Old—and New—Testament Violence and the Shalom of God (Matthew J. Lynch)

Readers of the Book of Joshua (and many other parts of the Bible) are inevitably confronted with the problem of violence in Scripture. Texts referring to the destruction of whole cities or the killing of men, women, and children can cause us to question whether God is truly loving and just. In this episode, Dr. Matt Lynch discusses violence in Scripture from his new book Flood and Fury: Old Testament Violence and the Shalom of God. He considers the difficulties with approaching violence from a modern perspective, the ways of reading the different violent accounts presented in Scripture, and how literally we should take biblical rhetoric. Plus, hear why being so-called “New Testament Christians” doesn’t really distance us from violence in the Bible.

Dr. Lynch is an Associate Professor of Old Testament at Regent College in Vancouver. His research looks at issue of violence and the idea of monotheism in the biblical texts. Prior to his work at Regent, Matt taught at Westminster Theological Centre, Nashotah House, and Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. In addition, he founded and co-hosts the OnScript podcast.

Show notes:

  • 0:00 Approaching violence in the Bible
  • 3:50 Different cultural perspectives on violence
  • 5:46 Violence for modern and ancient readers
  • 10:25 Majority versus minority report
  • 15:58 Idolatry in ancient Israel
  • 18:53 Interpreting the Bible’s rhetoric
  • 23:40 The archaeology of Jericho
  • 27:20 Christianity and violence
  • 30:07 Joshua’s challenges
  • 34:14 Intermarriage
  • 38:55 The primacy of some parts of Scripture

Show notes by Micah Long

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