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Chapter & worse
We've all got a favourite bit of the Bible. "The Lord is my shepherd..." is especially popular. And then there is "Love is patient, love is kind..." and "Judge not lest ye be judged..." These are verses which comfort, inspire and challenge.

But isn't it a shame the Bible isn't like that all the way through?

You don't need to be a purple-faced atheist to notice that the Bible is a pretty mixed book. For every hymn to the loveliness of love, there's a story about God squishing someone because they worshipped the wrong god. For every wise and helpful saying, there's an incomprehensible law. For every verse Martin Luther King proclaimed in the streets of Alabama, there's one that Fred Phelps shouts outside gay funerals.

And for every story that thrills and moves, there's one that makes you rub your chin and say, "Hmm... are you sure that's what actually happened?"

It's hardly surprising. At 1,189 chapters (or 1,334 for Catholics), and covering a timescale from the dawn of time to the end of the world, there really is an awful lot of Bible between those black covers. Abominations and Zionism and pretty much everything in between. Yes, it's God-breathed, but then so was Adam... and look what happened to him.

So it's only to be expected that some bits will be better than others.

There are the savage verses: "For Joshua did not draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the sword, until he utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai" (Joshua 8:26).

There are those verses that don't really get you very far: "Elishama, Beeliada and Eliphelet" (1 Chronicles 14:7).

There are the prejudiced verses: "The people of Crete always tell lies. They are greedy and lazy like wild animals" (Titus 1:12).

And there are those verses that unhelpfully sound like football scores: "The king of Aphek, one; the king of Lasharon, one" (Joshua 12:18).

That's why Ship of Fools is launching a poll to find the worst verse in the whole Bible. We want you to tell us: which sacred text makes you reach for the red pen? Which hallowed verse makes you laugh for all the wrong reasons? Which blessed passage leaves you groaning with embarrassment? Which piece of holy writ troubles you at night, but at least keeps you awake in sermons?

Give us your nominations below. You have until the end of July, and then we'll put it to a public vote. In the meantime, join in soon with discussion on the Ship of Fools bulletin boards.

The worst verse: could the Good Book have been better?
Send us your verse!
  Not sure what your verse is? Visit the Bible Gateway site to look up verses and biblical quotes  
  Verse reference (e.g. "Joshua 8:26")    
  The text of the verse    
  Why is this your worst verse?    
vote here
Vote for the verses that have been sent in so far – and join in the debate!
What for you is the worst verse in the Bible?
It could be a verse which is irredeemably naff, mind-numbingly boring, or a verse which you find offensive or cruel.
Please send us your nomination for worst verse using the form below. We're going to be putting the best worst verses to an online vote... and yours could be among them.
bible man says... and this is a good idea, why
Because the Bible is probably the most important book ever, but it sometimes seems that the only people who care about it are rival gangs of fundamentalists, Christian and atheist, determined to beat it into the shape of their own prejudices.
We want to rescue the Bible from their rival takeover bids. We want to take it out of the hands of people who hit you over the head with it.
It doesn't have to be a textbook of infallible information and unbreakable laws to be God's book. And it doesn't have to be one big pile of lies and atrocity just because it has its dodgy bits.
We want to remind non-Christians that Christians can see the flaws of their own faith as well as others can. And we want to remind Christians too.
Let's have a bit of balance, shall we?
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