This episode explores the idea that if one is not able to extend grace to someone else, then they do not understand the grace that they have recieved. Because of this, one might be in danger of their own wrong doing which will result in judgment. The metaphor is extended to include a cosmic judgment, with Satan as prosecutor, and it is imperative one "deals with" the accusations before the court is in session.
This episode transitions into the text where Jesus calls his followers "salt" and "light" and how his own ministry on earth is to fulfill the Law. This raises the question of "How can one become righteous if the Law is not abolished?" Jesus challenges the thinking of his followers which is his goal to get them to question what it is that they are trusting for godliness: their own moral lives or something else.
This episode is the beginning of Season 4 and the Sermon on the Mount. This text begins Jesus's message of an echatological breakthrough into the present world for those who are currently seeking him for change. Though this is clearly before Jesus' death and resurrection, it is his introduction to what they faithful would have in store, that is, assuming they except his terms.
This season finale of Paul's Letter to the Philippians displays much of Paul's perspective. He is very much thankful for the support he has recieved from the Philippians, but what he wants more is there own growth in Christ. He has relayed his growing perspective, in the midst of his suffering, in order that he might instill in them the same growth and maturity in their Christian life.
This particular passage reveals Paul's own perspective as he faces prison and encourages the Philippians in their own hardships. He tells them to rejoice and focus on the good things God has provided. God's power shows up in the midst of actively pursuing the life and perspective of Jesus.
In this passage, Paul admits he has not attained the full benefits of being in Christ, yet he strives on toward his goal like an athlete in the games. He forgets the losses, the sins, behind him and strives toward his goal. He urges the Philippians to do the same as they, and he, continue to suffer.
This passage tells of Paul's safeguard against suffering and how he has transitioned from trusting his abilities and following of the law to attaining salvation through Christ and participating in his suffering.
This particular passage, though it may appear mundane or insignificant, gives an indirect account of both Paul's heart and motivations, but also those of the early churches he has been working with. Service and a genuine interest in others is always a reflection of the life of Christ in Paul's message to the Philippians.
Paul encourages the Philippians to seize (or achieve) the salvation that they have already been given, to actually a continue what they have been doing, in order that they might fulfill their role in the world as representatives of Christ. This, Paul says, will allow him to rejoice that all of his work was not in vain.
Paul reminds the Philippians that their humility, compassion, patience and forgiveness of others is not just simply a moralistic response of duty, but rather a reaction to the same that has been received from God through Jesus Christ. That such obedience and service is exactly what Jesus had done in his earthly ministry.
Paul begins to transition the conversation with the Philippians toward suffering and the purpose of the Christian: to live in a way that is worthy of the gospel of Christ. While he doesn't focus on service as a means to salvation, he does suggest that service comes out of one's joy and gratitude in regard to salvation.
Season 3 of The Word of Pod kicks off with a new genre and book of the Bible. Paul begins with his standard well wishes but then transitions to his praise and gratitude for the Philippians, before beginning the major contents of his letter. Check out this episode to get a good grounding for this season and powerful letter.
Luke 22 gives a look into Jesus' perspective of the Passover, and ultimately his plans for certain apostles such as Judas and Peter. As he is arrested, he resolutely give the Jewish Council one more chance to believe him.
Luke 21 begins with a conversation about wealth and generosity which quickly turns to an observation of the Temple's beauty. Jesus takes the opportunity to speak on its destruction and the ultimate judgement of the world.
Luke 19 introduces the chief tax collector Zacchaeus and the Pharisee's response to Jesus' interaction with sinners. Jesus then tells them a parable about a nobleman who become king and how it relates to his future reaction in Israel by the Jews.
Luke 17 mainly is Jesus' response to his to his disciples lack of belief that they have what it takes to forgive. He goes on to speak about repentance (turning away). This he says can be achieved through others who take the time to value the situation. This is presented in several stories in the chapter resulting in forgiveness.
Chapter 16 contains several parables about the Kingdom of God but from the perspective of the guilty or "lost" party. Unlike chapter 15, which primarily focuses on the person who loses an item. this episode is about the expectations of the "lost" one who wishes to enter the Kingdom.
This episode explores Luke 15 and the beginning of Jesus' parables on "lostness". Ultimately, these parables are about the Pharisees. Despite their being on the the "inside" of Judaism, they are outside the Kingdom of God considering their rejection of Jesus. These parables demonstrate Jesus' perspective on those who consider themselves beyond seeking the lost.
Luke 14 is a bombardment against the Pharisees in terms of their elitism and sense of worthiness in the Kingdom of God. Jesus challenges his own disciples as well as he teaches on who is valued the highest in the kingdom and the cost in this world..
This chapter focuses on the assumptions of the Pharisees and religious rulers of Jesus's day. They assume that difficult in life, perhaps even illness or tragedy, are manifestations of GOd's judgment. Jesus perceives this assumption and begins to teach about fruit, and entering The Narrow Door, amongst other analogies (parables). Check out this episode for more!
Chapter 12 of Luke hones in Jesus' teaching on wealth and prestige in the form of "reward" for one's actions. As he confronts those around him who would search for their reward in this world alone, he gives multiple examples of the ultimate reward and where to find it.
Chapter 11 of Luke gives multiple examples of Jesus's perspective of lifestyle, faith and prayer. Starting with a lesson on "how to pray" Jesus gives a subtle reasoning for why prayer is more about becoming what God wants instead of getting from God what one wants. This theme is found throughout as he accused and rejected by the religious powers.
Chapter 10 of Luke begins with an even great number of Jesus' disciples going out to ministry. Jesus expresses his happiness in the way God had planned Jesus' identity being revealed which shows that God is concerned with not only gaining disciples of Jesus but using them in the world for the Kingdom of Heaven.
Chapter 9 of Luke reveals several things about Jesus including the community's growing speculation of who is really is, what his mysterious mission is becoming, and the future of a person who chooses to follow him.
In this episode, we discuss the various miracles of Jesus in Luke 8 pertaining to Jesus' Messianic "secret" among the Jews. This relates directly to his citing of Isaiah 6 in regard to those who hear the message but do not really hear. Jesus clearly has a mission or goal that cannot be achieved if his identity is revealed throughout the nation.
In this episode, we discuss the raising of a dead son in Nain, the healing of acenturion's servant, the challenge of John's disciples, and the washing of Jesus's feet by the unclean woman. As Jesus adds on the expectations of a true disciple, his listeners began to question his true identity.
In this episode, we focus on the the accusations of the Pharisees against Jesus concerning Sabbath. In Luke, Jesus consistently refers to himself as "The Son of Man" that has significant meaning from Daniel 7. He continues to make claims about himself, but rounds a corner in regard his expectations for his disciples.
In this episode, we focus on the Pharisees and the Jewish culture surrounding their interaction with Jesus. The expectations of Messiah are blocking the religious elite's understanding of Jesus as he continues his ministry among the possessed and sick.
In this episode we explore the temptation of Jesus in the desert by the Devil as well as the challenges facing Jesus in his hometown. As Jesus expands his traveling ministry, his authority becomes more apparent and fitting for the Messiah of Israel.
In this episode we discuss Jesus baptism and the and the significance of his entrance into public ministry. As Jesus is publicly recognized as "God's son" he is immediately faced with supernatural opposition in the form of the Devil's temptations.
In this episode, Jesus is born and Luke ties many significant events to Jesus' early life: circumcision, Passover, sacrifice, and the Temple. John the Baptist begins his ministry in the wilderness preparing for the ministry of Jesus before he is imprisoned. Have a listen as to why these chapters are important in regard to Luke's attempt to attach Jesus to important events in the Hebrew Bible.
In this episode, we continue the discussion of how specific events in the narrative, such as Gabriel's message to Zechariah and Mary, as well as both of their "songs", point to a greater narrative that would be in the collective mind of Israel. As the story of John and Jesus begin, the backdrop of Roman occupation looms heavily and Luke suggests that the lowly, humble beginnings of Jesus imply his rise to a place of prominence with those who are in power coming to a dramatic decline.
In this episode, I introduce the gospel of Luke in terms of genre, purpose, and motivation on the part of the author. The beginning of the letter/argument/gospel is very rich in context and lays a very important foundation for Luke's attempt to pursuade Theophilus that what he already has heard about Jesus is, in fact, true despite his skepticism.
In this episode, the author zooms into the relationship between Joseph and his brothers, which, I believe, is the authors statement on the relationship between God and Israel while in exile. Though misunderstood to be a harsh and vindictive king, Joseph acts kindly and mercifully to his guilty brothers and leads them ultimately to a land of blessing, not unlike the initial promise to Abraham. Is Joseph the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise in the previous episodes? Or is there still someone to come?
This episode picks back up with the story of Joseph and his suffering in Egypt. The brief departure from the story switches to Judah and Tamar to signify the relationship between the wrong done by Judah toward Tamar and his wrong toward Joseph. As he interprets the dreams of influential people and demonstrates his God-given power, Joseph is put in a place of authority in light of his previous suffering.
Sweeping several chapters, the relationship between Jacob and Esau results in Jacob fleeing to find a wife in the family of Laban. Through trickery and deception Laban uses Jacob, yet the promise of God remains and Jacob returns to Canaan blessed. The twelve sons of Jacob (now named Israel) make up the traditional "nation" which will serve as God's blessing to the world. One specific son, Joseph, is introduced as a special character in the next episode.
As Sarah and Abraham die, the blessing and familial focus turns to Isaac and Rebekahs, family. The story reveals that Abraham's sins have spread to his descendants as well as the promise. The conflict between Jacob and Esau demonstrates another ongoing theme of fraternal violence.. One specific highlight is the mediation of Rebekah on the behalf of Jacob. This will prove important later as God moves in other prophets and leaders lives to fulfill his will in the world.
Abraham continues his "my wife is my sister" antics with King Abimelech. Family stress continues as the Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar love triangle worsens. Ishmael, the illegitimate son of Abrahams competes with Isaac, but he and his mother Hagar are eventually sent away. God then calls Abraham to sacrifice his son in an ultimate test of faithfulness. This leaves us wondering, "What does covenant have to do with sacrifice?" and "How does this relate to God's promise to Abraham that he will be a blessing to the world?"
In this episode, we read about the accounts of Abraham and his mistreatment of his wife which results in her own schemes to have a son. Since Sarah is unable to have children of her own, she forces her servant into pregnancy in her stead. God convinces Abraham that he is faithful by instituting the covenant of circumcision, that God indeed will come through with his promise of blessing. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a strange and disturbing story including several points of role reversal and ending in judgment. It also provides an origin story for the Jew's future enemies. Check out the full episode!
At the end of Shem's line, is Abram, a Mesopotamian man who is called by God to leave his people to start his own descendants who will receive the promises of God. Perhaps, the most pivotal moments in the Old Testament, Abram is promised to be blessed in order that he will be a blessing to the world. It is through this blessing that God's plan for humanity will take place. Abraham believes God, and God declares him righteous on top of the blessing that will come in the future. With the promises of blessing also come a prophecy of slavery and bondage, which will ultimately result in the judgment of Egypt but also the Amorites.
The Table of Nations is an important part of Genesis for various reasons. Not only does it explain the lineage from each of Noah's three sons, but it gives a theological backdrop and history from a later perspective (post-exilic author) looking back. As the specific lines of families are played out, it anticipates what is known by the author: the line of Shem, specifically Abram and his dependents, will clash with the line of Ham (Egypt, Mesopotamia, etc). This, ultimately, serves as a set up for Abram and what his role in the story will be. Needless to say, it will be significant. The Tower of Babel is a continuation story of the Garden and Flood. People choose to go against God in search of their own significance and glory only to be divinely stopped and redirected. What will change and how will this cycle stop? Genesis 12 begins to answer that mystery.
As the population of the earth grew, so did corruption and violence. It reached levels to the point God regretted creating his "good" creation and decides to intervene. Yet, in the midst of this judgment, God chooses to save humanity through one person. Noah, and his family, are preserved in an "ark" as the rest of the world drowns, losing their "breath of life". As all "flesh" is destroyed, God makes a covenant with humanity promising to never destroy the entire planet again through water. But, if nothing is changed in humanity, won't the world always return to corruption and violence? This texts reveals the beginning of an important theme: redemption..
The effects of leaving the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life are continually revealed. The author also clearly includes later Jewish beliefs and cultic practices into the story, building upon Sabbath with sacrifice, barrenness, desert-wandering and now, sin. The story continues as God explains that sin is active, seeking to destroy humanity. There is still the question of authority, and who the characters will follow, either God or the serpent. The original man and woman, are barren, unable to have children, as Cain's descendants fill the earth with their murderous line. We are heading for a climax of evil, and left wondering where the line of Seth will fit into a world now full of evil.
Genesis 3 is often referred to "The Fall" which is really a bad description. Rather, it is more of a jump. Humanity was given a specific role and title, as caretakers of a specific garden, Eden, that they never intended to leave. By accepting the idea that, perhaps, God had withheld something from them, they relinquished their authority and privelege in the Garden, thus creating effects that they did not know could exist. Their knowledge of good and evil, and ultimately their disobedience, severed intimate relations with God, and between themselves. This episode will go into more detail about why this text is so important, but also provides some explanation and alternative questions beyond the typical answers one gets in a discussion about the "the Fall".
The Bible begins with a strange and progressive creation account, ultimately leading to humanity. People are to rule over creation as representatives or ambassadors of God. Something about God's image or nature is bestowed upon human beings, specifically in their role to manage creation with their God-given authority. Their presence in the garden is almost priestlike, with God "resting" or residing in their presence in a space that reflects the goodness of God through his creation and the provision therein for humans and animals.. Though Genesis 1 and 2 have some overlap, they are not to be taken chronologically, but rather as two separate accounts of the same event, the former being cosmological, and the latter being more anthropological. The recurring declaration of goodness can hardly be overlooked, which stands in contrast to other ancient near eastern accounts of creation that typically begin with chaos. The theme of creation at the hands (or voice rather) of God himself will play an important role throughout the Bible and the history of God's people.
In order to begin a thoughtful study of the Bible, it is essential to answer several issues pertaining to the question “What is the Bible?” In this episode, some important areas of discussion will be textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), chronology, archaeology, and comparative literature (literature from other cultures at the time of the Bible’s events). To some extent, not all of these issues are necessary to understand the Bible as a text, but so many issues of debate are caused by a misunderstanding of what the Bible is as a text. There is too much information and research available to make claims about the Bible that the Bible does not make. In order to get a full appreciation of this incredible collection of writings, it requires a bit of background to the text itself before we jump into the creation account of Genesis 1, which will come in the next episode.
There are plenty of Bible podcasts and perhaps even more biblical podcasts. Each have their own motivations and purposes. However, the purpose of this podcast is to help address the rising rate of biblical illiteracy. Though most people have some familiarity with the Church, or religion in general, many people have not read the Bible or know what it actually says. With this comes a lot of assumptions. Of course, biblical literacy is ultimately addressed by actually reading the Bible. However, this podcast attempts to help the reader understand the text by adding informative elements such as context, language issues, history, and even origins of dogmatic ideology that often prevent a casual reader from gaining an understanding of what the text actually says. The result is that those who listen to this podcast will continue reading and not quit early on as so many do.