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four cubits and a span

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life and taxes (2018/11/18)

11/14/2018
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This week, Nehemiah brings some prophetic fire to his governorship of Jerusalem, as he literally lays down The Law on the ruling class. Hope for a better future infuses all three passages for this Sunday, via lament (in Joel) and peace (in 1 Thessalonians). Read transcript Read more »

Duration:00:25:07

law and vindication (2018/11/11)

11/5/2018
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Ezra - second Moses, wise as kings, expert in Torah - comes to restore to the people of Judah the true worship and knowledge of the blessed Yahweh, God of their fathers. The pre-exilic setting of Hosea makes a great juxtaposition with Ezra's post-exilic memoir this week, and Paul is reaching the end of his tumultuous life journey in Acts. Read transcript Read more »

Duration:00:20:28

reversal and trust (2018/11/04)

10/28/2018
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Three really literary passages this week, where reversal and revision are the order of the day. Manasseh flip-flops, the names of Hosea's kids are inverted, and Peter does an about-face on Torah observance for the Gentile Christians. Read transcript Read more »

Duration:00:28:11

prophecy and revelation (2018/10/28)

10/22/2018
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It's a slightly longer episode this week, due to an extra-long segment on Daniel 4. I thought I knew exactly what I was getting into there, but it ended up throwing me a curve ball. I really wanted to share it all with you, so I went a bit light on 2 Chronicles to fit it all in. We're going back to the Septuagint again this week as well, to shed some more light on both the Daniel and Acts passages. Read transcript Read more »

Duration:00:32:34

imagination and growth (2018/10/21)

10/14/2018
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Does God delight in the massacre of his people's enemies? In Chronicles this week, he enables the slaughter of towns and tents full of civilians. If that weren't challenging enough: when God will live with his people in the future Kingdom, will it look like ancient Near Eastern cultic worship? And just to cap it all off, Jesus likes you to believe some stuff, but what he really expects you to do is get out there and do something about it. Read transcript Read more »

Duration:00:26:42

Trajectories (Ephesians 5-6)

10/8/2018
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Another Sunday morning talk for you this week, based in the Ephesians 5-6 reading from the Bible Companion plan on Sunday 7th October. I was addressing a challenging subject from the household code section: how do we move forward from the pages of scripture toward the light of Jesus Christ? What does it look like to really engage the text in our lives? Read transcript Read more »

Duration:00:17:50

Gospel to the Marginalised (Luke 8)

9/30/2018
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We've been calling Luke's gospel 'the gospel to the marginalised', for his consistent focus on Jesus' interactions with people on the edges of society. But what does that mean in practice? It's much easier to study the text and observe how the narrative works, than it is to answer the challenge to enact the same in our own churches and lives. Read transcript Read more »

Duration:00:16:31

judgment and responsibility (2018/09/16)

9/9/2018
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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 »

Duration:00:46:09

fate and faithfulness (2018/09/09)

9/3/2018
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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 »

Duration:00:40:06

emotion and hierarchy (2018/09/02)

8/26/2018
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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 »

Duration:00:26:12

retribution and conscience (2018/08/26)

8/18/2018
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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 »

Duration:00:24:47

divinity (2018/08/19)

8/12/2018
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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 »

Duration:00:23:45

Lost Stories of King David (2 Samuel)

8/6/2018
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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 transcript Read more »

Duration:00:23:06

lost stories (2018/08/05)

7/29/2018
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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 »

Duration:00:29:44

faith and fire (2018/07/29)

7/24/2018
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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 »

Duration:00:29:09

promise and ambiguity (2018/07/22)

7/19/2018
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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 »

Duration:00:19:32

heavens and earth (2018/07/15)

7/9/2018
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This week we introduce ourselves to Jeremiah, the Reverse Moses, and an epic, ironic, mythological indictment of Israelite idolatry. Jeremiah leaks into the Matthew reading this week as Jesus is compared to the prophet in a Matthean addition to the original account from Mark. Read more »

Duration:00:30:16

humanity (2018/07/08)

7/2/2018
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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 »

Duration:00:19:08

confidence and redemption (2018/07/01)

6/27/2018
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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 »

Duration:00:29:45

rebirth and reiteration (2018/06/24)

6/18/2018
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The Bible Companion drops an enormous chunk of Revelation on us this week, almost as though it just wants the Apocalypse to be over. So, there's a double-length NT segment this week as we get stuck in to the narrative and its dual contexts: the Hebrew Bible propets, and the letters to seven early Christian churches that open the book. Read more »

Duration:00:34:38