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The creators of The Bible Project have in-depth conversations about biblical theology. A companion podcast to The Bible Project videos found at


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The Significance of 7 - 7th Day Rest E2


?Genesis 1 isn?t just telling you about what type of world you?re living in; it?s showing you, as a Israelite reader, that your life of worship rhythms are woven into the fabric of the universe.?


The idea of resting and the number seven are intimately connected in the Bible.In Genesis 1, the word or number "seven" has two key symbolic meanings: seven represents a full and complete world, and getting to seven is a linear journey from one to seven.The rhythm of practicing sabbath or resting every seventh day is one way that humans can imitate God and act like they are participating in the new creation.


Welcome to our second episode tracing the theme of seventh-day rest in the Bible!

In part 1 (0-18:30), Tim shares some of the numeric symbolism in Genesis 1. The opening line of Genesis 1 has seven words, and the central word, untranslated in English, is two Hebrew letters, the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet: aleph and taw.

When one isolates the theme of time in Genesis 1, another design pattern emerges that provides a foundation for all of Israel?s rituals of sacred time.

Tim points out that there are many other ways the number seven is symbolic in the Genesis narrative: there are seven words in Genesis 1:1, and fourteen words in Genesis 1:2. There are seven paragraphs in Genesis 1:1-2:3 marked by ?evening and morning.? The concluding seventh paragraph in Genesis 2:1-3 begins three lines which have seven words each (Gen 2:2-3a).

In part 2 (18:30-28:30), Tim points out similar observations.

Each of the key words in Genesis 1:1 are repeated by multiples of seven in Genesis 1:2-2:3.

?God? = 35x (7 x 5)?land? = 21x (7 x 3)?skies? = 21x (7 x 3)

Key words repeated seven times:

?light? and ?day? on day 2?light? on day 4?living creature? (???) on days 5-6?God saw that it was good?

God speaks 10 times in Genesis 1:1-2:3. Seven times are divine creative commands to the creation itself: ?let there be?.? Three times are divine initiatives toward humanity: ?let us make ?adam?,? ?be fruitful and multiply,? and ?behold I have given to you?.?

Tim cites scholar Umberto Cassuto: 

?To suppose that all these appearances of the number seven are mere coincidence is not possible. This numerical symmetry is, as it were, the golden thread that binds together all the part of the section.? (Umberto Cassuto, From Adam to Noah: A Commentary on the Book of Genesis)

Tim says all of this numerical symbolism is completely intentional. The authors want us to learn that seven represents both a whole completed creation and a journey to that completeness.

In part 3 (28:30-41:00), Jon asks why the number seven became so symbolic in ancient Hebrew culture. Tim says the origins of the number seven being associated with completeness is likely tied to the lunar calendar of moon cycles. The biblical Hebrew word for ?month? is ?moon? (???). Each month consisted of 29.5 days, and each month consisted of four 7.3-day cycles, making a ?complete? cycle of time. However, the sabbath cycle is independent of the moon cycle, and sabbaths do not coincide with the new moon. It is patterned after creation, and stands outside of any natural cycle of time.

Tim then makes an important note on Hebrew word play. Seven was symbolic in ancient near eastern and Israelite culture and literature. It communicated a sense of ?fullness? or ?completeness? (??? ?seven? is spelled with the same consonants as the word ??? ?complete/full?). This makes sense of the pervasive appearance of ?seven? patterns in the Bible. For more information on this, Tim cites Maurice H. Farbridge?s book, Studies in Biblical and Semitic Symbolism, 134-37.

In part 4 (41:00-52:30), Jon asks what it means for God to rest?

In response, Tim says there are two separate but related Hebrew concepts and words for rest.

The Hebrew word shabat means ?to cease from.? God ceases from his work because ?it is finished? (Gen 2:1). Compare with Joshua 5:12, ?The manna ceased (shabat) on that day?.?

The Hebrew word nuakh means ?to take up residence.? Compare with Exodus 10:14, ?The locusts came up over the land of Egypt and rested (nuakh) in all the land.? When God or people nuakh, it always involves settling into a place that is safe, secure, and stable. 2 Samuel 7:1 says, ?Now when King David dwelt in his house, for Yahweh had provided rest from his enemies?.?

The drama of the story, Tim notes, is the question as to whether humans and God will nuakh together? All of this sets a foundation for later biblical stories of Israel entering in the Promised Land, a land of rest.

In part 5 (52:30-end), Tim asks what it means that God blessed the seventh day?

Tim cites scholar Mathilde Frey:

?Set apart from all other days, the blessing of the seventh day establishes the seventh part of created time as a day when God grants his presence in the created world. It is then his presence that provides the blessing and the sanctification. The seventh day is blessed and established as the part of time that assures fruitfulness, future-orientation, continuity, and permanence for every aspect of life within the dimension of time. The seventh day is blessed by God?s presence for the sake of the created world, for all nature, and for all living beings.?  (Mathilde Frey, The Sabbath in the Pentateuch, 45)

Tim says in Genesis 1, the symbolism of seven is a view that the ?seventh day? is the culmination of all history. Tim cites scholar Samuel H. Balentine.

?Unlike the previous days, the seventh day is simply announced. There is no mention of evening or morning, no mention of a beginning or ending. The suggestion is that the primordial seventh day exists in perpetuity, a sacred day that cannot be abrogated by the limitations common to the rest of the created order.? (Samuel H. Balentine, The Torah?s Vision of Worship, 93)

Tim also cites scholar Robert Lowry: ?The seventh-day account does not end with the expected formula, ?there was evening and morning,? that concluded days one through six. Breaking the pattern in this way emphasizes the uniqueness of the seventh day and opens the door to an eschatological interpretation. Literarily, the sun has not yet set on God?s Sabbath.? (Richard H. Lowery, Sabbath and Jubilee, 90)

Show Music: 

Defender Instrumental by TentsOptimistic by Lo Fi Type BeatKame House by Lofi Hip Hop InstrumentalIt?s Ok to Not Be Ok by Highkey BeatsHometown by nymano x Pandress


Maurice H. Farbridge, Studies in Biblical and Semitic SymbolismUmberto Cassuto, From Adam to Noah: A Commentary on the Book of GenesisMathilde Frey, The Sabbath in the PentateuchSamuel H. Balentine, The Torah?s Vision of WorshipRichard H. Lowery, Sabbath and Jubilee

Show Produced By: 

Dan Gummel

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The Restless Craving for Rest - 7th Day Rest E1


The sabbath. Talking about it can be complicated and confusing, yet the biblical authors wrote about it a lot. So what?s it all about? The sabbath is more than an antiquated law. It?s about the design of time and the human quest for rest. The sabbath and seventh-day rest is one of the key themes that starts on page one of the Bible and weaves beautifully all the way through to the end.


?The seventh day is like a multifaceted gem. One of the main facets is the fabric of creation as leading toward a great goal where humans imitate God and join him in ceasing from work and labor. But there?s going to be another facet that?s all about being a slave to our labor. And so the seventh day is a time to celebrate our liberation from slavery so that we can rest with God.?


The theme of the sabbath or seventh-day rest is a key theme in the Bible that starts on page one and goes all the way through to the end.The word sabbath comes from the Hebrew word shabot, which means most simply ?to stop? or ?to cease from.?Keeping/observing/remembering the sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments. It sticks out as being a uniquely Jewish practice at the time in history when the commandments were given.


Welcome to the first episode in our series on understanding seventh-day rest in the Bible!

In part 1 (0-6:35), Tim outlines the theme in general. He says the seventh-day rest is actually a huge theme in the Bible, even more prominent in the Scriptures than other TBP videos. Tim calls it an ?organizing main theme in the Bible.?

In part 2 (6:35-23:45), Tim recounts a story from when he and Jon visited Jerusalem. They were both able to share a Sabbath meal with practicing Jews in Jerusalem. Tim shares that the Sabbath tradition is one of the longest running traditions in any culture in the world. Even the word shabat?s most basic meaning is ?to stop.?

In part 3 (23:45-33:00), Tim says this series isn?t really going to be about the practice of sabbath but about the theme and symbolism of sabbath and seventh-day rest in the Bible. This theme is rich and complex, woven from start to finish in the Scriptures. The practice of the Sabbath itself is only one piece of the underlying message the authors are trying to communicate.

In part 4 (33:00-45:30), Tim and Jon discuss ?keeping, observing, or remembering? the sabbath in the Ten Commandments. This command sticks out as a unique Jewish practice. The Jews are told to keep the sabbath for two different reasons according to two different passages:

Exodus 20:8-11

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested (Heb. shabat) on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

Deuteronomy 5:12-15

Keep the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest (Heb. nuakh) as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day.

Tim notes that in the first passage, Jews are told to keep the sabbath because it is an act of participation in God?s presence and rule over creation. But in the second passage, keeping the sabbath is an act of implementing God?s presence and rule by the liberation from slavery. Tim says these two ways of viewing the practice of the sabbath are two of the core ways to think about the seventh-day rest theme in the bible.

In part 5 (45:30-end), Tim cites scholar Matitiahu Tsevat about the biblical phrase ?it is a sabbath of Yahweh? (??? ?????), literally, ?a sabbath that belongs to Yahweh.?

?This phrase is so important, it?s easy to miss its centrality... Just as in the 7th year of release man desists from utilizing the land for his own business and benefit, so on the sabbath day he desists from using that day for his own affairs. And just äs the intervals in regard to the release year and the jubilee years are determined by the number seven, so too is the number seven determinative for that recurring day when man refrains from his own pursuits and sets it aside for God. In regular succession he breaks the natural flow of time, proclaiming, and that the break is made for the sake of the Lord. This meaning which we have ascertained from the laws finds support Isaiah 58: ?If you restrain your foot on the sabbath so äs not to pursue your own affairs on My holy day?? Man normally is master of his time. He is free to dispose of it as he sees fit or as necessity bids him. The Israelite is duty-bound, however, once every seven days to assert by word and deed that God is the master of time. ? one day out of seven the Israelite is to renounce dominion over his own time and recognize God's dominion over it. Simply: Every seventh day the Israelite renounces his autonomy and affirms God's dominion over him in the conclusion that every seventh day the Israelite is to renounce dominion over time, thereby renounce autonomy, and recognize God's dominion over time and thus over himself. Keeping the sabbath is acceptance of the kingdom and sovereignty of God.? (Matitiahu Tsevat, The Basic Meaning of the Biblical Sabbath, 453-455.)

Tim says the structure of the sabbath is meant to be inconvenient. God is the master of all time, and he holds all the time that we think actually belongs to us.

Show Music:

Defender Instrumental by TentsRoyalty Free Middle Eastern MusicShabot Songs:Psalm 121 (Lai Lai Lai) by Joshua AaronL'maancha by Eitan Katz

Resources: Tsevat, The Basic Meaning of the Biblical Sabbath

Show Produced by:

Dan Gummel

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Can I Get a Witness?

The word witness is a key word in the bible, and the theme of ?witnessing? is a key theme in the bible that can be used to understand the whole story of the bible.

Key Takeaways

The word witness is a key word in the bible, and the theme of ?witnessing? is a key theme in the bible that can be used to understand the whole story of the bible.The greek word ?????? (mártus) is used in the New Testament as the word for ?witness? it is also the root word for ?martyr:?The word witness is used in a variety of different ways throughout the Bible. For example, God is described as being a witness. Israel is called to be a witness to the nations and Jesus says he is a witness about himself.

Favorite Quotes

?It?s weird how simple and how big of a responsibility being a witness is. God wants a group of witnesses who experience him and then talk about it.?

Show Notes

In part 1, (0-7:45) Tim and Jon introduce the topic and also introduce Carissa Quinn a biblical scholar on staff with the bible project. Carisa is responsible for researching and writing the script for the upcoming video on witness. The group talks about the popular usages of the word witness. Jon toes that in a Christian context, ?witness? is often meant to be an activity that someone will do to try and logically convince or debate somebody (a non believer) about Jesus and the truth of the bible.

The group also notes that oftentimes ?witness? is best understood in a modern legal context.

In part 2, (7:45-16:50) Carissa says the word witness occurs over 400 hundred times in the bible in a variety of forms. In hebrew the word ?witness? is basically (1) someone who sees something amazing or important--in Hebrew, this person is an ??? (eid) and in Greek, a ?????? (mártus). And (2) if this person begins to share what they?ve seen, we call this ?bearing witness?: in Hebrew ???? (uwd) and in Greek ???????? (marturéo).

Carissa shares the story of Ruth in Ruth 4:9, when Boaz buys land from Naomi?s family, he calls together witnesses to see the transaction, so that if there?s a later dispute about the land, they can bear witness about what they saw. Tim notes that this passage is somewhat related to Deut 25:9 a law about sandals and witnessing being used as a form of legal documentation.

The group briefly discusses the role of a public notary in modern culture. They act as official witnesses to legal signings.

In part 3, (16:50-24:50) Carissa goes to Psalm 27 and the theme of ?false witnesses?. Carissa notes that God is referred to as a witness throughout the bible. For example in Genesis 31:49 ... ?May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. 50 If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.?

In the New Testament God the Father is said to bear witness to the identity of Jesus. Jesus also says he bears witness to himself in John 8:17-18 ?In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.?

Carissa then notes that many times Paul uses a phrase like ?God is my witness? for example in Romans 1:9 ?For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.?

In part 4 (24:50-42:45)

Carissa continues the conversation by bringing up the fact that an object can be a witness in the bible. For example in Joshua 24: 27 And Joshua said to all the people, ?Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord that he spoke to us. Therefore it shall be a witness against you, lest you deal falsely with your God.?

Carissa then notes that the word ?witness? in the bible can be used to trace the whole story of the bible. Tim says that the word ?witness? is an interesting way to think about the image of god. People are created in God?s image to ?witness? god and his creation to the rest of the world.

Carissa says that israel is called to be a witness to the other nations in Exodus 19:4-6 ? ?You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.?

Carissa says that later in the bible the torah is referred to as a ?witness? and is often called ?the laws of the testimony?. Meaning the laws are testifying or witnessing the relationship between god and israel. Additionally, Moses writes a song in Deuteronomy 32 to bear witness to Israel about God.

Carissa points out that in John 5, Jesus says the Torah points to him in John 5:39 ?You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.?

In part 5 (42:45-49:20)

Carissa notes the theme of the word witness in the prophets. For example 2 Chronicles 24:19 "Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the Lord. These testified (witnessed) against them, but they would not pay attention.

Carissa notes that to testify against or to witness against was one of the primary roles of prophets in the Old Testament. They were warning/ witnessing to Israel about what would happen to them if they didn?t follow god.

Carissa also notes that Isiah 43:10-12 is a crucial passage to understand the role that the whole nation of Israel was to have in acting as God's witnesses.

Isaiah 42:10 ??You are my witnesses,? declares the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me.
I, I am the Lord,
and besides me there is no savior.
I declared and saved and proclaimed,
when there was no strange god among you;
and you are my witnesses,? declares the Lord, ?and I am God.

In the last part, (49:20-end)
Carissa talks about Jesus. Jesus claims to be the ?chief witness? from Isaiah 61. He was sent to open the eyes of Israel who are the blind witnesses to God and his creation. Tim notes how ironic it is that Jesus is the ultimate witness bearing witness to God's kingdom that gets him killed. Carissa note that the word ??????? (mártus).? is the greek word for witness which is also the root word for martyr. So Jesus was a martus, and a martyr by staking his life on what he believes in.
In Acts followers of Jesus are called to be ?witnesses?. But often times in the New Testament being a witness is directly connected to verifying or believing in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Jon notes that witness in modern context is usually more about debating ore rationalizing Jesus and Christianity to a secular world. Carissa notes that to ?bear witness? is a sign of someone's character. Jon then notes that thinking about being a witness in life is actually a really important calling or job. A witness has an important role to play and ?bearing witness? is what we are called to do as christians. Not to debate or convince people about the truth of Jesus but to share are own powerful moments of God in our lives.

Show Resources:
Walter Kaiser, Mission in the Old Testament: Israel as a Light to the Nations

Show Music
Can I Get a Witness: The Rolling Stones. Non Profit, Educational Fair Use. Creative Commons
Fills the Skies: Josh White
Blue Skies: Unwritten Stories
Analogs: Moby
The Truth About Flight Love and BB Guns: Beautiful Eulogy

Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel

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The Obvious & Extravagant Claim of the Gospels - Gospels E4

Key Takeaways:

All the gospels are essentially saying the same thing. Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and his life, death, and resurrection fulfills the Hebrew Scriptures.All four gospels climax with a detailed recounting of Jesus' death and resurrection. While this may seem like an obvious point to modern readers, this is not necessarily true for ancient readers when the Scriptures were formed.Modern readers of the gospels should make an effort to familiarize themselves with how ancient Greco-Roman biography and literature worked. The four gospels are not modern texts; therefore, readers should be sympathetic and strive to view them not through a modern lens, but in light of their historic context.


?The main mode that many Christians, especially Protestants, read the Bible in is the ?lessons for my life? approach to the Bible. The deeply held assumption is, ?the Bible is a moral handbook and each story is giving me a life application lesson that I can apply to my life.? And I don?t think that?s what the Gospel authors are trying to do.?

"(The gospels are) tying in Jesus? story as the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scripture storyline which is the story of Israel and all humanity. And then all of them are saying the story leads up to the moment of a Jewish wonder-worker?s execution. It?s a simple point. But that is their main point."

In part 1 (0-11:30), Tim and Jon briefly recap the series so far. They discuss the earlier tips for reading the gospels more effectively and deeply. Tim says readers should always remember that the gospels are meant to be stories about Jesus, but they have been specifically selected to be persuasive stories about Jesus. The Gospel authors want the reader to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Sometimes they make this intent obvious and explicit, but other times, they make the claims indirectly. Tim says this method of indirect communication and indirect claims about Jesus is the primary way that Gospel authors design their portraits of Jesus.

In part 2 (11:30-22:00), Tim notes that many of the stories about Jesus, including the stories of miracles, sound unbelievable to many modern Western audiences. Whereas in other cultures, healings and miracles and those who performed them were considered an integral part of life and evidence of God or the gods? work. Tim shares a helpful resource called The Lost Letters of Pergamum, which is a short historical novel set in ancient Roman culture during the early days of Christianity. The novel helps readers more accurately picture what the original claims of the gospel would have meant to the first followers of Christ.

Tim then says most Western Protestants read these accounts through asking, ?What?s the application of this gospel story to my life and how will it improve my life?? Tim says he doesn?t think this is the best way to read the gospels. Instead, readers should learn to read the gospels as intricate and complete portraits of Jesus Christ of Nazareth that are claiming that Jesus is the promised Jewish Messiah.

In part 3 (22:00-32:00), Tim notes that every Gospel climaxes with Jesus? death and resurrection. Tim then contrasts this with the Gospel of Thomas, which does not include Jesus? death and resurrection narrative. To the gnostics who used the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus was a wise, divine teacher who dispensed knowledge to humanity to help them learn to be wise.

Tim then says that a good example of the gospels climaxing with Jesus? death and resurrection would be the Gospel of Mark. Most of the book highlights the final week of Jesus? life and does a fast fly-by of Jesus? earlier life leading up to the week of the Passover and crucifixion.

Most stories, Tim observes, end with the good guy defeating the bad guy, thereby using force and violence to triumph. The Jesus story claims that Jesus triumphed by allowing himself to be killed by his enemies. He then was raised from the dead and gives his enemies an opportunity to enter into new life by believing in him.

In part 5 (32:00-end), Tim and Jon discuss the differences between the gospels. Tim says that some of the variances between the stories in the gospels used to bother him. Why couldn?t all the stories be the same? Aren?t the discrepancies evidence that these stories and authors might be unreliable?

However, Tim continues by sharing that over time, his perspective has changed. Now, he realizes that the Gospel authors are advancing a claim about Jesus, not recounting security camera footage of his life. The authors want the reader to understand that Jesus had a totally different way of seeing the world, so they highlight this in their own style. Tim says he would actually be highly suspicious if all the gospels? stories are exactly identical. That would imply that the Jesus story was not authentic. It also should be taken into consideration that what many modern Christians may perceive to be untruths or discrepancies in the Bible were much more accepted by early Christians. Modern readers should attempt to understand the context and culture of how the gospels were formed instead of importing our own modern view of a biography onto an ancient text.

Show Music:

?Defender? instrumental by Tents?Nostalgic? by junior state?lacuna? by leavv?Beautiful Eulogy? by Beautiful Eulogy

Show Resources:

The Lost Letters of Pergamum: A Story from the New Testament World by Bruce Longenecker

Show Produced by:

Dan Gummel

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Why are there 4 Gospels? - Gospels E3

Key takeaways:

The four gospels all tell a unique perspective of the same story. They all claim Jesus is the Jewish Messiah who fulfills the Hebrew Scriptures.Mark is widely considered to be the oldest Gospel.The genealogies at the start of Matthew have hidden design patterns in them that unify the Old and New Testaments.The story of Zacharias and Elizabeth at the start of Luke is meant to layer onto the story of Abraham and Sarah in the Old Testament. This is a key design pattern of Luke. Luke likes to create the characters in his book based off Old Testament figures.

Quote: ?(The gospels) are constantly and from the first moment tying the Jesus story back into Hebrew scriptures. There isn?t a story or teaching about Jesus that isn?t packed with Old Testament allusion.?


In part 1 (0-5:00), Tim and Jon briefly recap the last episode. Tim says he?s going to unpack four ways that readers can better understand and uncover themes in the gospels.

In part 2 (5:00-14:00), Tim dives into advanced ways to read these accounts. One way to take your reading of the gospels to the next level is to get a Bible that shows when a Gospel is citing or quoting an Old Testament passage. For example, Tim focuses on the book of Mark. Most scholars view Mark as the oldest of the gospels.

Mark 1 shares links to both Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 4:5-6 in the first verses.

Mark 1:1-3

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

?I will send my messenger ahead of you,

who will prepare your way??

?a voice of one calling in the wilderness,

?Prepare the way for the Lord,

make straight paths for him.??

Tim says that this should alert the reader to the fact that Mark is heavily influenced by the Old Testament. Mark is reading the Old Testament, and his Gospel is structured around and informed by the Hebrew Scriptures.

In part 3 (14:00-22:30), Tim then looks at the start of Matthew. The book begins with a genealogy. This genealogy is broken into three movements of fourteen generations: fourteen from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile, and fourteen from the exile to Jesus.

In order to stick to this pattern, Tim notes, generations would have been left out. So why would Matthew use this pattern?

There are several thoughts. One is that the number fourteen is the numerical value of the name ?David.? So Matthew is disguising his claim that Jesus is a new and better David in this genealogy.

Tim also mentions that four women are mentioned in this genealogy. Each of them are non-Jewish women. Again, why does Matthew do this? He wants you to know that Gentile women in the Old Testament played a crucial role in carrying on?and in some cases rescuing?the messianic seed.

In part 4 (22:30-32:30), Tim dives into the opening of the Gospel of Luke. The story of Elizabeth and Zacharias is meant to map onto the story of Abraham and Sarah. Both couples are old and have no children or heirs. Luke then moves onto the introduction of Mary. Mary?s response to the angel?s proclamation is different than Zacharias? response. So Luke uses a lot of character design to overlap Old Testament and New Testament characters in order to show a new act of God.

In part 5 (32:30-47:30), Tim dives into the opening in the Gospel of John. There are themes of Genesis 1 (?In the beginning?) and Lady Wisdom from Proverbs 8 in the opening lines of John. Many modern Western readers find John's writing style to be the most approachable and easy to understand. John's links and callbacks to earlier Hebrew Scriptures are more obvious to the untrained eye than in the other gospels.

In part 6 (47:30-end), Tim and Jon dive into Mathew 11.

Matthew 11:2-6

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, ?Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else??

Jesus replied, ?Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.?

Tim says that this passage is heavily influenced by Isaiah 35 because Jesus quotes from this passage to answer John's question about whether he is the Messiah or not.

Isaiah 35:1-7

The desert and the parched land will be glad;

the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.

Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;

it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.

The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,

the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;

they will see the glory of the Lord,

the splendor of our God.

Strengthen the feeble hands,

steady the knees that give way;

say to those with fearful hearts,

?Be strong, do not fear;

your God will come,

he will come with vengeance;

with divine retribution

he will come to save you.?

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened

and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

Then will the lame leap like a deer,

and the mute tongue shout for joy.

Water will gush forth in the wilderness

and streams in the desert.

The burning sand will become a pool,

the thirsty ground bubbling springs.

In the haunts where jackals once lay,

grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.

Show Music:

Defender Instrumental by TentsMind Your Time by Me.SoSubtle Break by Ghostrifter OfficialSerenity by JayJenAcquired in Heaven by Beautiful EulogyFor When It?s Warmer by SleepyfishEuk's First Race by David Gummel

Show Resources:

What Are the Gospels?: A Comparison with Graeco-Roman Biography by Richard BurridgeReading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction by Jonathan PenningtonA brief overview of Jewish history pre-Christ and during Roman rule.For more on the different scholarly views on the meaning and background of Lady Wisdom in Israelite history, see Michael Fox's Anchor Bible Commentary: Proverbs 1-9 on pages 331-345 and 352-359.

Show Produced by:

Dan Gummel

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The Gospel is More Than You Think - Gospels E2

In part 1 (0-19:00), Tim and Jon give a brief historical overview of Israel at the time Jesus was born. Israel had been under hundreds of years of military occupation by different empires. At the time of Jesus, that empire is Rome. Tim notes that the entire Jewish people would have had a sense of expectation. The Hebrew Scriptures taught them that the glory of the Jewish kingdom would return and a messiah would rescue them. This mindset?though difficult for us to imagine?was that of an ancient Jew under Roman rule at the time when the gospels were written.

In part 2 (19:00-25:00), Tim notes that for one to declare or be declared as ?messiah? while under Roman rule would have been viewed as an act of politcal insurrrection and revolution.

In part 3 (25:00-38:45), Tim outlines the history of the word gospel, which comes from the old English word ?godspel? or *good tidings*. This word in Greek is ?????????? and Tim notes that ?the euangelion? is what Jesus is said to proclaim in the beginning of Mark. Mark 1:1 *The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.* Tim then notes how Paul uses the same word at the start of Romans. Romans 1:2-4 *the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.* Tim also shared 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. *Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas,and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.* Tim notes that Paul doesn?t have a stock phrase or answer for ?what is the gospel.? Instead he tweaks the message in both of these books and offers two complimentary answers. This example from Paul should make us cautious of trying to boil down the gospel to a simple formula. If Paul didn?t really do it that way, why should we? Instead we should try to learn how to articulate the whole story of the Jewish Scriptures and distill the gospel through that lens.

In part 4 (38:45-44:45), Tim also brings up Paul?s speech to the Athenians in Acts 17: Acts 17:22-34 *Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: ?People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship?and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.* *?The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ?For in him we live and move and have our being.? As some of your own poets have said, ?We are his offspring.?* *?Therefore since we are God?s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone?an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.?* *When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, ?We want to hear you again on this subject.? At that, Paul left the Council. Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.* Tim notes that also in this presentation, Paul does not bring up Christ?s atoning death explictly. The atoning death of Christ is part of the gospel, but it is not the whole. The larger story of the gospel is portrayed in the four books known as the Gospels. What is the larger story? It is about Jesus inaugurating the kingdom of God.

In part 5 (44:45-end), Tim gives his own definitions of the four books known as "the Gospels." "The gospels are carefully designed theological biographies of Jesus of Nazareth. They focus on his announcement of the euangelion. They are not merely historical records. They are designed to advance a claim that will challenge the readers thinking and behavior, and you are going to be forced to make a decision about Jesus after reading the book. And what is the claim? That the crucified and risen Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah of Israel and true Lord of the world." Tim closes with an insight from scholars Loveday Alexander and Richard Burridge, as well as a book called *Reading the Gospels Wisely* by Jonathan Pennington.


Show Resources:

* Richard Burridge: [*What are the Gospels? A Comparison with Graeco Roman Biography*](

* Loveday Alexander: [*The Preface to Luke?s Gospel*](

* Jonathan Pennington: [*Reading the Gospels Wisely*](

* [A brief overview of Jewish history pre-Christ and during Roman rule.](


Show Music:

* Defender Instrumental by Tents

* Hello from Portland by Beautiful Euology

* For When It?s Warmer by Sleepy Fish

* Instrumentals of Mercy by Beautiful Eulogy

* Chilldrone: Copyright free


Show Produced by: Dan Gummel


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What Does the Word "Gospel" Mean? Feat. N.T. Wright - Gospels E1

Welcome to a special episode that kicks off our series of How to Read the Gospels. In this episode, Tim sits down with Dr. N.T. Wright to discuss the historical meaning of the word ?gospel.?

In part 1 (0-21:20), Dr. Wright notes that word studies are great, but it?s important to understand how words derive their meaning and live in a narrative context. Alternaitve ?gospels,? including the Gospel of Thomas, typically are a collection of good advice or wise sayings from Jesus about how to live a good life, whereas the whole ?gospel? or good news is the story of Jesus being crowned king and Israel being used by God to bless all the nations.

Tim shares an interesting historical ancedote: a birthday announcement from a historical source called the Calendar of Priene. It?s an old royal announcement from the Roman emporer Augustus Caesar, and it uses the Greek word for ?gospel,? ??????????, evangelion, meaning "good news."

"Since Providence, which has ordered all things and is deeply interested in our life, has set in most perfect order by giving us Augustus, whom she filled with virtue that he might benefit humankind, sending him as a savior, both for us and for our descendants, that he might end war and arrange all things, and since he, Caesar, by his appearance (excelled even our anticipations), surpassing all previous benefactors, and not even leaving to posterity any hope of surpassing what he has done, and since the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings for the world that came by reason of him.? (The Calendar of Priene, Caesar Birthday announcement)

Dr. Wright says this historical announcement reveals a very interesting historical narrative. The Roman emporers continually decreed that they had brought peace and justice to the world through violent and political power. These emporers used the same language and vocubulary as the gospel authors when they proclaim Jesus of Nazareth as the one who brings true peace and justice to the world.

In part 2 (21:20-27:10), Tim and Dr. Wright discuss that ?news? is an ineffective modern word to describe the gospel. A better alternative in our day would be ?announcement? or ?proclamation.? Today, the word ?news? is used most often to describe everyday occurences, whereas the historical word ??????????, evangelion, was far less common and treated with importance.

In part 3 (27:10-42:45), Tim and Dr. Wright dive into the Gospel of Mark and Matthew.

Dr. Wright focuses on the Beatitudes in Matthew. Instead of it being just an ethical to-do list, the Beatitudes are meant to model what God?s kingdom actually looks like. They represent the corporate moral ethic of God?s kingdom, showing what a world looks like when God becomes king and showing how God's kingdom spreads throughout the world.

Tim and Dr. Wright both cite Isaiah 53, one of the key bridges between the Old and New Testament in the Suffering Servant. They move on to discuss a book by Dr. Richard Hayes called, ?Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels? and discuss the royal enactment portrayls in the gospels. Tim and Dr. Wright note that these are very obvious themes. Jesus is given a purple robe and crowned with a crown of thorns. These themes are meant to be picked up by the reader as evidence of the upside down nature of the kingdom that Jesus was enacting. He became king through suffering.

In part 4 (42:45-56:00), Tim and Dr. Wright talk about Paul and his perspective of ??????????, evangelion. Tim reads from Romans 1:1-6:

"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ."

Tim also shares 1 Corinthians 15:1-11:

?Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you?unless you believed in vain.

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.?

Tim thinks this 1 Corinthians passage may be over-dominant in Western Christianity?s understanding in defining the gospel. Dr. Wright notes a historical view stemming from German and Lutheran interpretation that wants to see ?the gospel? only as a salvation by faith that Christ died for our sins on the cross.

This view, Dr. Wright asserts, shortchanges the story of the Hebrew Scriptures. While this is part of the meaning of the word ?gospel,? the whole story of the Hebrew Scriptures involves the signficance of Jesus being the new and exalted human, the new Adam, through whom humanity can now realize their orginal destiny that was laid out for them in the Garden of Eden.

In part 5 (56:00-end), Tim and Dr. Wright wrap up their time together by discussing how word studies are important but need to be tied into an informed understanding of the whole narrative of the Hebrew Bible.

Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel

Show Music:

Defender Instrumental by Tents Daydreams 2 by Chillhop Fills the Skies by Josh White Yesterday on Repeat by Vexento

Show Resources:

The Gospel of Thomas ( The Calendar of Priene, Caesar Birthday Announcement The Suffering Servant Umberto Cassuto, From Adam to Noah: A Commentary on the Book of Genesis I-VI

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Generosity Q&R: Overpopulation, Cain's Sacrifice & Manna Hoarding - Generosity E5

Welcome to our Q+R for our series on Generosity. Tim and Jon respond on this episode to six questions. Thank you to everyone who submitted questions!

Below are the questions with corresponding timestamps.

Raphael from Austria (1:36):
My question is, in this modern age with trending topics like overpopulation, climate change, and running out of resources in many parts of the Earth, how can we understand or apply the mindset of abundance and that God in a generous host? Thanks for everything you do and for helping me reshape my biblical paradigms so that I may now understand the biblical story in a whole new way.

Nadia from the UK (11:27):
My question is with Cain and Abel: isn't it because the Lord looked on Abel's offering more favorably because he brought the best, the fattened part of his flock and the firstborn of his flock? In comparison to what Cain brought, which was just some of the fruit; it doesn?t say it was the first fruits or the best of, it was just some, and therefore, God looked more favorably on Abel?s, which is why Cain?s was rejected. Thanks!

Seth from Cincinnati (12:03):
You guys have discussed the reasons for why God favored Abel over Cain. The author of Hebrews says, "By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks" (Hebrews 11:4). ...We can infer that by contrast that Cain's must not have been offered by faith. What do you think of this interpretation?

Lauren from Indiana (30:00):
I love the parable you have going and that we make choices based on fear that abundance will stop, and we need to hoard. That immediately took me to Exodus 16 and the manna that Moses told them to not leave any until morning. Of course, some people did anyway, and it was spoiled. To me, that's a really obvious example of your parable, but are we supposed to be mapping that onto Genesis specifically, or was that just a happy piece of serendipity?

Nathaniel from New Orleans (35:56):
You've focused on how the human self-protective instinct and greed will ruin the party for everyone. But I was curious as to how natural disasters in Scripture?whether they're portrayed as a time of punishment for the wicked or time of testing of the righteous, or or both?how those interact with the image of God as generous host. Thank you very much, and God bless.

Secret from Wisconsin (48:00):
My question was: is there a specific context that we should have in mind when Jesus tells the Young Rich Ruler to go sell all his possessions, and give them away? Just because I know that in some cases it's not very wise to give away all you have because then you become dependent upon other people to help you, and you can't really help people yourself in the way you could if you had those resources. Thank you guys so much.

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental by Tents

Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel

Show Resources:
Christopher J.H. Wright, Old Testament Ethics for the People of God

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Jesus as the Ultimate Gift - Generosity E4

In this episode, Tim and Jon discuss the story of Jesus and how it relates to the theme of generosity.

In part 1 (0-16:40), Tim notes that God?s gifts to humans, and specifically his gift of the Promised Land to Israel, are unconditioned, but not unconditional. The gift of the land places an obligation upon Israel: the gift is unconditioned (unmerited), but not unconditional (non-reciprocal). It is not given to Israel based on an evaluation of their worthiness, but it is given with a clear expectation of obligated response.

Then Tim dives into Matthew 5:43-48 to make the point that the fundamental depiction of God in the New Testament is that of a generous gift giver whose generosity should effect a transformation of our lives.

Matthew 5:43-48?
?You have heard that it was said, ?You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.? But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.? For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?? Therefore you are to be complete, as your heavenly Father is complete.?

In part 2 (16:40-33:40), Tim dives into more passages in the New Testament that build on this theme.

John 3:16
God so love the world, that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 3:1
See how great a love the Father has given on us, that we would be called children of God; and that is what we are.

1 John 5:11?
And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

Romans 8:31-32?
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him over for us all, how will he not also with him freely gift us all things?

James 1:17
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

Tim says that the generosity Jesus dispenses exposes the heart of humanity, which is bent toward selfishness. Being generous in the way that Jesus is generous creates a different kind of security than economic security. It?s a security based on a community that truly loves each other, sharing freely with each other.

In part 3 (33:40-45:15), Tim dives into 2 Corinthians 8.

2 Corinthians 8:1-11
?Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.? For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the grace of participation (Greek: koinonia) in the service of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.? So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this grace as well. But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this grace also.? I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.? For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.? I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it.? But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability.

Tim notes that the word for grace is the same word for gift in Greek (charis, noun: ?grace, gift? and charizomai, verb: ?to give a gift, forgive?).

In part 4 (45:15-end), the guys wrap up their conversation. Tim notes that the themes of scarcity and abundance or selfishness and generosity are woven from start to finish in the Bible. Why? Because it?s a fundamental part of our human existence.

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Paul and the Gift by John Barclay:

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?Migration by goosetaf
?Murmuration by Blue Weds (feat. Shopan)

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The Abraham Experiment - Generosity E3

In this episode, Tim and Jon trace this theme through the Old Testament.

In part 1 (0-19:45), the guys briefly recap their discussion so far. Tim notes that Eve?s reaction in Hebrew between the birth of Cain and the birth of Seth are decidedly different. Tim says that Eve takes an arrogant stance by naming Cain, seeming to place herself alongside God. However, she takes a humble stance when she names Seth, seeing that God has granted her a son. Tim quotes scholar Umberto Cassuto:

?The first woman in her joy at giving birth to her first son, boasts of her generative power, which in her estimation approximates the divine creative power. The Lord formed the first man, and I have formed the second man. Literally, ?I have created a man with the Lord,? by which she means, ?I stand together equally with the Creator in the rank of creators.??
(Umberto Cassuto, Commentary on the Book of Genesis: Part I - From Adam to Noah)

Tim notes that in the Bible, there are many stories of parents who abuse the gifts that God gives them in the ability to reproduce and have children, or they take undue parental pride in the gift of children.

In part 2 (19:45-25:45), Tim and Jon discuss the theme of God choosing one over another. Tim points out that God?s choosing of one over another is actually a desire to bless all through the exaltation of the one. God says Cain will be exalted if he only obeys. Instead, Cain chooses to bow to his sinful desires.

In part 3 (25:45-32:30), Tim moves onto the story of the Tower of Babel. Humans were called to spread out and rule the earth. Instead of embracing that gift, the humans decide to build a towering city.

In part 4 (32:30-44:15), Tim dives into the story of Abraham. God chooses one family, the family of Abraham. Tim says that the Promised Land is God?s ?gift? to Abraham?s family:

Genesis 12:1-3?
Now the Lord said to Abram,?
?Go forth from your country,
And from your family?
And from your father?s house,
?To the land which I will show you;?
And I will make you a great nation,?
And I will bless you,?
And make your name great;?
And you shall be a blessing;?
And I will bless those who bless you,
?And the one who treats you as cursed, I will curse.?
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.?

Genesis 12:7
?To your seed I will give this land.? So he built an altar there to Yahweh who appeared to him.?

Jon points out that sometimes famines come along. Sometimes, there isn?t enough. This tension does exist in the Bible, Tim notes, between God?s abundance and the existence of chaos. God didn?t create a perfectly safe world. He created a world where humans were to learn to co-rule with him, creating order from chaos.

In part 5 (44:15-end), Tim notes that God keeps giving the Promised Land to Israel, and they keep misusing the gift. He cites two passages from Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 11:8-14
?You all shall therefore keep every commandment which I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land... so that you may prolong your days on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give to them and to their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. For the land, into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden. But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year.

??It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul, that he will give the rain for your land in its season, the barley and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil.?

Tim then cites scholar Joshua Berman, saying that Israel?s economy was an ?Exodus-style? economy:

?A key theological claim at work in these laws is that of God?s identity as the liberator of slaves. He forms a people out of those who were deemed to be people of no standing at all by the political and economic leaders who oppressed them. The egalitarian streak within Pentateuchal law codes accords with the portrayal of the Exodus as the prime experience of Israel?s self-understanding. Indeed, no Israelite can lay claim to any greater status than another, because all emanate from the Exodus?a common seminal, liberating, and equalizing event? This notion of God?s sovereignty as creator and liberator animated the biblical laws aimed at preventing Israelites from descending into the cycle of poverty and debt.?
(Joshua Berman, Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought, 88)

Deuteronomy 24:19-22
?When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the immigrant, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the immigrant, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.?

Thank you to all our supporters!

Have a question for us? Send an audio recording around 30 seconds to our team at [email protected]

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental by Tents
Quietly by blnkspc_
Mind Your Time by Me.So
The Pilgrim by Greyflood

Show Resources:
Umberto Cassuto, Commentary on the Book of Genesis: Part I - From Adam to Noah
Joshua Berman, Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought

Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel

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God as the Generous Host - Generosity E2

In part 1 (0-15:00), Tim presents God as an amazing and generous host to humanity. Tim then dives into Genesis and re-examines the stories through the lens of generosity. The biblical portrait of evil, Tim shares, begins with a desire for what is not rightly mine and then taking it for oneself.

Genesis 3:1-6
Now the snake was more shrewd than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ?Indeed, has God said, ?You shall not eat from any tree of the garden???

The woman said to the serpent, ?From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ?You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.? ?

The serpent said to the woman, ?You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.? When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable for making wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

Beginning in verse 1, Tim notes, ?You shall not eat from any tree of the garden? is an act of subtly undermining God?s generosity. Again this subtlety is seen in verses 4-5: ?You will not die. For God knows that in the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like elohim, knowing good and evil.? In other words, the serpent is portraying God as holding out on humanity, withholding knowledge and good things. Finally, in verse 6, the word ?desirable? (Heb. nekhmad, ?the object of covetous desire?) combines with the action ?take.? Humans become aware that there is something they can desire and take, presumably for their own benefit.

Tim and Jon hypothesize that the tree is placed in the middle of the garden to represent that the human choice to do what is wrong is always in the center of our lives. We are always only one or two decisions away from ruining our lives and the lives of many others.

In part 2 (15:00-26:45), Tim notes that humans don?t know what to do with abundance. We bend abundance to hoard and act selfishly. Tim then pivots to the story of Cain and Abel. Jon explains that he feels God is more generous with Abel than with Cain. Tim says this seems to be an intentionally ambiguous gap in the narrative. Tim says he thinks Genesis is developing a theme of the ?mystery of election.? God does seem to choose or favor one person over another, but that doesn?t mean it?s at the complete expense of the other person.

In Genesis 4, Cain?s jealous anger at his brother compels him to take life instead of give. The narrative tells us in 4:2 that Cain was ?a worker of the ground? but denies his role as a ?keeper of his brother.? This is why murder is such a heinous crime in the Scriptures: to take life gratuitously is to act as if it is yours to ?take,? rather than recognizing that your role as a human is to ?give? life and participate in its flourishing.

In part 3 (26:45-end), Tim and Jon continue to discuss the Cain and Abel story and how the traits of ?taking? continues in the following stories in Genesis. In Genesis 6, the sons of elohim ?see? the daughters of humanity are ?good? and they ?take? what they want. Then in Genesis 11 in the story of Babylon, the people say, ?let us build for ourselves a city and a tower, and it?s head will be in the skies, and we will make a name for ourselves.?

In the story of Cain and Abel, Tim notes, God tells Cain that if he does good, he too will be exalted. Instead, Cain chooses to take his brother?s life, rejecting God?s generosity and claiming the life of his brother.

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Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel, Tim Mackie

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Defender Instrumental by Tents
Spiral by KV
Twin Moon by Ashley Shadow

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Abundance or Scarcity - Generosity E1

In this series, Tim and Jon trace the theme of generosity and abundance through the Scriptures.

In part 1 (0-7:45), the guys quickly introduce the conversation. Tim explains that generosity is both a theme and a concept that is found throughout the Scriptures.

In part 2 (7:45-32:10), Tim shares from a famous passage in the gospel accounts.

?Luke 12:22-34?
"And He said to His disciples, 'For this reason I tell you, don?t be anxious about your life, what you will eat; and don?t be anxious about your body, what clothes you put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Ponder the ravens, for they don?t sow seed or reap a harvest; they have no storerooms or barns, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add an hour to his life?s span? And if you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? Ponder the lilies, how they grow: they don?t toil or spin clothes; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You who trust God so little! And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and don?t foster your anxiety. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be granted to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.'"

Tim points out that freedom from anxiety is rooted in a conception of the universe, like a safe place where I?m welcomed by a generous host. The same overabundance we see in nature comes from a Creator who shows that same generosity towards us. This mindset frees us from a scarcity mentality, releasing us to freely give resources to others. Jesus observed this not primarily as a religious principle but as one written on the DNA of the universe. Jesus sees the birds and flowers and grass and notices God?s generosity and overabundant love.

?The words of Jesus sound almost irresponsible to Type A, hardworking people. Yet with these words, Jesus articulates a way of seeing the world rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures and their depiction of God?s generosity. Tim notes that often we?re the ones who need our eyes opened to see God?s generosity in creation.

In part 3 (32:10-36:30), Tim points out Jesus? view of creation, that God created a good world that always produces enough, as long as humans live in accordance with the image of God.

In part 4 (36:30-53:20), Tim asks: What kind of tradition and culture did Jesus grown up in that allowed him to have this mindset? One passage Tim offers is Psalm 104:10-17 and 24-28:

He sends forth springs in the valleys;
They flow between the mountains;
They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
They lift up their voices among the branches.
He waters the mountains from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works.
He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the labor of man,
So that he may bring forth food from the earth,
And wine which makes man?s heart glad,
So that he may make his face glisten with oil,
And food which sustains man?s heart.
The trees of the Lord drink their fill,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,
Where the birds build their nests,
And the stork, whose home is the fir trees.

O Lord, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions.
There is the sea, great and broad,
In which are swarms without number,
Animals both small and great.
There the ships move along,
And Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it.
They all wait for You
To give them their food in due season.
You give to them, they gather it up;
You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.

?Tim points out that this is a Psalm Jesus would have grown up hearing in synagogue. Jesus believed creation is an expression of the generous, creative love of God. Genesis 1-2 shows us that God brings order out of chaos (Gen. 1) and a garden out of a wasteland (Gen. 2). These God gives as a gift to humanity.

One way of thinking of the biblical storyline, Tim points out, is as a story of giving and taking. Yahweh God creates a wonderful world, full of potential, and he gives it to humanity to rule with him through wisdom. Humanity then desires to rule on their own terms and takes creation for themselves.

In part 5 (53:20-end), Tim points out the human problem, not only on a societal level, but on a heart level. By default, we act to benefit ourselves. In the midst of this, Tim notes, the Bible?s view on wealth is complex. Jesus talks about wealth and money more than most topics?a top-three subject of conversation. Scripture is suspicious about wealth, knowing how affluence and abundance can make humans indulgent and arrogant.

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Wisdom Q&R - Wisdom E7

Wisdom Q+R
?Welcome to our Q+R on the Wisdom Literature in the Bible!
?In this episode, Tim and Jon respond to seven questions. You can read those questions with their timestamps below.

Toonna from Canada (1:55):?Hi, Tim and Jon. My name is Toonna and I am calling from Canada. I'm Nigerian, but I currently live in Canada. I just got done listening to the podcast of the tree of knowing good and bad. Towards the end of the podcast, I was really interested in the conversation around the fear of the Lord and wisdom, how Adam and Eve were afraid of God after they ate of the fruit of the tree of good and bad but not afraid before, enough to not eat of the fruit. So I was curious if you have any thoughts on how we as Christians today can be possessed or consumed by the fear of the Lord enough to not commit sin today. Thank you very much.

Jan from Texas (21:10):?I was especially interested in your commentary on the role of the woman as the 'ezer, implying that she's someone provided for the adam to address the "not good" situation of his being alone and which then allows him to fulfill his mission "as designed" (so to speak). I'm curious, though, about how to reconcile this with Paul's statements in 1 Corinthians 7 regarding his wish that church members would remain unmarried (as he is). Typically, I've been taught that Paul was better able to fulfill his mission because of his single status, which seems a little at odds with the ideas discussed in these recent podcasts. So my question is: What's the best/most accurate way to handle Paul's teachings, especially viewed through the lens of the wisdom literature in particular? I feel like there's probably something my 21st-century Western mind is missing.

Wesley from California (45:45):?Hi, Tim and Jon, this is Wesley from Chowchilla, California. In your video on the Books of Solomon, you mentioned that Ecclesiastes is like Solomon as an old man reflecting on his life. In 1 Kings 11, Solomon dies apostate as king. I've been reading Tremper Longman's New International Commentary on Ecclesiastes, and in it he argues that Solomon did not write Ecclesiastes but that Collette is taking on Solomon's persona to make his point. And he seems to abandon this persona after three chapters. Can I get your thoughts on this idea? Also, I just want to say that I love The Bible Project. Thank you for everything you guys do.

Taylor from Tennessee (49:23):?Hey guys, this is Taylor from Knoxville, Tennessee. I'm trying to gain a better understanding of wisdom, and it appears that the opposite of wisdom is doing what is right in your own eyes. It seems that that's the underlying theme of the book of Judges, and I was curious to see if there was any correlation or relationship that the authors try to make there with wisdom.

Brad from Wisconsin (53:10):?My question came up about midway through the series, and it has to do with David. Does he play any role in the Wisdom Literature of the Bible, or is the major theme of wisdom attributed to Solomon exclusively? I see Solomon's portrayal of wisdom to be a piece of what it means to be an image bearer. Does King David share a similar motif?

Micah from Oregon (56:35):?Hi, my name is Micah Sharp. I'm from Newberg, Oregon. Here's my question. If we're switching from the wisdom literature to the classification of the books of Solomon, where does the book of Job now fit in the wider Hebrew Bible? Thank you.

Kayleigh from South Africa (1:02:47):?My question is about the Song of Songs. I was wondering if there's a connection between the two lovers in the Song of Songs who never get to fully consummate their love for each other and the New Jerusalem as a bride of the Lamb in Revelation? Could this be, in a sense, when the two lovers get to completely unite with each other in Revelation? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

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Show Resources:
Our video on How to Read the Books of Solomon:
An Obituary for Wisdom Literature by Will Kynes

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Show Produced by: Dan Gummel

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Did Jesus Really Think He Was God? - Feat. Dr. Crispin Fletcher-Louis

Crispin points out that in modern academia, it is often assumed that Christ didn?t
consider himself divine. Instead, academics consider that Christ?s divinity was
later imposed on him by the early church.
Crispin points to some weaknesses in this argument and offers some refreshing
Included in his points are:
? The high priest is a new Adam.
? The high priest as ?God?s image? is tied to the idea of the temple as a
? The high priest is, in a sense, ?Israel.?
? Because the high priest is a representative of Israel, he is also a royal figure,
because one of the tribes of Israel is the royal line (the tribe of Judah).
? The high priest is an office, not a person.
About Dr. Fletcher-Louis:
Dr. Crispin Fletcher-Louis is a biblical scholar and teacher. He studied at Keble
College, Oxford as an undergraduate when E.P. Sanders and N.T. Wright were
University lecturers, and for his doctorate, under Chris Rowland (on angelology in
Luke?s Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles). He then taught in the Theology and
Religious Studies departments of King?s College, London, Durham University, and
Nottingham University. From 2004?2006 he served as Resident Theologian at St
Mary?s Bryanston Sq., a thriving church in Central London. With growing demand
for deeper theological teaching across the region, in 2006 he spearheaded the
creation of Westminster Theological Centre (WTC).
In July 2012 Crispin stepped down as Principal of WTC and is now engaged in
research, writing, and the development of new teaching material. He continues to
provide informal teaching to local churches and consultancy to businesses
interested in the optimization of material and spiritual value creation. His research
and teaching focuses on the overarching shape of the biblical story (its key
themes and theological questions). In particular, he writes about the nature of our
human identity and purpose, temple worship and spirituality, apocalyptic and
Jewish mysticism, Jesus? identity (Christology) and the Gospel accounts of his life.
Crispin is currently engaged in a four-volume book writing project on Jesus and
the origins of the earliest beliefs about him (Jesus Monotheism). The first volume
(Jesus Monotheism. Volume 1. Christological Origins: The Emerging Consensus
and Beyond) (hard copy: Eugene, Or: Wipf & Stock; digital copy: Whymanity)
appeared in 2015.

There is a blog dedicated to the Jesus Monotheism project. For more on
Crispin?s academic work you can visit his webpage at
Crispin is married to Mary and has two children, Emily and Reuben.


Show Produced by: Dan Gummel

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Solomon the Cynic & the Job You Never Knew - Wisdom E6

In part 1 (0-24:15), Tim and Jon discuss the book of Ecclesiastes. This book can most easily be
described as a portrait of ?foolish Solomon,? who looks back at his accomplishments as failure
and hevel.

Tim points out that the start of the book begins by creating a ?Solomon-like? persona.
Ecclesiastes 1:1
?The words of the preacher son of David, king in Jerusalem...? (NASB, ESV, KJV) ?The words
of the teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem...? (NIV, NRSV)
However, there is a translation problem: This word does not mean ?teacher? in the original
Hebrew. Hebrew noun (???? (qoheleth, from the verb qahal (??? ,(meaning ?to assemble,

The Hebrew word is Qoheleth?the one who holds or convenes an assembly, i.e. the ?leader of
the assembly? (Heb. qahal). So this word is best understood as an assembler or convener. The
word is also used in 1 Kings 8:1, ?Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the
heads of the tribes... to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the city of David, which
is Zion. All the men of Israel assembled themselves to King Solomon at the feast.?
Tim?s point is that there are multiple leaders who assemble or convene Israel in the Bible.
Who holds assemblies in Israel?s story?
? Moses (Exod 35:1; Lev 8:1-3)
? David (1 Chron 13:5; 15:3; 28:1)
? Solomon (1 Kings 8:1; 2 Chron 5:2-3)
? Rehoboam (Solomon?s son, 1 Kings 12:21; 2 Chron 11:1)
? Asa (2 Chron 15:9-10)
? Jehoshaphat (2 Chron 20:3-5)
? Hezekiah (2 Chron 30:12-13)

Tim cites scholar Jennie Barbour for additional clarification:
?The name Qoheleth ?the one who convenes the assembly? is a label with royal associations?
after Moses, only kings summon all-Israelite assemblies, and those associations take in more
kings than just Solomon. Qoheleth?s name casts him as a royal archetype, not an ?everyman? so
much as an ?everyking.?? (Jenny Barbour, The Story of Israel in the Book of Qoheleth, p. 25-26)
Any generation of Jerusalem?s kings could be called ?son of David,? and the author tips his hat
in Ecclesiastes 2:9, ?I increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem.? (And the only
person who reigned before him in Jerusalem was his father David.)
Tim explains that the jaded king-author of Ecclesiastes brings a realism in light of Genesis 3,
framing the world as life ?under the sun,? or life outside of Eden. This king is realizing the curse
of Genesis 3: painful toil and dust to dust.

Tim further points out that Ecclesiastes offers a Solomon-like profile of the wealthy sons of
David, who discovered that riches, honor, power, and women do not bring the life of Eden.
Further, while many people assume that the descriptions solely describe the life of Solomon,
Tim points out that they also map very closely onto the life of Hezekiah.
Take a look at these two passages:

Ecclesiastes 2:4-8 I made great my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for
myself; I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; I made
ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees. I bought male and
female slaves and I had homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds more abundant
than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the
treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female singers and the
pleasures of men?many concubines.

Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 32:27-30 Now Hezekiah had immense riches and honor; and he
made for himself treasuries for silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields and all kinds of
valuable articles, collection-houses also for the produce of grain, wine and oil, pens for all kinds
of cattle and sheepfolds for the flocks. He made cities for himself and acquired flocks and herds
in abundance, for God had given him very great wealth. It was Hezekiah who stopped the upper
outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them to the west side of the city of David. And
Hezekiah prospered in all his works.

Tim cites Jennie Barbour again:
?In all of these ways [building projects, riches, royal treasuries, pools, singers] the royal boast
in Eccles. 2:4-10 displays a king?s achievements in terms that show an author of the Second
Temple period reading an interpreting the earlier stories of Israel?s kings...the writer has pulled
together texts and motifs from Israel?s show that the paradigm king, Solomon, set
the mould that was continually replicated through the rest of Israel?s monarchy down to the
exile.? (Jennie Barbour, The Story of Israel in the Book of Qoheleth, 23-24)
In part 2 (24:15- 31:45), Jon asks how the narrative frame of Ecclesiastes being about all of
Israel?s kings?not just about Solomon?affects someone?s reading? Tim says he thinks it
makes the story more universal. All rulers and all humans struggle with the same things that
Solomon and other rulers have felt throughout history.

In part 3 (31:45-50:15), Tim and Jon turn their attention to the book of Job. Tim notes that he?s
recently learned of some new and fascinating layers to the book. Tim notes that Job is
positioned as a new type of Adam. He actually is portrayed as being righteous and upright. So
he?s an ideal wise person who has prospered during his life. Tim focuses on the beginning and
end of the book. Specifically the ending of the book, Tim finds new insights to ponder.
Tim notes that Job is portrayed as the righteous sufferer. Everything that has happened to him
is unfair. Then Tim dives into Job 42:7-10:
?And it came about after Yahweh had spoken these words to Job, and Yahweh said to Eliphaz
the Temanite, ?My anger is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you
have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has. ?And now, take for yourselves
seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for
yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will lift up his face so that I may not
commit an outrage with you, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant
Job has.? So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went
and they did as Yahweh told them; and the Lord lifted the face of Job. And Yahweh restored
the fortunes of Job while he prayed on behalf of his companions, and Yahweh added to
everything that belonged to Job, two-fold.?

The operative phrase Tim focuses on is ?while he prayed.? Tim says this is a better translation of
the original Hebrew phrase. Tim notes that it?s as if Job?s righteous suffering has uniquely
positioned him to intercede on behalf of his friends to God.
In part 4, (50:15-60:00) Tim shares a few quotes from scholar David Clines regarding Job?s
intercession in 42:10.

?[W]e must remember that Job has not yet been restored when the friends bring their request
to him for his prayer. He is presumably still on the ash-heap. He has no inkling that Yahweh

intends to reverse his fortunes. All he knows is that he is still suffering at Yahweh?s hand, and, if
it is difficult for the friends to acknowledge the divine judgment against them, it must be no less
difficult for Job to accept this second-hand instruction to offer prayer for people he must be
totally disenchanted with; he certainly owes them nothing... Is this yet another ?test? that Job
must undergo before he is restored?
?The wording of Job 42:10 makes it seem as if Job?s restoration is dependent on his prayer on their behalf, as if his last trial of all will be to take his stand on the side of his ?torturer-
comforters.? It is true that this prayer is the first selfless act that Job has performed since his misfortunes overtook him?not that we much begrudge him the self-centeredness that has
dominated his speech throughout the book. Perhaps his renewed orientation to the needs of
others is the first sign that he has abandoned his inward-looking mourning and is ready to
accept consolation. In any case, in the very act of offering his prayer on the friends? behalf his
own restoration is said to take effect: the Hebrew says, ?Yahweh restored the fortunes of Job
while he was praying for his friends? (not, as most versions, ?when (or after) he had prayed for
his friends?).? David J. A. Clines, Job 38?42, vol. 18B, Word Biblical Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2011), 1235.

Tim notes that the point of the story of Job is that he suffers unfairly, but the righteous sufferer is
someone that God elevates to a place of authority, someone who God listens to when they
intercede for others.

In part 5 (60:00-end), Tim and Jon briefly recap the series as a whole.

Thank you to all our supporters!

Send us your questions for our Wisdom Q+R! You can email your audio question to
[email protected]

Show Produced by: Dan Gummel, Tim Mackie

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Defender Instrumental by Tents
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Show Resources:

Jennie Barbour, The Story of Israel in the Book of Qoheleth.
David J. A. Clines, Job 38?42, vol. 18B, Word Biblical Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson,

The Bible Project video: How to Read the Wisdom Books of the Bible (

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Destined for Glory - Feat. Dr. Haley Jacob

Welcome to this special episode of The Bible Project podcast! In this episode, Tim and Jon sit down with theologian and scholar Dr. Haley Goranson Jacob and discuss her book, Conformed to the Image of His Son: Reconsidering Paul's Theology of Glory in Romans.

Haley is an assistant professor of Theology at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington.

The guys and Haley discuss different lenses used to understand Paul?s theology around the word ?glory? and different ideas of what it means to become Christlike.

Thank you to all of our supporters!

Show Resources:
Haley's book:
Haley?s bio:

Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel

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Defender Instrumental, Tents

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Song of Songs: Semi-Erotic Love Poetry - Wisdom E5

In part 1(0-15:50), the guys discuss the first major question about this book: Is Song of Songs truly wisdom literature?

Tim notes that there are multiple levels of interpretation. The most obvious one views Song of Songs as semi-erotic love poetry. While this isn?t wrong, Tim notes that a deeper reading can metaphorically map the man and woman?s sexual love for one another onto the human pursuit and quest for wisdom.

Jon says that this view of interpreting Song of Songs is new to him. The reason, Tim notes, is because modern biblical scholarship often tends to see only what it wants to see. Tim adds that multiple historical scholars note the double and triple meanings throughout the book.

In part 2 (15:50-33:30), the guys dive into the book. Tim outlines a few basic facts about the book: 

? The poems go back and forth between a man and woman: The man is called ?king? (1:4, 12) and ?shepherd? (1:7). ? The name ?Solomon? is never marked as a speaker, and the main question is whether the lover (?my beloved?), who is called ?king? and ?shepherd,? is Solomon or a distinct figure. Notice the word ?beloved? (dod, ???), spelled with the same letters as ?David? (???), who was both a king and shepherd (whereas Solomon was only a king). ? The woman is called ?whom I love? and ?the Shulamite? (which is the feminine of Solomon?s name. It would be similar in English to ?Daniel? and ?Danielle?).

Tim cites Roland Murphy:

?On one level, the [Song of Songs] is a collection of love songs. However, as edited [to be part of the Hebrew Bible], do these poems have a wisdom-character on another level of understanding? First, there is the fact that ancient Jewish tradition...attributed this work to Solomon (Song 1:1)... it was mean to be read as a work in the Solomonic wisdom tradition? [T]here is an affinity between wisdom and eros in the wisdom literature. The quest for wisdom is a quest for the beloved?. The language and imagery used to describe the pursuit of Lady Wisdom [in Proverbs 1-9] are drawn from the experience of love. The Song of Songs speaks of love between a man and a is by that very fact open to a wisdom interpretation. Wisdom is to be ?found? (Prov 3:13; 8:17, 35), just as one ?finds? a good wife (Prov 18:22; 31:10).... [Both] Wisdom and a wife are called ?favor from the Lord? (Prov 8:35 and 18:22). The sage advises the youth to ?obtain Wisdom,? to love and embrace her (Prov 4:6-8). The youth is to say, ?Wisdom, you are my sister? (Prov 7:4), just as the beloved in the Song of Songs is called ?my sister (Song 4:9-5:1)... It is precisely the link between eros and wisdom that opens the Song of Songs to another level of understanding. While it is not ?wisdom literature,? its echoes reach beyond human sexual love to remind one of the love of Lady Wisdom?? (Roland Murphy, The Tree of Life: An Exploration of Biblical Wisdom Literature, pp. 106-107.)

In part 3 (33:30-47:00), Jon notes with this interpretation that the female character is the ?divine? character. In most popular interpretations, Solomon is closer to the Christ figure, and the woman is as the Church?making the male the ?divine? character.

Tim then dives into the literary design of the book. The Song is designed as a symmetry (see the work of Cheryl Exum and William Shea).

The Literary Macrostructure of Song of Songs:

1:2-2:7 Mutual Love?B. 2:8-17 Coming and Going
C. 3:1-5 Dream 1: Lost and Found
D. 3:6-11 Praise of Groom 1?E. 4:1-7 Praise of Bride 1?F. 4:8-15 Praise of Bride 2
G. 4:16 Invitation by Bride?G. Acceptance and Invitation by Groom and Divine Approbation
C. 5:2-8 Dream 2: Found and Lost
D. 5:9-6:3 Praise of Groom 2
E. 6:4-12 Praise of Bride 3
F. 7:1 Praise of Bride 4
B. 7:11-8:2 Going and Coming?8:3-14 Mutual Love

(Chart by Richard M. Davidson)

Tim points out that the first half explores the engagement, passion, and constant desire and pursuit of the lovers, though their embrace is cut short multiple times. The second half mirrors the first, but this time it depicts the royal wedding of Solomon and his Solomon-ess bride. The beloved is described in precisely the language of Lady Wisdom in Proverbs 1-9, the God-given wife in Proverbs 5, and the woman of valor in Proverbs 31 (see Claudia Camp, Wisdom and the Feminine in the Book of Proverbs).

Verses like this can show how the corresponding language maps onto each other.

Lady Wisdom in Proverbs??Proverbs 4:5-9??Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding!?Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.?Do not forsake her, and she will guard you;?Love her, and she will watch over you.?The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom;?And with all your acquiring, get understanding.?Prize her, and she will exalt you;?She will honor you if you embrace her.?She will place on your head a garland of grace;?She will present you with a crown of beauty.??
The Beloved in Song of Songs
Song 2:3-4, 6??Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest,?So is my beloved among the young men.?In his shade I took great delight and sat down,?And his fruit was sweet to my taste.?He has brought me to his banquet hall,?And his banner over me is love?.?Let his left hand be under my head?And his right hand embrace me.?

Song 3:11??Go forth, O daughters of Zion,?And gaze on King Solomon with the crown?With which his mother has crowned him?On the day of his wedding,?And on the day of his gladness of heart.?

Tim notes that conversely, the beloved is also described in the language of the wayward woman in Proverbs 1-9.
?Wayward woman of Proverbs 1-9
?Proverbs 5:3
?For the lips of the strange woman drip with honey (??? ????? ???? ???), and her mouth (??) is smoother than oil.?
?Proverbs 7:6, 8??The strange woman... the foreign woman whose words are smooth? A man passes through the street (???), and takes the way (???) to her house.
?Proverbs 7:13, 15, 17??She grabs him and kisses him? ?Therefore I have come out to meet you, to seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you?. I have sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloe, and cinnamon.??

Compare those verses with the beloved in Song of Songs.
?Song 4:11
?O bride, your lips drip with honey (??? ????? ???????), honey and fat are under your tongue???
Song 3:2??I arose and went around in the city, in the streets and squares, I sought the one my being loves???
Songs 3:1, 4??On my bed at night, I sought the one my being loves, I sought him but could not find him? No sooner did I pass by them, then I found the one my being loves, and grabbed him and I did not let go?.?

Songs 1:16
?Behold, your beauty my companion...behold your beauty my beloved, so lovely, indeed our couch is luxuriant.?

What is the point? It?s as if the beloved represented the healing of the wayward woman into one ultimate lover. The ideal Solomon is converted from a lover of many women into a lover of one, reversing the fall of Adam and Eve, Yahweh and Israel, Solomon and his many wives. Lady Wisdom (who we met in Proverbs) is finally embraced by the son of David. She is constantly searching for her lover (as Lady Wisdom searches in Prov. 1-9).

In part 4 (47:00-52:30), Jon comments that to him, the human sexual drive is confusing, especially when viewed in a Christian lens. How do you map a biological longing for sex onto a book like Song of Songs?
?Tim says that the desire is sexual, but it?s also more than sexual. It?s a desire to know and be known., to become one with something and someone. It?s a desire for unity. Humanity?s desire for sex, Tim compares, is analogous to our desire for wisdom and unity.

In part 5 (52:30-end), Tim cites scholar Peter Leithart as a helpful resource to learn more about Song of Songs. Tim closes the episode with a quote from scholar Ellen Davis:
??Loss of intimacy is exactly what happened in Eden. Eden was the place where God was most intimate with humanity. Witness God ?taking a walk in the garden in the breezy part of the day? (Gen. 3:8), obviously expecting to have the humans for company, and calling out??Where are you???when they do not appear. There is good reason to imagine that God intended to impart wisdom to humanity on those walks, little by little. But when Eve and Adam disregarded God and tried the direct route to ?knowledge of good and evil,? the immediate result was not literal death. Rather, it was distrust breaking into the relationship between God and humanity. It was blame erupting between man and woman (Gen. 3:12) and the onset of a long-term imbalance of power between them (Gen. 3:16). It was a curse on the fertile soil and enmity between the woman?s seed and the snake?s (Gen. 3:15, 17).... The exile from Eden represents the loss of intimacy in three primary spheres of relationship: between God and humanity, between woman and man, and between human and nonhuman creation. Correspondingly, the Song uses language to evoke a vision of healing in all three areas. More accurately, it reuses language from other parts of Scripture; verbal echoes explicitly connect the garden of the lovers with the two earlier gardens, that of Eden and of Israel?s temple.? (Ellen Davis, ?Reading the Song of Songs Iconographically,? pg. 179)

Thank you to all our supporters!

Show Resources: 
? Peter Leithart Podcasts on Song of Songs (
? Ellen Davis, ?Reading the Song of Songs Iconographically?
? Claudia Camp, Wisdom and the Feminine in the Book of Proverbs
? Cheryl Exum, Song of Songs: A Commentary
? Roland Murphy, The Tree of Life: An Exploration of Biblical Wisdom Literature

Show Music: 
? Defender Instrumental by Tents
? Identity by B-Side
? albatros by plusma
? faces by knowmadic
? Aerocity by Cold Weather Kids
? Some music brought to you by the generous folks at chillhop music.

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Proverbs: Lady Wisdom & Lady Folly - Wisdom E4

In part 1 (start-17:45), the guys briefly recap the series so far. Jon summarizes by saying that the overarching theme is the human calling to rule, as outlined in the Genesis and garden of Eden narrative. The question is, will humans rule wisely or foolishly?

In part 2 (17:45-27:00), Tim and Jon discuss how Proverbs lays out two paths, which are the same two paths outlined in Genesis. A person can either choose to live wisely, depicted as listening to ?Lady Wisdom,? or a person can choose to live foolishly, depicted as listening to ?Lady Folly.?

Early in Proverbs, the ?Solomon? narrator warns the ?seed of David? about how to live in the fear of Yahweh and discover true wisdom. The wise and righteous man embraces Lady Wisdom (Proverbs 1, 3, 8, 9).

The goal of finding ?a woman of valor? (Prov. 5, 31) avoids the wicked and violent man, avoids Lady Folly (Prov. 9), and avoids the ?wayward woman? (characterized as an adulteress).

Tim notes that there are four speeches each that talk about Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly, for a total of eight speeches. The components of these speeches are designed to mirror each other.

In part 3 (27:00-39:00), Tim outlines Proverbs 9, which is an example of the two women mirroring each other.

Proverbs 9:1-6
"Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars;
She has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine;
She has also set her table;
She has sent out her maidens, she calls
From the tops of the high places of the city:
?Whoever is naive, let him turn in here!?
To him who lacks understanding she says,
?Come, eat of my bread
And drink of the wine I have mixed.
?Forsake your folly and live,
And proceed in the way of understanding.??

Proverbs 9:13-18
?The woman of folly is boisterous,
She is naive and knows nothing.
She sits at the doorway of her house,
On a seat by the high places of the city,
Calling to those who pass by,
Who are making their paths straight:
?Whoever is naive, let him turn in here,?
And to him who lacks understanding she says,
?Stolen water is sweet;
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.?
But he does not know that the dead are there,
That her guests are in the depths of Sheol.?

Tim notes that accepting divine wisdom is the way to discover the blessings of Eden. Consider Proverbs 3:

Proverbs 3:1-8, 13-18
?My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from ra?.
It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones.?

?How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
And the man who gains understanding.
For her profit is better than the profit of silver
And her gain better than fine gold.
She is more precious than jewels;
And nothing you desire compares with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
In her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways
And all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who hold her fast."

Tim cites Proverbs 3 because he notes that the wise woman metaphorically becomes the tree of life. This maps onto the Garden of Eden narrative. Tim says that the book of Proverbs is designed to be a reflection on Genesis 1-3.

In part 4 (39:00-end), Tim outlines Proverbs 31. Tim notes that the woman outlined here could be said to be a sort of real-life version of the metaphoric ?Lady Wisdom? depicted earlier in the book. Tim notes that while Proverbs views the pursuit of wisdom from a male perspective of choosing between two metaphorical women, the next book, Song of Songs, flips it, and views the pursuit of wisdom from a female perspective.

Thank you to all our supporters!

Send us your questions for our upcoming Q+R on the Wisdom books in the Bible! Please include an audio recording of your question (about 20 seconds or so) and make sure to include your name and where you're from. Email questions with attached audio files to [email protected]

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? Hideout by Tesk
? Sandalwood by J. Roosevelt
? Mind Your Time by Me.So
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Solomon: The Wisest of the Fools - Wisdom E3

Welcome to our third episode discussing the theme of Wisdom in the bible.

In this episode, Tim and Jon zoom in on the character Solomon. Was Solomon really the wisest person who ever lived?

In part 1 (0-8:30), Tim and Jon quickly recap the conversation so far. Tim explains how the English word ?help? is inadequate when used to describe Eve?s or woman?s role in relationship to Adam. Instead of an unnecessary addition, it?s more of an essential completion, even a ?saving? role that the woman fills. Tim also explains that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil isn?t the perfect translation in the Hebrew. More accurately, it?s ?the knowledge of the tree of good and bad.?

In part 2 (8:30-19:20), Tim begins to trace the human story after Adam and Eve, through Abraham and arriving at Solomon. Tim says that God promises to restore the blessing of Eden to all humanity through the family of Abraham.

Here is God?s promise to Abraham:

Genesis 12:1-3
?And I will make of you a great nation,?and I will bless you,?and make your name great,?so that you will be a blessing.?I will bless those who bless you,?and him who curses you I will curse;?and in you will be blessed all the families of the earth.?

Genesis 12:7
?The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ?To your seed I will give this land.? So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him.?
?In Genesis 16, God promises Abraham and Sarah seed and land to be a blessing to the nations. But when they?re unable to have a child, they turn to their own wisdom and power. This is a clear design pattern from the fall narrative of Genesis 3. See below the breakdown of this passage and it?s reflection of the the Eden story.

Genesis 16:1-2 tells us, ?Sarai, Abram?s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar.? So Sarai says to Abram, ?Go now into my female servant, perhaps I will be built up from her.?

(This language of being ?built? from Hagar suspiciously reminds us of Genesis 2:22, ?and Yahweh God built the side which he took from the human into a woman, and he brought her to the man.?)
?Genesis 16:2b
??and Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.?

(In Genesis 3:17, God says to Adam, ?Because you listened to the voice of your wife??)
?Genesis 16:3-4
?Sarai, the wife of Abram, took Hagar the Egyptian her female slave? and she gave her to Abram her husband as a wife (Gen. 3:6, ?and she gave also to her husband with her?). And he went into her and she became pregnant and she saw that (???? ??) she was pregnant, and her mistress became less in her eyes? (Gen. 3:6, ?When the woman saw that [????] the tree was good??).
?Genesis 16:6
?And Abram said to Sarai, ?Look, your female slave is in your hand. Do to her what is good in your eyes (??? ??????).?

(Gen. 3:6, ?When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes??).
?Genesis 16:6b-7
?So Sarah oppressed her, and Hagar fled from before her. And the angel of Yahweh found her by a spring of waters in the wilderness.?

(Gen. 3:24, ?So [God] drove the man out?.?)

In Genesis 22, when God provides a son from Sarah, God demands his life. God does not take lightly to the oppression of Egyptian slaves (the entire Exodus slavery is an inverted consequence for this sin). Also because of this sin, Ishmael is cast out from Abraham?s family, which grieves God, so he demands that Abraham give Isaac back to him.

God is looking for people who will trust Yahweh?s word and command over their own wisdom, that will reverse the folly and fear of Adam and Eve. The first character to demonstrate this Abraham in Genesis 22:4-6:

?And Abraham lifted his eyes (?????) and he saw (????)? and he took (????) in his hand the fire and the knife/eater(?????), and the two of them (?????) walked on together (????).?

This releases the blessing of Eden through Abraham?s fear of Yahweh out into the nations.
?Genesis 22:15-18?"Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, ?By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have listened My voice.?

The point is this: When humans don?t live by their own wisdom regarding good and bad, but instead trust God?s wisdom and obey his commands (the fear of the Lord), it leads to blessing and life. This is true wisdom: to live in the fear of the Lord.

In part 3 (19:20-36:45), Tim begins to outline the story of Solomon.

Tim says Solomon is presented as a new Adam. He has an opportunity to rule the world, and he actually asks God to give him wisdom to rule. Solomon is a complex character, depicted as both a new, ideal Adam?but also as a failed, foolish Adam. In one narrative thread, he is depicted as a new Adam/Abraham, meeting God in a new high-place, and living by God?s wisdom/Torah.

1 Kings 3:3-15
?Now Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David... The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place; Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, ?Ask what you wish me to give you.?

?Then Solomon said, ?You have shown great covenant love to Your servant David my father...You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know to go out or come in.?
??Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted. So give Your servant a heart that listens in order to govern Your people, in order to discern between good (Heb. tov) and bad (Heb. ra?). For who is able to govern this great people of Yours???
??It was good (tov) in the eyes of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. God said to him, ?Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to hear justice, behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a heart of wisdom and discernment, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days. If you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days.? Then Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream.?

Tim shows how Solomon was blessed after he began to walk in the fear of the lord.

1 Kings 4:20-21, 25, 29-34??Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance; they were eating and drinking and rejoicing. Now Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt; they brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life?.?
??So Judah and Israel lived in safety, every man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.?
??Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. Solomon?s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of beasts and birds and creepers and fish (do you hear Genesis 1 in there?). Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom."

Solomon is portrayed as a new Adam, wisely ruling a garden with trees for everyone, fruitful and multiplying, boundaries expanded to Eden-like proportions. He knows the plants, beasts, birds, and creepers. He is more wise than ?all the sons of the East? (link to the book of Job). He spoke thousands of proverbs (link to the book of Proverbs). He wrote over a thousand songs (link to Song of Songs).?
Tim?s point is that Solomon is beginning to to fulfill the original call of mankind to rule wisely. However, Solomon?s story has another side as well.

In part 4 (36:45-52:50), Tim outlines the foolish side of Solomon?s life. Solomon enslaved people to help him build Jerusalem up. He imported and exported arms, chariots and horses to other countries. He had hundreds of wives and concubines. Solomon demonstrates wisdom but isn?t fully committed to following the laws of Yahweh.

1 Kings 5:13-17??Now King Solomon levied forced laborers from all Israel; and the forced laborers numbered 30,000 men. He sent them to Lebanon, 10,000 a month in relays; they were in Lebanon a month and two months at home. And Adoniram was over the forced laborers. Now Solomon had 70,000 transporters, and 80,000 hewers of stone in the mountains, besides Solomon?s 3,300 chief deputies who were over the project and who ruled over the people who were doing the work. Then the king commanded, and they quarried great stones, costly stones, to lay the foundation of the house with cut stones.?

1 Kings 9:17, 19??So Solomon rebuilt Gezer and the lower Beth-horon... and all the storage cities which Solomon had, even the cities for his chariots and the cities for his horsemen?.?

Solomon, for all his wisdom, implemented policies which directly violated the laws of the king as outlined in the Torah.

Deuteronomy 17:15-20??you shall surely set a king over you whom Yahweh your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman. Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since Yahweh has said to you, ?You shall never again return that way.? He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.
??Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this Torah on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear Yahweh his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.

Tim has found scholar Daniel Hays to be helpful here:

?We as readers are given a tour of a fantastic, spectacular and opulent mansion, the house of Solomon. Everywhere we look we see wealth and abundance. However, without changing the inflection of his voice the tour guide also points out places where the façade has cracked, revealing a very different structure. Continuing with the standard speech which glorifies the building, the guide nonetheless makes frequent side comments (forced labor, store cities, horses from Egypt, foreign marriages) that make clear that his glowing praise for the structure is not really his honest opinion of the facility, and he wants us also to see the truth. Finally, at the end of the tour in chapters 11, he can restrain himself no more, and he tells us plainly that the building is basically a fraud, covered with a thin veneer of glitz and hoopla, and soon will collapse under its own weight. This is the manner in which the narrator of 1 Kings leads us on a tour of the House of Solomon.? (Daniel Hays, ?Narrative Subtlety in 1 Kings 1-11: Does the narrative praise or bury Solomon??)

Tim points out that Solomon violates every rule that Israel?s king was supposed to follow. A Bible reader should ask why the narrator is giving us a dual portrait of Solomon?

In the New Testament, Jesus says, ?something greater than Solomon is here.? (Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31). Jesus positioned himself as the true example of the ideal human who learns wisdom correctly by learning from Yahweh God.

In part 5 (52:50-end), the guys discuss the seeming asymmetry of male and female portrayals in the Bible. Why is it that a woman is portrayed as a ?wise and foolish woman? in Proverbs? Why are women often portrayed with seductive and illicit behavior?

Tim points out that throughout history, men have been the ones translating the Bible, so they have default and built-in blind spots to understanding and accurately portraying a better view of man and woman?s portrayal in the original Hebrew context.
?Tim notes that women have been making great strides in contributing to and furthering academic and scholastic work on biblical texts and that their voices need to be heard.

Thank you to all our supporters!

Show Resources: 
? J. Daniel Hays, ?Narrative Subtlety in 1 Kings 1-11: Does the narrative praise or bury Solomon??

Show Music:
? Roads by LiQwyd
? Yesterday on Repeat by Vexento
? Moon by LeMMino
? self reflection by less.people
? Defender Instrumental by Tents
Some music for this episode brought to you by the generosity of Chill Hop Music.

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The Jesus Creed - Feat. Dr. Scot McKnight

In part one (0:00-12:00), the guys discuss Scot?s academic background and writing habits.

In part two (12:00-27:10), Tim shares how important Scot?s book, Interpreting The Synoptic Gospels, has been to him.

In part three (27:10-39:30), the guys talk about Scot's most well-known book, Jesus Creed.

In part four (39:30-54:10), Tim shares his thoughts on Scot?s book, A Community Called Atonement.

In part five (54:10-end), Tim shares how impactful Scott's book, A Fellowship of Differents, has been to him

Show Resources:

Scot's Wikipedia page with links to all his books:
Scot's bio:
Scot's podcast, Kingdom Roots:

Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel

Show music:
Defender Instrumental, Tents
The Truth about Flight, Love, and BB Guns, Foreknown
Bird in Hand, Foreknown
Excellent, Beautiful Eulogy
Scream Pilots, Moby

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The Tree of Knowing Good & Bad - Wisdom E2

In part 1 (0-19:15), Tim and Jon quickly review the last episode. Tim says the entire scriptural
canon is to be viewed as ?wisdom literature,? but the books that specifically pertain to Solomon,
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and Job are considered to be the classic wisdom
Then they dive into examining the trees in the garden of Eden. Specifically the ?Tree of the
Knowledge of Good and Evil.? Tim notes that the Hebrew word radoesn?t necessarily imply ?evil;? it only means ?bad.? Tim shares some other examples of the Hebrew word ra in the Bible.
Good/Bad condition or quality:
Jeremiah 24:1-2
the Lord showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the Lord. One basket
had very tov figs, like those that ripen early; the other basket had very ra? figs, so ra? they could
not be eaten.
Proverbs 25:19
a ra? tooth and an unsteady foot, is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble.
Pleasant/unpleasant, beneficial/harmful:
1 Kings 5:4
But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no enemy or ra?.
Judges 16:25
It so happened when they were tov of heart, that they said, ?Call for Samson, that he may
amuse us.? So they called for Samson from the prison, and he entertained them. And they made
him stand between the pillars.
Ecclesiastes: 2:16-17
For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered; the days have already come when both
have been forgotten. Like the fool, the wise too must die! So I hated life, because the work that
is done under the sun was ra? to me.
Tim?s point is that to use the English word ?evil? loads in too many ideas about moral issues
between good and evil. Because of this, a more accurate translation would be ?the tree of the
knowledge of good and bad.?
In part 2 (19:15-30:00), Tim notes that Adam and Eve are depicted as being in their moral
infancy in the garden. They don?t know what is right and wrong. They need God to teach them
how to be wise and how to choose what is right from wrong. Here are some other passages that
use the Hebrew phrase ?tov and ra?? or ?good and bad? to illustrate this moral infancy in the
?Knowing tov and ra?? is a sign of maturity. The phrase appears elsewhere to describe children:
Deuteronomy 1:39
?...your little ones... and your sons, who today do not know good or evil, shall enter there, and I
will give it to them and they shall possess it.
1 Kings 3:7-9
?Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am

but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. So give Your servant a heart that
listens, to judge Your people, to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this
great people of Yours??
Isaiah 7:15-16
?[Immanuel] will eat curds and honey at the time He knows to refuse evil and choose good. For
before the boy will know to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread
will be forsaken.
The narrative in Genesis 1-2 has shown that God knows what is ?pleasant/beneficial,? and he
will provide tov (the woman) when something is not tov (man being alone), that is, ra?. So the
tree represents a choice: Will they live with God, allowing him to know/define tov and ra??
Presumably they need this knowledge as they mature, but the question is who will teach it to
them? Will they learn from watching God?s knowledge at work?
Adam and Eve are portrayed as ?children.? The tree of knowing tov and ra? represents two
options or modes for how to know and experience tov and ra?: Will they ?take? this knowledge for
themselves, so that they ?become like elohim,? knowing what is tov and ra?? Or instead, will they
allow God to teach them wisdom? The gift of God to the man and woman became the means of
the downfall. Instead of waiting for God to teach them ?knowing good and bad,? they chose to
take it for themselves, in their own time and way.
Genesis 3:6
When the woman saw that the tree [of knowing good and bad] was good for food, and that it
was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise (Heb. ?ekel), she
took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
?Wisdom? = ?ekel (??????:(
??ekel refers to a kind of wisdom. Its core meaning is ?insight,? the ability to grasp the meanings
or implications of a situation or message. ?ekel is consequently discernment or prudence, the
ability to understand practical matters and interpersonal relations and make beneficial decisions.
It later comes to include intellectual understanding and unusual expertise.? (Michael V. Fox,
Proverbs 1?9: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, vol. 18A, Anchor Yale
Bible [New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008], 36.)
In part 3 (30:00-39:45), Tim and Jon discuss the fallout of Adam and Eve?s decision to eat from
the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. When God holds ?trial? with Adam and Eve, their
response is to ?fear? Yahweh, but in a way that drive them away from him.
Genesis 3:8-10
They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man
and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ?Where are you?? He said, ?I heard the
sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.?
Then they blame each other: man and woman, united in their rebellion and divided by the
Genesis 3:16
?Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.?
This is the opposite of the ideal vision in Genesis 1:26-28 where man and woman rule together.
The two are no longer one, but rather two, trying to gain leverage over one another.
In part 4 (39:45-end), the guys discuss how God acts mercifully after Adam and Eve eat of the
tree. Tim then starts to look forward to the stories of Solomon and how it hyperlinks back to the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.

Thank you to all our supporters!

Show Resources:
Michael V. Fox, Proverbs 1?9: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, vol.
18A, Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008), 36.

Show Music:
? Defender Instrumental
? The Size of Sin by Beautiful Eulogy
? Come Alive by Beautiful Eulogy
? The Size of Grace by Beautiful Eulogy

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The Quest for Wisdom - Wisdom E1

In part one (0:00-15:20), Tim goes over what books are considered wisdom literature: Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs.

Tim says there are different ways to classify the books in the Bible, but the books are primarily grouped into two categories.

Wisdom of King Solomon
-Song of Songs

The themes of wisdom, the "good life," and the fear of the Lord

In part two (15:20-31:50), Tim clarifies exactly what wisdom literature is. In short: the entire Hebrew Bible. Tim uses Psalm 119:98-99 and 2 Timothy 3:15 to illustrate this point.

Psalm 119:98-99:
"Your instructions make me wiser than my enemies,
For they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation."

2 Timothy 3:15:
?From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.?

Tim points out that the entire Bible can be used to gain wisdom. Jon says that there are many different lenses to view the Bible through. Seeing it as a book of wisdom is perhaps a very universal one.

The guys discuss how messy life is, just like the book of Genesis is messy. Humans in their desire to live are constantly faced with difficult choices.

Tim shares a quote from Rolan Murphy:
?Within the Hebrew Bible, the wisdom literature is exciting, because it deals directly with life. The sages of Israel were concerned with the present, how to cope with the challenges provoked by one?s immediate experience? The choice between life and death which Moses dramatically places before Israel in Deuteronomy 30:15-30 is re-echoed in the sages emphasis on wisdom that leads to life. The life-death situation is expressed in the image of the ?tree of life.? Proverbs 3:18: ?Wisdom is a tree of life to those who grasp her; how fortunate are those who embrace her.? This image is well-known from its appearance in Genesis: the first dwellers in the garden were kept from that tree lest they live forever (Genesis 2:9, 3:22-24). In a vivid turn of metaphor, wisdom in Proverbs has become the tree of life and is personified as a woman: ?Long life is in her right hand, in her left, wealth and honor. She boasts that the one who finds find life (Prov 8:35) and the one who fails is ultimately in love with death (Prov 8:36)... One must hear wisdom obediently, but one must also pray for the gift that she is?. Embracing the gift of wisdom is precarious, however, because, according to the sages, we are easily deceived: ?There is more hope for a fool, than for those who are wise in their own eyes? (Prov 26:12)? -- Roland Murphy, The Tree of Life: An Exploration of Biblical Wisdom Literature, pp. Ix-x.

In part three (31:50-40:20), Tim dives into Genesis 1-3 and discusses the human quest for wisdom.

Tim notes that you can trace the thread of God discerning what is ?good and bad? in the creation narrative:

God is the provider with all knowledge of ?good and bad? (tov and ra in Hebrew). God the creator provides all that is ?good? (Heb. tov). Seven times in Genesis 1 "God saw that it was tov.? God is the first one to identify something as ?not good:? a lonely human in the garden. God sees the problem and asks how humanity can ?be fruitful and multiply and fill the land and rule the creatures? alone, and sees the need for human companionship.

In part four (40:20-end), the guys continue the conversation. What does God do? He "splits the adam" and creates man and woman.

Genesis 2:21-25:
"So Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the human, and he slept; then He took one of his sides and closed the flesh at that place. And the Yahweh God built the side which He had taken from the human into a woman, and brought her to the man. The human said,
'This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman [issah]
Because she was taken out of [ish].'
For this reason, a ish shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his isshah; and they shall become one flesh. And the two of them were naked, the adam and his wife and were not ashamed."

Tim notes that God provides humans with what they cannot give themselves: blessing, fruitfulness, and dominion over the land (Gen 1:26-28). God divides the human in half (the word means "side" in Hebrew) and makes two humans who are unique and yet designed to become one. This relationship of man and woman becoming one, with no shame, no powerplays, no oppression, to know and be known in pure naked vulnerability before God and before one another, nothing hidden, everything revealed and loved, this is Eden. And Eden is where humans become kings and queens of creation.

Show Resources:
Roland Murphy, The Tree of Life: An Exploration of Biblical Wisdom Literature, pp. Ix-x.
Derick Kidner, The Wisdom of Proverbs, Job & Ecclesiastes
William P. Brown, Wisdom's Wonder: Character, Creation, and Crisis in the Bible's Wisdom Literature

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental, Tents
Drug Police, Moby
Heal My Sorrows, Beautiful Eulogy
Where Peace and Rest are Found, Beautiful Eulogy

Show produced by:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins

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Law Q&R - Law E6

Tim and Jon respond to several questions, listed below.

Isaiah from Georgia (1:40):
Hey Jon and Tim! My name is Isaiah and I am from Lawrenceville, Georgia. I have a question concerning biblical law and God's nature. I've talked to some friends on this issue for some time, and their view is that God's nature was not fully revealed in the Old Testament. So God's will was not fully revealed. They believe this is why the Israelites thought they had to live under the law. They use Paul's writings to back that up. They also believe that the New Testament is the full revelation of God and his nature. And so we can see his full intent was to have a personal relationship instead of a list of rules to follow. What would you say to this worldview and why it should be changed?

Rich from New York (13:10):
I'm a pastor in upstate New York. Your series on the law is just outstanding. And yet I have a question. As you folks talked about the common law understanding of law that existed until the last few centuries, I found myself wondering about the understanding of law among the Pharisees of the first century, for example. It seems that their understanding wasn't just that the mosaic law was a snapshot in time but that it described how the law needed to be lived out in any age, whatever possible, more like statutory law. Or am I wrong about that?

Victoria from Tennessee (21:45):
Hey Tim and Jon, this is Victoria in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I've been really inspired by this conversation about the law, particularly the relationships of the New Testament to the Old Testament. I'm sure you're getting here, but I wanted to ask how we?re asked to understand our broad call to obedience when Jesus says something like in Matthew 5, ?therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.? What commands is he referring to, and is the spirit of the law or commands a filter for interpretation, or is there a place where we need to draw a line in the sand? Thanks.

Joe from Cleveland (22:15):
What I?m still at tension with are Jesus? words in Matthew 5:18-19 where he states not a dot or iota will pass away from the law, and those who relax the least of these will be least in heaven. It seems we had agreed the Hebrew Torah showed itself to be flexible and not necessarily the final word in judicial cases. I interpret Jesus ?dot and iota? statement as a more literal or explicit command to the letter of the law so to speak. Does Jesus? statement raise that tension for you or is there another way of understanding it?

Petra from the Netherlands (39:30):

Hi Tim and Jon my name is Petra, I'm from the Netherlands. A lot of people consider the law as a guidance to obey God and to eternal life. As I have listened to your podcast, I get the assumption that you do not agree with that way of seeing the law, which I understand. What are your thoughts about a practical way to obey God through the Holy Spirit, by the Law, what are your thoughts about that? Thank you, bye!

Laura from Iowa: (47:20)

Is it important to differentiate between passages that are referring to the 611 laws, the Torah, the whole Old Testament, or the entirety of Scripture? And if that's important, how can an average Bible reader go about this?

Show Music: Defender Instrumental by Tents

Show Produced by: Dan Gummel

Check out all our resources at
Our video on how to read biblical law:

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Jesus Fulfills the Law - Law E5

In part one (0:00-25:30), the guys discuss the series so far, and Tim dives into the final two perspectives to keep in mind when reading biblical law. The fifth perspective is that the purpose of the covenant laws is fulfilled in Jesus and the Spirit.

The dual role of the laws??to condemn and to point the way to true life??is fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and in the coming of the Spirit to Jesus? new covenant people. Jesus was the first obedient human and the faithful Israelite who fulfilled the law yet bore the curse of humanity's punishment so that others could have life and the status of covenant righteousness. Tim references Matthew 5:17-20:

?Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.?

Tim notes that Jesus is the embodiment of the point of the law, the ideal person who doesn?t need the law because they are abiding with Yahweh by nature.

In part two (25:30-35:00), Tim asks who or what is being punished on the cross. Tim references Romans 8:3:

?For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.?

Tim notes that Paul doesn?t mean that God hated humanity and punished Jesus instead of punishing humanity. Instead, God loved humanity in its weakness and failure and punished sin and condemned sin through Jesus dying on the cross.

Tim notes that Paul thinks of sin as a cosmic tyrant. It's not just an individual problem, but a problem of essential mode existence for the world. The law, or divine command, was supposed to be an opportunity for humans to realize their true calling of acting in God?s image voluntarily. Instead, we chose and choose to disobey and now live ?enslaved? to our decision(s).

In part three (35:00-end), Tim discusses the last perspective: The laws are a source of wisdom for all generations.

The Torah is viewed as a source of wisdom within the Hebrew Bible

The tree of knowing good and evil is the pathway to the tree of life. In Proverbs, learning wisdom is the pathway to the tree of life. Tim uses the following proverbs to illustrate his point.
Proverbs 1:7:
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowing;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction."

Proverbs 3:13, 18:
"How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
And the man who gains understanding.
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who hold her fast."

Proverbs 15:3-4:
"The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
Watching the evil and the good.
A soothing tongue is a tree of life,
But perversion in it crushes the spirit.
Tim notes that Wisdom is the way to fulfill the Shema."

Proverbs 6:20-23:
"My son, keep the commandment of your father
And do not forsake the instruction of your mother;
Bind them continually on your heart;
Tie them around your neck.
When you walk about, they will guide you;
When you sleep, they will watch over you;
And when you awake, they will talk to you."

Time compares the preceding passage with Deuteronomy 6:4-8:
?Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

Tim notes that these two passages mirror each other, as they teach that acting wisely fulfills the law.

Tim then discusses the apostle Paul to show how he continued to use the laws as wisdom literature.
1 Corinthians 9:9-12:
"For it is written in the Law of Moses, 'You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.' God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ."

Tim quotes Richard B. Hays to understand Paul's continuation of Jewish law.

?This is often cited as an example of arbitrary prooftexting on Paul?s part, but closer observation demonstrates a more complex hermeneutical strategy at play here. First of all, Paul is operating with an explicitly stated hermeneutical principle that God is really concerned about human beings, not oxen, and that the text should be read accordingly (vv. 9?10). Second, a careful look at the context of Deuteronomy 25:4 lends some credence to Paul?s claim about this particular text. The surrounding laws in Deuteronomy 24 and 25 (especially Deut. 24:6?7, 10?22; 25:1?3) almost all serve to promote dignity and justice for human beings; the one verse about the threshing ox sits oddly in this context. It is not surprising that Paul would have read this verse also as suggesting something about justice in human economic affairs.? -- Richard B. Hays, First Corinthians, Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1997), 151.

So to summarize our series on reading biblical law:

Read each law (1) within its immediate literary context, and (2) within the larger narrative strategy of Torah and Prophets.

Read the laws in their ancient cultural context in conversation with their law codes.

Study related laws as expressions of a larger symbolic worldview.

Discern the ?wisdom principle? underneath the laws that can be applied in other contexts.

Refract every law through Jesus? summary of God?s will: love God and love people.

Thank you to all our supporters!

Email us your questions for our Q+R at [email protected]

Show Music:

Defender Instrumental, Tents
Psalm Trees x Guillaume Muschalle, Clocks Forward. Used with permission.
Toonorth, Effervescent. Used with permission.

Show produced by:

Dan Gummel, Jon Collins

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God's Wisdom in the Law - Law E4

In part 1 (0-17:00), The guys quickly recap their conversation so far. Tim then dives into a third perspective on the Hebrew laws in the Old Testament.

The third perspective is that the laws embody and revolutionize ancient Eastern conceptions of justice. The laws are formulated in the language and categories of ancient Near Eastern law, so that Israel?s law was comprehensible to their neighbors while also representing an irreversible cultural revolution.

Tim notes that in all the other ancient covenant documents (Hittite, Assyrian) only one is between a king and a people, while dozens of others are between one king and another king. Covenants are agreements between kings. But the Biblical story depicts the laws as stipulations between God and all the Israelites: ?I will be their God and they will be my people.? This is the same kind of language we find in the Song of Solomon, ?I am my beloved?s and he is mine? (Song of Solomon 6:3). This is marriage covenant language.

Tim uses some quotes from Joshua Berman to make his points.

?In the ancient near east, various gods had consorts and goddess wives, while the common man was subject, a slave and servant of the king and the tribute-imposing class. For these cultures to conceive of the marriage between a god and a group of humans, would have been as unthinkable as for us to imagine the marital union of a human and a cat? The Bible?s most revolutionary idea? is the idea of God as a personality who seeks a relationship of mutuality with human agents. In the neighboring cultures of the ancient Near East, humans were merely slaves of the king. In the Bible, they are transformed into a servant king who is married to a generous sovereign, a wife in relation to her benefactor husband. When God seeks ?love? from Israel, it involves both the political sense of loyalty between parties to a treaty as well as the kind of intimacy known in a faithful, intimate relationship between a man and woman.? (Berman, Created Equal, 46)

This concept of a human family married to God is founded on the concept of humanity in Genesis 1-2. All humanity, male and female, is the divine royal image over all creation. And while the Davidic king could be called the ?son of God,? it was only as the representative of all Israel who is the ?son of God? (Exodus 4:22). The king and all the Israelites are themselves equals under their ?divine king? Yahweh. Tim again cites Joshua Berman:

?While in Egypt and Mesopotamia, the bridge figure between the divine and human was the king, deified (as in Egypt) or more of a demi-god (Mesopotamia). He was the top of the socio-religious structure with the economic elite, and this was mirrored by the hierarchy of the gods. NOT SO in biblical Israel. God?s covenant was with the entirety of Israel, focused on the ?common man.? I maintain that it is in the covenant, properly conceived in in ancient Near Eastern setting, that we may discern a radically new understanding of the cosmic role of the common man within the thought systems of the ancient Near East, one that constituted the basis of an egalitarian order.? (Berman, Created Equal, 29)

In part 2 (17:00-25:15), Tim explains why Israel?s law codes consistently downgrades the role of the king in contrast to their neighbors. The king is not the sole, chief, divine authority; rather, Yahweh is king, and the human king is subservient to the Scriptures (Deuteronomy 17) and to prophets who speak on Yahweh?s behalf. He is a leader in war, but he is not the chief. He can participate in the temple, but he is not the high priest. He is subservient to the law, but he is not the lawgiver. This is all in contrast to Egypt and Babylon.

Tim also explains that the laws allowed Israel?s economy to be oriented toward landed families, which were called to include the immigrant, poor, and orphans. It is the first ancient example of ?welfare society.? You can see examples of laws about not maximizing profit to allow work in the fields in Ruth chapters 2-3.

Other examples include laws about the seven year debt release, Jubilee land and debt release, not charging interest on loans for the poor, giving a tithe for local loans for failing farmers.

Tim again cites Berman:

?The biblical laws about land and assets introduce a reformation of the ancient worldview aimed at achieving a social equality, but of a very specific king. It is not the egalitarianism developed since the French Revolution with its emphasis on the individual and inalienable human rights? Rather, it takes the form of an economic system that seeks equality by granting sacred value to the extended family household, where people assist one another in farming labor and in granting relief to other households in need. Ancient Israel was a tribal association of free farmers and ranchers, living in a single and equal social class with common ownership of the means of production. This system was a rejection of statism (= the nations state owns all land) and feudalism (= military lords own all land), demonstrated by the fact that it was free of tribute to any human king, and their tribute was a shared burden of funding the temple. Israel defined itself in opposition to the empire of oppression embodied by Egyptian slavery, and also in opposition to the centralized monarchies that surrounded and took up residence in Israel.? (Berman, Created Equal, 87)

Tim points out that a scholar named David Bentley Hart has influenced his thinking on this subject. Tim says that the Judeo-Christian heritage is the most beautiful thing about Western civilization.

In part 3 (25:15-30:00), Tim teaches through a specific law that is usually very disturbing to modern readers.

Deuteronomy 21:10-14
10 When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.

Tim points out that this law does not promote the practice it seems to promote. Instead, it creates boundaries for a common cultural practice, which are eventually designed to obliterate the practice all together. This law is in reaction to other ancient cultures that didn?t have any rules or give any thought to how soldiers should treat their captives.

In part 4 (30:00-43:10), Tim brings up an important point to keep in mind when reading biblical law: The laws play an important but ultimately subordinate role in the plot of the larger biblical storyline that leads to Jesus. Humanity?s failure to obey the divine command is part of the plot conflict that prevents them from being God?s image-partners in ruling creation. The laws illustrate the divine ideal while also intensifying that conflict, creating the need for a new human and a new covenant.

Tim notes that the first divine command is in the garden of Eden:

Genesis 2:16-17
16 The Lord God commanded the man, saying, ?From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of knowing good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.?

Tim says the failure to ?listen to the voice of God? (breaking the divine command) results in exile from the Eden-mountain, leading to death.

Genesis 3:17, 24
17 Then to Adam He said, ?Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ?You shall not eat from it?;
24 So He banished the human; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

In part 5, (43:10-end) Tim notes that this theme of listening or not listening to the divine command continues through the Bible.

Exodus 19:4-6
4 ?You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles? wings, and brought you to Myself. 5 ?Now then, if you will listen listen to My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.? These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.?

Tim notes that the story immediately after this story is the story of the golden calf, which shows Israel?s obvious failure to listen.

Tim points out that Israel?s covenant choice is the same as Adam and Eve and all humanity.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20
15 ?See, I have set before you today life and good, and death and evil; 16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may have life and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 17 ?But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. 19 ?I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20 by loving the Lord your God, by listening to His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.?

Tim notes that Israel?s inability to ?listen to the voice? of God, leading to death and exile, traps humanity in the power of death, which necessitates the messianic age and the new covenant.

Jeremiah 31:31-34
31 ?Behold, days are coming,? declares the Lord, ?when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,? declares the Lord. 33 ?But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,? declares the Lord, ?I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 ?They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ?Know the Lord,? for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,? declares the Lord, ?for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.?

Ezekiel 36:26-28
26 ?Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 ?I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. 28 ?You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.

Tim concludes by sharing that the law isn't about an "Old Covenant or New Covenant" question. Instead, the law illuminates and explores the portrait of humanity repeatedly failing to listen to the divine voice.

Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins.

Show Music:
?Defender Instrumental? by Tents
?Cartilage? by Moby
?All Night? by Unwritten Stories
?Good Morning? by Unwritten Stories
The Pilgrim?

Show Resources:

Our video on the law:

Joshua Berman: Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought?

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The Emergence of Sin with Dr. Matt Croasmun

In this show, Tim and Jon sit down with Dr. Matthew Croasmun. Dr. Croasmun is Associate Research Scholar and Director of the Life Worth Living Program at the Yale Center for Faith & Culture as well as Lecturer of Divinity and Humanities at Yale University. He completed his Ph.D. in Religious Studies (New Testament) at Yale in 2014 and was a recipient of the 2015 Manfred Lautenschläger Award for Theological Promise for his dissertation, "The Body of Sin: An Emergent Account of Sin as a Cosmic Power in Romans 5-8."

He discusses his new book, The Emergence of Sin. It was a resource that Tim drew on heavily as he wrote and prepared for The Bible Project?s Spiritual Beings video series.

Part 1 of the episode (0-53:15) is the interview with Dr. Croasmun. Dr. Croasmun discusses some of the highlights of scientific research, theology, and philosophy, pointing out how they overlap. Dr. Croasmun also discusses dualism and reductionism. Tim and Dr. Croasmun briefly touch on the nature of reality.

Then they dive into a discussion on the nature of sin. What is the exact nature of sin or of evil? Dr. Croasmun uses a few examples from nature, including the example of a bee and beehive. He posits the idea of sin or evil as a ?super organism.? That is to say, not only do humans ?sin? individually, but we are members of larger sin structures and systems. These are systems that create death and pain in the world.

Dr. Croasmun shares Romans 6:6 (New American Standard Bible):
?knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.?

Dr. Croasmun asks what Paul means by this phrase, ?the body of sin.? Or does Paul have multiple meanings in mind?

Tim notes that C.S. Lewis and other writers have spoken of sin as a ?parasite on the good,? meaning that sin does not exist on its own but always exists as a distortion of the good.

Instead of people having total autonomy over their lives, Dr. Croasmun notes, they are always in service to something. We are either in service to systems of sin or to systems under Christ.

The systems of sin would be examples of rampant, violent nationalism, racism, or discrimination against vulnerable people, animals, and nature.

Dr. Croasmun shares that it?s important to think of sin on three levels: an individual level, a large, super-organism and corporate level, and on a cosmic, supernatural level. All three ways will help a person to more fully understand these issues.

In part 2 (53:15-end), Tim and Jon recap their conversation with Dr. Croasmun. Tim says that all theologians are in a constant state of forming and reforming their ideas. He adds that sometimes, in our quest to simplify things, we actually do reality a disservice. Reality is complex, and so are the ideas surrounding God, man, nature, good, and evil.

Thank you to all our supporters!

Show Resources:
Dr. Croasmun?s book: The Emergence of Sin

Show Music:
?Excellent Instrumental? by Propaganda
?Defender Instrumental? by Tents

Show produced by:
Dan Gummel

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The Law as a Revolution - Law E3

In part 1 (0-21:30), the guys recap their conversation so far. Jon says that often the law is the first place people go who look to take issue with the Bible, saying it?s archaic or barbaric. Tim points out that too often, we don?t understand how cross-cultural it is to read the Bible. Instead, we often impose our own cultural mindset on the Bible.

Jon recalls from their discussion that the ancient law code of Israel was not the supreme authority, but instead illustrative of the relationships between the parties involved.

In part 2 (21:30-26:30), Tim talks about the wisdom of the laws in the Hebrew Scriptures. Tim shares this quote:

?The Hebrew Bible strongly suggests that the earliest forms of disputes? were resolved? by intuitions of justice against a background of custom, rather than appeal to formulated rules. The biblical sources which talk about the establishment of the judicial system in Israel give no indication that judges were to use written sources. Rather, judges are urged to avoid partiality and corruption and to ?do justice.? But what was the source of such justice? The version attributed to king Jehoshaphat is the most explicit, ?God is with you in giving judgment? (2 Chronicles 19:6). Divine inspiration is also attributed to the king in rendering judgment: Proverbs 16:10, ?Inspired decisions are on the lips of a king; his mouth does not sin in judgment.? Solomon?s judgment (1 Kings 3:16-28) is presented as an example of just such a process?. This is not to say that judges were expected to go into some kind of trance or function as an oracle. Rather, they were called to operate by combining local custom with divinely guided intuitions of justice?relying on the ?practical wisdom? that existed within the social consciousness of the people as a whole.? (Bernard Jackson, Wisdom Laws, 30-31)

In part 3 (26:30-40:30), Tim says the laws embody a set of ideals. Laws related to similar topics work together as a symbolic ritual system. They embody a set of ethical, social, and theological ideals for God?s ancient covenant people, ?a kingdom of priests and a holy nation? living out the Garden-of-Eden ideal in the world. He shares five ideal ?buckets? or categories to help readers understand different laws:

Ritual Calendar: The 7-day Sabbath cycle is all about the anticipation and re-enactment of new creation (note the literary design of the days in Genesis 1: There is no end to the seventh day).
Ritual sacrifices: sacrifices involved offering the life of a blameless representative who would ?ascend? to the heavenly mountain on behalf of the offerer (Leviticus 1 begins with the ??olah? or ?ascent? offering)
Ritual holiness: symbolic purity boundaries embodied the conviction that God?s presence is the source of all life, and health is separate from the mortal and immoral
Civil law: creating a new-creation community structured to carry the poor and prevent injustice toward the vulnerable
Criminal law: zero tolerance for those who corrupt the holy covenant family: no blood feuds, theft, idolatry, or sexual behavior that disrupts the social web

In part 4 (40:30-end), Tim goes over the sacrifices in the ?ritual sacrifices? bucket. He cites a book by Michael Morales called Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord? A biblical theology of Leviticus. Tim also goes over civil and criminal laws in ancient Israel. Jon asks Tim for a few specific examples. Tim goes to these passages:

Deuteronomy 24:21-22
?21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 22 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.?

Deuteronomy 25:1-4
?1 When people have a dispute, they are to take it to court and the judges will decide the case, acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty. 2 If the guilty person deserves to be beaten, the judge shall make them lie down and have them flogged in his presence with the number of lashes the crime deserves, 3 but the judge must not impose more than forty lashes. If the guilty party is flogged more than that, your fellow Israelite will be degraded in your eyes
4 Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.?

Deuteronomy 25:11-15
?11 If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, 12 you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.?

?13 Do not have two differing weights in your bag?one heavy, one light. 14 Do not have two differing measures in your house?one large, one small. 15 You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. 16 For the Lord your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly.?

Tim admits that these laws are very hard to understand. He points out that there are no narratives of these laws actually being put into practice. Regarding verses 11-12, Tim points out that the woman would have been endangering the entire family and bloodline by seizing a man?s genitals. Tim also notes that the differing weights are about not counterfeiting money.

Thank you to all our supporters!

Show produced by:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins

Show Music:

?Defender Inst? by Tents
?Good Morning? by Amine Maxine
?I don?t need you to say anything? by Le Gang
?Shipwrecked? by Moby?

Show Resources:

Bernard Jackson, Wisdom Laws
Michael Morales, Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord? A biblical theology of Leviticus?

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The Law as a Covenantal Partnership - Law E2

In part 1 (0-21:00), Tim points out that the laws are not a ?law code? but terms of a covenant relationship. The laws are not a ?constitutional code? (i.e. a divine behavior manual) dropped from heaven. Rather, they illustrate the official terms of the covenant relationship between Yahweh and the people of ancient Israel. The 613 laws all fall within the ceremony of God?s covenant with Israel in Exodus 19-24.

Tim asks the question: If these laws aren?t a judicial code, then what are they?

The laws are the shared agreement between God and Israel that was put forth in their covenant ceremony. We witness this relationship between Israel and Yahweh, Tim shares, as outsiders. People today were not at Mt. Sinai when the covenant was ratified. Instead, the law is used as ?torah? for us, or ?instruction,? meaning they reveal more about ourselves and God and the human condition. The Torah, Tim says, is a narrative about a covenant relationship, not a law code. He points out that there would have inevitably been more rules and laws governing ancient Israel than the 613 laws included in the Bible.

In part 2 (21:00-26:00), Tim expresses how the law served as ?relational authority? between Israel and God. The laws served as a witness to Israel?s difference from other kingdoms, that they were a ?kingdom of priests? who all had a relationship with God.

Ancient Law: Examples from History

In part 3, (26:00-41:30) Tim explains that to best understand the ancient laws of Israel, one should also understand how other ancient laws worked. Tim brings up the Code of Hammurabi, the most well known ancient law code. Tim shares the start of the law code of Hammurabi:

?When lofty Anum, king of the Anunnaki and Enlil, lord of heaven and earth, the determiner of the destinies of the land, determined for Marduk, the first-born of Enki, 6 the Enlil supreme powers over all mankind, made him great among the Igigi, called Babylon by its exalted name, He made it supreme in the world, established for him in its midst an enduring kingship, whose foundations are as firm as heaven and earth?

?at that time Anum and Enlil named me to promote the welfare of the people, me, Hammurabi, the devout, god-fearing prince, to cause justice to prevail in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil, that the strong might not oppress the weak, to rise like the sun over humankind, and to light up the land.

?Hammurabi, the shepherd, called by Enlil, am I; the one who makes affluence and plenty abound; the one who relaid the foundations of Sippar; who decked with green the chapels of Aya; the designer of the temple of Ebabbar, which is like a heavenly dwelling.

?When the god Marduk commanded me to provide just ways for the people of the land (in order to attain) appropriate behavior, I established truth and justice as the declaration of the land, I enhanced the well-being of the people.?

The Epilogue and Prologue to the Law Code [From Martha Tobi Roth, Harry A. Hoffner, and Piotr Michalowski, Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor]

Here are a few laws in the code of Hammurabi:

#196: "If a man destroy the eye of another man, they shall destroy his eye. If one break a man's bone, they shall break his bone. If one destroy the eye of a freeman or break the bone of a freeman he shall pay one gold mina. If one destroy the eye of a man's slave or break a bone of a man's slave he shall pay one-half his price."

#250 (xliv 44?51) ?If an ox gores to death a man while it is passing through the streets, that case has no basis for a claim.?

#251 (xliv 52?65) ?If a man?s ox is a known gorer, and the authorities of his city quarter notify him that it is a known gorer, but he does not blunt(?) its horns or control his ox, and that ox gores to death a member of the aw?lu-class, he (the owner) shall give 30 shekels of silver.?

Here is the epilogue of the law:

?May any king who will appear in the land in the future, at any time, observe the pronouncements of justice that I inscribed upon my stela. May he not alter the judgments that I rendered and the verdicts that I gave, nor remove my engraved image. If that man has discernment, and is capable of providing just ways for his land, may he heed the pronouncements I have inscribed upon my stela.?

The Epilogue and Prologue to the Law Code [From Martha Tobi Roth, Harry A. Hoffner, and Piotr Michalowski, Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor]

Tim brings up some interesting observations, puzzles and problems that ancient laws present.

This code is one of the most frequently copied texts from the ancient world, copies ranging over 1500yrs, and yet, as he quotes:

?Of the many thousands of Mesopotamian legal documents in our possession, not one of them cites the Code of Hammurabi, or any other ?code? as a source of authority. This in spite of the fact that the code of Hammurabi was esteemed and recopied for more than a millennium. All of this suggests that ancient near eastern law codes were of a literary, educational, and monumental nature, rather than legal and juridical.? (Joshua Berman, Created Equal: 84)

The code of Hammurabi was copied and recopied for over a thousand years. But across the centuries, none of the dozens of monetary fines were changed (which they would have if consulted and used for legal purposes). The code is nowhere near comprehensive?you won?t find any laws concerning inheritances, one of the most important features of landed-agricultural life in Babylon. Copies of the Code of Hammurabi have been found in royal archives but never in the sites of local courts, and never with caches of legal documents (receipts, divorce certificates, etc.).

Additionally, there are no ancient legal texts that ever cite or even refer to the Code as a source of law. In the thousands of ancient legal texts that do exist and address the same topics as the code, they are usually at odds with the sentences and fines given within it.

So, if these compositions were not legal codes, (1) where could the law of the land be found? And if they were not legal codes, (2) what was their purpose?

Tim shares this quote:

?Archaeologists have unearthed thousands of law-practice documents from the ancient near East, documents such as land transfers, financial contracts, and court rulings where law was applied to actual situations (divorces, civil disputes). There have also been discovered dozens of ancient law codes (Hammurabi, Ur-Namma, Lipit-Ishtar, Eshnunna). A curious problem emerges when these practice documents are compared with the law collections. The law as practiced in those cultures often differed from, even contradicted, the laws as stated in the collections. Penalties found in court decisions are repeatedly inconsistent with the penalties inscribed in the collections. Prices established in contracts don?t match those given in the law codes. This has raised important questions about the purpose of these collections. Whatever their purposes were, they do not appear to have dictated actual legal practice. Scholars have come to see that these law codes as academic and monumental collections, but not the source of law in these societies.? (Michael Lefebvre, Collections, Codes, and Torah, 1)

Two Kinds of Law

In part 4, (41:30-49:30) Tim explains that the ancient world would have been known as a common or customary law society, whereas our modern world is largely known as a statutory law society. He shares more quotes:

?The scholarly consensus is that law in Mesopotamia was customary/common law. A judge would determine the law at the moment of adjudication by drawing on an extensive reservoir of custom, accepted norms, and principles from the legal texts with which he was educated. The law would vary from place to place, and neither the Code of Hammurabi nor any other text was ?the final word? on what law should be applied. Indeed, the association of ?law? with a written collection of statutes and rules is a modern anachronistic imposition from our own culture. It is no surprise, therefore, that neither Mesopotamia, Egyptian, or Hittite culture has any word for ?written law,? that we find in later Greek as thesmos, or nomos.? (Joshua Berman, Inconsistency in the Torah, 112-113)

?The law collections, instead, are anthologies of judgments from times past, snapshots of decisions and customs rendered by judges or even by a king. The collections were a model of justice meant to educate and inspire?. They were records of precedent, but not of legislation?.they instilled in later generations of scribes a unified legal vision.? (Ibid.)

Tim says this has helped him understand three main purposes of the law:

Judicial Education texts: Collections of the most common representative decisions from a culture, compiled to train the moral-instincts of leaders, not to legislate actual practice.
Monumental Propaganda: Like the Code of Hammurabi, the code praises the king?s wisdom and justice and claims that his decisions are in fact divinely inspired.
Educational texts: These are compilations for training the scribal class, introducing them to a literary tradition of justice. ?

In part 5 (49:30-63:00), Tim further delineates the differences between common law and statutory law:

Statutory Law
The law itself is contained in a codified text, whose authority combines two elements: (a) the law emanates from a sovereign (a king or legislative body, etc.), (b) the law is a finite and complete legal system, so that only what is written in the code is the law. The law code supersedes all other sources of law that precede the formulation of the code. Where the code lacks explicit legislation, judges must adjudicate with the code as their primary guide.

Common Law
With common law, the law is not found in a written code that serves as a judge?s point of reference or limits what they can decide. Rather, the judges make decisions based on the mores and spirit of the community and its customs. Law develops through the distillation and continual restatement of legal doctrine through the decision of courts. Previous legal decisions are consulted but not binding, and importantly, a judge?s decision does not create a binding law, because no particular formulation of the law is binding. The common law is consciously and inherently incomplete, fluid, and vague. Under common law, legal codes are not the source of law, but rather a resource for later judges to consult.

Tim shares a helpful metaphor from Sir Matthew Hale (?the greatest British common-law judge of the 17th century?): The common law can change and yet still be considered part of the same legal ?system? just as a ship can return home after a long voyage and still be considered the ?same? ship, even though it returns with many repairs, new materials, and old materials discarded and replaced. In the same saw, law collections create a system of legal reasoning that a judge accesses to apply in new and unanticipated circumstances.

A Helpful Illustration from History

Common law traditions flourished for most of human history, because they require a homogeneous community where a common story and common values are assumed and perpetuated by all members of a society. 19th century German legal theorist Carl von Savigny called this the Volksgeist, ?the collective spirit and conscience of a people.? Where social cohesion breaks down, it becomes more difficult to anchor the law in a collective set of values, and this is what happened in 19th century Europe with the rise of immigration, urbanization, and the modern nation-state.

Nineteenth-century Germany faced transition from a historically tribal state into a modern state (Otto von Bismarck and Carl Savigny continued to advocate the common law tradition of their past). One of his most famous students was Jacob Grimm (1785-1863), best known for his collaboration with his brother Wilhelm. These brothers did exhaustive research into their cultural folklore and produced comprehensive editions of Germany?s moral heritage in their anthology called ?Kinder und Hausmarchen? = ?Children?s and Household Tales? (2 volumes in 1812 and 1815), including the classic tales of Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty, and the Frog Prince.

The Brothers Grimm established a methodology for collecting and recording folk stories that became the basis for folklore studies. Between the first edition of 1812-15 and the seventh and final edition of 1857, they revised their collection many times so that it grew from 156 stories to more than 200. In addition to collecting and editing folk tales, the brothers compiled German legends. Individually, they published a large body of linguistic and literary scholarship. Together in 1838, they began work on a massive historical German dictionary (Deutsches Wörterbuch), which, in their lifetimes, they completed only as far as the word Frucht, 'fruit'.

Tim points out that the Grimm brothers bridged the gap between folklore and common law in German society into a society of more statutory law in Germany. In many ways, Tim says, this is how Israel came to treat the law. The stories surrounding the laws allowed Israel to illustrate what happens when the rules are or are not followed.

Examples of Law Implementation in Scripture

In part 6 (63:00-end), Tim points out that many times in the Bible, the actual implementation of the laws are totally different from the given or written laws. There are many cases where narratives about legal decisions either differ from the statements of practice in the biblical law codes, or the decision is offered without any recourse to a law code.

For example, in 2 Samuel 14, David gives a ruling contrary to every law and principle in the biblical law codes concerning murder. David simply excuses his son Absalom (who murdered Amnon) with no appeal or defense of his actions and no mention of a law code.

Another example is found in Jeremiah 26, the most detailed description of a trial in the Old Testament. Jeremiah is accused of treason for announcing the temple?s destruction. His defense is that another prophet before him, Micah, announced the same message and he was never imprisoned. This is an argument from precedent, not from a law code. The arguments advanced against him are offered on theological grounds (?he speaks in the name of Yahweh?) and political grounds (?he prophesied against our city?). No law codes are ever consulted to defend or accuse him.

A third example is Solomon?s famous ?decision? about the two women in 1 Kings 3. Solomon listens to the witnesses (the two women), and uses his intuition (which is divinely inspired according to the previous narrative) to make a decision. The concluding statement shows the real source of legal authority: ?When all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had decided, they revered the king, for they saw the wisdom of God in him to do justice.? (1 Kings 3:28)

Here is a helpful quote to understand why the implementation may have been different.

?The Hebrew Bible strongly suggests that the earliest forms of disputes? were resolved? by intuitions of justice against a background of custom, rather than appeal to formulated rules. The biblical sources which talk about the establishment of the judicial system in Israel give no indication that judges were to use written sources. Rather, judges are urged to avoid partiality and corruption and to ?do justice.? But what was the source of such justice? The version attributed to king Jehoshaphat is the most explicit, ?God is with you in giving judgment? (2 Chronicles 19:6). Divine inspiration is also attributed to the king in rendering judgment: Proverbs 16:10, ?Inspired decisions are on the lips of a king; his mouth does not sin in judgment.? Solomon?s judgment (1 Kings 3:16-28) is presented as an example of just such a process?. This is not to say that judges were expected to go into some kind of trance or function as an oracle. Rather, they were called to operate by combining local custom with divinely guided intuitions of justice?relying on the ?practical wisdom? that existed within the social consciousness of the people as a whole.? (Bernard Jackson, Wisdom Laws, 30-31)

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Show Resources:
Joshua Berman, Inconsistency in the Torah
Bernard Jackson, Wisdom Laws
Martha Tobi Roth, Harry A. Hoffner, and Piotr Michalowski, Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor
Michael Lefebvre, Collections, Codes, and Torah?
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The Purpose of The Law - Law E1

Welcome to our first episode looking at laws in the Bible!
In part 1 (0-4:00), Tim explains how this set of conversations will be different than the previous podcast episodes that looked at biblical law (the first two episodes of this podcast).
In parts 2 and 3 (4:00-17:45 and 17:45-35:00), Tim and Jon discuss ancient law vs. modern law. They talk about the importance of biblical law, but how these laws often cause hang-ups for modern readers. Tim notes that for centuries, interpreting biblical law has been a major point of debate among Christians, Jews, and everyone else.
In part 4 (35:00-end), Tim explains a debate over the number of laws in the Old Testament Torah. Some say there are 611 commands; others say 613. So which is it?
This is one small but significant example that illustrates how important interpreting the law was in Israel. Here?s a glimpse into the debate to give you a fuller picture.
A few centuries after Jesus, rabbis still firmly held to both views. The main disagreement came down to two passages where a commandment could be implicitly read. Consider:
Exodus 20:1, ?I am Yahweh your God? = Believe that Yahweh exists.
Deuteronomy 6:5, ?Yahweh your God, Yahweh is one? = Believe that Yahweh is one.
Yet even though the number of laws in the Torah can be debated, early rabbis recognized the ability to ?reduce? many laws to just a handful that fully captured the spirit of the law. A famous passage illustrates this in the Babylonian Talmud (one of the primary sources for interpreting Jewish religious law and theology). It states:
Six hundred and thirteen commandments were given to Moses.
David reduced those commandments to eleven. (Psalm 15)
Isaiah reduced them to six. (Isaiah 33:15-16)
Micah the prophet reduced them to three. (Micah 6:8)
Isaiah again reduced them to two. (Isaiah 56:1)
Amos reduced them to one. (Amos 5:4)
Habakkuk further reduces to say, ?But the righteous shall live by his faith.? (Habakkuk 2:4)
Throughout the episode, Tim highlights differences in the law. For example, Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 (both presenting the Ten Commandments) talk about the Sabbath in slightly different ways.
Or consider another instance, where Moses gives two different commands about how to prepare the Passover. Should you roast it or boil it? According to Exodus 12:8-9, you should roast it and not boil it. But in Deuteronomy 16:6-7, Moses tells the people to boil it.
These problems we see in the law are more than just ancient interpretation. To modern readers, some of the laws seem noble and inspiring, while others seem odd, primitive, or even barbaric.
We encounter all three of these examples in two adjacent chapters in the Torah:
In Leviticus 19, we read about God?s command to leave the extra gleanings of the harvest for the needy and stranger. God shows his care for the least of these.
A few verses later, we find laws about tattoos and beard etiquette. Weird!
One chapter later, we read the command that ?a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death.? (Leviticus 20:27)
Now these laws leave us feeling a tension around how to understand the idea of ?biblical authority.? What does obedience to the laws of the Torah mean? Do we obey all of them, some of them, or none of them?
This issue has caused many conflicts in both Jewish and Christian history. For example, what is a Jew supposed to do about sacrificial ritual laws when the temple is destroyed in 586 B.C.? Or for a follower of Jesus, how do these laws relate to us as the messianic new covenant family?
We see that Jesus said, ?Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.? (Matthew 5:17) So what can Paul mean when he says, ?For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.? (Romans 10:4) Yet Paul still quotes from the Ten Commandments in places like Ephesians 6:1-3.
Overall, Tim makes the case that the law presented to us in the Old Testament is not a ?code? in the same way modern readers often think of a law code. Instead, we see how Moses, the prophets, Paul, and even Jesus handled the laws. Each held a deep respect for the underlying meaning and ideals presented by the law to the people of God. Though times and customs changed, God?s law served as a bedrock of guiding ideals to help the people of God (both then and now) live in such a way as to love God and love neighbor.

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Show Resources:
Jacob Neusner, The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary, vol. 17a (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2011), 120?122.

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Prophets as Provokers - Prophets E2

Welcome to Episode 2 in our series on How to Read the Prophets.

In the introduction, Tim says that the books of the prophets can be set up in different ways, but in most cases they are anthologies. These are the greatest hits or most important points of the prophets.

There are five parts to this episode where Tim outlines several buckets or themes that are important to understand when reading the prophets.
(6:00-25:00) Introduction
(25:00-33:00) Bucket 1: Accusations
(33:00-37:00) Bucket 2: Repentance
(37:00-52:00) Bucket 3: Day of the Lord Announcements
(52:00-end) Conclusion

Biblical prophecy frequently deals with the following themes:

Accusations that Israel and the nations have rebelled against Yahweh.
Israel/Judah has (1) broken the covenant, (2) worshiped other gods, (3) allowed social injustice, and (4) made alliances with the foreign nations. The covenant lawsuit is the key rhetorical device. And the key metaphor is idolatry as adultery. So the nations are accused of injustice, cruelty, and arrogance.

A second bucket or theme is the calls for repentance and admonition to turn from wicked ways and return to faithful obedience to Yahweh. The prophets call for religious devotion to Yahweh alone and no other gods. They also call for social justice and care for the most vulnerable (widow, orphan, immigrant).

The third theme is the announcements of the Day of the Lord that will address injustice and rebellion. This refers to historical events that God will use to judge evil and vindicate the righteous, all leading up to the great future day when God will do this for all creation?a cosmic ?house-cleaning.?

The bad news the prophets deliver is that Yahweh will bring his justice against human rebellion. Because of human hard-heartedness, future punishment becomes inevitable. The punishment will be upon Israel and Judah, resulting in disaster, defeat, and exile upon individual nations (especially Assyrian, Babylon, Egypt) and upon all nations.

The good news is that Yahweh will bring about the restoration of his covenant people on the other side of exile. This is a hope for a righteous remnant. The prophets say that God will preserve a faithful remnant, an important minority who remain faithful. There is hope for restoration from exile (captivity), and God will restore their ?fortunes.? Finally, there is hope for a new covenant. Yahweh will renew his covenant with his people.

The prophets say that the Kingdom of God will appear and Yahweh will establish his peaceful, universal Kingdom over all nations, ruled by the future messianic King.

They use the imagery of a new temple, new Eden, and new Jerusalem to represent God?s personal presence that will permeate his people in a new cosmic temple.

Helpful tips: How to Read the Prophets

Look at the first sentence of the book to see when the prophet lived, then go read the corresponding section of 1-2 Kings to get the context of the prophet?s day.

Pay attention to the three main themes and how they connect to the book?s design. Some prophets put all their poems of accusation together (as in Ezekiel 3-24), while others weave poems of accusation and of future hope together (see Isaiah 1-2).

These books are mostly poetry, so read slowly and thoughtfully. They use tons of metaphors, so pay attention to repeated words and images.
Isaiah uses metaphors from the plant world more than any other prophet (vines, trees, branches, stumps, flowers, grass) and often in creative ways to make different points (See Isaiah 11).

Key Insights from the prophets:
God loves justice. Israel had been called to a higher level of justice than the nations around them, especially in the treatment of their land and the poor (See Isaiah 1:10-20).

God gets angry at evil. The prophets give a lot of space to God?s exposure of evil among Israel and the nations. It?s intense, but it reveals how much God cares about the goodness of his world (see Hosea 13).

God has hope for our world. He refuses to let Israel?s sin get the last word, and so all the prophetic books contain profound images of future hope and restoration for God?s people and for the entire world (see Isaiah 11:1-9).

Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel

Defender Instrumental, Tents
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Exploring the Old Testament: A Guide to the Prophets by J. Gordon McConville
The Prophets by Abraham Heschel
The NIV Compact Bible Commentary by John Sailhamer
Read the Bible for a Change by Ray Lubeck

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What Prophecy is For - Prophets E1

The books of the prophets are often the most difficult and misunderstood books in the Bible.

In part one (0:00-10:00), Tim and Jon briefly go over a few reasons why reading the prophets can be so challenging. Tim shares quotes from Martin Luther and fJohn Bright:

The challenge of reading the prophetic books:
?The prophets have an odd way of talking, like people who, instead of proceeding in an orderly manner, ramble off from one thing to the next, so that you cannot make head or tail of them or see what they are getting at.?
Martin Luther, quoted in Gerhard von Rad, Old Testament Theology, Vol. 2 (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), 33.

?What makes the prophetic books particularly, and one might say needlessly, difficult is the very manner of their arrangement ? or, to be more accurate, their apparent lack of arrangement? All seems confusion? The impression that the reader gains is one of extreme disarray; one can scarcely blame him for concluding that he is reading a hopeless hodgepodge thrown together without any discernible principle of arrangement at all.? ? John Bright, Jeremiah (Anchor Bible Commentary, 1965), p. lvi.

In part two (10:00-18:40), Tim asks Jon what he thinks a modern definition of prophets and prophecy is. Jon says he believes it has to do with fortune telling. A prophet is someone who can look into the future and predict an event.

Tim explains that while this is part of the role of a prophet, it is not the central focus, and predicting future events only occurs occasionally in the Bible.

Tim explains that the definition of a prophet in the Old Testament is actually very simple. A prophet is simply a messenger or a herald giving a message to people on God?s behalf.

Tim says that most people understand the term prophecy as the prediction of future events. This definition is inadequate and does not account for the huge amounts of the material in the prophetic books. While there are certain passages within the prophets which do contain predictive elements, most of these poems and narratives don?t present themselves as predictive prophecy.

In the Bible, a prophecy is a message that God speaks to his people through a human prophet. So prophecies often contain the quoted speech of God himself.
Jeremiah 2:1-2:
Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,
?Go and proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem, saying,
?Thus says the Lord: ?I remember concerning you the devotion of your youth??

In part three (18:40-33:30), Tim outlines the character of Moses. Moses is portrayed as the archetypal prophet. He?s the first divine spokesmen sent to Israel and the nations (Exodus 3). He?s the first figure to mediate between Yahweh and Israel and establish his covenant with the people (Exodus 19-24, the Sinai narrative). He?s the only figure allowed to enter the divine presence directly (Exodus 19-20, 33-34). He?s the key intercessor for Israel when they have violated the covenant (Exodus 32-34). He suffers because of Israel?s failures (Numbers 11-21) and accuses them of present and ongoing rebellion against Yahweh that will result in exile (Deuteronomy 28-32).
And his death is marked as the end of an era. ?Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face?? (Deuteronomy 34:10).

Tim says that Moses fails as a prophet. But in the Pentateuch, he is cast
as the ideal prophet, someone whom all other Jewish prophets should follow after.

In part four (33:30-end), Tim says the prophets are best understood as ?covenant watchdogs.? They assume the larger covenant story of Yahweh, creation, and Israel. Yahweh is the creator and King, and his image-bearing stewards have rebelled and corrupted his good world (Genesis 1?11).

In the covenant he makes with Abraham, Yahweh says he will use Abraham?s family to restore his divine blessing to all nations (Genesis 12).

In the covenant with Israel (the Sinai or Mosaic covenant), Israel is called to become a kingdom of priests to the nations by adhering to the laws of the covenant. Obedience will result in covenant blessing, and rebellion will bring covenant curses (Exod 19, Lev 26, Deut 28?30).

In the covenant with Israel?s priesthood, Yahweh promises to provide a perpetual priesthood through the line of Aaron to intercede on Israel?s behalf and atone for their covenant failures (Numbers 25).

The covenant with Israel?s monarchy states that Yahweh will raise up a king from the line of David who will bring God?s Kingdom and blessing to all the nations (2 Samuel 7, Psalms 2, 72, 89, 132).

Israel was unable to fulfill its side of the Sinai covenant and was sent into exile. But in the new covenant, Yahweh will transform their hearts so they can truly love and obey their God (Deuteronomy 30, Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 36).

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Martin Luther, quoted in Gerhard von Rad, Old Testament Theology, Vol. 2 (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), 33.

John Bright, Jeremiah (Anchor Bible Commentary, 1965), p. Lvi.
Our Video on How to Read the Prophets:

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N.T. Wright Interview #2: Paul and the Powers

Welcome to a special episode of our podcast. In this episode, Tim and Jon interview the prolific theologian N.T. (Tom) Wright. They discuss Paul?s perspectives of spiritual evil and spiritual powers.

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To the Ends of the Earth - Acts E7

In part 1, (0-11:40) Tim notes the ways that Luke has mapped the story of Paul on top of the story of Jesus. He quotes from Charles Talbert.

?In Luke-Acts we find an architectural pattern of correspondences between the career of Jesus and the life of the apostles. In this way, Luke portrays the deeds and teachings of Jesus as the pattern for the acts and instruction of the apostolic church in the book of Acts. It is near impossible to avoid the conclusion that these correspondences between Jesus and his followers serve this purpose: Jesus is the master and the source of the Christian way of life that is imitated by his disciples.? ? Charles Talbert, Literary Patterns and Theological Themes in Luke-Acts.

Tim points out several interesting symbolic ways that Luke and Acts are similar. For example, when Jesus and Paul initially go to Jerusalem. They are both greeted warmly, and they both immediately go to the temple. Both Jesus and Paul stand before someone named Herod. In both cases a Roman centurion is given a positive portrait.

In part 2 (11:40-21:30)
Jon asks why would Luke be so interested in comparing Paul and Jesus together? Tim says that the parallelism isn?t meant to lessen Christ?s status, but instead to show that Christ?s work is continuing in regular humans who are now being grafted in, being created new as a new humanity following in Christ?s example and life.

Tim shares a quote from scholar Michael Goulder:
?Luke is writing a typological history, the life of Jesus providing the template for the life of the church. It is the Pauline doctrine of the body of Christ which is finding here a literary expression in the patterns and cycles of Luke?s narrative. Christ is alive and continuing his own life through his body, that is, his church.? ? Michael Goulder, Type and History in Acts, 61-62.

In part 3, (21:30-end)

The guys discuss how the book of acts concludes. To many modern readers it is an abrupt ending.

Tim shares a scholar Ben Witherington: ?The ending of the book of Acts makes it clear that Luke?s purpose wasn?t simply to chronicle not the life and death of Paul, but rather the rise and spread of the gospel and of the social and religious movement to which it gave birth. Luke has provided a theological history that traces the spread of the good news from Jerusalem to Rome, from the eastern edge of the Roman Empire into its very heart. Rome was not seen in Luke?s day as the edge of the known world, and so the reader would know very well that Jesus? mission to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8) was still ongoing in his own day. However, for Luke it was critical and symbolic that the message reach the heart and hub of the Empire, as a challenge to Caesar and a gateway into to the ends of the earth.

The open-endedness that the modern reader senses in the ending of Acts is intentional. Luke is chronicling not the life and times of Paul (or any other early Christian leader), which would have a definite conclusion, but rather a phenomenon and movement that was continuing and alive and well in his own day. For Luke, Paul?s story is really? about the unstoppable word of god, which no obstacle, no shipwreck, no snake-bite, and no Roman authorities could hinder from reaching the heart of the empire and the hearts of those who lived there. -- Adapted from Ben Witherington III, The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998), 809.

Thank you to all our supporters!

Show produced by:
Dan Gummel

Show Resources:
Ben Witherington III, The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998), 809.
Michael Goulder, Type and History in Acts
Charles Talbert, Literary Patterns and Theological Themes in Luke-Acts.

Show Music:

Defender Instrumental: Tents
Where Peace and Rest Are Found
Polaroid: Extenz

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Paul in Prison - Acts E6

In part one (0:00-13:30), Tim and Jon discuss the motives Paul had for putting himself in harm's way. Tim says that Paul's priority was to show a unified world between Jew and Gentile through belief in Jesus.

Tim then outlines Paul's time in Jerusalem and his arrest. Tim points out that there are six cycles that begin with Paul being arrested, then Paul is given a platform to speak, then the authority figure saying that Paul doesn't deserve death, but he is never released.

Tim says Luke is portraying Paul as a model for how Christians should relate to the powers and cultural structures of the world. Christianity is not a movement that is political, or social, or anything else, but it does encompass those things. It is an entirely different movement of an entirely different nature.

In part two (13:30-30:00), Tim continues to outline Paul's trials.
Tim quotes from Kavin Rowe: "The Christians are not out to establish Christendom. A new culture, yes, a new political movement, no." Tim points out that Paul submitted to the Roman authorities despite the flaws. It's a stance of loyalty and subversion.

Tim points out that Luke is laying Paul's story on top of Jesus' story of also being on trial by the Jewish and Roman authorities.

Luke wants the reader to think intelligently about how Christians should relate to the government. God's Kingdom is not a human kingdom; it is a vision of a new and better humanity. There is no such thing as being a Christian in private in the ancient world, nor should there be that option today.

In part three (30:00-35:00), Jon points out that Christianity is a movement that doesn't need the same type of power that the Romans had. It's a groundswell, not a top-down approach. Tim says that Luke is trying to communicate that the Jesus movement is its own thing that doesn't fit any other type of movement in human history.

In part four (35:00-end), Tim points out that Paul always seemed to interact with corrupt Roman politicians. But when he did, Paul encouraged that official to follow the road of high integrity that they aspire to.

Show Resources:
World Upside Down: Reading Acts in the Graeco Roman Age by Kavin Rowe

Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins

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Paul's Journey to Jerusalem - Acts E5

In part one (0:00-13:20), Tim and Jon briefly recap the series so far. They discuss Paul?s complex background. Paul was a Jew but was living primarily among Gentiles in different cities in the Roman Empire. Tim points out that because of his background, Paul?s reputation as a controversial figure continues to grow. He doesn?t fit into the normal social categories of the day.

In part two (13:20-33:00), Tim dives into Acts 11:27-30:
?During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.?

Tim says that this is hugely symbolic. Paul is arriving back in Jerusalem with a group of international Christians bearing a gift of money to help give relief to the Jerusalem famine.

Jon points out that it's really remarkable that Paul was able to raise these funds, before the days of Kickstarter. Tim says that for Paul, the gift was a symbol of the unity of the Church. There was no class system and no division across racial, ethnic, or economic lines. The gift was a representation of all that Paul believed was possible in the communities of Christians.

In part three (33:00-end), Tim shares a passage from Ephesians:
"Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace.? ? Ephesians 2:12-15.

Tim says that this passage is more evidence that Paul really wanted Jews and Gentiles to be united as one Church.

Then in reference to Ephesians 3, Tim says that for Paul, the creation of the new humanity through Christ is the way that God also chooses to demonstrate his wisdom to the divine council.
?Although I am less than the least of all the Lord?s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.? ? Ephesians 3:8-10.

Tim says that Paul believed he was participating in a cosmic story and that working to unify Jews with all other ethnicities through Jesus was what Jesus was praying for in John 17:21: ?I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one?as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.?

Thank you to all of our supporters!

Show Resources:

World Upside Down: Reading Acts in the Graeco Roman Age by Kavin Rowe

Show Produced by:

Dan Gummel, Jon Collins

Show Music:

Defender Instrumental, Tents
Acquired in Heaven, Beautiful Eulogy

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Q+R: Son of Man - Son of Man E9

Show Notes:

Welcome to our Q+R on the Son of Man! Thank you to everyone who sent in questions. Here are the questions we responded to:

Matt from Australia: (0:55)
I've got a question about humans and animals. It seems like animals get a really bad rap. You've been talking about when humans don't pass the test or live as they're made to live, they're not truly the image of God, they act less than human or to be true, they act like animals. And I'm wondering what about animals is so bad or so wrong? Or are you trying to communicate about a different reality than an animal? Thanks!

Petra from the Netherlands: (6:20)
In the podcast (The Empty Throne), Tim refers to the Empty Throne in Daniel 7, but if I read Daniel 7 in different translations, vs 9 says "thrones" and vs 10 "the court place." So I get the conclusion that thrones are set for the court. In Matthew 19:28, Jesus tells his disciples that they will sit on the 12 thrones and judge the 12 tribes of Israel. I don't assume that's specific because in Revelation it says 24. My question is, where do you get the conclusion that the empty throne refers to the Son of Man because I come to the conclusion that it refers to the court. Thank you!

Rachel from Delaware: (12:35)
This is a question I've always had: where is Daniel in Daniel 3?

Stephanie from Virginia: (21:05)
My question is, why is Daniel portrayed as a new human, a new Adam, when he is not THE new human, the Messiah to come?

John from North Wales: (21:20)
I've found this series on the Son of Man really exciting. I have a question about Daniel. I was struck when you were taking us through those first chapters in the book of Daniel that Daniel himself actually seems to be a flawless human being. My working paradigm was that there are no heroes in the Old Testament except for God himself, but Daniel does actually seems to pass the test (or at least to not really fail the test at any particular point). So how do you interpret the figure of Daniel? Thanks!

Sam from Ohio: (26:04)
In Daniel 7:18, 22, 27, it speaks of the saints being given the dominion and kingdom to possess forever. Verse 27 ends by saying, "All dominions shall serve and obey them." But the ESV footnote says it might end by saying, "All dominions shall serve and obey him." Is it a possible interpretation to view the Son of Man as a figurative representation of all the saints of the Most High rather than a specific individual? Or what is the connection between the individual and the collective groups of saints? Thanks!

Douglas from Rwanda: (40:15)
I was curious about the use of the word "son of man" in other Old Testament books such as Ezekiel. Ezekiel appears to be written before Daniel and they use the exact same word "son of man." I wonder if you know if it has a different meaning, and if not, how is it related to Daniel's use of "son of man?" Thank you!

Ivan from El Salvador: (43:20)
I love the conversation about the Son of God and how he's someone God gave that title. How, with that definition, do we read John 1:12 that whoever receives him will be called a son of God? How do we understand that, or does John have a different definition in mind?

Thank you to all of our supporters!

Find more resources at

Show produced by:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins

Theme music:
Defender Instrumental, Tents

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Thieves by the Throne - Son of Man E8

In part one (0:00-13:15), Tim and Jon briefly recap the series so far. Then Tim says that there are three different nuances that Jesus uses when describing himself as the Son of Man.

The first nuance is Jesus calling himself the Son of Man when saying that he has divine authority. Here?s an example from Mark 2:8-12:
"Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, ?Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? ?Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ?Your sins are forgiven?; or to say, ?Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk?? ?But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins??He said to the paralytic, ?I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.? And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, ?We have never seen anything like this.?

Tim says that when Jesus says, ?The son of man has authority on earth,? it is recalling Adam/humanity's forfeited authority over the land/earth in Genesis 1.
In the story, Jesus steps in as an Adam figure and also a high priest figure. The major part of the priests' job is to intercede for sinners and offer sacrifices of atonement for them. Jesus picks up the Adam-priest mantle in this story.

Tim quotes from scholar Joel Marcus: ?Adam was created to be the terrestrial representative of the heavenly king, to rule on earth as God rules in heaven? Jesus here emphasizes that his authority to forgive sin on earth derives its ultimate authority from God?s prerogative to forgive sins in heaven? The first Adam is associated with both royal rule and with sin and death, and so here Jesus is portrayed as the royal human who has power over both sin and death.? -- Joel Marcus, Son of Man as Son of Adam, 372-373.

In part two (13:15-26:30), the guys dive into another example from Mark 2:23-28:
"And it happened that He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. The Pharisees were saying to Him, ?Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?? And He *said to them, ?Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?? Jesus said to them, ?The Sabbath was made because of the human, and not the human because of the Sabbath. So the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath.?

Tim observes that the Sabbath in Genesis 1 is an ideal of new creation that the first Adam never fully attained, and so it remained to be attained by a future son of man. Jesus is claiming to be that one. Tim quotes from Joel Marcus again: ?From Genesis itself, to be sure, one might get the impression that the Sabbath was not created ?because of the human,? but ?for/because of God.? God rested on the seventh day from the labor of the preceding six, and therefore hallowed the seventh day in perpetuity? However, in Jewish tradition, scholars went to great pains to make clear that God wasn?t tired...but that the purpose of the Sabbath was for humanity, to provide rest for them? A similar line of thought is found here in Mark 2, the Sabbath was created for Adam?s sake and for the humanity he represents, not the other way around. The Sabbath was built into the structure of the world that was made subject to Adam. Therefore, Adam?s final son (the son of man), who has recovered dominion that his great forefather had forfeited, is the Lord not only of the world in general, but of the Sabbath in particular.? -- Joel Marcus, The Son of Man as the Son of Adam, 375-376.

In part three (26:30-36:00), Tim talks about the second nuance that Jesus uses when referring to himself as the Son of Man; he describes himself as suffering. The guys examine Mark 10:35-45:
"James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, *came up to Jesus, saying, ?Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.? And He said to them, ?What do you want Me to do for you?? They said to Him, ?Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.? But Jesus said to them, ?You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?? They said to Him, ?We are able.? And Jesus said to them, ?The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. ?But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.?

?Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John. Calling them to Himself, Jesus *said to them, ?You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. ?But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. ?For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.?

Tim cites Joel Marcus again saying that Mark 10:45 may be paraphrased as such: ?Like his great ancestor Adam before the fall, the Son of Adam had the right and authority to be served, as ruler of all creatures on earth. But instead of exercising this right, the Son of Man has become the slave of all humanity, even to the point of dying for them. In so doing, he has reversed the effect of Adam?s sin, the death which he passed onto his offspring; the one Son of Adam has given his life as a ransom for the many children of Adam who were deprived of their life by the transgression of ?the human.? -- Joel Marcus, Son of God as Son of Adam.

In part four (36:00-43:15), Tim continues examining this story by Jesus. Jesus believes that he, as the Son of Man is going to rule by serving and suffering. Tim says that this idea becomes significant when thinking about the Christian tradition of baptism. It is a symbolic representation of following Christ through the veil of death to be resurrected to new, real, eternal life after.

In part five (43:15-59:50), Tim points out the third nuance that Jesus uses to show himself as the Son of Man: the Son of Man will be vindicated after death. Jon notes that understanding these nuances really helps to fill in a lot of the blanks that round out Jesus' identity and actions.

In part six (59:50-end), Tim and Jon recap the whole series. Tim shares a final quote from Joel Marcus:
?The Son of Man? is an apocalyptic symbolic figure. It the Son of Man is a new Adam, then the Jesus of the Gospels presents himself as the founder of a new humanity. This is why the Gospel authors depict Jesus as carrying out his ministry in the ?last days?, as the recapitulation and perfection of ?the beginning.? In this context, the good news of Jesus? opening message in Mark 1:15 (?The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near!?) is not simply that time of waiting for a new event to happen is over. Rather, he means that the old universe is dying and a new creation is being born.? -- Joel Marcus, Son of Man as Son of Adam, 385.

Thank you to all of our supporters!
Have a question? Send it to [email protected]

Show Produced By:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins, Tim Mackie

Show Music:

Defender Instrumental, Tents

Royalty Free Spanish Guitar

Amber, The Loyalist

Heal My Sorrows

Where Peace and Rest are Found

Moon, Lemmino

Show Resources:

Brandon Crowe, The Last Adam: A Theology of the Obedient Life of Jesus in the Gospels

Joel Marcus, The Son of Man as the Son of Adam

Our video on the Son of Man:

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Jesus With Wild Beasts - Son of Man E7

In part one (0:00-19:00), the guys introduce Jesus and the Gospels into the conversation. Tim remarks that there is a whole field of scholarship dedicated to studying how Christ is portrayed as a new Adam or a new Son of Man.

Tim focuses on Jesus in the Gospel of Mark.
Mark 1:12-13:
?Immediately the Spirit cast out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days being tested by the Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.?

Tim notes that the phrase ?cast out? (Grk. ???????) is first used in the Old Testament account of Adam and Eve?s explusion from the garden of Eden (Gen 3:24). He also says that both of these stories are meant to be analagous to each other. Jesus is in the wilderness (garden) with the wild animals (Adam and Eve) in the presence of the angels (cherubim and cosmic mountain).

Tim cites a quote by biblical scholar Brandon Crowe: ?Whereas Adam failed the temptation in the garden and was cast out, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness, a setting associated with Israel?s testing and failure. Unlike Adam, Jesus does not fail the test, and in both stories of Adam and Jesus ?expulsion? the same Greek word ekballo is employed. In the wilderness, Jesus is with the wild animals, but remains unharmed [T.M. like Daniel], which is supposed to strike the reader as unusual. Jesus? peaceful coexistence with the wild animals signifies his authority over them, and recalls Adam?s original dominion over the animals in the garden. Like Adam, Jesus has been granted the worldwide dominion, becoming the instrument of God?s dominion over the world.? -- Brandon Crowe, The Last Adam: A Theology of the Obedient Life of Jesus in the Gospels, 24

Tim points out that the temptation of Jesus in Mark, specifically the details of the angels serving him and him being with the wild beasts, is meant to show that Jesus is the new Adam, the perfect Adam who can coexist peacefully with animals in the wild.

Further, Tim points out that Jesus is portrayed as having authority over the other spiritual beings (angels) to show that Jesus is the ideal Son of Man figure.

In part two (19:00-18:30), Tim and Jon take a side tour and discuss how in Hebrew there are places where the Hebrew word adam can refer to either a specific character, Adam, or to humanity as a whole. The guys also discuss the nuances between the terms Son of Man and Son of God. Tim notes that Psalm 2 is a key passage for understanding how both of these terms link together.
To be called the image of God as humanity means to be the creatures where heaven and earth are bound together.
Psalm 2: ?Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, ?Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.? The One enthroned in heaven laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, ?I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.? I will proclaim the Lord?s decree: He said to me, ?You are my son; today I have become your father.
Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.??

In part three (18:30-end), Jon asks why heaven and earth are supposed to be ideally imaged in humanity. Tim replies that humanity is meant to be related to the elohim. We are not elohim, but we are to share in a similar status of having a divine ability to rule.

Tim and Jon then dive into the temptation of Jesus portrayed in Matthew 4:8-11:
?Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, ?All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.?
Then Jesus said to him, ?Go, Satan! For it is written, ?You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.? ? Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.?

Tim notes that there is only one other time in the New Testament where Jesus utters the phrase, ?Get behind me Satan? or ?Go, Satan? (in the NIV). It?s in Matthew 16:23: ?Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns."

Tim notes that Jesus obviously sees that a satanic mindset is one where the mindset is human-focused and set on how a beast would rule the world, one of power and strength not of sacrifice.

Tim points out that after these temptations, you are supposed to see Jesus as a new Adam. He peacefully coexists with animals. He?s a new Daniel; he doesn?t bow down to the rulers. He?s a new David because he rules righteously. Jesus is the full package.

Thank you to all of our supporters!
Have a question? Send it to [email protected]

Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins, Tim Mackie

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental, Tents
Yesterday on Repeat, Vexento
Morning, LIQWYD

Show Resources:
Exodus 4:22
Matthew 4:8-11
Psalm 2
Brandon Crowe, The Last Adam: A Theology of the Obedient Life of Jesus in the Gospels
Joel Marcus, ?The Son of Man as the Son of Adam?
Our video on the Son of Man:

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The True Human - Son of Man E6

In part one (0:00-12:00), the guys quickly recap the biblical story leading up to Daniel 7. There are many models of the Son of Man in the Old Testament: Noah, Moses, David, Joshua. They all get close, but they ultimately fail and are not able to be the perfect ?seed of the woman? that will crush the snake and fulfill the prophecy given in Genesis after the fall.

In part two (12:00-29:30), the guys dive into Daniel 7:
In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.
Daniel said: ?In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea. ?The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it. ?And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ?Get up and eat your fill of flesh!? ?After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.

After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast?terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. ?While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
As I looked,
thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.
A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
and the books were opened.

Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Tim makes the following observations: The animals are like an anti-creation. They are extremely non-kosher animals. They are mutants, and they come out of chaotic, watery darkness. They are chaos creatures. Daniel sees the same throne room (v 9) that Ezekiel saw in his vision in Ezekiel 1. What Nebuchadnezzar had wanted, to be praised and worshiped by everyone, happens to the Son of Man when God exalts him.

In parts three and four (29:30-52:00), Tim and Jon cover the interpretation of the dream in v15-27:
I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this.
So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: ?The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever?yes, for ever and ever.?
Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws?the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell?the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.
He gave me this explanation: ?The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.
?But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.'

Tim makes the following observations: The ?holy ones? has a double meaning. It represents both the ?holy? sons of God/elohim, that is celestial beings in the divine council, and it represents a true human race who are ?holy? to God and fulfills their calling by following the true Son of Man.
Daniel 7 is a symbolic and cosmic depiction of a real, historical conflict (Antiochus? attack on Jerusalem and defilement of the temple in 167 B.C.), that is part of an ancient pattern going all the way back to Genesis 1-3.

In part five (52:00-end), Tim observes that somewhere in Daniel 7 is a storyline that was crucial to Jesus and how he thought of his identity. So if someone wants to understand more about Jesus, they should invest the time to learn more about the Son of Man storyline in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Thank you to of all our supporters!
Have a question for the upcoming Q+R? Send it to us!
[email protected]

Show Produced By:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental, Tents
Pilgrim, Instrumental
Going Up, Lakey Inspired
Model Planes, Hands of a Craftsman
Show Resources:

Our video on the Son of Man:

Morna Hooker, "The Son of Man in Mark."

John Goldingay, "Daniel" (Word Biblical Commentary)

Crispin Fletcher-Louis, "The King, the Messiah, and the Ruler Cult" (ch. 6 of "Jesus Monotheism")

Michael S. Heiser, Ch. 30 of "The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible."

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The Beastly King - Son of Man E5

In part one (0:00-6:30), the guys briefly go over the previous conversations from the Son of Man series. Tim explains that in order to fully understand the Son of Man imagery in Daniel 7, Daniel 1-6 needs to first be unpacked. Daniel 7 is significant because it?s a culminating vision of the whole Hebrew Bible imagery told in one very dense chapter.

In part two (6:30-25:50), the guys go over the history of the Babylonian Empire and King Nebuchadnezzar. He was a king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, a sort of resurgence of the previous Babylonian rule. Babylon had long been dormant while Assyria was the world superpower, but Babylon had a brief rise to prominence again under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar. He dominated Jerusalem and took their promising youth with him to Babylon. Daniel was in this group.

Tim points out a few hyperlinks to other parts of the Hebrew Bible at the beginning of the book of Daniel. Daniel is the "royal seed" carried away to Babylon who replays the test of Adam and Eve and succeeds!

Daniel 1:3-4: "And the king of Babylon told his officers to bring from the sons of Israel and from the royal seed? youths...who were good of sight and wise with all wisdom, and knowing knowledge, and understanding knowledge?"
Dan 1:5-7: "And the king assigned for them a daily ration of the king?s choice food and his wine, to raise them for three years so they could stand in his service. Among them were sons of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah...but Daniel set it upon his heart to not defile himself with the king?s choice food or his wine?"
Dan 1:12: "Daniel said, 'Let there be given to us from the seeds, and we will eat, and water, and we will drink.'"

Daniel is depicted as a new Adam, who is brought into Babylon already having great knowledge. He refuses the forbidden food (Daniel ch. 1) and only increases in wisdom! Instead, he adopts an Eden-diet of veggies and water and is elevated to serve in the king?s court.

Tim?s point is that Daniel is the forbidden fruit that the king of Babylon has just taken. Daniel has an opportunity to eat the forbidden food of the king and break his kosher diet. He refuses the forbidden food and therefore passes the test.

In part three (25:50-end), Tim and Jon go over the two dreams that Nebuchadnezzar has leading up to Daniel 7. In Daniel 2, the king has a dream. Once Daniel gives the interpretation, the king worships Daniel.

Daniel 2:46-49:
"Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and worshipped (sagid) Daniel, and gave orders to present to him an offering and incense.
Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.
And Daniel made request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego over the administration of the province of Babylon, while Daniel was at the king?s court."

Then Daniel 3 is an inversion of Daniel 2. The king wants everyone to worship an image of him. This is the story of the blazing furnace.

Daniel 3:10-12:
?You, O king, have made a decree that every man who hears the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, and bagpipe and all kinds of music, is to fall down and worship the image of gold.
?But whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire. ?There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve (palakh) your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.?

So Daniel 2 and 3 are inversions of each other, and then in Daniel 4, the king has another dream. In the dream, a "watcher? appears. Tim notes that this is the only time that specific word appears in the Hebrew Bible. However, it also appears in the book of Enoch, a Jewish book written in the same time period.

The king calls Daniel again to interpret the dream.

Daniel 4:20-25:
"The tree that you saw, which became large and grew strong, whose height reached to the sky and was visible to all the earth and whose foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt and in whose branches the birds of the sky lodged? it is you, O king; for you have become great and grown strong, and your majesty has become great and reached to the sky and your dominion to the end of the earth. ?In that the king saw a watcher, a holy one, descending from heaven and saying, ?Chop down the tree and destroy it; yet leave the stump with its roots in the ground, but with a band of iron and bronze in the new grass of the field, and let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him share with the beasts of the field until seven periods of time pass over him,? this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: that you be driven away from mankind and your dwelling place be with the beasts of the field, and you be given grass to eat like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven; and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes."

Tim notes that when the Babylons of this world acknowledge that God is truly the wise sovereign, then they can become the true human rulers they?re intended to be. But when they do not, when they turn their national power and glory into an idol (as in Daniel chs. 2 and 3), God shows them what they are: beasts.

The narrative contrasts the beastly Babylon with the human Daniel who submits to God?s rule and is elevated to rule by God?s wisdom.

So to sum up the episode: The king of Babylon?s worship of the divine image of Daniel in Daniel 2 is ironically reversed in Daniel 3, where his friends are forced to worship the false image of Babylon. These twin stories set up the tension of the book: What humanity will be exalted as the divinely appointed ruler of the world? Babylon or the ?royal seed? represented by Daniel and his friends? The king?s worship of Daniel becomes a narrative image of the worship of the son of man in Daniel 7. And Daniel 7 is a symbolic and cosmic depiction of a real, historical conflict (Antiochus? attack on Jerusalem and defilement of the temple in 167 B.C.) that has been depicted as part of an ancient pattern going all the way back to Genesis 1-3.

Thank you to all of our supporters!

Show Produced By:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental, Tents
Bloc, KV

Show Resources:

Our video on the Son of Man:

B. Mastin, "Daniel 2:46 in the Hellenistic World," in Zeitschrift für alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, volume 85 (1973), pages 80-93.

Crispin Fletcher-Louis, "Jesus Monotheism" chapter 6, "High Priestly and Royal Messianism,"

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Power Over the Snake - Son of Man E4

In part one (0:00-13:10), Tim recaps the series so far. He says the Son of Man title is Christ?s favorite title to use to describe himself, and it originally comes from a dream in Daniel 7. Tim then recaps Genesis 1 and 2. Humans are created after the animals but are then called to rule over the animals. So the creation and power order is inverted. Humans are overcome by the animals when they listen to the serpent, and humans embrace an animal-like state. Tim emphasizes that flowing out of Genesis are two lineages: a human lineage, the seed of the woman, and an animal lineage, the seed of the serpent. And at some point, a Son of Man will deliver the seed of the woman from the seed of the serpent.

In part two (13:10-18:30), Tim and Jon dive into the imagery of animals in the Bible. Jon asks what is the proper relationship with animals for people to have. Tim speculates that animals are meant to be in a peaceful relationship with humans. And a peaceful connection with the animals is an image the prophets use to describe a new creation. (Lions, lambs etc. )

In part three (18:30-33:50), Tim dives further into Genesis. He examines the inverted first born/second born relationships in the book. Abraham has two children, Isaac and Ishmael. Ishmael is the firstborn but is not chosen by God. Instead, God chooses Isaac. Then later in the story, Isaac has two sons, Jacob and Esau. Jacob is the second born and is chosen by God. Tim points out that the pattern is intentional.

In part four (33:50-end), Tim then moves into the account of the Exodus. Pharaoh says he wants to deal ?shrewdly? with the Hebrews. This is a synonym of the snake saying it is the ?crafty? beast. Pharaoh is now embracing an animal-like tendency and seeking to harm the Hebrews.

Then Tim dives into the story of the burning bush. God tells Moses to turn his staff into a snake ( snake (???) ). Many western readers see this story as some sort of magic trick that God is telling Moses to do. That's far from what's happening. Tim says the story is actually meant to portray Moses as a successful ?son of man? who has power over the snake. This point is further emphasized when Moses and his brother Aaron go before Pharaoh to demand the release of the Hebrews. Aaron throws down his staff and it becomes, in Hebrew, a sea serpent. This is a different word than the previous word used for snake.

Exodus 7:8-13:
"Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, ?When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ?Perform a sign,? then you shall say to Aaron, ?Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a sea serpent (????).?" So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, and thus they did just as the Lord had commanded; and Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a sea serpent (????).
Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts. For each one threw down his staff and they turned into sea serpents (????). But Aaron?s staff swallowed up their staffs. Yet Pharaoh?s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said."

Tim says the point is Moses and Aaron becoming associated characters. They are humans who have power over the snake. Literally. They grab snakes and symbolically they prevail over Pharaoh. This theme is picked up by later biblical authors who see the symbolism and use the same word, ?sea serpent,? to describe Israel?s enemies.

Isaiah 51:9-11:
"Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; [// the arm of Moses with the staff]
Awake as in the days of old, the generations of long ago.
Was it not You who cut Rahab in pieces, [= Israelite name for the god of Egypt]
Who pierced the sea-monster (????/tanin)
Was it not You who dried up the sea,
The waters of the great deep;
Who made the depths of the sea a pathway
For the redeemed to cross over?
So the ransomed of the Lord will return
And come with joyful shouting to Zion"

Ezekiel 32:2:
?Son of man, take up a lamentation over Pharaoh king of Egypt and say to him,
?You compared yourself to a young lion of the nations,
Yet you are like the monster (tanin) in the seas."

Thank you to all of our supporters!

Have a question about the Son of Man? Send it to us as we begin preparing for an upcoming Q+R episode.

Show Produced By:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental, Tents
Where Peace and Rest are Found, Beautiful Eulogy
Conquer, Beautiful Eulogy
Mind Your Time, Me. So.

Show Resources:
Son of Man Video:
Gerhard von Rad, Genesis: A Commentary
Crispin Fletcher-Louis, Jesus Monotheism
Richard Bauckham, Living with Other Creatures

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The Snake in the Throne Room - Son of Man E3

Welcome to episode 3 of our series on the Son of Man! In this episode, Tim and Jon dive deep into the history, the story, and the ideas surrounding one of the most famous figures in the Bible: the Serpent.

In part one (0:00-8:00), Tim and Jon briefly recap the previous episode. Humanity is supposed to live in peaceful coexistence and be responsible for the animals.

Tim says that Daniel?s vision in Daniel chapter 7 of the Son of Man shows us that humans are meant to be over the animals, but instead they end up behaving like animals.

In part two (8:00-24:30), Tim dives into Genesis 3 and begins examining the serpent. The snake is presented as crafty. This is the Hebrew word "arum.? In other cases in the Bible, this word has a positive connotation, but in this context, it means a negative use of intelligence. Gen 3:1:
"Now the serpent was more arum than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made."
In the following Proverbs, arum is used to demonstrate a positive character trait.
Proverbs 14:15: "The naive believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps."
Proverbs 27:12: "The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty."

So in Genesis 3, arum is translated as ?crafty.? This is the only time it's translated with a negative sense, but usually arum means sharp, quick thinker, problem solver etc.

Tim also briefly says that in other ancient religions, especially in Egypt, snakes were symbolically significant. Tim says the snake is presented as a creature alongside the humans. It uses its divine blessing (wisdom) to twist the divine command by telling the humans that they can be like-God (or ?like gods?). But the humans already are God-like, having been made in God?s image.

Tim observes that after Adam and Eve take the serpent's advice, eat the fruit, and are expelled from the Garden, the very next story is one where Cain also listens to ?sin? that is described as ?crouching? at his door. Both of these narratives portray humans being ruled by beasts, instead of ruling over them. Death is the result. Once humans choose to redefine good and evil, they become beastly.

In part three (24:30-28:00), Tim quickly goes over the Messianic promise that God gives in Genesis 3:15:
?And I will set hostility
Between you [serpent] and the woman,
And between your [serpent] seed and her seed;
He [seed of woman] shall strike you [serpent] on the head,
And you [serpent] shall strike him [seed of woman] on the heel.?

Tim says that this sets up the main plot conflict for the biblical story. Humans must recover their ability to rule over the beasts, and this will be done by the true Son of Man who strikes the serpent.

In part four (28:00-end), Tim overviews the whole biblical fall narrative. Tim says that the story of Noah is significant, as it represents a failed restart of creation. Noah was set up to save the animals from the flood. He did so, and seemed to act as a true son of man. Noah gets off the boat, and God recommissions Noah to ?be fruitful and multiply? and fill the earth. Then God pivots and gives humanity a new diet:
?The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given.
Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.
Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood" (Genesis 9:1-4).

Noah eventually falls away from following God?s blessing. And one of his son?s (Ham) descendants Nimrod is mentioned as being the first ?hunter? in the Bible. Nimrod was also the founder of Babylon. Why are we told both of these details about Nimrod?s life? Because it represents an archetype that is developing. Humanity is now choosing to become part of a cycle of acting like beasts, creating a violent, killing culture.

Since humanity has chosen this path, they now must be saved by the true Son of Man. He will be the seed of the woman, but instead of giving in to the violence of humanity, he will choose to overcome it.

Thank you to all of our supporters!

Show Produced By:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental, Tents
Pilgrim, Instrumentals
The Size of Grace, Beautiful Eulogy

Show Resources:
Our video on the Son of Man: INSERT LINK
Gerhard von Rad, Genesis: A Commentary
Crispin Fletcher-Louis, Jesus Monotheism
Richard Bauckham, Living with Other Creatures
James Hamilton, With the Clouds of Heaven: The Book of Daniel in Biblical Theology
Brandon Crowe, The Last Adam: A Theology of the Obedient Life of Jesus in the Gospels

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Humans & Animals - Son of Man E2

Welcome to episode two of our series discussing the biblical theme of the Son of Man. In this episode, Tim and Jon discuss humanity's role in relation to other parts of creation, specifically animals.

In part one (0:00-30:15), the guys briefly recap the first episode and quickly go over Daniel?s dream in Daniel 7, where he has a vision of the Son of Man appearing.

Tim then dives into the language and ideas presented in Genesis 1 and specifically focuses on the order of creation and how the days are paired.
Genesis 1:1-2:
In the beginning God created the skies and the land
and the land was wild and waste, and darkness was over the face of the watery deep, and the spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Wild (tohu) = unordered
Waste (vohu) = uninhabited
Day 1 - Light: Separated from dark, day and night.
Day 4 - Lights appointed to rule the day and night.
Day 2 - Waters above separated from waters below.
Day 5 - Creatures in waters below, creatures in waters above.
?And God created the great sea monsters..." (1:21)
?And God blessed them, saying be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters?? (1:22)
Day 3 - Water separated from dry land.
?Let the land bring forth (?????) plants and vegetation and seed-producing plants and trees producing fruit.? (1:12)
Day 6 - Creatures on the land.
?Let the land bring forth (?????) living beasts by their kinds.? (1:25)

?Let us create the human (ha-adam) in our image and as our likeness?
And God blessed them, and said, (1) be fruitful and multiply and fill the land and subdue it, and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the beasts on the land.? (1:26-28)

Gen 2:1-3: God rests on the seventh day, which does not end.

Tim then focuses on humanity's relationship with animals. Tim notices that humans are the ?second comers? to creation, who are given the responsibility to rule over the animals who came first. This is a pattern that shows itself many times in Genesis. (Think about Joseph?s sons later in the story.)

Tim then asks what it means for humans to be called to rule over the animals. Tim cites Richard Bauckham?s book Living with Other Creatures,

?It is not often well enough noticed that the command God gives to humanity refers to two rather different matters. It refers first to the relationship of humans to the earth, secondly to their relationship to other living creatures...and they are not the same thing. Humans are not alone in being told to be fruitful and to multiply and to fill, the first and birds were given the same blessing on day 5. Only humans are told to fill and to subdue the land. In the narrative this refers clearly to agriculture, taking possession of the soil and working it in order to make it yield more food for humans than it would otherwise do.

But what about all the other land animals? How does humanity?s role of subduing land relate to God?s blessing of the animals to fill the land? Notice God?s next words to the humans:
See, I have given you (humans) every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food. (Gen 1: 29? 30)

Why does God tell humans that he has given every plant for food for the other living creatures? Surely, the reason is that it is the humans who need to know that the produce of the earth is not intended to feed them alone, but also all the living species of the earth. The clear implication is that the earth can provide enough food for all creatures. Humans are not to fill the earth and subdue it in a way that leaves no room and no sustenance for the other creatures who share the earth with them. God has given them too the right to live from the soil. So the human right to make use of the earth, to live from it, is far from unlimited. It must respect the existence of other creatures.

The biblical portrait of human dominion over the animals must be filled out by the Bible?s vision of ?royal rule.? Since Genesis depicts the image of God as a kind of royal function, the rule of a king over others, it is worth recalling the only passage in the law of Moses that refers to the role of the king in Israel (Deut. 17: 14? 20). There it is emphasized that the king is one among his brothers and sisters, his fellow-Israelites, and should not forget it. He should not accumulate wealth or arms or indulge in any of the ways kings usually exalt themselves above their subjects. Only if they remember their fundamental solidarity with their people will kings be able to rule truly for the benefit of their people. Similarly, only when humans remember their fundamental solidarity with their fellow-creatures will they be able to exercise their distinctive authority within creation for the benefit of other creatures.? (pp. 226-228)

In part two (30:15-41:30), Jon asks about carnivorous animals like lions. Tim says that life survives at the expense of other lives right now, but apparently, in the new creation, that will fundamentally change.

Tim says that humans bear responsibility for animal?s destiny; that?s why we are called to rule them. This is humanity acting in their identity of the divine image.

Tim shares this quote:
?The close relation of the term for God?s image with that for the commission to exercise dominion emerges quite clearly when we have understood selem as a plastic image. Just as powerful earthly kings, to indicate their claim to dominion, erect an image of themselves in the provinces of their empire where they do not personally appear, so man is placed upon earth in God?s image as God?s sovereign emblem. He is really only God?s representative, summoned to maintain and enforce God?s claim to dominion over the earth.?
Gerhard von Rad, Genesis: A Commentary, ed. Peter Ackroyd et al., trans. John H. Marks, Revised Edition., The Old Testament Library (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1972), 59?60.

Tim says that a human making an idol is an oxymoron. Humans are the image of God, so why would they make one?

Tim then posits that in Genesis 3, an animal (the snake) is the one who deceives Adam and Eve. Humans end up getting ruled by the animals instead of ruling them.

In part three (41:30-53:00), the guys discuss Psalm 8:

O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have shown Your splendor above the heavens!
?.When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is human that You take thought of him,
And the son of man (human) that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than elohim (God or angelic beings),
And You crown him with glory and majesty! [kavod va-hadar ?divine attributes?]
You make him to rule [mashal] over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen,
And also the beasts of the field,
The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth!
Notice how God?s exaltation and glorification of humans is set within an inclusion frame about God?s own majesty and reputation. An exalted humanity doesn?t compete with God, rather it increases God?s own honor, because humans are an expression of the divine beauty and creativity.

In part four (53:00-end), Tim shares this quote:

?One point of saying that God is the absolute sovereign (as the biblical texts say time and again) is to say that he is free: free to exalt and share his own power and divine power with those whom he wills, through a transformation of their nature and identity; free to create entities that in various ways share in his identity as ruler and judge, and who manifest his presence within the world? The God of the biblical story is able to enter into and take on the nature and identity of the very reality he has created, taking it up into his very self. God?s identity is, apparently, ?sharable.? ? God?s identity is not a zero-sum game. To say that God shares his identity with humanity does not mean he suffers a loss of being; on the contrary, it is actually a way of saying that his identity is magnified and his glory extended.? [Tim?s note: ?and, we may add, this is the way the divine love is extended as well.?] - Crispin Fletcher-Louis, Jesus Monotheism, 310-312.

Tim says that for God, relationship with creation means entering into a shared relationship with it.

Show Produced By:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental, Tents
The Cave Resides Deep in the Forest, Artificial Music
Talking with You, Copyright free
Very Chill Saxaphone, Copyright free

Show Resources:

Gerhard von Rad, Genesis: A Commentary
Crispin Fletcher-Louis, Jesus Monotheism
Richard Bauckham, Living with Other Creatures.
Our video on the Son of Man:

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The Empty Throne - Son of Man E1

In part one (0:00-19:30), the guys discuss what ?son of? means in our current culture. They bring up certain phrases like ?Sons of Anarchy,? ?Sons of Liberty,? etc. Tim says this means that someone identifies with an idea or ideology.

Tim then offers the fact that historically people have referred to Jesus as Christ. Christ is actually a Greek word meaning Messiah. Messiah in Hebrew means the anointed one.

Tim then says that Jesus never referred to himself as Christ or Messiah, and when others would refer to him as this, he would reply that he is the ?Son of Man.? Why is this?

For example in Luke 9:18-22:
"Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, 'Who do the crowds say I am?' They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.' 'But what about you?' he asked. 'Who do you say I am?' Peter answered, 'God?s Messiah.' Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, 'The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.'"

Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man in the third person immediately after Peter called him the Messiah.

Tim then posits that Paul doesn?t use the phrase ?the Son of Man? in his writings. Instead, he uses phrases like ?the firstborn of all creation? or ?the new humanity.? Tim says this is because Paul is taking the message of Jesus to an international audience that isn?t familiar with what the Son of Man means.

So what does the Son of Man mean? And where does it come from?

Well in part two (19:30-32:00), Tim takes us to Daniel 7, a famous dream that Daniel had where the Son of Man appears. Tim says that this dream is very iconic and well known in Jewish history. Everyone would have known about it.

Daniel has a dream about a succession of beasts that trample humanity. There are thrones established in the heavens over the earth, but only one of them is filled. It?s filled by the Ancient of Days, which is Daniel?s phrase for God/Yahweh. So there is an empty throne, then a figure called the Son of Man rides up on a cloud to the Ancient of Days. The Son of Man is presented to the Ancient of Days and then is given dominion. The Son of Man then sits down on the empty throne.

In part three (32:00-end), the guys break down the phrase the Son of Man. If someone refers to themselves as ?the Dark Knight,? people automatically know that they are referring to Batman. Similarly, if someone calls themselves ?the Son of Man,? they are referring to a certain character in the Hebrew storyline. They discuss what it means for Jesus to be comfortable inserting himself into Daniel?s dream.

Thank you to all of our supporters!

Show Produced By:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental, Tents
Someday Be Free, Copyright Free Instrumental.
Miss Emili, General Vibe

Show Resources
Our video on the Son of Man:

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God Series Recap - God E22

In this episode, Tim and Jon revisit the different ideas and themes that have been discussed in our podcast series on the identity of God in the Hebrew scriptures.

In part one (0:00-27:30), the guys briefly outline some of the ideas in the series. Jon asks Tim if in the garden of Eden is the serpent?s offer to the humans of becoming ?like God,? or in Hebrew, ?like elohim.? Does it actually imply that humanity was looking to be in a different class of being than the one they were created to be? Tim says he thinks this is right. It?s about an overreach from what your created realm of authority is supposed to be.
Tim reflects on the story of the Hebrew Bible as a whole saying that it?s a commentary on God?s intention for humanity to rule as his images. And while they may be lower in class than the spiritual beings/elohim. They are the image of the elohim of elohim (Yahweh) and are therefore entitled to rule. Tim says the question is whether humanity will choose to know good and evil by grabbing it out of turn, or if they will learn it relationally by being in relationship with Yahweh.

Tim says that these stories are designed to be elusive and allusive. They are supposed to be somewhat vague and not to be read like a textbook. They are also supposed to allude to other stories in the Bible.

In part two (27:30-49:00), the guys continue to reflect on the takeaways from their discussions in the God series. Jon says that he wishes he could arrive at more closure around the idea of the Trinity, but he wonders if that?s even possible. Tim sympathizes and says that the idea to some degree lacks language and human ability to comprehend it. Tim says that Peter says people are made to be ?participators in the divine nature.? 2 Peter 1:3: ?His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.?

In part three (49:00-end), Tim says there are a few other things that he learned in the series. For example, in the ancient world, the concept of giants is a huge idea. Giants are always connected to being divine or semi-divine. Tim says the Hebrew word nimrod actually means rebel in Hebrew. Tim also says that he realized how huge Daniel 7 is. It?s a chapter that is crucial to understanding Jesus? worldview and who he thought he was. Tim also mentions two books (see resources) that helped him understand the ancient Hebrew view of God/Yahweh among other gods.

The guys wrap up the conversation by talking a little bit about the upcoming Q+R and looking forward to the Son of Man series premiering next year.

Thank you to all of our supporters!

Show resources:
The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel by Benjamin D. Sommer
The Two Powers in Heaven by Alan Segal
Our video on God:

Show Produced By:
Dan Gummel

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental. Tents
Faith, Tae the Producer
Praise through the Valley, Tae the Producer

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Merry Christmas & Thank You from The Bible Project

Thank you to every single one of our podcast listeners. Because of your generous support, we were able to release over 40 episodes this year!

We also wanted to mention our #EveryDollarDecember campaign. We are raising support for our translation teams across the world. Every single dollar raised this December will be used to fund the translations of our videos. You can find out more about this campaign at

Merry Christmas from Tim, Jon, and The Bible Project team!

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The Trinity & God's Identity - God 21

Welcome to the final episode in our series on God! Today Tim and Jon discuss the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.

In part one (0:00-31:00), Tim and Jon briefly discuss how identity is always contingent upon things revealed by that individual. At any point in time, we are never aware of a full identity of something or someone because our knowledge of that thing is always partial.

Tim says that God?s identity as a community of love represented in the Trinity is mirrored when humans choose to live in a community of love as well.
Tim cites Michael Reeves and asks what God was doing before Creation? Tim says the Apostles offer an answer to this question with John 17:24 and Jesus claiming ?you loved me before the creation of the world.? So the eternal state of God is as Father loving the Son through the Spirit. What does it mean that God is a ?loving father??
Well, Yahweh is occasionally described as Father in the OT (Exod 4:22; Hosea 11:1; Isaiah 63:16), and Jesus used "my father" as his fundamental title for God.

In part two (31:00-42:15), the guys continue to break down the doctrine of the Trinity. Tim expands on the identity of God as a father and shares a quote from Reeves addressing why Jesus used the word father to describe his relationship.
?Jesus called God ?Father? because he is a father. It?s a name rich with meaning. A father is someone who gives life, who ?begets? children? If, before all things, God was eternally a father, that means ?God? is an inherently outgoing, others-centered, life-giving God. The Christian God did not give life for the first time when he decided to create the universe. We?re asked to consider that from eternity God in his essence is life-giving? This is why in 1 John 4, he says ?God is love,? because in the next sentence he says ?This is how God revealed his love among us: he sent his One and Only Son, that we might live through him.? The God who is love is the Father who sends the Son. To be Father means to love, to give out life, to the Son and through him to others.? ? Michael Reeves, Delighting in the Trinity, 24.

Jon says that things get very metaphorical very quickly because God?s relationship with Jesus is not a one-created-the-other relationship. Instead, their relationship is a symbiotic one. They give and receive love as a father and son should give and receive love.

Tim goes further and points out that biblical writers say that God is not only father but also love. The guys both agree that when discussing this, you quickly find yourself at the limits of language. There is an inability to articulate the identity of God, and that is the point.
Tim also shares Gregory of Nyssa's commentary on Hebrews 1:3: ?The Son is the radiance of God?s glory and the exact representation of God?s being. As the light from the lamp is of the same nature as the flame which shed the brightness and is united with it [where does the light ?begin??], so the Son is of the Father and the Father is never without the Son; for it is impossible that glory should be without radiance, as it is impossible that the lamp should be without brightness.? ? ?On the Faith,? in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2.5, p.338

In part three (42:15-end), Tim shares the Baptism of Jesus as seen when looking for the Trinity. The Father loves the Son through/by the Spirit. Tim cites Reeves again:
?The way the Father, Son, and Spirit, related at Jesus? baptism was not a one-time only event. The whole scene is full of echoes of Genesis 1. There at creation, the Spirit also hovered, dovelike, over the waters. And just as the Spirit, after Jesus? baptism, would send him out into the lifeless wilderness, so in Genesis 1 the Spirit appears as the power by which God?s word goes out into the lifeless void? In both the work of creation (Genesis 1) and in the work of new creation (the Gospel stories), God?s word goes out by his Spirit. It?s all revealing what God is truly like. The Spirit is the One through whom the Father loves, blesses, and empowers his Son. The Son goes out from the Father by the Spirit.? ? Michael Reeves, Delighting in the Trinity, 30.

Tim then shares 2 Corinthians 13:14: ?The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship [Grk. koinonia] of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.?

Jon says that the word ?God? becomes a stand-in for Father. Tim says that?s correct and can be confusing at times, but it should be examined contextually to see what it?s referring to. Tim then shares Galatians 4:4: ?Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ?Abba! Father!?

Tim closes the episode by sharing a final quote from Reeves:
?This ?God? simply doesn?t fit the mold of any other. The Trinity is not some inessential add-on to God, some optional software that can be plugged into him. At bottom, in essence, this God is not first of all Creator or Ruler or even ?Deity? in some abstract sense. He is Father, loving his Son in the fellowship of the Spirit. A God who is in himself a community of love, who before all things could never be anything but love. And if you trust and come to know such a being, it changes absolutely everything.? ? Michael Reeves, Delighting in the Trinity, pp. 36-38.

Show Resources:
Our video on God:
Michael Reeves, Delighting in the Trinity
Gregory of Nyssa ?On the Faith,? in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2.5, p.338
James Kugel, "The Great Shift: Encountering God in Biblical Times."

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental, Tents
Tae the Producer, Eden
Tae the Producer, Faith

Show Produced By:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins

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Jesus' Identity in John's Gospel - God E20

This episode continues our series on the portrayal of God as a character in the Bible. Today Tim and Jon dive into the Gospel of John and how it portrays the relationship between God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

In part one (0:00-13:30), Tim says that reading John is similar to watching a remake of a movie, only with a different director. The Gospel of John was the Gospel that was written the latest, and John himself seems to have been the last living disciple of the original twelve. Tim says that John feels like a reflective retelling of the story of Jesus. This means the language used in the book is slightly different than in other Gospels and books in the Bible.

Tim says that John specifically hones in on using the language of ?oneness.? It echoes the Shema. For example, Tim cites Richard Baukum, saying that in John 5:16 (Healing the crippled man on the Sabbath):
?For this reason, the Jews were persecuting Jesus because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But He answered them, ?My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.? For this reason, therefore, the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God."

Or again in John 10:30-31: ?'I and the Father are one.' The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him.?

And again in John 14:10: ?Philip, do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.?

Tim says that the point is that John has reflected the Jewish Shema in Jesus and God the Father?s relationship intentionally.

In part two (13:30-23:30), Tim and John look at the divine name.
John 8:56-59" ?Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.? So the Jews said to Him, 'You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?' Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.' Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him.? Tim says that this is taken directly from Exodus 3:14.

In part three (23:30-28:10), the guys look at John 17. Tim calls this chapter the climatic summary of the themes in the book.
John 17:1-3: ?Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."
Tim says to notice the Daniel 7 echoes: Son, authority over all flesh, etc.

John 17:5: ?Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.? Tim says that Jesus was the pre-existent word and wisdom of God and the embodiment of his divine glory.

In part four (28:10-end), Tim shares John 17:11. "Holy Father, keep them in your name, the name which you have given me, that they may be one even as we are one.? Tim says that Jesus and the Father bear ?the name? showing that they are one.

John 17:20-26: ?I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that also they may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as we are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in one-ness, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.?

Tim says that the true nature of God the Father?s relationship with Jesus is mirrored in how people relate with each other through love.

Tim shares a quote from scholar Larry Hurtado: ?The Gospel of John draws on a rich, almost interchangeable association of God and God?s name to express a uniquely intimate relationship between Jesus and the Father. Indeed, for the author of the Gospel of John, for whom the biblical traditions provided the authoritative store of vocabulary, images, and themes by which to express the significance of Jesus, this divine-name tradition constituted the most profound way to portray the relationship of the ?son? to the ?father.? To speak of Jesus as invested with the divine name, as given the name, as manifesting God?s name in his own words and actions, as coming with and in the name of God, was to portray Jesus as bearing and exhibiting God in the most direct way possible in the conceptual categories of the biblical tradition and within the monotheistic commitment of that tradition. In the centuries following the Gospel of John, Christians began using terms and conceptual categories from Greek philosophical traditions (words like: being, essence, person). But it?s important to see that the use of the divine-name tradition in John is on it own terms an equally radical and direct claim about the relationship between Jesus and God.? -- Larry Hurtado, The Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Early Christianity.

Jon comments that the Gospel of John seems to be the most Jewish of all the Gospels. Tim says he agrees. John speaks directly to all of the Old Testament Jewish ?shelves? of who God is. All these shelves are difficult for many modern people to fully understand without learning how an ancient Jew would have thought and acted. Jon says there are not only other languages to deal with when reading the Bible (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, English etc) but also foreign ways of thinking. Ancient people thought differently than modern western people.

Thank you to all of our supporters!

Show Resources:
Larry Hurtado, The Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Early Christianity.
Richard Baukum
Our video on God:

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental, Tents
Tae the Producer, Praise Through The Valley
Tae the Producer, Another Chance
Tae the Producer, He?s Always There

Show Produced By:
Dan Gummel, Jon Collins, Matthew Halbert-Howen.

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Jesus and God's Spirit - God E19

Welcome to another episode in our series on God as a character in the Bible! Today, Tim and Jon dive into Paul?s understanding of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The passages that Tim shares are commonly referred to as the ?Trinitarian texts? of Paul. These passages were fundamental to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.

In part 1(0-11:00), Tim uses an example out of Galatians 4.
?But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Torah, so that He might redeem those who were under the Torah, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ?Abba! Father!?

Here, Paul invites people to see that the same Father-Son love that was communicated by the Spirit at Jesus? baptism is inviting us into the community of divine love as well. Tim says you quickly reach the point in Paul?s letters where all the terms are interchangeable. Jesus? Father becomes ?Our Father?.

In part 2(11:00-21:50), Tim shares another example, this time out of
Jesus, the Spirit, and God?s Life [Romans 8:9-11]
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. [Romans 8:14-15] For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ?Abba! Father!?

Tim points out that this statement is very similar to the Shema. Paul has taken the God/Spirit unity and put Christ in the middle of it. Paul and the early Christians believed that Jesus was divine from the very beginning. Christ?s divinity, identity as God, and the doctrine of the Trinity, are beliefs that the earliest Christians shared, it was not an idea later imposed on Christianity.

In Part 3 (21:50-end),
Tim outlines part of his own personal journey of faith. He shares that when Paul says we are known by God more than we actually know God. Fundamentally, Christianity is experiencing God, living in a relationship with God. It is secondarily about arranging facts and knowledge. To us the metaphor of a parent and child, a child never truly knows a parent. But a parent knows a child.

Our Video on God:
N.T. Wright?s course on the Apostle Paul:
Gordon Fee, Paul the Spirit and the People of God.

Defender Instrumental: Tents
Praise Through the Valley: Tae the Producer
He?s Always There: Tae the Producer

Produced by:
Dan Gummel. Jon Collins.

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Acts E5: N.T. Wright Interview - Getting to Know The Apostle Paul

This is a very special episode of our podcast. Today Tim and Jon talk with N.T. Wright, a well-known biblical scholar. Wright has heavily influenced many areas of theology, especially through his work outlining the Apostle Paul.

Dr. Wright outlines his childhood and his original introduction to the Bible (0:00-9:40). Dr. Wright discusses Paul?s mindset as a Jew, especially before his transformation on the road to Damascus (9:40-18:20).

Dr. Wright explains what he thinks happened to Paul on the road to Damascus. He thinks Paul was meditating on the vision in Ezekiel 1 while on the road. He also explains what he thinks happens during the decade after Paul?s transformation. Dr. Wright also mentions that it?s unusual that Paul never returns to Tarsus in Acts (18:20-31:50).

Dr. Wright then discusses Paul?s balance between being loyal to his Jewish roots but also believing that the Jews and their God were supposed to be a blessing to all the nations. Dr. Wright says that for Paul, the whole point of the Gospel was to give Abraham his single worldwide family and that through the Jews, God would redeem all humanity. Paul believes that ultimately all people are God?s people, not just the Jews (31:50-end).

Show Produced by:
Dan Gummel, Tim Mackie, Jon Collins, Matthew Halbert-Howen

Show Music:
Defender Instrumental, Tents.

Show Resources:
Our video on Paul in Acts.
Paul: A Biography, N.T Wright.

N.T. Wright?s online classes:

Thank you to all of our supporters!

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