Lies Abusers Tell

Bible Gender and Church Centre, Spring Seminar
“Lies Abusers Tell: Weaponisation of the Bible in the Home”
speakers: Helen Paynter and Natalie Collins

Psalm 55 and Domestic Abuse

In this 6 minute video, Helen Paynter reflects on Psalm 55 and why someone might cry, ‘Oh that I had the wings of a dove! I would flee far away and stay in the desert.’

Politics in the Pulpit

Helen Paynter made this podcast recording with Beth Allison-Glenny of JPIT on 16 March 2021.
How might we preach on Jeremiah 31.31-34; Psalm 51.1-12; Psalm 119.9-16; Hebrews 5.5-10; John 12.20-33, with attention to political issues?

Is it possible to be a Christian and a nationalist?

Talk given by Helen Paynter at BMS World Missions’s online event ‘Catalyst Lite’, 9th Oct 2020.

Study Group Material: “Reading the Bible Responsibly

“The first step towards a responsible reading of the Bible is to take seriously the very real questions and concerns posed by the story instead of ignoring them or spiritualising them away. Responsible reading of the Bible starts here, by facing up to the challenging and uncomfortable questions posed by our sacred texts.”

Revd Peter King has produced three Bible studies suitable for small groups, which look at some of the parts of scripture which can be read to cause harm. The studies can be downloaded here.
(You can print the study normally or as a booklet, if you need help on how to print as a booklet you can find instructions here.)

Domestic Abuse and the Bible

Helen Paynter’s new book on domestic abuse and the Bible was released on 23rd Oct 2020. The Bible Doesn’t Tell Me So: Why you don’t have to submit to domestic abuse and coercive control.
This book is addressed directly to women experiencing domestic abuse, and to those who seek to support them, including pastoral leaders, friends and support organisations. It debunks the myths – perpetuated by some abusers and, unwittingly, by many churches – which prevent women from getting out of harm’s way. It helps them realise that the Bible does not belong to their abuser but is a text of liberation. Written with careful attention to pastoral issues, it closely examines and clearly explains the relevant scriptural texts

Beer Christianity: podcast (follow-up)

   Artwork for Beer Christianity: THE TRAILER

In Sept 2020 the Beer Christianity team invited Helen back for a follow-up podcast recording. You can listen to it here.

Sackcloth and Coffee: podcast interview

In July 2020, Helen Paynter was interviewed by Sophie Whitmarsh, a former student of Helen’s, and now curate at St David’s Cathedral. Helen spoke about her faith, pain and disappointment, and (of course) biblical violence. You can listen here.

Beer Christianity: podcast interview

In June 2020, CSBV director Helen Paynter was a guest of the podcasters at Beer Christianity. We talked about biblical genocide, Samson, the Flood, how to talk to right-wing Christians, and lots more. Listen here.

Lockdown Bible Tour

It’s not all about violence(!) but during lockdown CSBV director Helen Paynter did a complete tour of the Bible in a series of videos. You can find the whole playlist here.

Chat with Jeff and Jon

In April 2020, during Covid-19 lockdown, Jon Stannard and Jeff Jacobson of West Leigh Baptist Church, Southend-on-Sea, interviewed Helen Paynter about biblical violence. You can watch the interview here.

Podcast: The Levite’s Wife in Judges 19

Interview with Helen Paynter by Grace of the Recovering God podcast team.

Interview: The imprecatory psalms

Mere Fidelity interview with CSBV Research Associate Trevor Laurence on the imprecatory psalms, the subject of his PhD dissertation.

Talk: Hagar – Heard by God.

On 10th October 2019, an art exhibition entitled #SheToo: Silenced Women of the Bible was launched at Calne Baptist Church (sponsored by the Bible Society). The artist was Jen Ford. Helen Paynter gave an address on the story of Hagar. The art can be viewed, and the talk downloaded here.

Bible and Violence: 4 lectures

On 15 June 2019 Helen Paynter delivered a day of teaching for the GOLD project on the theme of biblical violence. You can find the audio recordings and the powerpoint by clicking on the ‘Learn More’ link at the bottom of this page.

Fuelcast on Jephthah’s daughter

A short video discussing the appalling story of the sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter in Judges 11.

Sermon on Judges 19

Informal sermon on the rape of the Levite’s “concubine”, preached by Helen Paynter at CrossNet church, Bristol, 15th June 2019.

Launch Workshop

On 4th June 2019 we held our Launch Workshop where we looked at issues such as:

  • How do we read texts of violence with victims of violence?
  • How can we resist the co-opting of the Bible for violent purposes?

You can find photos, recordings and notes here.

Skeptics and Seekers Podcast

“Will you defend God on the charge of injustice?” On May 11th 2019, Helen had a long discussion with David Johnson, the ex-Christian of the ‘Skeptics and Seekers’ podcast. You can listen to the debate here.


Helen Paynter was interviewed by Rosie Dawson in the first and last episodes of the Bible Society’s #SheToo podcast series. You can listen to her, and to the other contributors (who come from a wide variety of faith perspectives), here on the Bible Society website.


Helen Paynter was interviewed on 1st Feb 2019 by Paul Hammond at UCB Radio about the texts of sexual violence in the Old Testament. Listen to the recording here on Soundcloud.


Helen Paynter’s book ‘God of Violence Yesterday, God of Love Today? Wrestling honestly with the Old Testament’ BRF, May 2019.

Do you find the violence in the Old Testament a problem? Does it get in the way of reading the Bible, of faith, itself? Whilst acknowledging that there are no easy answers, in God of Violence Yesterday, God of Love Today? Helen Paynter faces the predicament head-on and demonstrates a fresh, accessible approach to something that concerns many of us. For those wanting to gain confidence in the Bible and the God it portrays, this new significant book is a must-read.
Find it here.

2018: The Whitley Lecture

In 2018 Helen delivered the Whitley Lecture, entitled ‘Dead and Buried. Attending to the voices of the victim in the Old Testament and today’ in 16 venues around the country. She blogged about it here.

The written version of the lecture can be purchased on Amazon, and a video of the lecture in Paisley can be viewed here: