadvantage. What should they do with stories that sanction genocide or praise individuals for killing others? How can they use these violent texts in sermons, liturgies, Christian educations classes, and elsewhere without promoting the violent ideologies they contain?

In Redeeming Violent Verses, Eric Seibert addresses these questions by focusing on a wide range of practical ways to use violent biblical texts responsibly in the church and beyond. With chapters devoted to using violent verses when preaching sermons, teaching Sunday school, and leading worship, this book is filled with guidelines and specific practices designed to help ministers use violent verses responsibly. Seibert includes numerous examples to illustrate specific ways these verses could be used in ministry settings and pays special attention to dealing with passages that portray God behaving violently. Rather than ignoring these passages or being intimidated by them, Redeeming Violent Verses tackles troublesome texts head-on. It charts a bold path forward, one that opens up new possibilities for ministers by equipping them to use these texts in life-giving and spiritually edifying ways. Religious practitioners of all stripes will find this book immensely helpful, and readers will benefit greatly from the many strategies and suggestions offered here.

To help integrate the practical approaches found in this book, you can access free digital resources, which include a discussion and reflection guide for groups and individuals, as well as suggestions for teaching violent verses to children and notes on answering the difficult questions children ask. Download these at

Product Excerpts and Related Resources


"Redeeming Violent Verses is grounded in excellent scholarship, but the author's practical good sense and deep pastoral commitment make the book eminently suited for use in real-world settings. In this lucidly written and well-thought-out study, Eric Seibert has done a notable service to churches. I hope it reaches the widest possible audience."

—Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History, Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University, and author of Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can’t Ignore the Bible's Violent Verses


"I've read my fair share of books and articles addressing the violence of the Old Testament, and, as a pastor and educator, I have to say that I have never encountered anything nearly as practically helpful as Redeeming Violent Verses. I am confident that anyone who is disturbed by the violent texts of the Old Testament will benefit from this very readable work. But if you are a person whom God has called to use the Bible to influence others, in any capacity, whether adults or children, I implore you to deeply digest this bold and insightful work!"

—Gregory A. Boyd, pastor and author of The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Interpreting the Old Testament's Violent Portraits of God in Light of the Cross


"Eric Siebert's Redeeming Violent Verses challenges the church to engage seriously and honestly with the problem of violence in the Bible, and he offers thoughtful, simple (though never simplistic), and, above all, practical guidance for this difficult work. Siebert's hospitable style and inimitable clarity model good practices of naming, questioning, and learning from violent texts. Pastors, Sunday school teachers, and Bible readers who struggle to understand and explain violence in the Bible will find this book a valuable resource."

—Caryn A. Reeder, Professor of New Testament, Westmont College

"Eric Seibert takes on one of the most challenging issues in Scripture—the violence attributed to God and to God's people. He offers eminently practical guidance on how to engage these texts with people of all ages in the church. Every pastor and those responsible for teaching children and youth in the church should read this book."

—Adam Hamilton, pastor and author of Wrestling with Doubt, Finding Faith and Making Sense of the Bible

"Denial and avoidance: that's how we usually deal with descriptions of human and divine violence in Scripture. Seibert not only allows church leaders to help their members take an honest look at biblical violence but also offers honest, healthy, and practical ways to interpret and use these texts in various tasks of ministry. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to take the whole Bible seriously in the life of the church."

—O. Wesley Allen Jr., Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

"Eric Seibert's expertise in the interpretation of violence and the Bible is well established. In this book, he offers what few have been able to: a practical, insightful, and useful guide to using texts that are often avoided or dismissed. His love for communities of commitment and for those who have suffered violence is as evident here as his exegetical acumen."

—Amy C. Cottrill, Professor of Religion, Reinhardt University

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