Photo © Billie Hara

Photo © Billie Hara

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

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6 thoughts on “Bible Verses for Skeptics”

UrbanWildCat · September 29, 2009 at 7:30 am

Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
Psalm 137:9 , KJV

That's right. Happiness is Baby Murder.

    godlessgirl · September 29, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    oh we could go on and on about the awful verses in that book too. that's an entirely different post 🙂

      UrbanWildCat · September 30, 2009 at 8:04 am

      What? That's the best line in the whole book! Hemant told me that all us atheists love eatin' them babies. 😉

Dan · February 9, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Ecclesiastes 2:24: A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.

    Godless Girl · February 10, 2011 at 12:32 am

    Hey, good one 🙂

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