What to do when the Bible seems strange and even wrong…

Reason for God
  1. Consider the possibility that the passage doesn’t actually teach what it appears to be teaching. The historical distance between this ancient text and us is big enough that some things may get lost in translation (ex: slavery. ALL forms of slavery practiced in the antebellum South are explicitly called sinful by the Bible–1 Tim. 1:9-11; Deut. 24:7. So whatever the Bible has in mind by slave and master relationships, it isn’t the same as what we instinctively think of in the 21st century. More could be said of this complex topic, but this is a start.)
  2. Consider the possibility that the problem is an unexamined belief of your own, by which you have elevated your own cultural viewpoint to a level of infallibility (ex: just because we live in western society in the 21st century doesn’t mean that all our beliefs are necessarily true).
  3. Distinguish major themes of the Bible from less important teachings, and consider these in their proper order. So, for starters recognize that many Christians disagree on secondary issues (gender roles, baptism, etc.), but these are secondary to the bigger question of whether Jesus was resurrected from the dead. Use these as a starting point to branch out into other secondary issues.
These tips come from Tim Keller, The Reason for God, pg.110-113.