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judgment and responsibility (2018/09/16)

Continuing our recent theme of the relationship between the Bible and history, King Josiah is front and center for the Deuteronomist this week - though God's response is objectively surprising (if literarily inevitable). Ezekiel is doing his Masterpiece Theatre thing again, and Luke cuts short a quotation to throw wide the doors of God's mercy. Read transcript Read more »


fate and faithfulness (2018/09/09)

The two Hebrew Bible readings this week are both narratives of fatalism: Kings looks back to the inevitable fall of Israel from the Judean captivity, and Ezekiel looks forward to the inevitable fall of Jerusalem from the Israelite captivity. And Mary, mother of Jesus, preaches up a storm in Luke's gospel. Read transcript Read more »


emotion and hierarchy (2018/09/02)

It's our one-year anniversary! We're looking at the significance of the generic 'Elisha and the king of Israel' stories early in 2 Kings, and really getting stuck into the emotional struggle in Lamentations. In 1 Corinthians, our spirit is tested again - this time by the non-hierarchical organisation of the early Pauline churches. Read transcript Read more »


retribution and conscience (2018/08/26)

As we continue to engage with the historical storytelling of the Deuteronomist, we're confronted with whiny cry-baby King Ahab and a sneak attack by the challenge of divine retribution. Jeremiah has a screed against Moab and a peek into pre-exilic Israelite religion. But mostly we're spending this week with the apostle Paul, talking about sex, marriage, and the Christian conscience. Read transcript Read more »


divinity (2018/08/19)

History today is not what is was, and we're going to be digging into the genres of ancient history in the book(s) of Kings over the next few weeks. Also this week: a prophesying Babylonian general, and the question of Jesus' divinity. Read transcript Read more »


Lost Stories of King David (2 Samuel)

I had a wonderful afternoon with Wardley Christadelphians on Sunday 5th, where I was giving two talks. The exhortation (sermon/message/whatever) put the last two episodes-worth of King David narrative in 2 Samuel to work as an exercise to inspire self-reflection. Read more »


lost stories (2018/08/05)

How do we read the biblical narratives (and counter-narratives) when we can see that there are so many stories and lives not recorded? In this episode, we read around and behind the text to see more of the world and characters inside it: from the ambiguity of the once-outlaw King David, to the early church leaders and teachers Phoebe, Priscilla, and Junia. Read more »


faith and fire (2018/07/29)

Well, for a 'shorter summer episode' this one turned out to have legs. The King David narrative has reached Absalom's rebellion in 2 Samuel, which really brings up questions about how David's reign got to the point of a coup; and in Romans, Paul is giving it some welly. (Jeremiah is pretty horrific, actually, but that brings its own questions to the fore.) Read more »


promise and ambiguity (2018/07/22)

Strap in for another short but fun week on 4QS, despite being late due to holidays and other stuff. There's quite a lot packed into these here 20 minutes: how God flips everything upside down by refusing David permission to build him a house, how Jeremiah takes God to court, and just what is all this hell talk from Jesus about anyway? Read more »


humanity (2018/07/08)

This week we're looking for the first time at what I expect will be a recurring theme: sanitised and euphemised stories about David. There's also an interesting dialogue in Isaiah as the prophet sets up a knockout. And in Matthew, Jesus preaches a high view of humanity. Read more »


confidence and redemption (2018/07/01)

What's going on with King Saul, and what's going on with the text of the book(s) of Samuel? And could Isaiah be any more inspiring, or any more foundational for the message of Revelation? (TL;DL: nobody knows, weird stuff, no, and no, respectively.) Read more »


Taste and See (1 Peter)

For this week's bonus episode is an introduction to 1 Peter that I recorded last year. We look at the social backdrop of the letter, and how its quintessentially Christian concepts of society and association arise from it. Its counter-cultural message of social equalisation, humility, and servant leadership still challenge us today. Read more »


faithfulness and re-creation (2018/06/03)

Well, I hope you've enjoyed our time in Joshua these three weeks: this week we've reached the end of the dividing of the Land. The book still has surprises and challenges for us, as we explore the role of God's people in fulfilling God's promises. In Isaiah we have two chapters about re-creation, and in Hebrews we're looking at how the writers quotes Psalm 40. Read more »


history and commentary (2018/05/20)

In the first of two weeks tackling one of the most difficult issues in the Hebrew Bible, we dive into the Canaanite genocide narratives in Joshua. Beginning with Jericho, we look at the historical and ideological background of the text and try to figure out where God is in this narrative. Isaiah 10 features Jerusalem unbowed, unbroken, and triumphant over Assyria; and in 2 Thessalonians there's a text critical issue to examine. Read more »


pilgrimage and belonging (2018/04/29)

We're back! Our first weekly show in four months brings us back just in time to do Deuteronomy and catch the end of the wisdom literature in Ecclesiastes. In the New Testament slot we're trying a new feature to avoid repeating a segment from last October: looking behind the story in the text to consider the story of the text. In this extended show, we'll examine three text critical issues in Acts 7. Read more »


Introduction To New Testament Textual Criticism

I'm excited to venture into New Testament textual criticism on the podcast, in a new format for the New Testament segment of the weekly show. To introduce the new segment, here's a special episode with a brief overview of the discipline. Read more »


Changing The Script (Esther 1-2)

After an extended break due to illness, four cubits and a span will be returning with new episodes in April! To tide you over, this special episode is a nice follow-up to last November's episode Justice with Addie Whitcomb, where we looked at Esther 1. It picks up on some threads that we didn't have time to explore, and moves along into chapter 2 to look at Mordecai's part in Esther's story. I even have a go at putting Esther in its Jewish literary context by comparing it with other...


alternative histories (2017/10/29)

We're playing with history in all three readings this week, all in slightly different ways. In the New Testament, Stephen throws the entire Hebrew Bible narrative on its head in pretty much the most subversive way possible. In Daniel, we have a different challenge: an alternative to the history of interpretation. But it's the Chronicler who really sets us up for this when he goes to town on a history of King Uzziah, who is largely wiped from the narrative of 2 Kings. Read more »


testament and testimony (2017/10/01)

If you struggle with reading prophecy as much as I do, then come listen to my friend Nathan Kitchen talking about Ezekiel 27. There so much to miss that makes so much more sense out of these oracles to Tyre than the cherry-picker, tunnel-vision approach. We even spend a few minutes talking about the Ark of the Covenant in 1 Chronicles 15, and the resurrection narrative in Luke 24. Prophecy is one of the most widely, publicly, and badly abused types of writing in the Bible. Think of this...


hope and glory (2017/09/17)

At the end of the Kings history in 2 Kings 24-25, we're feeling the pain of loss as Judah and Jerusalem are humiliated over and over again as the nation finally falls. In Ezekiel 13, the prophet is letting rip the full fury of God against the false prophets who cheerfully cherry-pick their affirming messages, heedless of God's true intentions, to fit their own version of God into local current affairs. And in Luke 9 we're drawn fully into the work of a humble, human Messiah who reaches out...