Does the Bible Really Condone Abortion? Answers To This and Other Out-of-Context Scriptures, Part 1

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“These progressive memes demanding that Christians “start reading their Bible” are not at all the “own” that pro-abortionists think they are. By using these verses out of context, they are only proving their lack of understanding of God’s Word and their desperate need for the saving truth found within it.”

Reagan Escudé Scott

Read parts 2 and 3 of this series here and here.


One of the most baffling and ironic “gotcha” techniques abortion activists use to shoot down their opposition is to quote out-of-context Scripture passages to defend their pro-baby murder stance. I use the term “ironic” because these same people openly reject God and mock His Word (and those who believe in its authority), yet they all of a sudden find it to be their ultimate source of truth if they can find one out-of-context verse to support their cause.

The most biblically illiterate people on the planet suddenly become credible Bible scholars when they presume that it works to their advantage.

Here is a perfect example:

This person on Twitter claims here that  “Christians need to finally start reading the Bible, especially some things that God himself says about fetuses. ‘Life begins at birth-With the first breath (Gen 2:7)’ ‘Fetuses are not persons (EX 21:22-25)’ ‘Fetuses should be aborted as proof of adultery (Numbers 5:11-31)’”

The image attached to this tweet mentions additional passages of Scripture that I will address in a later article. In this article, I will do my best to explain why these passages are actually being taken out of context and twisted to make a pro-abortion argument.

Genesis 2:7

“…then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”

This verse recounts the creation of Adam in the Garden of Eden, and pro-abortionists use it to claim that life begins at first breath rather than at conception.

Before I get into the ridiculousness of this claim, I want to add that babies begin breathing at a very, very early gestational age through the umbilical cord. While progressive pro-abortionists might claim that life begins at first breath, there is a scientific argument, in addition to a biblical argument, that proves otherwise.

Genesis 2:7 is a description of Adam and the way God created him. It is NOT prescriptive for when all life begins, and we know that as we read through the rest of Scripture. It consistently emphasizes the sanctity of life inside the womb and outside the womb. Adam was the first man on the earth who was created from dust. He was not born from a womb, rather God formed him and breathed life into him.

Other voices show that children are vibrant and fully alive in the womb. In Luke 1:41-43, Elizabeth’s baby, John, leapt in her womb on hearing Mary’s voice. In Jeremiah 1:5, the Lord said, “Before you were born, I knew you.” Psalm 139:14 describes how God formed our inward parts and wove us in our mothers’ womb. In Genesis 25:22, the “children” struggled together in Rebekah’s womb.

God is the Author of life. He creates life in the womb, He sustains life inside and outside of the womb, and He ends life whenever and however He pleases. From conception until the grave, we know from Scripture that life is both valuable and sacred.

Exodus 21:22-25

This passage records the just punishment for two men fighting who accidentally strike a pregnant woman. If there is no harm to the baby, the one who hit the woman will be fined. If the baby “comes out” dead, the penalty is a life for a life. The man must be put to death.

The NRSV translation1, however, words the passage in such a way that if the pregnant woman had a miscarriage and was not hurt, then the one who hit her would be fined. But if the woman were harmed, the penalty is a life for a life. The implication here is that the mother’s life is more important than the preborn child’s, and the “life for life” punishment is required as justice for the mother rather than her baby.

“When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage…”

The NKJV, on the other hand, translates the passage “so that she gives birth prematurely.”

“If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely…”

The only way to figure out the true meaning of the passage is to look to the original text. The Hebrew phrase here is ​​yātsû yelādêhā, literally meaning “her children come out.”

Nearly every other Bible translation has conveyed this meaning in the text.

It is an incorrect translation of the NRSV to use the word “miscarriage” here, when it clearly means a premature birth. If anything, this is a biblical case for the just consequences of an abortion rather than justification for the claim that “a fetus isn’t a person.”

Numbers 5:11-31

This passage describes a situation in which a man could use what was known as a “jealousy offering” to determine whether or not his wife had been unfaithful to him. The husband and wife would go to the priest, and the priest would create a concoction of holy water, dust from the floor of the tabernacle, and ink that the wife would have to drink. If she was guilty of adultery, she would fall ill and her belly would swell. If she was innocent, God would protect her from getting sick. Through a jealousy offering, God would personally reveal whether or not a woman was innocent or guilty in order to protect a wife from the false allegations of a jealous husband.

The reason why this passage is used to claim the Bible condones abortion is because of verse 21:

“then (let the priest make the woman take the oath of the curse, and say to the woman) the Lord make you a curse and an oath among your people, when the Lord makes your thigh fall away and your body swell.”

It is only in the 2011 NIV translation2 and the NRSV translation that “your thigh fall away” is wrongly translated to “your womb miscarry,” but the literal Hebrew word here is yārēḵ, meaning “thigh.” This word can be found elsewhere in Psalm 45:3 when the psalmist prophesies Christ girding His sword on His thigh.

In either case, the word yārēḵ can be used in the feminine or masculine sense, which tells us that in Numbers 5:21, Moses is not referring to the womb when he writes “makes your thigh fall away.”

God is not causing an abortion through the woman drinking poison in this passage. In fact, there is no indication of pregnancy anywhere in the text. The context here is that the punishment for the woman who committed adultery would be barrenness since, if she were found to be innocent, “she shall be free and shall conceive children” (v. 28). If the woman was not guilty of committing adultery, God would protect her from the effects of the poison.

Application

Zealous pro-abortionists fail to understand that the pro-life principle doesn’t argue that abortion is wrong because the Bible says so. There are many unbelievers who are pro-life.

The pro-life argument is that abortion is wrong because everything we know to be true from science and philosophy says that’s wrong. It is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent, defenseless human being, and abortion does exactly that. Therefore, abortion is wrong.

That is a scientific and philosophical argument. And for Christians, our pro-life stance is only reinforced by the biblical truth that life begins at conception and murder is sin.

These progressive memes demanding that Christians “start reading their Bible” are not at all the “own” that pro-abortionists think they are. By using these verses out of context, they are only proving their lack of understanding of God’s Word and their desperate need for the saving truth found within it.

Praise God that He has graciously given us His Word so that we may use it as a weapon to cut through the lies of the world and give the Gospel to those who have ears to hear.

Christian, do not underestimate the power of pointing others to truth. God’s Word is sharper than any two-edged sword, and we were meant to use it in this battle against darkness to pierce the soul. Through our commitment to truth, Lord willing, God will reveal Himself to the unbelieving pro-abortionists and bring them to salvation.

To Be Continued

In part 2 of this series, we will look at three more passages of Scripture that pro-abortion advocates take out of context to try to make Christians believe that God somehow allows and wants abortion.


NOTES

1 The NRSV translators chose to eliminate “archaic language” and replace gender specific words to be more gender-neutral.

2 The revised NIV translation drew many critics in 2011 when it rewrote passages to be gender-neutral.


Follow Reagan on Twitter! @thereaganscott