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severed (2018/06/17)

6/10/2018
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No punches pulled this week, folks. The Judges story narrates a story of truly inhuman violence that pushes the tribes into a civil war, and we are forced to confront the age-old abomination of man's inhumanity to woman. Thankfully, Deutero-Isaiah and the John pull us back from the brink to show us the better way. Read more »

Duration:00:32:17

Taste and See (1 Peter)

6/6/2018
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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 »

Duration:00:31:14

kings and empires (2018/06/10)

6/3/2018
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We're into the first of two weeks in Judges, with its downwards-spiraling narrative and mixed bag of characters. Jerub-baal (aka Gideon) is up this week, and we watch him swing from hesitance to not-a-king-but-actually-kind-of-kingly. In the prophets we're bridging the contexts of First and Second Isaiah, and in the New Testament we're back in James 5 with sociological and ecclesiological challenges. Read more »

Duration:00:27:27

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

5/27/2018
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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 »

Duration:00:46:06

peace and war (2018/05/27)

5/21/2018
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We're still in the weeds of the conquest narrative in Joshua, and we're hitting that hard this week. Allow scripture to challenge and inspire you, and we'll be fine. In Isaiah we have a glorious, hopeful vision of the work of God in the world, as one who comes to bless all peoples. Finally, in 2 Timothy we take a wider view of the letter and try to restrain our natural affinity for reading scripture as an instruction manual. Read more »

Duration:00:28:35

history and commentary (2018/05/20)

5/14/2018
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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 »

Duration:00:33:10

pilgrimage and belonging (2018/04/29)

4/30/2018
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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 »

Duration:00:40:44

Introduction To New Testament Textual Criticism

4/25/2018
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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 »

Duration:00:14:40

Changing The Script (Esther 1-2)

3/10/2018
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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...

Duration:00:41:47

poetry and philosophy (2017/12/10)

12/5/2017
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Advent is upon us, and it's not entirely un-topical to think about Job calling God to account and reflecting on how God acts in the world. In Nahum we've got some proper literature, and in observing some of those literary features, we ask the important question, "So what?" In the New Testament, James gives us at least half a dozen really good topics for an hour-long study (each), so I fold space-time to fit them all into ten minutes. Read more »

Duration:00:40:01

reflection and introspection (2017/11/12)

11/8/2017
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The Bible tells God's story by telling the story of his people, and this week we have Hosea, Ezra, and Paul doing exactly that. From the first prophetic watchman to a small tribe in the hill country of central Canaan, to the the great itinerant preacher who traversed the Mediterranean world proclaiming the good news of a risen Messiah to all peoples, we're running the full gamut of the biblical narrative in this show! Read more »

Duration:00:29:17

alternative histories (2017/10/29)

10/22/2017
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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 »

Duration:00:23:37

testament and testimony (2017/10/01)

9/24/2017
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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...

Duration:00:34:55

hope and glory (2017/09/17)

9/10/2017
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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...

Duration:00:25:35

grief and comfort (2017/09/03)

8/31/2017
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Welcome to the first full episode of 4QS! We're reading 2 Kings 8, Lamentations 4, and 2 Corinthians 1-2, and trying to strike that difficult balance between mourning and hope. Join me for a look at the role of the prophet in ancient Israel, how the exiled Jews in Babylon coped with the destruction of their home, and how Paul could live with joy in the midst of depression. This episode features loss, grief, and depression as central themes. Visit www.fourcubitsandaspan.com to read our...

Duration:00:31:47