Let’s be real. The Bible is full of beautiful and life-changing stories—tales of redemption, salvation, and God’s love. AND the Bible is full of some, well, stuff that leaves us asking, “Is that really in the Bible?” Yep. It’s there.

If you think The Arconia has a lot of murders in the building, the Bible has so many more murders between its pages. (Can you tell what we’ve been binging lately?)

But, in some ways, that’s what makes it—the Bible, not The Arconia—real and authentic.

The Bible speaks to real-life circumstances, and you know what sometimes happens in real life? (And in proximation to Martin Short, Steve Martin, and Selena Gomez?) Murder. Tragedy. Heartbreak.

So, let’s explore a few of these uncomfortable stories, and consider how these tales also tell the story of the Bible, which is the story about God’s love for us, even through dire circumstances.

Fair warning: we’ll get to the redemption part at the end, but this list gets pretty intense.


1. Cain murders Abel (Genesis 4:8).

Did you know that in Hebrew, “Cain” can mean spear? Soo, yeah. (Maybe Adam and Eve should have seen that coming?) God created humans in his image by forming clay and breathing life into them. Talk about dignity! Let me say that again: He made them in his image—with his life coursing through their veins. That’s you and me too, friend. Wow!

That’s why Cain’s murder of his brother Abel was so shocking and evil. God’s very life was animating Abel’s breath when he was murdered at the hands of his own brother. What a terrifying illustration of what humans are capable of when they are envious!


2. Lamech murders a young man (Genesis 4:23).

The story continues to spiral out of control even more. But, God did something that’s hard to explain. God didn’t repay Cain’s murder of his brother by killing Cain… which is what we might expect. God forgave Cain and put a mark on him to protect him. It feels unjust, doesn’t it? Why would Cain receive mercy like this when he obviously didn’t deserve it (foreshadowing, anyone)?! Yet, the sins that took root and resulted in such severe crimes didn’t just end with him. What did Cain’s great-great-great-great grandson Lamech do? He murdered a young man just because the guy punched him! Again, we’re seeing the worst of humanity stripped bare, with rage, envy, and vengeance on full display.


3. David murders Uriah (2 Samuel 11:15).

 Fast forward to David. David is maybe best known for writing prayers and praise songs to God [insert the sound of angel wings and choir boys]. But, we know this isn’t his only story. He rapes a woman, gets her pregnant, and then tries to get her husband to sleep with her to cover it up. When her husband, Uriah, keeps his honor by sleeping outside (instead of inside with his wife), David has him murdered. David— the guy who wrote prayers and songs to God. The one described as a man after God’s own heart. What is going on here?


4. A buuuunch of murders (Jeremiah 7:9).

 Speaking of murders and worship (not a sentence you hear every day)… Jeremiah calls out God’s people—those who are supposed to be following him faithfullyfor stealing, murdering, and doing a whole lot of other bad things during the week, and yet still coming into his sanctuary to worship him, as though nothing had happened! In other words, King David the murdering praise-song author? Because of his repentance, he has nothing on those breaking the litany of 10 commandments and still showing up in the pews for church. 


5. The people pick a murderer over Jesus (Mark 15:7).

And, then it gets worse. Seriously. We’re not sure how that’s possible either. God shows up on earth. He became a man named Jesus, lived a sin-free life (didn’t break the law or commandments), and showed the world what it looked like to be truly human. So, what happened to him? His own people, the devout followers of Yahweh, decide that Jesus’s life should be traded for that of a murderer named Barabbas. Holy smokes! The people who knew the Old Testament the best, who were the representatives of God on earth, killed God’s Son, Jesus. And how did they pull it off? With a technicality that let an actual murderer go free. Yikes!  


6. Paul breathed murder (Acts 22:4).

You’d hope things might get better from there. Lessons would be learned and all… But, we know that’s not the case. We get to one of the Pharisee leaders, a guy named Saul, who decided that anyone who admitted to being a Jesus follower should also die. He actually thought he was serving God by killing folks! Yet, remember the story of Cain? How Cain wasn’t killed after murdering his brother? Saul was also shown mercy. He ended up encountering Jesus in a crazy set of circumstances (check out Acts 9!), became a Christ-follower himself, and then traveled the world as a missionary to tell other people about Jesus. After his conversion, we now better know him as Paul. Talk about a crazy twist to the story!


So, what do we do with all these murders? Well first, they show how far humans will go to get what they want. We will literally murder others to protect our self-interests. Scary!

Secondly, it shows us how hypocritical we can be when we show up to church acting like everything’s okay, after intentionally living our lives the way we want to all week long. God help us!

Third, it shows how those of us who think we are closest to God, and following his will, might find out we are actually working against God and his people. Oftentimes, we have more in common with those who killed Jesus than we’d like to admit. We might love the Bible and be passionate about protecting a right understanding of who God is, and how God works in the world… but that means we aren’t immune to evil, does it? We need Jesus’s help to hold tightly to the right things and let go of the wrong things when he reveals them to us.

Finally, all of the murders in the Bible are also stories of mercy leading to the climactic moment when Jesus, on the cross, forgave his murderers: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). So, if you think there was an injustice when Cain killed Abel, that’s nothing compared to the injustice of choosing a murderer over Jesus, and then Jesus forgiving his murderers… and all the rest of us. Mind. Blown.

 Here’s the thing: some days, we bring the worst we have to offer to the world and to God. How does God respond? With steadfast and patient love and forgiveness (Exodus 34:6; 1 John 2:1-2). That’s how all the murders in the Bible can still tell the story of God’s love. It’s a crazy twist, but so was the last episode of season 2 of Only Murders in the Building when [spoiler alert]…

Disclaimer: We love to find connections to our faith in all kinds of popular culture references. God’s love can help us learn from and navigate all kinds of stories in the world, but this post is not sponsored by or meant to be a complete endorsement of any type of media other than the Bible ;].