Why is much of the Bible poorly written and irrelevant?

The naive answer:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and passages that are not relevant to me today may become relevant to me or others in the future.

The problem with the naive answer:

Many passages will never be relevant. Many passages are poorly written, and by poorly written, using awkward sentence construction, and inconsistent voice. Many books and passages fail to tell a good and engaging story. The stories have boring tangents, introduce irrelevant details, and weak character development. Many include passages that scholars can’t agree on what the author was attempting to say. The stories told through the Bible as a whole show a lack of consistency and direction and most people find reading other books more enjoyable to reading the Bible. The Bible is not even in the top 100 books to read according to GoodReads.com, Amazon.com, and other lists. Much of the Bible is not memorable, is not interesting, provides no value, is repetitive, does not seem inspired, is not coherent, and is not well organized.

The scholar’s answer:

The Bible was not written by a God, but by humans. Many stories were transmitted orally for decades and centuries before the Jews attempted to tell them exactly the same in each generation. By that time, the quality of some stories deteriorated but was not corrected because the stories had become sacred. Many details that were relevant in early generations became irrelevant in following generations but were retained, again, because the stories were treated as sacred. Some story tellers were simply better than others. Scrolls which became books of the Bible were included in the Bible because a small portion of the chapter shared something important to early Christians, even when other parts of that chapter were confusing and irrelevant.

Here are a few examples of poor writing and irrelevant passages:

  • Irrelevant - 1 Chronicles Chapters 1 through 9 - Provides a genealogy that would have been relevant to the people at the time, but has no value or relevance to anyone today.
  • Repetitive - Exodus 40 describes how God told the people to handle the Ark of the Covenant in detail, then repeats those instructions ago as the people do what God said. This is both irrelevant today and very boring to read.
  • Irrelevant - Leviticus 1:14-17 - How to prepare a dove for sacrifice.
  • Irrelevant - Deuteronomy 22:28-29 - The price for selling a raped girl to her rapist is 50 shekels.

Logically, we can conclude that thought for future readers was not considered, particularly for people today living two thousand years after the Bible was written. We can also conclude the all the passages were not inspired by God because we expect a God to use better grammar and write more engaging stories than any human, and not write stories that are below average.

Food for thought: Couldn’t some of the passages in the Bible have been replaced with verses offering moral guidance such as prohibitions against rape or slavery?

Some references for further research: