How to read the Bible badly: A primer
If you want to make a mess of the Bible and hurt a lot of people while doing so, I have a few tips that are going to really make your work a whole lot easier. Put these into practice and I promise you will completely ruin any chance of getting the point of scripture.
Therapy manual. Use the Bible as a therapy manual. Select scriptures out of context and then apply them to people’s legitimate mental disorders and relationship suffering. This way you can almost certainly make matters worse.
Hammer. There are some really harsh passages in scripture that have some specific contextual meanings. However, if you take them out of context you can make someone feel really bad and maybe even coerce them into doing things your way.
Science book. Make sure that you make specific scientific claims from the Bible, especially about how the world was created. The more specific the better. If someone pushes back, just say that the Bible was the first book science and it is the last book of science. That should open up their eyes.
Literalize everything. If the Bible has any truth in it at all, then everything in it must have happened. No room for story, poetry, narrative, parable, history, law, perspective, and human participation.
Act like you aren’t interpreting it. It is really important to be honest while reading the Bible. And the best way to be honest is to pretend that you are not the least bit influenced by culture, family of origin, 2000 years, translation, other people’s interpretations or any other thing. You are 100% completely objective.
Me-ify it. Make sure that every bit of scripture was written with you and only you in mind and that everything in scripture, someway somehow, applies to this moment in your life, right here, right now.
Hammer II. Use scripture to back up every belief you already have, especially beliefs that make you more powerful than anyone else. Start in Joshua to justify violence and then dig up a few scriptures to justify how God hates the people you hate. It’s much more convincing when God hates the same people you hate.
Metaphor it. Make sure that the stories in the Bible are merely stories and that none if it really happened. Jesus raising from the dead is a great metaphor for making a big come back, but it flies in the face of all common sense.
New Israel. Always apply everything about Israel in scripture to the United States today. Be offended when other people compare the United States to Rome.
Leverage Hell. Make sure that the Bible is used to identify who is going to Hell and who is going to Heaven and then keep maintaining the boundaries, but tell them God said it.