Growing up I always thought the Bible was dry, dull and anti-humor. It was hard to imagine God laughing at anything, let alone being sarcastic. But now that I’m older, reading the Bible is like re-watching the Animaniacs and catching all the witty jokes that went way over your head as a kid. So here’s just a few of my favorite sarcastic Bible verses.
1. Just as Good as Satan(James 2:19)
James is one of my favorite and least favorite books in the Bible. Why? Because he’s so raw. Maybe growing up as Jesus’ little brother gave him a chip on his shoulder so he never wasted time with complicated theology. He keeps it one-hundred every line of his book and there’s no way to read it without wincing at some point.
In chapter 2, he starts talking about people who say they’re religious and pretend to be spiritual, but they act just like the rest of the world. He says if you go to church every Sunday, but walk right past homeless people without stopping, you’re probably not saved. Then he drops this gem for people who want spirituality without responsibility—“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” So saying that you believe in God makes you as good as a demon. Congratulations.
2. Paul tells the Galatians to Castrate Themselves(Galatians 5:12)
The entire book of Galatians is a giant explosion of raw emotion. Paul has just finished planting this church and taught them that they don’t have to follow Jewish rules anymore to “be holy” and that all they need is Christ. Then some heretics sneak in and apparently convince them that they actually have to go back to these rules in order to be really holy, almost overnight. Paul finds out and is understandably P.O.’ed so he picks up his quill and fires up this letter. It’s so heated and raw that he barely even says hello and some parts aren’t even in full sentences.
One of these rules that Paul has told the Galatians they don’t need to follow anymore is circumcision. But these heretics come along and are trying to convince grown men that they have to be circumcised if they want to go to Heaven. So Paul tells them, “I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves.”
3. Israel Throws Stacks(1 Kings 20:11)
Ben-Hadad, the King of Aram, kept bullying the Israelites in Samaria. So he sent his messengers ahead of him to tell the king of Israel that he was going to sweep in, take all of his silver, gold, wives and children and there was nothing he was going to be able to do about it. So the king of Israel said, “Fine. Do whatever you want.”
Then Ben-Hadad sent messengers back again and told the king, “Not only am I gonna take your silver, your gold and your wives, but I’m gonna take everything you value.” As if there’d be anything left after that, anyway. So the king, obviously irritated by this back and forth, told the messengers to go back home and forget about it.
Then Ben-Hadad sent his messengers again a third time and told the king, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if enough dust remains in Samaria to give each of my men a handful.” So the king replied without missing a beat, “One who puts on his armor should not boast like him who takes it off.'” In other words, “It’s easier to start a fight than to end one.”
4. God Schools Job’s Friends(Job 38:19-20)
This is one of my favorite passages. Job has had a hard season in life now, all because of a bet between God and the Devil that he wouldn’t curse God for bad things happening to him. In one disastrous day, his servants, livestock and kids are all killed and his friends and wife tell him to just curse God and die. He does pretty well for 37 chapters, but his friends keep spewing asinine ideas about God and God can’t take it anymore.
So He jumps in and starts asking them questions about Biology, Physics and Astronomy and says, “Why don’t you tell me where light comes from? Please, explain how the tides work. Because you were there when I made them, right?”
5. Elijah Trash Talks Baal Worshipers(1 Kings 18:27)
Elijah challenges the Baal worships to a contest to see whose god is the best god. The contest is simple: make an altar, pray for fire and whichever god brings down fire is the real god. Elijah, being a gentleman, lets the Ball worshipers go first. And they sing, dance and shout, but nothing happens. So Elijah offers some encouragement by telling them, “Shout louder! Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” But apparently, in the original Hebrew, what he really says is, “Shout louder! He’s probably taking a dump.”
So the Baal worshipers shout louder, but the altar stays frozen and Elijah keeps talking.
6. The Sarcastic Blind Man(John 9:1-34)
Next to God’s rant to Job’s friends, John 9 has to be the most sarcastic chapter in the entire Bible. From beginning to end, it reads like a comedy. Jesus is walking with His disciples when they bump into a blind man who’s been blind from birth. So Jesus spits on the ground, makes some mud and rubs this wonderful blend of dirt and saliva all over the man’s face. Then He tells the guy—who’s still blind, mind you—to go and take a bath in the Pool of Siloam.
So the man goes, with no directions, takes a bath and gets healed. His friends and family are shocked to see him, but some of them don’t think it’s him and are convinced it’s just a guy who looks like him. So he has to convince them that he’s actually the guy they’ve grown up with this entire time. He explains that Jesus healed him and they ask him where Jesus is now. But for obvious reasons, he tells them that he didn’t see where He went.
Then the Pharisees find out about this, call the man in for an investigation and this is where things get hairy. Apparently, Jesus had done this scandalous act on the Sabbath, which was a big no-no so the Pharisees are convinced He’s some sort of demon-worshiper. But some of them think He really is from God because He’s going around healing people. Then the Pharisees, finally realizing the ex-blind man is still standing there watching them argue, ask him what he thinks of Jesus. So he tells them that He’s a prophet. But they don’t believe that he’d actually been blind in the first place so they get his parents to come in and ask them about it. And his parents tell them, “He’s a big boy. Why don’t you ask him yourself?”
Seeing that this is going nowhere, they ask the man, “Stop playing games. We know Jesus is a sinner.”
So the blind man says, “I don’t know if He’s a sinner or not. I just know I was blind, but now I see.”
Still refusing to listen to reason, they ask him for the hundredth time, “How exactly did he open your eyes?”
So the man tells them, “I already told you. Why do you keep asking me? Do you wanna become one of His disciples too?”
This infuriates the Pharisees and they scream back with all the sanctified maturity they can muster, “YOU’RE His disciple! We don’t even know where this guy came from!”
“Well that’s fantastic,” the blind man says. “You don’t even know anything about Him and yet He’s going around healing blind people. If He weren’t from God, He wouldn’t be able to do that.”
And the Pharisees respond with this gem, “You were steeped in sin at birth. How dare you lecture us?!” And they throw him out.