One of my friends recently asked me what my favorite verse in the Bible was. This became a much tougher question than I expected. As a believer, my favorite passage was Job 19:25-26. But now, what lessons do I take from the Bible? Should I take any? Shouldn’t my “heathenry” keep me from wanting to find any good in this book just out of spite or malice?
Though I do not live my life by the Bible and do not believe it holds any special cosmic power or divine influence, I can still find some great passages that I think anyone can take with them and think about–even the skeptical atheist. To illustrate this, I’ve collected verses about a variety of topics that I think thoughtful non-theists may enjoy. Do they belong in a religious book? What do you think of them?
Wisdom and Knowledge
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.
–1 Corinthians 13:11 KJV
I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness…
–Ecclesiastes 7:25 KJV
Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words. … Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. … Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding…
–Proverbs 23:9, 12, 23 KJV
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding….
–Proverbs 4:7 KJV
Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish….
–Proverbs 12:1 KJV
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free….
–John 8:32 KJV
But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
–1 Corinthians 14:38 KJV
Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save.
–Isaiah 45:20 KJV
The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself…. A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?…
–Ecclesiastes 10:12,14 KJV
It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools….
–Ecclesiastes 7:5 KJV
The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools….
–Ecclesiastes 9:17 KJV
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise….
–Proverbs 12:15 KJV
Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly….
–Proverbs 13:16 KJV
The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness….
–Proverbs 15:2 KJV
Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge….
–Proverbs 14:7 KJV
Virtue & Living Skeptically
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone….
–Colossians 4:6 KJV
These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:…
–Zechariah 8:16 KJV
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
–Philippians 4:8 KJV
Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
–1 Corinthians 14:20 KJV
Be not carried about with diverse and strange doctrines…
–Hebrews 13:9 KJV
Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.
–1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 KJV
(inspired by The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible