I’ve heard many people say that the Old Testament is just a lot of bloodshed and that the picture of God that it presents is one of a vengeful tyrannical God. Many people think that the New Testament is a mixture of fact and fantasy. I believe that the whole Bible is the inspired Word of God. Everything in it is true. I think that some translations are better than others. I think that one must study the book the way you would study any other subject and always refer back to the original text. (Exactly why I decided to learn Hebrew.) God is not tyrannical and vengeful but rather loving and just.
As far as the Old Testament being blood and vengeance–I, too, was often repelled and confused by the stories and histories of the Israelites. I’ve read the Bible cover to cover a few times and I’ve read all of the books many times over out of order. Finally I had an “aha” moment when it all fell into place quite simply. The Old Testament is 39 books that tell of mankind vacillating between worshiping and obeying God and then turning away from Him and being idolatrous and immoral. Man’s behavior requires judgment. The New Testament is 27 books declaring a message of hope: Christ has taken on our punishment (death) and paid for our sins. If we accept that he has done this, then hooray, we get out of the punishment, but if we don’t accept it then we’re on our own and the judgment is eternal separation from God, i.e. hell.