The Bible has been written by different people, in different places of the world, at different periods in time. There are those that adamantly believe this book to be a product of divine inspiration, or at the very least, an authoritative record between god and humans.
Presently, it is the best-selling book of all time, with estimated sales of over five billion copies, and translations in hundreds of languages. With this in mind, it is of no surprise that the Bible has had an immense influence on literature. However, more importantly and disconcertingly, it has had an immense influence over history.
In over 1,200 pages, the Bible holds more than 30 thousand verses. In Christianity, their interpretations vary depending on the denomination. Baptists infer different meanings from the scriptures than Catholics or Mormons, and so on. Across the religion of Christianity, however, interpretations of these verses have been applied by countless folks for hundreds and hundreds of years to justify horrific acts and laws. Colonization, witch trials, chattel slavery, Western sexism and racism, homophobia, transphobia, the illegality of interracial marriages and the Jim Crow laws in the United States are just a handful of examples.
Many of the verses were, and still are, taken out of context to validate and legitimize the actions and thoughts of depraved people. Verses have been used historically to demonize anything deviating from the strictly enforced societal norms.
I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God… Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. (I Corinthians 11:3 & 9, KJV)
Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel. (1 Peter 2:18)
I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. (1 Timothy 2:12)
Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves. (Numbers 31:17-18)
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. (Colossians 3:18, KJV)
In the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:27)
In these verses, patriarchal ideals are at the forefront. However, these six verses aside, the 31,096 other verses written by human hands and human minds drip of toxic patriarchal language. “God“ is always implied to be masculine, with pronouns such as he, his, and him. Continual references to god as “the father." Furthermore, the first book of the Bible details woman coming from man and identifies Eve as Adam’s helper, not equal.
This implicit, yet important, patriarchal language is important because it serves as the roots of numerous societies’ adaptation of strict gender and social roles, misogyny, and, homophobia. Without the Bible — or better yet, without people’s interpretations of the Bible — one can only imagine the different courses of culture, of literature, of history that would have been taken.