Why Is the God of the Old Testament Worthy of Worship? His Wisdom

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

Skeptics of Christianity love to point out all the difficult passages in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. By noting these difficult passages, skeptics explicitly or implicitly imply that Christians are foolish (or even deranged) for worshiping the God described in the Old Testament.

My problem with this implication is that the number of difficult passages are dwarfed by the number of passages that clearly describe the greatness of God. These passages come in a wide variety and they are found all over the Old Testament. The skeptic’s approach is, therefore, totally unbalanced – it does not take into consideration the totality of Scripture.

So, to the skeptics who question why I worship the God described in the Old Testament, I offer these next few blog posts.

First, the Old Testament manifestly proclaims that God is wise.  Norman Geisler explains in his Systematic Theology, Volume Two: God, Creation, “As applied to God, wisdom refers to His unerring ability to choose the best means to accomplish the best ends.” How does the Old Testament connect God and wisdom?

God Is Wise

“To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his” (Job 12:13).

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his” (Dan. 2:20).

“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple” (Ps. 19:7).

“The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?” (Jer. 8:9).

“How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (Ps. 104:24).

“By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place” (Prov. 3:19).

“God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding” (Jer. 10:12).

“Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them” (Hos. 14:9).

God Is the Source of All Wisdom

“For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:6).

“When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice” (1 Kings 3:28).

“Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who made heaven and earth! He has given King David a wise son, endowed with intelligence and discernment” (2 Chron. 2:12).

“I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king” (Dan. 2:23).

“To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness” (Eccl. 2:26).

In subsequent blog posts, I will look at more reasons to worship the God of the Old Testament.


  • sean

    Some people take the view that the Bible leads to a God who should be worshiped out of fear, especially in the Old Testament.

    Surely we can agree that there is more than one path to a destination. Do you think fear is one such path that could be taken?

  • The problem is that there is not one God of the Old Testament but many god(s), i.e. many conflicting descriptions of Yahweh in the Hebrew Bible.

    Pointing out that the God of Jonah is worthy of our worhsip does nothing to show that the genocidal God of Joshua should be adored.

  • I couldn’t disagree more. The same God is presented consistently throughout all the books of the Bible. There simply aren’t any conflicts. My sense is that you don’t really try to deal with difficult passages in the Bible, but instead ignore them, claiming that the original authors are just wrong about how they portray God in those passages. That seems way too easy to me, as it doesn’t take seriously the fact that Jesus and his followers taught that the entire Hebrew Bible was God’s Word.

  • What do you mean by “fear”?

  • sean

    Fear of his wrath. Fear of being punished for committing acts deemed sinful.

  • Okay Bill.

    1) Jesus taught us to love our enemies

    2) God taught Joshua and his underlings to kill babies and pregnant women alike.

    Is there no conflict at all?

    “My sense is that you don’t really try to deal with difficult passages in
    the Bible, but instead ignore them, claiming that the original authors
    are just wrong about how they portray God in those passages.”

    I have tried to deal with them but realized it is an impossible task:

    Respectfully, Marc.

  • Here is quick test to see if you have really tried to get answers to the Joshua passages you mention. Have you read either of these two things?



    Paul Copan’s book Is God a Moral Monster?

  • I have read these authors and here I give my last response to William Lane Craig’s attempt to whitewash these atrocities:


    Did you read Thom Stark’s response to Copan?


    Moreover, did you take a look at the blog of progressive EVANGELICAL theologian Randal Rauser?


    I have never seen any kind of response to these two authors. Apparently, they are best ignored, aren’t they?

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  • Just to be clear, have you read the entire Christian Thinktank article I linked to and have you read Paul Copan’s entire book for yourself?

    If so, explain to me why their explanations are insufficient.