Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Looking at the Forbidden

Soon after we learned how to read German Mom and Daddy gave each of us children a little New Testament and by the time we graduated from school we got a nice large hard covered one. I would read a chapter or so occasionally but since it was in German I didn't read much or very often.

Soon after I had become a member of the church Mom and Daddy had gone on a trip and come home with several leather bound Bibles. They gave John and I each a copy. We were both happy that it was a German and English Bible and made up our minds we would read it from cover to cover.

I got stuck in Leviticus and set it aside, thoroughly bored and wondering why such strange rules and things were recorded in the Bible. I had much more interesting things to read and the Bible got tucked on a shelf in my closet.

John was much more dedicated with reading through his Bible and evenings before we went to bed we would often sit in his room for a while where he would talk with enthusiasm about what he had been reading. He found all the history very interesting and I found it entertaining as well when he talked about it.

One evening we were once again sitting in his room. He was perched on the edge of his bed very excited as he told me how he just read in Isaiah 11 how someday a wolf would dwell with a lamb and a lion eat straw like an ox. Fascinated I read it too. We talked a little more about it and wondered how that would seem.

The next day when David and Mahlon were at school we had just finished eating lunch and were relaxing a little before heading back to work when John went upstairs and got his Bible.  Bringing it down he told Mom and Daddy how he had found something very interesting and proceeded to read those passages to them. They stood there looking horrified and told us we should certainly not believe that, and forbade us to read anything between Proverbs and the New Testament.

My interest in reading the Bible was piqued again, but I didn't want to disobey a direct order from mom and Daddy. John was wishing he had never said anything about it since he had been hoping to read the entire Bible.

That evening we discussed whether or not to continue reading, and decided that we would wait to read the forbidden parts of the Bible until we were twenty one and were no longer accountable to Mom and Daddy.


  1. I had an experience with Leviticus too, but instead of making me disinterested, it made me frightened. It ended my Bible reading for a long time. If only someone could have explained?

  2. Uh oh ... It could have been Eclesiastes, too. It's easier to say "don't" when we have no explanation, but we'll never know unless we read.

    For many years, Roman Catholics and other Christian religions were forbidden to read the Bible on their own. I remember at least one Amish church community, don't remember which one, where the husband was the only one allowed to read the Bible and then he was only allowed to read certain portions of it. I don't believe they were into being "saved by grace" (Eph 2) but just hoping and praying they were accepted by God. Is/was this true of others that you know of?

    I am so thankful that God has opened the eyes of our hearts to His Word! We may not understand everything or even agree on everything but on essentials, there should be no question!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Imagine to be so "godly" but to be forbidden to read the bible. What would your church elders have said? I mean if they knew you were reading the bible at all would they have forbidden you to do so?

  4. They didn't want us to read the prophesies concerning end times or the promises to Israel. To them it was very dangerous and contrary to what the Amish believe.

    Dana, They never came right out and forbade reading the Bible at all but they thought it was dangerous to read too much or too often. Bible studies were forbidden and offenders were disciplined rather harshly.

  5. I sort of remember the danger of reading the Bible too much, less you be deceived. You were safer by just listening to the preachers and believe and do what they say.

  6. Interesting family story. I would never have guessed that some parts of the Bible would be forbidden reading...

  7. Wow. Isaiah 11 is such an amazing prophetic scripture. Could you tell us why (eventually) it doesn't fit what the Amish believe. I would have never guessed that at all.

    Another thing, I live very close to an Amish community. A couple of weeks back we saw a young girl (No more than about 9 or so) driving 8 horses to plow the fields why the boys and men were cutting and tossing. So, it made me curious, at what age are they able to "drive" a horse and buggy on the roads? I suppose I could ask the Amish since I buy "goods" from them but it seems a little personal for me to ask them.


  8. I was raised Catholic & in 1st grade we were told Adam & Eve and other OT stories were allegories and not true. I rejected that in my heart even though I had no knowledge support my feelings. In 5th grade I was given a NT by a neighbor for my b-day and my parents told me not to read it because it would scare me & I couldn't understand it. At camp (Catholic) that year a protestant girl discussed the devil and attacks and, being both curious and a bit shook up, I tried to talk to my mom about it. She said the church handled the devil and he was not our problem. Shew!! I was so relieved. She meant the hierarchy in the RCC church by "church". The Catholic church believes only the "magistrate" is blessed with the discernment to understand scripture. We have seen shades of this in the Old German Baptist Brethren people, although it is definitely not the thinking anymore among their new conference members. I am sure this is true of any deeply plain Anabaptist church. I was so lost without knowing the scriptures!!! As we visited churches early in our faith we found what was undoubtedly the majority in most were biblically illiterate. We were stunned!! Most of them also had good preachers who encouraged them to read it, but given that choice did not do it. I think some who have been raised in a church where there is freedom to read the Bible, have lived a moral or "good" life- struggle sometimes to see their sinful nature,need for a saviour, and the importance of knowing His Word. It can take heartache or tragedy of some sort to drive us to Jesus and to His Word for the Truth.

  9. This is so sad. Why would anyone forbid reading parts of God's Word?

  10. Oh Honey,

    The Bible is the most important book in the whole world. It is the Book of Truth. It shows you that Jesus is the only way to God and the only one who can forgive your sins, so you don't die, without them being forgiven.
    Start in the Book of John in the New Testament, and before you read, say a prayer, that God would make himself real to you.
    We must all be born-again before we die or we will die in our sins and go to hell.
    God wants you to read the words He left here in this Book, I pray that you will open it and read it. You instincts are so right, it is the Father, drawing you.
    God bless you,

  11. "... and wondering why such strange rules and things were recorded in the Bible. I had much more interesting things to read and the Bible got tucked on a shelf in my closet."

    I'm a new reader... I hope I don't offend. I think your blog is wonderful!
    I still have trouble reading the Bible (not because I have more interesting things to read).. but there are so many things I struggle with trying to understand ... I keep putting it away... I can't imagine reading it at a young age and not being confused. My husband tells me just to read the New Testament... because I get so upset when I try to read the Old Testament... I just don't understand where the love is. I wasn't raisd with religion so it's very hard for me.

    I think your brother must have been very helpful to you... I would have given anything to have such a brother when I was growing up. I'm very happy for you.

    I'm looking forward to more of your posts!


Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.