Themed Study

Women in the Bible

The Whore of Babylon – Discussion Questions

Interpretation Questions:

  1. Would Revelation 17–18 be or feel different if the city were personified as masculine? Why or why not?
  2. An angel speaks directly to Babylon in Revelation 18:21-24. How does the text feel different when it speaks in second person to “you,” the “great whore,” rather than in third person about her?
  3. Regarding the violent passages of the Bible such as Revelation 17–18, what responsibilities do biblical scholars have to the text? How is this different, or not, from the responsibilities a pastor or any person of faith has to the text?
  4. Think about the many examples of feminine power and oppression we have examined in earlier lessons. How are any of these at play in Revelation 17–18, if at all?

Application Questions:

  1. What is your automatic reaction when reading violent passages of the Bible (defensiveness, anger, indifference)? How might it be helpful? And how might it be harmful?
  2. Due to the brand on her forehead, the “whore” may be an enslaved person, Dr. Lin suggests. How would the power shift in her story if her sinfulness was imposed upon her rather than chosen by her?
  3. Dr. Vayntrub recommends that the best we can do with the violent passages of Scripture is to “bear witness” to the darker parts of a text. What are a few practical ways you can bear witness to the violence done to the woman Babylon in your own faith context?

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