What is your favorite tale/passage/moment in the Bible?

If you’ve read more than three of my posts the fact that I’m an atheist comes up fairly often. However, I did attend a religious school that gave me a decent grounding in the Bible and I’ve read the book (particularly the OT) many times. There are many segments, tales, stories, etc., that I really enjoy as literature. Since I’ve made so many posts about inconsistencies, historical inaccuracies, barbaric acts indicative of an unmedicated God, etc., I wanted to start a thread on some things I like in the book.

Some of my favorite moments:

The Entire Saga of Absalom - in my opinion this rivals Shakespeare and any other great literary work or figure in the degree of tragedy, love, realism, emotion, etc… The image in 2nd Samuel 18 of David in his gatehouse, this father of two dozen faithful sons wailing and weeping for the one who murdered his brother (though admittedly with reason), raised an army against the father him, killed another of his sons, exiled him, slept with his harem, and would probably have taken his life is so visceral and so human, so illuminative of the complete illogic of human nature that affects us all, that I have almost no problem believing it happened. The way it even weaves it’s way into the old man’s impotent senile last days (“Let not [Joab’s] hoar head go down to Sheol in peace!”, fulfilling his vow not to avenge the murder of the son who would have murdered him- echoed [I’m guessing intentionally] in The Godfather when Vito promises not to avenge his son’s death but charges Michael with the task)- he’s ancient and wizened and so far gone he can’t rule, can’t fight and can’t even mount a beautiful maiden, but his love for that son is as strong as ever.

The line "Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted" is one I have always found hauntingly beautiful.

The story of Dinah (recently novelized in near Mysts of Avalon style as The Red Tent) is one I always found not so much moving or particularly human as out & out funny. (Not the rape part, obviously, but the way the brothers take their revenge- you gotta give 'em points for brilliance.)

I love Kurt Vonnegut’s (decidedly non scholarly but still interesting) interpretation of Jesus’s rebuke to Judas (Vonnegut’s interpretation is that it was less formal than sarcastic: “Chill dude… there are still gonna be poor folks to help tomorrow, let’s enjoy the moment”. (I think he was probably calling on ancient scripture, but I like Vonnegut’s version better.)

There’s much I love in religious art, particularly the Pietà (though I see it less religious than maternal- this woman isn’t holding her Savior or her God but the baby she carried and bore- at this moment she’d gladly have a live carpenter than a dead redeemer for a son- to me the one brilliant moment in Gibson’s Passion was the stumbling scene/flashback for the same reason), but then these aren’t biblical.

So for Dopers, whether religious or not, what are your favorite moments?

I’m Catholic and probably annoyingly so in some people’s eyes (I’m really excited about my faith and other members of the LGBTA community don’t like that). I have a couple of verses that I try to model my life around just because they seem like such good ideas.

The first is from Psalm 118, “This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad.” I went through a long period of depression in high school, who didn’t, and it eventually hit me that I’m here and I can celebrate each day for what it is.

The second is from the fifth book of Galatians, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” This is, for me, the one of the most seems-like-a-good-way-to-live moments in the Bible. I figure, if I can fill my life with these fruits, then I’m doing pretty good.

The last is seen a couple places, but I think John takes most of the credit for coming up with it, “God is Love.” As hard-core of a Catholic as my non-Catholic friends find me, most of my Catholic friends think I have a really wonky take on my faith. I tend to think that if there is Love between people, romantic, friendly, or any other sort, than God is there and the relationship should be praised and upheld as you would any other holy sacramental.

I’m sure that there are more, but those are my top three Bible quotes. They make me happy. :slight_smile:


Mine main one is Psalm 82(81 in Catholic versions) "Don’t you know you are gods, sons of the most high? In John 10 Jesus refers to this when accused of Blasphmey.

Another is “Be good to your enemies,in so doing you heap coals upon his head”


The parable of the talents stood out a mile reading the bible in religous classes in school, the Lord is indeed a bad motherfucker. It made a change from the more straightforward stuff dealing with peace and love to your fellow men etc. Its a very positive story, and the use of money as the central metaphor is eyecatching.

The language is very evocative. Everyone has heard the phrases “cast into the outer darkness, were there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”, or 'Master, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. " :eek:

Jacob wrestling with Whoever in Genesis before reconciling with Esau.

The saga of Tamar also in Genesis- they wouldn’t make up that story!

The otherwise-forgettable Richard Gere movie KING DAVID really reflected what a tragic tale was that of Saul.

Jesus saving the Adulteress (the movie LAST TEMPT did it best, even tho it made her Magdalene).

I Peter 3’s account of Jesus evangelizing those killed by the Deluge after His

Revelation 22.

I’ve always tried to keep in mind to live my life as described in Proverbs 31:25 -

“She is clothed in strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come”.


*When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face*:

1 Corinthians, Chapter 13

The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats.

Also, the Exodus tale works well as epic adventure. I was enthralled by it as a child.

There are a lot of beautiful descriptions of the natural world in the later chapters of the Book of Job; I’ve always like the bit about the horse (Job 39:19-25):

For some reason I also like the language in Genesis 7:11:

Usually for poetry I prefer the King James Version, though not always; I like Genesis 11:6 in the language of the Revised Standard Version:

(There’s something Miltonically defiant about that verse, with God seeming to show a whiff of fear at what humanity might accomplish if he doesn’t confound their language.)

There’s something very cinematic about the story of Ehud’s assassination of the Moabite king Eglon in Judges 3:12-30. Ehud is clearly one left-handed Bad Motherfucker: he gets the king alone, then: “I have a message from God for you”. Lots of nasty little details, like leaving the dagger stuck in the king’s belly, in part because Eglon was evidently so fat it got stuck there. And in at least some translations, there’s a hint that the contents of the king’s bowels spilled out (Judges 3:22 in the KJV: “…and the dirt came out.” :eek: )

Then the low comic relief of having the nervous guards wondering what’s taking the king so long, and whether they should go in and check up on him: “Well, he’s probably just on the john. We don’t wanna disturb him.”

The Book of Ruth. I think Ruth must be my favorite Biblical heroine, she’s so brave and loyal. From my copy of the King James Version of the Bible:

The question *Quid est veritas * from Pilate as I mentioned in this earlier thread.

2 Corinthians 12:10 (KJV)

I read this when I was 13 while I was at church. it was written in the handout as a part of that day’s lesson. I was like “woah, I get it now.” It just instantly made me feel better about everything.

I haven’t really been to church since then ::sheepish:: … I had that one wow moment and have felt like I got all I needed out of church since then. Actually, all of 2 Cor. 12 is pretty sweet.

Rock on

The story of the good thief crucified with Jesus (tradition gives him the name Dismas, though he’s never named in the Bible) has always had a sort of resonance with me. I’m not sure why, exactly: Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Dismas was accepting of his fate. He’s done wrong, and he knows it, and now he’s paying the price, but even so, he doesn’t give up hope.

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

Mine is probably First Cor. Ch 13. The second favorite is the one that Linus recites in the Charlie Brown Christmas special every year.


In the New Testament, The Parable about the workers in the field, a farmer goes to the market in the morning, they agree upon the usual wage, at noon he hires another worker …

In the Old Testament, let me think on it.

Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Exodus Chapter 3.

God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here [am] I.

And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy ground.

And Moses did put his shoes from off his feet. And he did approach the bush, and burnt his feet.

And God did say, “Ahaaaa! Third one today!”


Jeremiah 32:27 “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?”

And to paraphrase God’s speech (out of the whirlwind) to Job: Who the hell do you think you are? C’mon act like a man.

I said it was a paraphrase.