In two earlier posts I talked about myths & histories. Another big chunk of the Bible includes regulations, or admonitions, or conduct requirements, or something. We remember the big 10 (although there is much disagreement about how you count them–awesome wikipedia chart on the four different numbering schemes.)
I’m not sure how Joe Average does on keeping the Sabath holy or avoiding coveting or bearing false witness, but there is pretty close to universal agreement among Christians that these are all MUSTs. Then you have the Sermon on the Mount from Jesus. Pretty hard core. Don’t even think about bad stuff, and, don’t just love your brother but love your enemy. (That doesn’t mean you don’t criticize your enemy, btw.) I don’t spend a lot of time avoiding breaking the Ten Commandments, but the Sermon on the Mount is surely an important tool in shaping my behavior, as well as maturing my faith.
Then you’ve got
Old First Testament crazy–what to eat and wear and so on–plus New Second Testament crazy (mostly from Paul)–how long to wear your hair and no women speaking in church.
This is all much more directive than the other two sections–or the praise and poetry bits, or the social commentaries. But, I do not lose sleep at night worrying that maybe I should eat Kosher. (Although, if I was raised Jewish, I surely would be eating Kosher.) I don’t think women should be silent in Church. I guess I think these are specific instructions given to specific people. But ultimately, I think there is something less intellectual involved in my cherry picking. I’m not moved by these passages. They don’t seem alive to me. Maybe that’s silliness. I’d be interested to know what others think–particularly Christians who like me feel free to ignore these sections of the Bible.