Exodus 15:22-27 ostensibly serves as an itinerary anecdote about the grumbling of the Israelites at Marah, where they found the water undrinkable (“bitter”). But there is much more behind the short account. These verses theologically and symbolically encapsulate the deliverance from death (the Underworld) at the Red Sea Crossing and God’s desire to have human children in his abode, the “cosmic mountain” of Israelite and ancient Near Eastern thought. The symbolism extends into the New Testament as well. This episode overviews the symbolic motifs in the passage that would have informed an ancient Israelite reader.
On this episode of the podcast Mike chats with Stovall Weems, lead pastor at Celebration Church in Jacksonville, FL. The conversation focuses on the story of how Mike and Stovall met and how their initial phone conversation was the catalyst to Mike accepting a job offer to start a school of theology for Celebration Church a little over a year later.
Exodus 15 is referred to by scholars as the Song of Moses. The label is due to its poetic nature. On the surface the Song reiterates the crossing of the Red Sea. But there are actually a number of items in the passage that dip into divine council worldview content and ancient Israelite cosmology. This episode engages such items and shows how Exodus 15 is more than a repetition of Exodus 14.
In Part 1 of our discussion of Exodus 14 and the Israelites’ journey out of Egypt we focused on the yam suph (“sea of Reeds” / Red Sea) problem and issues related to the ambiguity of physical place names (toponyms). In this episode of the podcast our focus is cosmic geography—namely, how Egyptian conceptions of their gods and physical world can contribute to reading the exodus story as a theological polemic.
Exodus 14 is one of the major chapters detailing Israel’s departure from Egypt and the miraculous passing through the “Red Sea.” Other chapters include Exod 13:17-22, Exodus 15, and Numbers 33:5-8. The passages do not always agree in the way the event is described, a fact that has produced what scholars call the yam suph (“Red Sea”) problem. What is problematic in that phrase is not the supernatural nature of the way the crossing is presented, but where the crossing occurred and whether any part of what we think as the Red Sea was crossed. This episode unpacks and addresses the problem.
John P. Cooper, “Egypt’s Nile-Red Sea Canals: Chronology, Location, Seasonality and Function,” Pages 195-209 in Connected Hinterlands: Proceedings of the Red Sea Project IV Held at the University of Southampton, September 2008 (ed. Lucy Blue, et. al; BAR International Series 2052; Society for Arabian Studies Monographs No. 8 (2009)
Canal-Map (“Canal Map”) from: Amihai Sneh, Tuvia Weissbrod and Itamar Perath, “Evidence for an Ancient Egyptian Frontier Canal: The remnants of an artificial waterway discovered in the northeastern Nile Delta may have formed part of the barrier called “Shur of Egypt” in ancient texts,” American Scientist 63:5 (Sept-Oct 1975): 542-548
Canal-Map of possible exodus routes.
Exodus 13 takes us into the subject of the offering of the firstborn. Certain scholars argue that the passage is to be taken literally, that Yahweh demanded the Israelites to sacrifice their firstborn male child (i.e., human sacrifice). This episode surveys how this argument is made and evaluates it in terms of the data of the text and logical coherence.
This episode continues the early/late date discussion.
Scholars who accept the historicity of the biblical story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt have argued for centuries about when it occurred in real time. There are several theories, but the two main approaches are the “Early” Date (1446 BC) and the “Late” Date (1267 BC). This episode continues the explanation of how each date is defended and debated.
Early Date Resource: Bryant Wood, “The Biblical Date for the Exodus is 1446 BC: A Response to James Hoffmeier,” JETS 50.2 (2007): 249-258
Late Date Resource: James K. Hoffmeier, “What is the Biblical Date of the Exodus? A Response to Bryant Wood,” JETS 50.2 (2007): 225-247
Other links and articles noted in the episode:
Paul J. Ray, Jr., “The Duration of the Israelite Sojourn In Egypt”
Bryant Wood, “The Rise and Fall of the 13th Century Exodus-Conquest Theory,” JETS 48:3 (September 2005) 475–89
Peter van der Veen, Christoffer Theis, and Manfred Görg, “Israel in Canaan (Long) Before Pharaoh Merenptah? A Fresh Look at Berlin Statue Pedestal Relief 21687,” Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 2:4 (2010): 15-25
Douglas Petrovich, “Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus Pharaoh”
Discovery of KV 5 tomb – Tomb of Ramses II’s Many Sons Is Found in Egypt
Scholars who accept the historicity of the biblical story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt have argued for centuries about when it occurred in real time. There are several theories, but the two main approaches are the “Early” Date (1446 BC) and the “Late” Date (1267 BC). This episode explains how each date is defended and debated.
Early Date Resource: Bryant Wood, “The Biblical Date for the Exodus is 1446 BC: A Response to James Hoffmeier,” JETS 50.2 (2007): 249-258
Late Date Resource: James K. Hoffmeier, “What is the Biblical Date of the Exodus? A Response to Bryant Wood,” JETS 50.2 (2007): 225-247
Other links and articles noted in the episode:
Paul J. Ray, Jr., “The Duration of the Israelite Sojourn In Egypt”
Bryant Wood, “The Rise and Fall of the 13th Century Exodus-Conquest Theory,” JETS 48:3 (September 2005) 475–89
Peter van der Veen, Christoffer Theis, and Manfred Görg, “Israel in Canaan (Long) Before Pharaoh Merenptah? A Fresh Look at Berlin Statue Pedestal Relief 21687,” Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 2:4 (2010): 15-25
Douglas Petrovich, “Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus Pharaoh”
Discovery of KV 5 tomb – Tomb of Ramses II’s Many Sons Is Found in Egypt
This episode of the podcast begins our discussion of the circumstances of the exodus event. There are many difficulties and issues that have distracted scholars over the years. Exodus 12:37 and Exodus 12:40 are two that we will discuss in this episode. The first confronts us with the problem of large numbers of people in the Exodus narratives. The second takes us into the duration of the sojourn (bondage) of Israel in Egypt, an item made controversial by its apparent disagreement with several other biblical passages.
D. M. Fouts, “A Defense of the Hyperbolic Interpretation of Large Numbers in the Old Testament,” JETS 40: 3 (1997): 377–87.
Exodus 11 and 12 focus on the final plague against Egypt, the death of the firstborn, and the institution of the Passover (Hebrew: pesaḥ / pesach). Like the other plagues, the death of the firstborn is an assault on not only the pharaoh and his people, but on Maat, the principle of cosmic order to be maintained by the gods of Egypt. This episode touches on that polemic, but also on the meaning and typology of Passover and the “Destroyer” of the final plague.
The previous episode discussed the four scholarly approaches to understanding the plagues upon Egypt in the exodus story. Two of those approaches (polemic, de-creation) were deemed more fruitful than the others, for they cast the plagues in terms of Yahweh’s mastery over creation order (the Egyptian concept of Maat) that in turn serves as a polemic against the theology of the ancient Egyptians. In this episode we go through the plagues of Exodus 8-10 (plague numbers 2 through 9) with an eye toward thinking about each plague as de-creation and polemic.
Exodus 7:14-25 is the entry point for the series of ten plagues God sent upon the land of Egypt and its people for pharaoh’s defiance of his command to free his people, Israel. This episode includes an introduction to how scholars talk about the plagues and how that discussion translates to the first plague, turning the Nile to blood.
Figure 3 Plagues as Decreation
Aside from the date of the exodus event and the revelation of the divine name, one of the most frequently discussed issues in the book of Exodus is the hardening of pharaoh’s heart. The narrative affirms that both God and pharaoh are the agents responsible for the hardening of pharaoh’s heart. How do we understand this in light of moral human responsibility, human free will, and the righteousness of God? This episode focuses on this topic.
This episode of the podcast covers two chapter of Exodus. Aside from some comments that relate to items in previous episodes, our discussion focuses on the biblical motif of the “hand of the Lord” and “outstretched arm” of the Lord. Both expressions are part of the confrontation between Moses and Aaron and Egypt’s pharaoh. Both are also important motifs in Egyptian literature. That isn’t a coincidence.
The second half of Exodus 4 presents a series of chronological problems in relation to Moses’ movements to and from Sinai and Jethro’s home and, ultimately, the journey to Egypt. The section includes the bizarre episode in verses 24-26 where God sought to kill Moses. Why was God angry? How does the circumcision of Moses’ son fix the problem? What does it mean that Moses’ wife, Zipporah, touched the foreskin of her son to Moses’ feet? This episode of the podcast unravels all these questions.
Exodus 4:1-17 continues Moses’ conversation with God at the burning bush after the revelation of the divine name. It is marked by Moses’ unwillingness to do what God has tasked him to do. This episode covers God’s compassionate responses to Moses and also his anger when Moses refuses the job. The conversation takes us into supernatural sign acts, Egyptian magic, and the concession by God of bringing Aaron (and the Aaronic priesthood) into his plan for Israel.
Exodus 3:13-14 are two of the most familiar verses in the Old Testament: “Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ” God reveals his name here in the first person (ehyeh – I AM), but most of the time the Old Testament has the divine name in the third person (Yahweh). Biblical names typically have meanings, so what is the meaning of this name for God?
People can go up to my website for a detailed discussion of this. I favor the second view: “I am he who causes to be all that is,” arguing for a hiphil, a causative, vocalization of the verbal name phrase.
Also a youtube video I created.
This episode builds off Part 2a and our discussion of the Kenite Hypothesis. The episode essentially asks this question: How would a literate ancient Jew, with knowledge of 1 Enoch and the Hebrew Bible, understand the biblical writer’s linkage of the Kenites (relatives of Abraham and Moses) to Cain the murderer, whom the writer of Enoch associated with the sins of the Watchers? The answer may surprise you, and even bless you.
Exodus 3:1 puts Moses in Midian, a land that, as we saw in Part 1, is closely tied to occupants known as Kenites. The Kenites, in fact, overlap in biblical thought with the Midianites (Judg 1:16; 4:11). Midian is also connected with the idea that Yahweh, the God of Israel, came to his land “from the South,” where “South” is defined as Edom, Teman, Paran, and Midian (Hab 3:3-7; Deut 33:1-2; Judg 5:4-5). It is for this reason (and some archaeological data) that many scholars and archaeologists believe that the Kenites / Midianites transmitted the knowledge of Yahweh to Moses (and, hence, Israel). This episode explores the coherence of this idea.
This episode focuses on Exod 3:1 (“Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God”) and how the place names (Horeb, Midian, “mountain of God”) might possibly dovetail with traditions about Yahweh “coming from the South” (from Teman, Paran, Edom, Seir) in other passages (Deut 33:2; Hab 3:3-7; Judg 5:4-5). Biblical critics have used the apparently contradictory nature of these passages to argue for biblical inconsistency with sources and that Yahweh worship did not originate with the Israelites. Others who have rejected the traditional location of Mount Sinai (Jebel Musa in the “V” of the Sinai Peninsula) in favor of Jebel al-Lawz in Midian have ignored or missed these passages.
Exodus 2:11-25 is the story of Moses’ capital offense in Egypt and his subsequent escape to the land of Midian. The story includes several textual and interpretive difficulties, leading to important questions. Where is the land of Midian? What is its relationship to Horeb? Is Horeb Sinai and, if it is, why do other passages distinguish the two? Who is Moses’ father-in-law: Jethro, Reuel, or Hobab? Did the people of Midian worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Egypt—and if not, why is God’s holy mountain connected to Midian?
In this episode we chat with Dr. Tim Mackie and Jon Collins about their amazingly successful and eminently useful ministry, The Bible Project. We learn a bit about their backgrounds, individually and as friends, how the Bible Project was born, and plans for the future.
Exodus 2:1-10 is the familiar story of the birth of Moses in Egypt. Lurking behind the familiar story is a point of controversy and misunderstanding: its presumed relationship to ancient stories of the “abandoned child,” most specifically the legend of Sargon the Great’s birth. This episode asks the question of whether the biblical writer stole the Sargon story for Exodus 2:1-10, and how a potential relationship between the two might be processed well.
This is the second of two episodes on Exodus 1. This episode focuses entirely on how the name “Raamses” in Exod 1:11 can potentially be accommodated by either the early (1446 BC) or late (1250 BC) date of the exodus from Egypt. We explore how the name is used in Egyptian texts, why it’s spelling makes a difference, and why its presence in Exod 1:11 does not require the late date of the exodus. We also spend some time talking about the film Patterns of Evidence and its use of the work of David Rohl.
Exodus 1 is short in terms of verse count, but there are a surprising number of items in the text that need some comment—so many that we need two episodes! In this episode we look at the language describing Israel’s condition under bondage in Egypt long after the time of Joseph. We talk about the reasons the biblical author links his description with Genesis 11:1-9, the Babel story; why the description of the bondage is justifiable historical; how the earlier story of Joseph in Egypt could be congruent with Exod 1:11, and how what pharaoh commanded the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, has been regularly misunderstood.
This episode launches our new book study series on the book of Exodus! As we do with every book study, this initial episode overviews the sorts of things to expect as we progress through Exodus: difficulties, controversies, and other points of interest relevant to understanding the book in its own context. Specifically, Dr. Heiser talks about how we should think about Old Testament history, historicity, metanarrative, “mythic history,” and historiography.
In this episode we interview “Theo,” an American living in Nepal who teaches students full time. Theo has been a long-time listener to the podcast. Theo found the divine council context put forth in Dr. Heiser’s books to be paradigm changing, and now uses that content to teach his students in Nepal. Unfortunately, there are serious obstacles, as the Nepali government has become more antagonistic to Christianity in recent years.
What is the Day of the Lord? Most Bible students would associate it with a time of judgment. The reality, however, is that judgment is only one aspect. The Day of the Lord concept concerns things like the reclaiming of the nations, the general resurrection, and the “fullness of the Gentiles.” And since Jesus is Lord in the New Testament, the Old Testament of the Day of the Lord is married to the return of Jesus. This episode discusses all these facets of the Day of the Lord and how the full concept should prompt us to think well about end times.
Craig Allert is a scholar specializing in Patristic Fathers, those early Christian thinkers who lived and wrote just after the end of the apostolic age to (roughly 451 AD). On today’s episode we talk with Craig about his work in analyzing how the early church fathers understood and interpreted Genesis One. We talk about the ways they approached Genesis One and how modern researchers use and abuse what the fathers said about Genesis in debating divergent views of creationism.
Craig Allert, Early Christian Readings of Genesis One: Patristic Exegesis and Literal Interpretation
Rick Brannan plays a lead role in the production of ancient language resources for Logos Bible Software. He has also published several books on apocryphal gospels, the apostolic fathers, and the Pastoral Epistles. In this episode our focus is Pauline authorship studies relative to the Pastoral Epistles and analyzing the vocabulary of those epistles. Since Rick’s most recent work is on 2 Timothy, we discuss some interesting findings about whether 2 Timothy is really Paul’s “last will and testament” and Paul’s inclusion of angels in charge language (commands) in these epistles.
Rick Brannan Amazon page
Rick Brannan, Lexical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles: First Timothy
Rick Brannan, Lexical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles: Second Timothy
Rick Brannan, Greek Apocryphal Gospels, Fragments, and Agrapha: A New Translation
Rick Brannan, Anticipating His Arrival: A Family Guide through Advent
Rick Brannan, The Apostolic Fathers: A New Translation
Naked Bible 249: Did Israelites View Their Judges as Gods?
The word elohim frequently speaks of a single deity, most notably the God of Israel, in the Hebrew Bible. Exceptions include Psalm 82:1, 6, where plural elohim refers to the members of God’s heavenly host (his council or assembly; cp. Psa 89:5-7). Dr. Heiser has devoted a great deal of attention to how such passages and such thinking should not be defined by modern readers as polytheism or henotheism. Though he has written extensively in published scholarly journals on the topic and in his best-selling book, The Unseen Realm, some opponents of the straightforward reading of Psalm 82 and other passages insist that the elohim of that psalm are people—specifically, Israelite judges. This episode of the podcast examines the proof-texts of such an idea and shows their deficiencies.
Material in this episode is drawn from Dr. Heiser’s article, “Should אלהים (ʾelōhîm) with Plural Predication be Translated “Gods”? BT Vol. 61, No. 3: 123-136. This article is not accessible online, but can be accessed only via a theological or university library or by subscribing to Dr. Heiser’s newsletter. Papers read at conferences and other articles that address divine plurality in Psalm 82 and elsewhere are freely available at Dr. Heiser’s divine council website.
For how this episode and its content relates to Jesus’ use of Psalm 82:6 in John 10:34, see Episode 109: John 10: Gods or Men?
In our second set of SBL interviews we talk to Dr. David DeSilva about his revised New Testament Introduction, Dr. Mike Grisanti about his books and ministry as a tour guide to Israel for Masters Seminary, Dr. David Goh about his pastoral ministry and his thoughts on The Unseen Realm, Dr. Rick Hess about his co-edited volume (with Bill Arnold) and his other books on Joshua and the conquest, and doctoral student Hans Moscicke about his work on Eusebius as it relates to the Deuteronomy 32 worldview.
David deSilva, An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods & Ministry Formation 2nd Edition
Michael Grisanti, The World and the Word: An Introduction to the Old Testament
Michael Grisanti, Giving the sense: Understanding and Using Old Testament Historical Texts
Richard Hess, Ancient Israel’s History (edited with Bill Arnold)
Richard Hess, Joshua (Tyndale OT Commentary)
In our first of two installments of interviews at the annual meeting of the SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) we talk to Dr. Bill Arnold about a new book on the History of Israel that he co-edited (with Rick Hess), Dr. Dan Wallace about his work at CSNTM (The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts), Dr. John Hilber about his work in biblical backgrounds, and David Burnett about his experience as a doctoral student at Marquette University.
Ancient Israel’s History (edited by Bill Arnold and Rick Hess)
Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts (edited by John Hilber, Jonathan Greer, John Walton)
In this episode we sit down first with Dr. Carl Sanders and Dr. Ronn Johnson to talk about rejected ETS papers (!) and the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament; next we chat with Dr. Karl Kutz and Dr. Rebekah Josberger, authors of an important new first-year Hebrew grammar.
In this episode we chat with Doug van Dorn, a pastor in the Denver area who authored the Lexham Press handbook on Mike’s book, The Unseen Realm; Dr. Gary Yates, OT professor at liberty University, who uses Unseen Realm in one of his courses; Jesse Myers, about the publishing philosophy of Lexham Press, and Dr. Sam Lamerson, President and Professor of NT at Knox Theological Seminary.
This episode features conversations with Dr. David Capes of Wheaton, Dr. Gerry Breshears of Western Seminary, and Dr. Mark Futato of Reformed Theological Seminary. We talk about a new book for the non-specialist on earl high Christology / Jewish binitarianism; uses of, and responses to, Mike’s book, The Unseen Realm; Hebrew, and a forthcoming book on Hebrew accents and their exegetical importance.
link to David Capes’ book
In this set of interviews we talk to Dr. Peter Gurry of the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog; Henry Smith of ABR (Associates for Biblical Research); Dr. Mark Ward of Lexham Press/Faithlife/Logos, and Mike’s original pastor after he came to the Lord, Dr. Dave Burggraff. Subjects range from new books of interest to our audience, archaeology, textual criticism, and reminiscences of Mike’s beginning in his spiritual journey and biblical studies.
Naked Bible 241: Psalms 24 and 29 in Their Ancient Context
The psalms are often thought of as purely devotional. They of course have that value, but they also contain significant theological statements, especially to ancient Israelites whose ears were tuned to specific points of their content. We often miss such things since we are not part of the ancient Israelite world, particularly in terms of the religious struggle with Canaanite religion and Baalism. In this episode we look at Psalms 24 and 29 for how religious texts from Ugarit help inform our reading. These two psalms contain several specific polemical points directed against Baal that modern readers would miss.
This episode of the podcast concludes the series on Colossians. While the last chapter of Colossians contains mostly personal references to traveling companions and greetings from Paul, there are several items of interest. Does the chapter refer to a house church led by a woman (Nympha)? Is the “letter to the Laodiceans” a lost letter of Paul—and if so, is that a problem for inspiration? The end of the letter makes it clear that Paul used an amanuensis (i.e., he dictated the letter). Does that mean Paul wasn’t well educated?
Paul continues his teaching on how gratitude toward Jesus, the author of salvation who is supreme over all other powers, ought to influence the believer’s conduct. In this Colossians 3:18-25, Paul focuses on commands about household management. The “household” relationships in view are husbands and wives, fathers and children, and household servants/slaves. All of Paul’s household principles are framed by Colossians 3:17 – “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Thiselton, kephalē and Its Multiple Meanings
Colossians 3 is the pivot point for the epistle. Having tracked through a number of significant theological points relating to Christ’s supremacy to the law and angels, Paul turns to practical ramifications. This episode of the podcast focuses on two: (1) the “already but not yet” aspects of the Christian’s status and how discipleship is rooted in that status, and (2) the “already but not yet” aspects of Christ’s kingdom rule.
Part 1: Johnny Cisneros – Bible Study Apps for Word Studies in Colossians
What are some of the best Bible study apps today? And how can you use those study apps to gain meaningful insights into the key words in Paul’s Letter to the Colossians? In this episode, Dr. Heiser interviews his long-time friend and colleague, Johnny Cisneros. With his training in biblical languages and his doctoral studies in technology-enhanced learning, Johnny Cisneros is the ideal person to help you apply simple and powerful strategies to study the Bible. The discussion centers on introducing you to some popular Bible study apps, walking you through several examples of Greek word studies from Colossians, and finally, a special offer to the Naked Bible audience for video courses designed by Johnny Cisneros.
Part 2: Joe Fioramonti – Anno Domini
Joe Fioramonti is a long-time friend of Mike and the podcast. He’s an artist, a professor, and an entrepreneur. His new business, Anno Domini, designs and hand-produces unique but traditional art prints. One-third of the proceeds goes directly to ministries that focus on persecuted pastors and Christians in dangerous parts of the world.
The subject of honor and shame-based cultures is familiar to anthropologists, but a foreign topic to most people interested in biblical studies. Nevertheless, it is an important aspect of New Testament interpretation. In this episode we chat with Dr. David de Silva, a recognized expert in this area of Second Temple period / New Testament study. As he wrote in The Dictionary of New Testament Background, “Honor refers to the public acknowledgment of a person’s worth, granted on the basis of how fully that individual embodies qualities and behaviors valued by the group. First-century Mediterranean people were oriented from early childhood to seek honor and avoid disgrace, meaning that they would be sensitive to public recognition or reproach. Where different cultures with different values existed side by side, it became extremely important to insulate one’s own group members against the desire for honor or avoidance of dishonor in the eyes of outsiders, since only by so doing could one remain wholly committed to the distinctive culture and values of the group. This struggle is particularly evident in the NT, as church leaders seek to affirm the honor of Christians on the basis of their adherence to Jesus while insulating them from the disapproval they face from non-Christian Jews and Gentiles alike.”
David A. deSilva, “Honor and Shame,” Dictionary of New Testament Background: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 518–519.
David de Silva, Honor, Patronage, Kinship, and Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture (IVP Academic, 2000)
David de Silva, Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance (Baker Academic, 2018)
David de Silva, The Letter to the Galatians (New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT; 2018)
Our preceding three episodes in large part set the table for the remainder of Colossians 2. Paul revisits some familiar themes: the superiority of Jesus to Jewish mystical teachings about angels (stoicheia), food laws, and the Sabbath. The new element here, and focus of this episode, is Paul’s link between the cross event (in particular the resurrection) and the defeat of the powers of darkness. Because of the cross, the rule of the gods over the Gentile nations, set up by God himself as a punishment at Babel (Deut 32:8-9; cp. Deut 4:19-20; 17:1-3; 29:23-26) has been nullified and de-legitimized. This is the underpinning of Paul’s mission to reclaim people among the nations for God’s everlasting family.
These two verses are (in)famous in New Testament study. Paul’s comments about baptism and circumcision, and a “circumcision made without hands” have been an interpretive battle ground every since they were written down. How does baptism relate to our receiving and being rooted in Christ (Col 2:6-7)? Does baptism complement salvation? Does it propel us toward salvation? How does water baptism relate to circumcision at all—if indeed Col 2:11-12 is even about water baptism? What if Paul is talking about Spirit baptism (1 Cor 12:13)? What then?
As we saw in our previous episode, a lot of theology can be packed into just a handful of verses. Colossians 2:6-8 leads to the focus of this episode, Colossians 2:9-10. These two verses are the pivotal content for Paul’s response to the Colossian heresy, the Jewish-mystical elevation of supernatural beings (“angels”) as spiritual authorities and points of reference for reverence.
and use coupon code: nakedbible7 at checkout
Two of the things we talk about most on the podcast pop up in this episode: the importance of deriving what you believe from the text of Scripture itself and the importance of reading the text in its original context. Regarding the first, we’ll explore some of the grammar Paul uses in Col 2:6-7 to talk about God’s role and our role in sanctification. In verse 8 we’ll discuss the stoicheia (“elemental spirits”) and how they might fit into the false teaching Paul was confronting at Colossae.
This episode continues our discussion of the epistle to the Colossians. Colossians 1:21-2:5 touch on some theological themes familiar from previous episodes of the podcast: the relationship of Israel and the Church, the need to keep believing the gospel for salvation, reconciliation, and Paul’s “mystery” teaching. There are also some surprises.
Colossians 1:13-20 contains some of the most important Christological content in the New Testament. It is also home to some of the most misunderstood. For example, does referring to Jesus as “firstborn” suggest that he was created? Does it point to chronology—that Jesus was the first created thing? How is that reconcilable with the “fullness of God” being in Jesus? When verse 20 speaks of “all things, whether on earth or in heaven” being reconciled to God through Jesus does that mean that Satan and fallen angels can be—and ultimately will be- forgiven for their sins and redeemed? This episode discusses all these and other issues.
We begin our study in the first chapter of Colossians with an eye toward some of Paul’s more important vocabulary. Why does he refer to the Colossian believers as “holy ones” (1:2)? What sort of “knowledge” (1:9) is he talking about? What do the phrases “inheritance of the holy ones” and “domain of darkness” (1:12-13) mean in the context of Old Testament cosmic geography? Is the kingdom of God to which believers belong only future (1:13)?
Naked Bible 225: Introducing the Book of Colossians
This episode opens our new book study on Colossians. Disputes over the book’s authorship and date contribute directly to the major content issue of the book—the nature of the “Colossian heresy.” The so-called “Colossian heresy” is the label used by scholars to describe Paul’s theological opposition in the city and church of Colossae. Elements of the false teaching Paul confronted are reminiscent of Gnosticism. However, the mature Gnostic theologies known to scholars today did not take shape until the second century A.D. and thereafter. Other items Paul addresses are obviously related to Jewish opposition. Could these two theologies be related?
Naked Bible 224: The Falling Away and the Restrainer
2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 contains two enigmatic features. In the first four verses Paul takes on the false teaching, circulating in the Thessalonian church, that the Day of the Lord had already come to pass. In the process Paul tells the believers “Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the apostasia comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” It’s clear that the man of lawlessness is the antichrist, but what is the apostasia? Some translations render the Greek term “falling away,” but others have “rebellion”? Just what event is Paul talking that must occur before the revealing of the antichrist? Later in the chapter Paul mentions an impersonal “restraint” and a mysterious figure who is the “restrainer” that are holding back the events leading to the second coming. What or who could do that? This episode tackles both these difficulties.
Naked Bible 222: Trees and Kings with Rusty Osborne
How ancient Israelites thought about the institution of kingship is deeply rooted in the ancient Near Eastern ideology of kingship. Kings were viewed as extensions of the rule of deities, the providers of life and welfare and order. Kings ensured that life for the people under his (and the deity’s) rule went along as it was intended. Trees were emblematic of these ideas, as they spoke of the fertility of the land, the presence of life in an otherwise arid, hostile environment, and a metaphorical connection between heaven and earth. In this episode of the podcast we interview Dr. William (“Rusty”) Osborne, an expert in this kingship metaphor, to help us navigate these concepts.
Book: Trees and Kings: A Comparative Analysis of Tree Imagery in Israel’s Prophetic Tradition and the Ancient Near East
1 Corinthians 15:29 is one of the more enigmatic verses in the Bible. Scholars have long struggled with the meaning of Paul’s questions: “. . . What do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?” Just what was going on at Corinth that involved baptism for the dead? Is this literal (water) baptism or something else? Who are the dead – believers or unbelievers? Does baptism help dead unbelievers in the afterlife? If not, what’s the benefit? How does this verse fit the wider context of Paul’s discourse on the resurrection?
James E. Patrick, “Living Rewards for Dead Apostles: ‘Baptised for the Dead’ in 1 Corinthians 15.29,” New Test. Stud. 52 (2006): 71–85
Naked Bible 218: Authorship and Date of the Book of Job
Many Christians believe the book of Job is the earliest book of the Bible, written sometime before Moses in the patriarchal era. Few Old Testament scholars assign any merit to this idea. Why the disagreement? Is there any basis for thinking Job is earlier than the time of Moses? Is there any way to know when Job was written and who might have written it? Does any point of biblical history or theology depend on the answer? We discuss all these issues in this episode of the podcast.
Naked Bible 217: Authorship and Date of the Book of Isaiah
When it comes to debates over biblical inspiration, the authorship and the book of Isaiah is one of the more contentious topics. Traditionally, the book in its entirety (66 chapters) was considered to have been entirely written by the prophet Isaiah, who lived in the late 8th century – early 7th century BC. From the 19th century onward, modern critical scholars argued that the book was actually three separate books (chs 1-39, 40-55, 56-66) composed in different eras (the latter sections being written during and after the exile). Consequently scholarly talk about the book of Isaiah speaks of First, Second (“Deutero”), and Third (“Trito”) Isaiah(s). Many evangelical scholars continue to reject this academic consensus, charging that it’s acceptance undermines inspiration, scriptural consistency, and predictive prophecy? Are those charges accurate? On what basis is multiple authorship argued? How do traditional single-author proponents defend their case? We discuss all these issues in this episode of the podacast.
Rooker article (in protected folder accessible by newsletter subscribers)
Mark F. Rooker, “Dating Isaiah 40–66: What Does the Linguistic Evidence Say?” Westminster Theological Journal 58, no. 2 (1996): 303–12
Naked Bible 213: Do Good Works Contribute to Salvation?
What is the proper biblical relationship between faith and works? Do good works contribute to salvation? If not, then why should we care about the way we live? Personal holiness is something taught in Scripture, but the desire to please God in our lives often leaves Christians guilty when they fail. Believers begin to suspect God doesn’t love them any longer—or at least not as much. The result is that the clarity of the gospel gets muddled. This episode of the podcast aims to help us think clearly about grace, faith, and works in the Christian life.
Naked Bible 212: Joshua’s Conquest of Jericho and the Ugaritic Keret Epic
The basic details of the Israelite conquest of Jericho are well known. The renewal of the covenant at Shechem, the miraculous crossing of the Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant, Joshua’s encounter with the supernatural commander of the Lord’s host, the sending of the spies to the city and their reception by Rahab, the weird battle instructions to march around the city and blow the ram’s horns, and the collapse of the walls have been retold in countless Sunday School classes and sermons. But virtually unknown is that many of these details have correspondences in a story from Ugarit, an ancient city state in Syria. That story is known as the Keret (or Kirta) Epic. In this episode we talk about the similarities and how an ancient reader might have processed such parallels.
Naked Bible 211: Was Cain the Seed of the Serpent?
In 1 John 3:11-12 the apostle warned believers, “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother.” Does this passage mean that Cain was fathered by Satan? The idea is indeed found in some ancient Jewish texts. Is there any evidence for that in the Old Testament account of his birth? This episode of the podcast answers those questions.
This episode of the podcast raises a straightforward question: Does God ever deceive anyone? While listeners might think the answer must be in the negative, that actually isn’t the case. This episode considers several passages where God uses deception and suggests the same to biblical figures. We also consider related questions, such as: Is deception the same thing as lying? and, If God uses deception, how are we to think about that? Are there ramifications for personal ethics?
This episode welcomes Fern and Audrey back to the podcast. Fern and Audrey minister to trauma survivors, particularly those whose trauma resulted in dissociation (see Episode 68). The conversation in this episode includes Alexa, a client of Fern and Audrey’s Discovering Mercy ministry, and allows listeners to understand their ministry from a survivor’s perspective.
Naked Bible 207: Revelation 4-5 with Dr. Alan Bandy
Revelation 4-5, the Divine Council, and the Covenant Lawsuit Motif: A Discussion with Dr. Alan Bandy
Revelation 4-5 with its vision of God’s throne room and the 24 elders has long fascinated Bible students. While the heavenly throne is obvious to the scene, the actual setting often escapes attention. In accord with various divine council scenes in the Old Testament, the throne room of God is also where God holds council. Many OT council meetings are judicial in nature. A trial is held to assess loyalty to God’s covenants. That trial either leads to God’s vindication of the defendant or the dispensing of judgment for the guilty. In this episode we have a conversation with Dr. Alan Bandy who argued in his dissertation that Revelation 4-5 was a divine council scene informed by the covenant lawsuit motif of the Old Testament. Even further, Dr. Bandy believes that the book of Revelation as a whole is informed by the covenant lawsuit idea so that Christians and the whole world stand trial before God’s heavenly council with Jesus as the presiding judge.
Naked Bible 206: The 70 Bulls of the Feast of Tabernacles
Numbers 29:12-34 describes the sacrifices involved in the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, called in Hebrew, the Feast of Sukkot (“Booths”). Included in those sacrifices were 70 bulls, a number that far exceeds any other Israelites festival. Scholars have taken note of the number and speculated that it has some relationship to the number of the sons of God allotted to the nations in the judgment at Babel (Deut 32:8-9; cp. Genesis 10’s 70 nations). Some believe the passage is a vestige of polytheism (the bulls are offered to the gods of the nations) or that it describes an atonement ritual for the 70 nations of Genesis 10. In this episode of the podcast we examine these opinions and offer another interpretation, one that sees a connection to the Deuteronomy 32 worldview, but that focuses more on the meaning of the Feast of Sukkot.
Dr. Noga Ayali-Darshan: Sukkot’s Seventy Bulls: The Torah’s adaptation of a polytheistic ancient West-Semitic custom of sacrificing to seventy gods
The Meaning of Sukkot
The Seventy Bulls Sacrificed at Sukkot (Num 29:12-34) in Light of a Ritual Text from Emar (Emar 6, 373), VT 65 (2015)
Naked Bible 205: The Sword and the Servant with David Burnett
The enigmatic “two swords” passage of Luke 22:35-38 that famously features Jesus’ command to the disciples, “the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one” (22:35), has long plagued biblical interpreters. Scholars have attempted to explain this passage in many ways. Some have suggested that Jesus was speaking figuratively, not speaking of buying literal swords, but alluding to the future persecution of the disciples. Some suggest Jesus was preparing them to take up swords to defend themselves after his departure, preparing them for bandits along the way. Along these lines, still others suggest Jesus was referring more generally to the time of trial to come after his resurrection. This passage has even featured prominently in modern debates regarding Christian positions on guns and violence, some evangelical voices going as far to suggest that Jesus by implication encourages the right to brandish and use fire arms. As such, this text has factored into discussion of Christian ethics. In this episode David Burnett returns to the podcast and offers a new approach, one that reframes the passage through a careful treatment of the text within its wider narrative context and Luke’s use of scripture.
David A. Burnett- SBL Lk 22.35-38 Handout
Naked Bible 204: Grammar and Bible Study with Steve Runge
On this episode of the podcast we once again devote time to acquainting listeners with strategies and tools for more productive Bible study. Dr. Heiser talks to Dr. Steve Runge, a colleague at Logos Bible Software and an important name in the study of Greek grammar. Dr. Runge’s focus is discourse, a linguistic term for studying the biblical text above the word level. If you don’t know Greek, don’t fear! Dr. Runge’s methods apply to English as well—and he has been instrumental in creating tools for English-only Bible students that are firmly grounded in original language study. Listen and learn how to become a better student of the biblical text. The videos below feature Dr. Runge teaching some of the concepts we discuss and work through in this episode.
You already know discourse grammar but didn’t realize it (several videos)
Logos Bible Software datasets for the Greek New Testament (the dataset adds symbols to your English reverse interlinear)
Dr. Runge’s commentaries for English readers that derive from his grammar study
Our 200th episode celebrates the reach of the podcast and that of Dr. Heiser’s books, The Unseen Realm and Supernatural. The Naked Bible Podcast has dedicated listeners all over the world. Many found the podcast because of Dr. Heiser’s books. This episode celebrates both the impact of solid, biblical content in the lives of listeners and readers, and their effort to spread that content to others. Mike and Trey talk to folks doing ministry in the Middle East (Michael, Bell), Tanzania, Africa (Charles, Donald), and Tirana, Albania (David, Bruna, and Fitor).
The final chapter of the book of Hebrews combines pastoral encouragement for believers under stress and reminders about the superiority of Jesus against what their persecutors were offering. This episode wraps up our book study by highlighting how the writer blends his final appeal for faithfulness with encouragement for both the laity and the leadership in troublesome times.
Hebrews 12 follows on the heels of the “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11. That’s important because heeding that context (and that of the rest of the book of Hebrews) will prevent us from taking certain things in Hebrews 12 out of context. The writer doesn’t follow the “hall of faith” with a treatise on how moral imperfection (sin) will result in keeping someone out of the kingdom of God. And yet many readers lapse into that thinking in this chapter. In this episode we read Hebrews 12 in light of Hebrews 11—and other preceding passages in the book—to reaffirm that salvation is about something done for us, not something we do, and about the obedience of Jesus, not our own obedience.
Many Christians refer to Hebrews 11 as the “hall of faith.” The label is appropriate, but the chapter raises questions. Why did the Old Testament individuals listed in Hebrews 11 “make the cut”? Was there something extraordinary about them? This episode explores the relationship of this famous passage to its far less famous context: Heb 10:35-39. Those in the “hall of faith” are not there because they were shining examples of moral purity, or because they never had doubts about what God was doing, or because they weren’t tested. Rather, they are there because they all held fast to faith—they did not “shrink back” from their believing loyalty in what God had promised. Hebrews 11 illustrates that we must have faith in what God has done for us, not our performance.
Hebrews 10 wraps up the author’s discourse on the superiority of the high priesthood of Jesus—a theme begun in chapter five. The chapter revisits how the Torah’s system of sacrifices could not take away sin as it was a shadow of things to come. The author references earlier high points of how Jesus is superior to Torah dealt with earlier. The entire second half of the chapter, though, focuses once more on the chief concern of the author—the reason he keeps telling his audience about the superiority of Jesus to the Mosaic Law—the need to keep believing the gospel so as to not “shrink back” to dependence on their obedience to law (merit-based performance) for salvation.
Karen Jobes article:
There is much discussion online at this time of year as to the presumed pagan origins of Christmas. December 25, we are told, was a date stolen from pagan worship, specifically from the festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Sun” (Sol Invictus)? Should Christians have Christmas trees? Aren’t trees pagan objects of worship? How should Christians think about, and respond to, such questions? Do these questions have any relationship to the content of Scripture? Listen to find out.
Links and sources:
William Tighe, “Calculating Christmas: The Story Behind Dec 25” Touchstone Magazine (December, 2003)
Thomas J. Talley, The Origins of the Liturgical Year (The Liturgical Press, 1991)
Aaron Gleason, “How Christmas Baptizes Norse Mythology into Powerful Christian Archetypes,” The Federalist (December 15, 2017)
Origin of the names of the Days
Jewish month names from Babylon
In his ninth chapter, the writer of Hebrews continues with his theme of the superiority of Christ over the Levitical sacrifices and priesthood. In chapter 8 he had referred to the “heavenly tent,” where Jesus was seated “at the right hand of majesty” subsequent to offering himself to provide salvation. In Hebrews 9, the focus of this episode, the sacrifice of Christ is described as an atonement superior not only to the sacrificial system broadly conceived, but specifically to the Day of Atonement ritual.
The writer of Hebrews has, to this point, put forth the idea that Jesus is superior to Moses, Melchizedek, the Aaronic / Levitical Priesthood, and the angels. In this chapter he adds another point of comparison—the Mosaic covenant. The work of Jesus on the cross, his accession to the heavenly throne as great high priest, and the subsequent coming of the Spirit (who is identified with Jesus in the NT) are superior to the Torah covenant and its inability to save. This episode focuses on the use of how the writer of Hebrews telegraphs Christ’s superiority to the Mosaic covenant through his use of Old Testament New Covenant prophecies.
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Scholarly Works recommended by Dr. Heiser:
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The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions
The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English
Hermeneia: 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 1–36; 81–108
Hermeneia: 1 Enoch 2: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 37–82
The Book of Giants from Qumran: Texts, Translation, and Commentary
Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance
Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible
The Context of Scripture (3 vols.)
Ancient Near Eastern Texts
New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis (5 vols.)
New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (5 vols.)
The IVP Bible Dictionary Series (8 vols.)
Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: New Testament (4 vols.)
Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Old Testament (5 vols.)
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) (1979–1995) (4
Our final set of interviews at SBL includes discussions with Tim Mackie from The Bible Project, and we learn about opportunities for biblical studies education in the UK from Dr. Matthew Lynch, a scholar in the UK familiar with the podcast and Mike’s work.
In our second set of interviews from SBL in Boston, we talk with Ben Giffone about how to earn an advanced degree without going into debt, teaching overseas, and his own interest in Unseen Realm content and Israelite religion. We also chat with John Schwandt, director of Mobile Education for Logos Bible Software (Faithlife). John and Mike talk about the unique benefits of Mobile Ed courses and how they are a great tool for anyone interested in learning Scripture and theology from some of the country’s best professors — all without uprooting your life and incurring debt.
Mike and Trey once again traveled to Boston for the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). In this first set of conference interviews include getting caught up with David Burnett, now in his first semester of doctoral work at Marquette University. We also chat with Marina Westerdahl, a former student of Mike’s at Knox Seminary about to begin doctoral work in Old Testament. Marina’s research interests involve the divine council. Lastly, we visit with Sam Lamerson, professor of New Testament at Knox Seminary and fellow traveler with Mike in helping Christians think well about the paranormal.
In this second installment of ETS interviews, Mike chats with Carl Sanders and Ronn Johnson, two long-time friends. In the first part of the conversation with Carl and Ronn, we focused on their own response to “higher life” sanctification and reminisced about our academic and teaching experiences. In Part 2, Mike, Carl, and Ronn conduct a thought experiment to illustrate what biblical-theological geeks do at these meetings by asking Ronn to toss out a new view of the atonement he’s been thinking about and then probing it for strengths and weaknesses.
It’s that time of year – a new round of interviews with scholars and professors at the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). In this first installment we talk to Hugh Ross about his new book, Improbable Planet, and his apologetics ministry; Doug Groothuis about anti-intellectual attitudes in the believing Church; Andy Naselli about his new book on “higher life” (Keswick) theology; and Maurice Robinson about his scholarly work on the Byzantine-Majority text type of the New Testament.
Naked Bible 186: Discovering MErcy with Fern and Audrey
Mike and Trey recently visited Fern and Audrey. The visit produced an opportunity not only to share some of the items discussed during that visit, but also new developments in their ministry to trauma survivors. This episode explores some of their work and methods in more detail and highlights a new direction in widening that ministry.
Hebrews 7 picks up themes that are familiar already to readers of the book. The writer defends the superiority of Christ’s priesthood to the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament on the basis of his connection to Melchizedek. A key part of this strategy is to declare that Levi “paid tithes to Melchizedek, being still in the loins of his ancestor” (Abraham). How are we to understand this idea? This episode tackles this difficult issue, as well as the tradition that Melchizedek was Noah’s son Shem.
McNamara, “Melchizedek: Gen 14:17-20 in the Targums, in Rabbinic and Early Christian Literature,” Biblica 81 (2000)
Orlov, “The Melchizedek Legend of 2 (Slavonic) Enoch,” Journal for the Study of Judaism Vol. 31, No. 1 (2000): 23-38
Our series on the book of Hebrews continues the writer’s emphasis on the faithful priesthood of Christ – this time as the basis for turning away from a theology of dead works and clinging to faith. The centrality of not turning from the true gospel of faith in the work of Christ and God’s acceptance of the ministry of his Son – of continuing in “believing loyalty” to the gospel – is the central focus of the controversial statements in Heb 6:4-6. Does this passage teach that believers can lose salvation or reject salvation? Is there a difference? What about eternal security? This episode focuses on these questions.
Hebrews 4:14-5:10 focuses on the fact that our high priest—the person who runs interference between us and God when it comes to eternal life—is the same person who gave his life for that purpose: Jesus. It is inconceivable in the writer’s mind that anyone who believes in Christ would be turned away from eternal life because Jesus, our high priest, understands the weakness of humanity and the power of external temptation. After all, he became a human precisely to provide salvation, knowing that it would mean experiencing human weakness and temptation. Human weakness and failure are therefore not going to change Christ’s disposition toward those who believe in him.
Hebrews 4:1-13 continues an important theme introduced in Hebrews 3—holding fast to faith so as to enter into God’s rest (i.e., inherit the promise of eternal life). The writer strikes an analogy between the rest of God, earlier related to entrance (or not) into the Promised Land (Numbers 14), and God’s rest at the end of his creation work. God’s Sabbath rest is therefore identified with eternal life—a rest that is the result of God’s efforts, not ours. Since Christ is the one who provided eternal life through his work on the cross, Christ is our Sabbath.
Hebrews 3 is the reader’s first introduction to what will be a familiar tension in the book: conditional statements about the believer’s salvation status. This episode focuses on this tension, pointing out that conditional statements in Hebrews are not attached to breaking the laws of Torah, or any sins of commission or omission. The conditional statements are not about works in any regard, as though believers could lose salvation when they sin. Rather, the focus is on how a believer can fall into unbelief—how they can choose to not believe the gospel. The end result is that believers are eternal secure if they believe (do not reject the gospel), but no one who rejects the gospel and therefore does not believe it has eternal life.
Naked Bible 180: Continuing the NAR Conversation with Dr. Michael L. Brown
This episode continues our discussion of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) from the previous episode. Our guest on this episode is Dr. Michael L. Brown, biblical scholar and host of the well-known radio show, Line of Fire. Dr. Brown has long been part of the charismatic wing of Christianity and has ministered in a wide variety of capacities in that context. He has also been a persistent internal critic of the abuses and fringe behaviors within the charismatic movement. In this episode Dr. Brown relates his own experience with the NAR as an infrequent point of discussion within charismatic circles. He therefore doubts its validity as a movement, though the general influence of charismatic ministry has had great impact despite clear abuses in doctrine and practice.
Michael L. Brown,
Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Transformation
Naked Bible 179: What is the New Apostolic Reformation?
What is the New Apostolic Reformation, with Holly Pivec
The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) seems to quite clearly justify labeling it a movement or denomination. Millions of people around the world are part of its network of churches. However, many NAR leaders and advocates deny that it’s a denomination or movement. Many Christians who are attracted by NAR teachings and practices have no idea that something called the NAR even exists. For those aware of its influence and presence within Christianity, the NAR has branded itself as representing the return of authoritative apostles and prophets to the modern church, complete with miracles such as healing and raising the dead. On this episode, we talk to Holly Pivec, an authority on the NAR, to learn what it is, what its defining characteristics are, and how we should think about its teachings.
NOTE: Shortly after our interview, Holly Pivec informed us that her statement about Michael Brown teaching at C. Peter Wagner’s school was inaccurate. Dr. Brown is the founder of FIRE School of Ministry in Charlotte, NC. The doctrinal statement for that school is located here and includes a statement on modern apostles and prophets.
Holly Pivec resources:
Blog: Spirit of Error
A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement
God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement
Naked Bible 178: Why the World Didn’t End on September 23
September 23 has come and gone. The world didn’t end. Jesus didn’t return. There was no rapture. Planet X (Nibiru) never showed up. Why not? The answers involve both astronomy and sound biblical interpretation. We’ll leave the astronomy to experts in that field. We’ll consider the biblical reasons why the September 23 prophetic date-setting was nonsense. Those reasons are actually transparent, at least if we care about paying attention to the biblical text. In this episode of the podcast, we talk about five features of the passages used by false teachers who promoted Sept 23 as having end-times meaning. Join us for an episode on how to ineptly interpret the Bible.
Check out Mike’s links to the PseudoAstronomy podcast for the astronomical flaws of Planet X (Nibiru)!
In Hebrews 2 the writer continues to focus on the supremacy of Christ to the Law (Torah) and angels. Christ is superior for many reasons, but chiefly because only he, through his sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection could provide the eternal sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins and bring humans back to right relationship with God. As Hebrews 2:1415 say God became a man in Jesus Christ so that, “through death he [Jesus] might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” This statement is followed by another one whose significance is overlooked by many, especially those who mistakenly believe that the offer of salvation through Christ is extended to fallen angels: “For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect.” This episode of the podcast focuses on the necessity of the incarnation not only to the superiority of Christ, but to the problematic idea that fallen angels can be forgiven.
The writer of Hebrews builds on his assertions that the particular son of God (Jesus) who was the agent of creation, eternal wisdom, and the essence of God, by comparing him to other supernatural sons of God (angels). But what does a phrase like “You are my son, today I have begotten you” mean? Does this mean Jesus was a created being? This episode notes the use of this phrase and other Old Testament passages utilized by the writer of Hebrews to explore its actual meaning. Along the way, the episode discusses two links in Hebrews 1 to the Deuteronomy 32 worldview and the divine council.
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Hebrews 1:1-4 sets the tone for the entire epistle. The writer asserts that the revelation given by God through one particular son—Jesus Christ—is superior to Torah. It is Christ who is the full expression of God’s wisdom, and the actual, essential being of God Himself. Since the “inheritance” language of Heb 1:1-4 cannot suggest that God himself is being retired and succeeded, the language needs to be understood in terms of co-rulership. But why is this particular son (1:2) different than all others? This episode explores and expands on these themes and addresses this question by discussing the Old Testament context for the phrases, “the radiance of the glory of God,” Wisdom Christology, and hypostasis terminology.
Dr. Heiser answers questions from a live audience. Thank you to Wayland Baptist University for hosting and Nathan for organizing the event. Thank you to everyone who came and joined us in Lubbock, Texas.
This episode launches the next book study on the podcast: the book of Hebrews. After discussing some preliminaries about the book, the episode preps listeners to the fact that Hebrews is a book that draws heavily on the Old Testament. That strategy of the anonymous author means more than simply quoting the Old Testament. Rather, there are more significant hermeneutical issues to consider—issues that will reverberate throughout the book.
In the previous episodes on Melchizedek we covered the Old Testament data (Parts 1A, 1B) and Second Temple Jewish interpretation (Part 2) of the enigmatic Melchizedek. This episode focuses on Hebrews 7, the New Testament passage that focuses on Melchizedek as a type or analogy to Jesus.
Naked Bible 169: Surviving and Thriving in Seminary
Surviving and Thriving in Seminary, with Danny Zacharias and Ben Forrest
Ever thought about taking a seminary class? Getting a degree in biblical studies? Even if you haven’t and just want good advice on how to do biblical research on your own, you’ll want to listen in on this conversation. This episode of the podcast focuses on the book by Drs. Zacharias and Forrest, How to Survive and Thrive in Seminary. You’ll learn a lot about expert resources (some of them free) and some strategy hints for the serious study of Scripture.
check out logos.com/nakedbible
In the previous two episodes on Melchizedek (1a, 1b) we covered the Old Testament data on this enigmatic figure. Jewish writers and readers in the Second Temple Period (ca. 500 BC – 70 AD) naturally had ideas on who Melchizedek was and how to understand him as a king-priest. This episode discusses important texts from the Second Temple Period that deal with Melchizedek. Primary attention is placed on texts that case Melchizedek as more than a man, in effect the divine messianic deliverer of Israel in the last days. These texts and the thinking behind them set the stage for how New Testament writers thought about Melchizedek and how they correlated him to Jesus.
Melchizedek is one of the more enigmatic figures in the Bible. Mentioned in only two passages in the Old Testament (Gen 14:17-24; Psalm 110), he nevertheless drew a lot of attention during the Second Temple Period and the New Testament. Thousands of pages of scholarly research have been devoted to him. Nearly everything said about him produces interpretive problems, from the nature of his name, to its meaning, to his identity as a Canaanite (non-Israelite), to why Psalm 110 favors his priesthood about that of Aaron. This episode of the podcast finishes our discussion of the Old Testament material associated with Melchizedek. Later episodes will be devoted to how he was understood in Second Temple Judaism and the New Testament.
“Melchizedek,” Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch (IVP)
“Melchizedek,” Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (Brill, Eerdmans)
Melchizedek is one of the more enigmatic figures in the Bible. Mentioned in only two passages in the Old Testament (Gen 14:17-24; Psalm 110), he nevertheless drew a lot of attention during the Second Temple Period and the New Testament. Thousands of pages of scholarly research have been devoted to him. Nearly everything said about him produces interpretive problems, from the nature of his name, to its meaning, to his identity as a Canaanite (non-Israelite), to why Psalm 110 favors his priesthood about that of Aaron. This episode and the next (1b) of the podcast focuses on the Old Testament associated with Melchizedek. Later episodes will be devoted to how he was understood in Second Temple Judaism and the New Testament.
“Melchizedek,” Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch (IVP)
“Melchizedek,” Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (Brill, Eerdmans)
Naked Bible 164: Paul’s Ascent and Angelic Torment with David Burnett
David Burnett returns to the podcast to discuss Paul’s defense of his apostleship and his heavenly ascent in 2 Corinthians 11-12. This episode expands upon an earlier episode on Paul’s ascent, specifically linking it to Second Temple Jewish apocalyptic literature (the Apocalypse of Abraham) and rabbinic material that appears to draw on that earlier material. The link to Abraham in Jewish thought is important, as it informs part of Paul’s comments on being the seed of Abraham.
Naked Bible 163: Other Gods and Other Religions with Gerald McDermott
Gerald R. McDermott (PhD, University of Iowa) is Anglican Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. Before joining Beeson, he was the Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion at Roanoke College. He is also associate pastor at Christ the King Anglican Church and Distinguished Senior Fellow in the History of Christianity at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion.
In this episode of the podcast we discuss two of Dr. McDermott’s books: God’s Rivals: Why Has God Allowed Different Religions? and Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently about the People and the Land.
God’s Rivals raises the question of why there are other religions—why would God permit that? The content of the book takes note of the Deuteronomy 32 worldview discussed so often on the Naked Bible Podcast – that, for biblical writers, the gods were real and allotted to the nations (and vice versa) in judgment at the Babel event (Deut 4:19-20; 17:1-3; 29:23-26; 32:8-9 [per the Dead Sea Scrolls “sons of God” reading]; 32:17). Dr. McDermott surveys early church thinkers reflections on this situation and what it meant in God’s plan of salvation.
Israel Matters discusses the diversity of opinion (positive and negative) in the believing Church toward the people, land, and state of Israel.
God’s Rivals: Why Has God Allowed Different Religions? Insights from the Bible and the Early Church
Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently about the People and the Land
The New Christian Zionism: Fresh Perspectives on Israel and the Land
The “evil eye” was a widespread superstition in the ancient world, one that continues on into the present day. The belief that one could cause someone harm merely by looking at them, or cast a spell over them by the same means, shows up in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamian, Greece, Rome, and Rabbinic writings. But does the Bible contain any reference to the notion? This episode explores biblical references to having an “evil eye” and discusses the meaning of those references in biblical thought.
Marie-Louise Thomsen, “The Evil Eye in Mesopotamia,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 51:1 (1992): 19-32
Edwin M. Yamauchi, “Magic in the Biblical World,” Tyndale Bulletin 34 (1983): 169-200 (Sec IV.C)
Nicole Tilford, “The Affective Eye: Re-Examining a Biblical Idiom,” Biblical Interpretation 23 (2015) 207-221
D. A. Fiensy, “The Importance of New Testament Background Studies in Biblical Research: The ‘Evil Eye’ in Luke 11: 34 as a Case Study,” Stone-Campbell Journal. 2:1 (1992): 75-88
Eastman, “The Evil Eye and the Curse of the Law: Galatians 3:1 Revisited,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 83 (2001): 69-87
In this episode Dr. Heiser talks to the men behind a new translation project, John Hobbins and Samuel Bray. The first volume of their effort is entitled Genesis 1-11: A New Old Translation for Readers, Scholars, and Translators. Our discussion focuses on the translation enterprise – what translators need to think about as they do their work. The strength of this new project is its thorough documentation by the translators of what and how they were thinking during the process of producing their translation. Over 130 pages of notes about the Hebrew text and its translation issues accompany the translation.
The work comes highly recommended, and Naked Bible Podcast listeners can purchase the resource at a discount.
Preorder HERE and use the code: GETNAKED to receive a discount.
Naked Bible 159: Noah’s Nakedness, the Sin of Ham, and the Curse of Canaan
The episode of Noah’s drunkenness in Genesis 9 has long befuddled interpreters. One of Noah’s sons, Ham, commits some heinous crime against his father. Oddly, though, Ham is not the one cursed by his father. Instead, Ham’s son Canaan bears the wrath of Noah. This episode explores the traditional solutions to the interpretive confusion and offers an alternative based on recent research in the Hebrew text.
John Sietze Bergsma and Scott Walker Hahn, “Noah’s Nakedness and the Curse on Canaan,” Journal of Biblical Literature 124:1 (2005): 25-40
Naked Bible 158: The Fate of the Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant is well-known because of the popular Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. That pop culture film offers just one of over a dozen theories on what happened to the Ark of the Covenant. The question arises because the ark is not one of the artifacts taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in the biblical account of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in 586 BC, nor is it listed among the temple treasures returned to Israel in Ezra 1, the account of the release of the captive Judeans. This episode surveys the more interesting and important theories as to the fate of the ark.
John Day, “Whatever Happened to the Ark of the Covenant?” Temple and Worship in Biblical Israel (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 422; Bloomsbury T&T Clark; Rev. Ed edition, 2007), 250-270
John Bimson, “Shoshenk and Shishak: A Case of Mistaken Identity?” Journal of the Ancient Chronology Forum 6 (1992/93): 19-32
Michael S. Heiser, “Moses as High Priest and Sorcerer? A Response to Graham Hancock’s
Egyptian Explanation for the Ark of the Covenant” Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 39-40 (1995) 48-65
This episode continues our discussion of Ezekiel’s temple vision. Whereas Part 1 noted the problems a literalistic approach produces for both coherent interpretation and consistency in biblical theology, this episode looks at positive indications in the text that compel us to read the temple vision in a way that transcends literalism. Doing so observes the way Ezekiel re-purposes cosmic mountain imagery and Leviticus 25 in these chapters and produces fascinating conceptual and theological connections between the temple vision and Jesus, his atonement, and believers as members of his body.
Jon D. Levenson, “The Temple and the World,” The Journal of Religion 64, no. 3 (Jul., 1984): 275-298 (esp. pp. 283-289)
John S. Bergsma, “Restored Temple as ‘Built Jubilee’ in Ezek 40-48,” Proceedings of the Eastern Great Lakes and Midwest Biblical Societies 24 (2004): 75-85
These final chapters of Ezekiel are known for the prophet’s vision of a new temple. However, scattered within that vision is an enigmatic figure referred to as the “prince” (Hebrew: nasiʾ). In this episode we discuss whether or not Ezekiel’s temple vision should be understood as a functioning building used after the return of the messiah, and how such a literal expectation aligns (or not) with the notion that the “prince” is a Davidic messianic figure. There are serious textual and theological problems for rigid literalism in both respects.
Drawings of Ezekiel’s Temple
This episode features a conversation with David Limbaugh, author of The True Jesus: Uncovering the Divinity of Christ in the Gospels. While the conversation naturally focuses on David’s most recent book, we also get to know him, his spiritual journey, and his thoughts about academic biblical study and its place in the Church at large.
This follow-up to Part 1 on these popular and controversial chapters focuses on the interpretation of the Gog-Magog invasion as a whole. Special attention is paid to how Rev 20:7-10 re-purposes Ezekiel 38-39 and how that re-purposing is consistent with a sound interpretation of those two chapters in their own context. They key to this consistency is recognizing the cosmic-supernatural outlook of elements in Ezekiel 38-39, particularly the description of participants and the burial of Gog and his hordes in the “Valley of the Travelers (Hebrew: ‘oberim)” in Ezek 39:11.
“Day of the Lord” (Anchor Bible Dictionary)
Meredith Kline, “Har Magedon: The End of the Millennium,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 39:2 (June 1996): 207-222
Ezekiel 38-39, Part 1: Who or What is Gog?
As was the case with Ezekiel 37, these chapters are among the most familiar in the entire book of Ezekiel. This first of two episodes on these chapters focuses on the terminology: Gog, Magog, Meshech, Tubal, and Togarmah. It also addresses the fallacies of translating Hebrew nesiʾ roʾsh as “prince of Rosh” and interpreting the phrase as modern-day Russia, and the difficulties ancient translators had with the term. An alternative understanding of Gog is offered, one that is consistent with the supernaturalistic worldview of the “foe from the north” motif in Old Testament thought.
Greece Anatolia Russia Map
Paul Tanner, “Daniel’s ‘King of the North’: Do We Owe Russia an Apology?” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 35:3 [Sept 1992]: 315-328 (see esp. 322-326 for the evangelical dispensational predilection for an identification with Russia). Tanner’s article will also be some useful backgrounding for Part 2 of Ezekiel 38-39.
Ezekiel 37 is one of the most familiar in the entire book, but that familiarity really extends only to the first fourteen verses. The chapter actually contains two oracles which telegraph the same ideas and work in tandem. This episode discusses the vision of the dry bones, particularly the debate over whether it provides information on a theology of individual bodily resurrection, and the prophecy of the two sticks representing the rejoining of the two halves of Israel. Both parts of the chapter relate to the restoration of the entire nation and return to the land. The question of fulfillment for these prophecies is also taken up in this episode.
These two chapters seems intrusive. The oracles against the nations ended in Ezekiel 32, followed by the announcement of Jerusalem’s fall (ch. 33) and a transition to the future hope of Israel (ch. 34). Chapters 35-36 are an oracle against Edom (“Mount Seir”) followed by more restorative language in Chapter 36. This episode of the podcast explains why Ezekiel 35 isn’t interruptive because, for the Israelite and OT theology, the judgment of Edom was part of Israel’s restoration to her former glory. Chapter 36, more obviously about the future hope of Israel, raises important questions about eschatology. Specifically, many Bible students assume the chapter’s comments about the coming of the Spirit and restoration of God’s people to the land pertain to a future millennial kingdom. However, the NT quotes the chapter several times, at least two of which have fulfillment in the first century or the OT period itself. Ezekiel 36 therefore raises the issue of whether any element of Ezekiel 36 awaits fulfillment in the distant future—a question that is appropriate the rest of the way (Ezekiel 37-48).
This episode follows episodes 68 and 120. Fern, Audrey, and Beth minister to trauma victims whose trauma has produced DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) or involved Trauma-based Mind Control (TBMC). If those terms and associated concepts are unfamiliar to you, then episode 68 is an essential precursor to this episode. This episode focuses on addressing listener questions about this ministry. What you’ll hear in this episode, however, isn’t a model for ministry. As you listen, do not assume you can take what’s said today, get the transcript, make a checklist, and do this sort of ministry. The episode discusses in some detail how the ministry of Fern, Audrey, and Beth differs from traditional deliverance ministry and why those differences matter.
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Project Bluebird Colin Ross
On the surface, these chapters finalize the destruction of Jerusalem and the covenant failure of its leadership and people as the cause. But there is more than meets the eye. The notion of a “watchman” prominent in Ezekiel chapter 33 is found elsewhere and has possible connections to the divine council. Ezekiel chapter 34 is heavily re-purposed in the New Testament, especially in casting Jesus in the role of God, the true shepherd of Israel. Lastly, we get a hint of the “already but not yet” theme of biblical eschatology.
Ezekiel 32 is a lament for the empire of Egypt, whose hubris was compared to a rebellious divine council member in the previous chapter (one of the “trees” of God’s garden in Lebanon/Eden). This episode focuses on two items in the chapter. Early in the chapter, the prophet casts pharaoh as both a sea dragon and a lion, two seemingly incompatible metaphors. Is this a mistake or is it meaningful? This episode also discusses whether Ezekiel 32:21-28 has anything to do with the origin of demons as the disembodied spirits of the giants.
Theodore Lewis, “CT 13.33-34 and Ezekiel 32: Lion-Dragon Myths,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 116:1 (1996):28-47
Ezekiel 31 is part of the prophet’s oracles against Egypt (chs. 29-32). The chapter strikes an analogy between the mighty nation of Egypt and a great cedar tree in Eden, the envy of other glorious trees in the garden of God. The symbol of the “world tree” or “cosmic tree” is well known, not only to scholars of the ancient Near East, but other cultures as well. The cosmic tree represents a mythological pillar or column that unites all elements of Israel’s ancient three-tiered cosmology. Its branches reach the heavens; its trunk is fixed to the earth, while its roots descend into the subterranean deep of Sheol. It gives life to everything living thing yet it intersects with the realm of the dead. As with Ezekiel28, many scholars presume the point of that the great tree is Adam, to whom Pharaoh is being compared and judged for his hubris. This common assumption misses the meaning of the primeval cosmic tree and its associated forest as this episode details.
Silviu Bunta, “The MEŠU-Tree and the Animal Inside: Theomorphism and Theriomorphism in Daniel 4,” Scrinium 3:1 (2007): 364-384
Edward Lipinski, “El’s Abode: Mythological Traditions Related to Mount Hermon and to the Mountains of Armenia,” Orientalia Lovaniensa Periodica II, (Leuven, 1971), pp. 13-69
Ezekiel 29-30 are the first two of four chapters that preserve a series of oracles against Egypt and her Pharaoh. As in the case of the oracles against the prince of Tyre, Ezekiel’s imagery of cosmic, non-human forces of chaos that resist God’s order frames Yahweh’s judgment of the hubris of Egypt. This episode therefore pays special attention to chaos and Leviathan imagery while referencing other symbols and metaphors that juxtapose Egypt’s deserved demise and Israel’s future restoration.
The focus in this episode is Ezek 28:1-19. As readers of my book, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible know, this is a controversial passage. All scholars agree that this is an oracle and lament against a human prince of Tyre. The disagreement stems from vv. 11-19, but 1-19 is peripherally affected. The debate is over just who the prince of Tyre in vv. 11-19 is being compared to — i.e., what is the point of analogy? Many say that the prince of Tyre is being compared to Adam in Eden. This would mean that it is Adam who is being referred to as a “guardian cherub” (v. 14) who walked in the midst of the stone of fire (a reference to either divine council members or the divine council locale). Dr. Heiser shares the view of other scholars who say that the prince of Tyre is being compared to a divine rebel — and that this passage is related to another one (Isaiah 14) that compares a human ruler (king of Babylon) to a divine rebel. Further, he argues that these two passages are related to Genesis 3, the OT’s own story of a primeval divine rebellion. This means that the anointed cherub is a divine being, a rebellious member of the divine council (stones of fire) – not Adam. This episode explores why the debate exists and adds some details in defense of Dr. Heiser’s position.
Five of the seven nations that are the target of judgment oracles were found in Ezekiel 25. Tyre takes its position in the prophetic crosshairs next. Over the course of three chapters (26-28), God has Ezekiel pronounce Tyre’s dire future in the wake of her hubris and delight at Jerusalem’s destruction. This episode covers Ezekiel 26-27 with an oracle of judgment (Ezek 26) and a lament (Ezek 27).
Following the prophecy of Jerusalem’s fall (Ezek 24), the next major section in the book of Ezekiel is a series of oracles against the foreign, enemy nations that celebrated the city’s demise. Seven nations are denounced by the prophet as under Yahweh’s judgment. Nearly every book classified among the major and minor prophets contains a collection of such oracles (e.g., Isaiah 13–23; Jeremiah 46–51). This episode discusses the nature of these oracles and discusses how the oracles of Chapter 25 can be read in the context of the Deuteronomy 32 cosmic-geographical worldview of Israel.
Chapter 24 is a turning book in the book of Ezekiel. After Ezekiel’s call (Ch. 1-3), the book has, to this point, been a series of gloom-and-doom pronouncements to the exiled Jews in Babylon subverting their expectations that Jerusalem, the temple, and their friends and loved ones back in Jerusalem were safe from divine judgment. Chapter 24 announces the judgment of the city of Jerusalem and what’s left of Israel has begun—Ezekiel is to mark the very day he received the oracles which constitute this chapter.
On what day was Jesus actually born? What year? Does the timing matter? Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25, but virtually all Christians know that day isn’t the real birth date of the messiah. While that is certainly the case, has the birth date of Jesus been lost to time, or can it be reckoned. This episode of the podcast explores these questions and provides a solution draw from Scripture, backed by both Jewish messianic tradition and astronomy.
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Ezekiel 23 essentially takes up where Ezekiel 16 left off. The latter chapter is perhaps the most sexual explicit in the entire Bible, as its theme is to present Jerusalem and Judah as a whore to telegraph her spiritual betrayal of Yahweh. In this chapter both the defunct Norther kingdom (Israel/Samaria) and the remaining Southern kingdom (Judah/Jerusalem) are portrayed as sister prostitutes (Oholah and Oholibah), soliciting every man they can find. The names of the sisters convey the focus well: Israel went into apostasy, and her sister followed her path. And that means the remaining sister, Jerusalem, will come to the same end as Samaria did.
These two chapters of Ezekiel beat a familiar drum: Jerusalem is doomed (21) because of her unrelenting wickedness and apostasy (22). Chapter 21 consists of four oracles “clarifying” for hard-of-hearing Israelites what fate awaited them as Nebuchadnezzar moved toward Jerusalem. Chapter 22 is comprised of three separate sermonettes targeting the evils of the city’s politicians, prophets, priests, and population. The city is cast as worse than Sodom and Gomorrah, as God charges he cannot find a single person (Ezek 22:30) in the city who will put himself on the line to oppose its evil.
These two chapters in Ezekiel rehearse parts of Israel’s tragic history in different ways. This episode discusses both chapters, but devotes more attention to several controversial and difficult passages in chapter 20. Ezekiel 19 is a lamentation that uses animal and plant imagery to describe the demise of Israel’s last few kings. Chapter 20 reviews Israel’s history of apostasy and Yahweh’s gracious refusal to abandon them altogether.
During the recent annual meetings for biblical studies scholars held in San Antonio, Dr. Heiser interviewed a number of scholars about their recent work. In Part 6 of those interviews, we chat with Stephen Huebscher (PhD candidate at Clarks Summit University), David DeSilva (New Testament professor at Ashland Theological Seminary), and Dr. Craig Keener (New Testament professor at Asbury Theological Seminary).
During the recent annual meetings for biblical studies scholars held in San Antonio, Dr. Heiser interviewed a number of scholars about their recent work. In Part 5 of those interviews, we meet Dr. John Walton (Old Testament professor at Wheaton College), Dr. Ben Witherington (New Testament professor at Asbury Theological Seminary), and Dr. Tremper Longman (Old Testament professor at Westmont College).
During the recent annual meetings for biblical studies scholars held in San Antonio, Dr. Heiser interviewed a number of scholars about their recent work. In Part 4 of those interviews, we chat with Dr. N. T. Wright (former Bishop of Durham and Canon of Westminster, now New Testament professor at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland), Dr. Brannon Ellis (Publisher for Lexham Press), and Dr. Carmen Imes, who teaches biblical studies at George Fox University.
During the recent annual meetings for biblical studies scholars held in San Antonio, Dr. Heiser interviewed a number of scholars about their recent work. In Part 3 of those interviews, we hear again from David Burnett, a familiar voice on the podcast, and meet Dr. Lynn Cohick (New Testament professor at Wheaton College) and Dr. Peter Gurry (New Testament textual critic, blogger at the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog).
During the recent annual meetings for biblical studies scholars held in San Antonio, Dr. Heiser interviewed a number of scholars about their recent work. In Part 2 of those interviews, we meet Dr. Andy Naselli (New Testament professor at Bethlehem College and Seminary), Mike Licona (Theology professor at Houston Baptist University), Dr. Sam Lamerson (President & New Testament professor, Knox Theological Seminary), and Kyle Greenwood (Old Testament professor at Colorado Christian University).
During the recent annual meetings for biblical studies scholars held in San Antonio, Dr. Heiser interviewed a number of scholars about their recent work. In this first installment, we hear from Dr. Carl Sanders and Thomas Hudgens (respectively, professors of Theology and New Testament at Lancaster Bible College & Graduate School), and Randall Price of World of the Bible Ministries.
Ezekiel 18 focuses on one central idea: individual accountability for one’s own sinfulness. The chapter opens with God’s rejection of the pervasive Israelite idea that the suffering of one generation is the result of the sins of previous generations. The message God wants to communicate through the prophet is that the Israelites in captivity in Babylon and those about to suffer the destruction of Jerusalem have no one but themselves to blame. But yet the idea of corporate responsibility and the effects of sin being felt “unto the third and fourth generation” is found in the Torah. This episode discusses how individual and corporate responsibility are complementary, not contradictory.
Everyone interested in the study of Scripture wants to feel adequate to the task. But there are many obstacles—real and merely imagined—to being competent in Bible study. In this episode Dr. Heiser interviews his long-time friend and colleague, Johnny Cisneros. With skills in biblical language study and doctoral candidate status in instructional design, Johnny Cisneros is the perfect person to not only help people think better about strategies and tools for Bible study, but to also produce something useful to everyone who wants to develop Bible study skills. The discussion focuses on studying Greek and Hebrew words and a new video course developed by Johnny Cisneros that is about to launch.
URL for course: biblewordnerd.com
Ezekiel 17 presents a riddle or parable of two eagles about the treachery of Zedekiah, the puppet governor appointed by Nebuchadnezzar to replace Jehoiachin, the Judahite king taken captive in an earlier wave of exile of which Ezekiel had been a part. Zedekiah would be captured in the last phase of exile, the destruction of Jerusalem, in 586 B.C. Part of the riddle includes messianic language of the branch, verbiage that takes this episode’s discussion into the Bible’s adaptation of the ancient omphalos (“navel of the earth”) myth.
Articles on the omphalos / “navel of the earth” motif:
Alexander, Philip S. “Jerusalem as the Omphalos of the World: On the History of a Geographical Concept.” Judaism 46, no. 2 (1997): 147–58.
Terrien, Samuel L. “Omphalos Myth and Hebrew Religion.” Vetus Testamentum 20, no. 3 (1970): 315–38.
Wensinck, A. J. The Ideas of the Western Semites Concerning the Navel of the Earth. Amsterdam: Johannes Müller, 1916. (public domain)
Ezekiel 16 is known for being the most sexually explicit chapter in the Bible. Some scholars even consider it pornographic. The prophet casts the city of Jerusalem as a whore when articulating why God has condemned it and marked it for destruction. This episode explores the portrayal of spiritual apostasy as wanton whoredom in all its ugliness—and God’s amazing ability to forgive in spite of it.
The words of Ezekiel 14-15 were addressed to Jewish elders in Babylon who had come to Ezekiel for a word from the Lord. Knowing they were still idol worshippers in their hearts, God refused to give them comfort. Instead he lowered the boom: Jerusalem’s judgment was certain. God’s case is presented in language drawn from Leviticus 26, which had foreshadowed Israel’s apostasy and expulsion from the land. This episode focuses on this vocabulary and a special interpretive problem of Ezekiel 14.
The prophet Ezekiel has telegraphed the doom of Jerusalem in a series of visual re-enactment signs, visions, and prophetic oracles. Chapters 12-13 continue with more sign acts, but shifts to God’s assessment of objections by the exiles as to the certainty of Jerusalem’s fate. God therefore directs Ezekiel to demolish the idea that “We have heard all this doom and gloom before, but nothing ever happens.”
Fern and Audrey return with an update on their work with ritual abuse survivors, and introduce a colleague (“Beth”) who does the same work. Beth tells listeners her own story of growing up in “traditional” deliverance ministry, and how her approach to helping survivors now is different in light of the divine council worldview.
Ezekiel 10-11 are the concluding chapters to a prophetic vision that began in chapter 8. In this episode we discover how these chapters provide more Godhead talk from the Old Testament and the departure of the glory of God from the temple.
Dr. Heiser answers your questions.
Romans 5:12 and the fate of the unborn, aborted, those who cannot believe
Link to Mike’s recommended reading for 2nd Temple Jewish Literature
(not mentioned on the show)… links to two annotated bibliographies on 2nd Temple Jewish Literature:
Part 1 – bibliography
Part 2 – bibliography
Ezekiel 8 and 9 falls in the section of Ezekiel that concerns two themes: the punishment of Jerusalem and the departure of the glory of God. In Chapter 8 we’re introduced to some specific points of Israelite idolatry – worship of Asherah and worshipping the creator as though he were part of creation. Ezekiel 9 hearkens back to our earlier episode about God keeping a record of the faithful. The judgment vision also takes us back to similar events like the death angel at Passover.
Having performed a series of sign acts dramatizing the demise of Jerusalem and the temple in (Ezek 4-5) and explaining the justification for God’s punishment (Ezek 6), in Ezekiel 7 the prophet tries to jolt the exiles with the reality of the impending doom. Ezekiel 7’s main feature is its dramatic repetition of doom, a feature necessitated by the belief of many Israelites in the inviolability of Zion. Ezekiel disabuses his hearers of that myth in Chapter 7.
Chapter 6 of the book of Ezekiel focuses on the primary reason for Judah’s exile: idolatry. This episode discusses the vocabulary used by Ezekiel for idolatry and spiritual apostasy and its links back to passages like Leviticus 26, which connect occupation of the Promised Land to believing loyalty to Yahweh alone.
These two chapters of Ezekiel confront the reader with a series of “sign acts” on the part of the prophet. These signs are dramatic visualizations of events that are or will befall Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians. They present a range of interpretive problems that are discussed in this episode.
The second and third chapters of Ezekiel continue the episode of his call as a prophet. This episode of the podcast focuses on some interpretive issues in the chapters as well as some divine council elements that get less attention than chapter 1.
The vision of Ezekiel 1 (also described in Ezekiel 10) is one of the more famous passages in the Bible. It’s also one of the most misunderstood. In this episode Dr. Heiser explains what we’re looking at in Ezekiel 1 and what it means. Along the way, it will be clear that Ezekiel isn’t describing a flying saucer or anything that would have been unfamiliar to an Israelite. We can know what Ezekiel saw because of the iconography (artwork) of the day that has survived and also because of its close connections to other Old Testament passages.
Ezekiel 1 PDF
This episode marks the beginning of the Naked Bible Podcast series on the book of Ezekiel. Several characteristics set Ezekiel off from the rest of the classical (“Writing”) prophets: the prophet’s bizarre behavior, the use of symbols and symbolic acts, and the emphasis on the Spirit. This episode introduces the prophet and what to expect as we explore the book in future series episodes.
In view of Mike’s work on the divine council and Psalm 82 in his best-selling book, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, many have asked what’s going on in John 10, where Jesus defends his deity by quoting Psalm 82. The consensus interpretation has the gods of Psalm 82 as only people – Jewish elders or Israelites at Sinai (both of which are unmentioned in Psalm 82). How does that approach make sense when Jesus needs to defend statements of equality with the Father elsewhere in the chapter (John 10:30, 38)? Mike’s view is that such an approach makes no sense at all – and that there is much more coherent alternative.
Mike laid out his view in a conference paper accessible on the Unseen Realm’s companion website (Chapter 4 tab).
Mike’s slide presentation:
or download powerpoint slideshow here
Chances are good that you’ve never read the book of Obadiah. If you have, you likely haven’t given it much thought. In this first of two episodes devoted to the book, we get a bird’s eye view of what Obadiah is about and why it’s important for forming our theological thinking in some unexpected ways.
On a previous episode, Mike interview Rick Brannan on how we go the New Testament Testament and why conspiratorial ideas about the Greek New Testament are bogus. In this episode the Old Testament gets equal time. Mike overviews how the OT books were composed, edited, received, transmitted by scribes, and published to the present day (with a little Dead Sea Scrolls conspiracy debunking along the way).
Inspiration, Inerrancy, and The OT Canon: The Place Of Textual Updating In An Inerrant View Of Scripture
Many Bible students find the episode in Numbers 21:1-9 confusing. Why would God tell Moses to make a bronze serpent (nachash)? Did God forget about the serpent of Genesis 3? Why would Jesus compare his impending death on the cross to the bronze serpent? This episode asks whether these ideas are in fact connected and how the serpent in the wilderness episode should be interpreted.
Naked Bible 102: What does “All Israel will be saved” Mean?
It’s common among Christians to interpret Paul’s statement that “all Israel will be saved” (Rom 11:25-26) to refer to mean that national Israel will be saved by God in the end or that all Jews will eventually turn to the messiah in the end times. But is that what Paul meant? How would we know? This episode discusses Paul’s statement and these questions.
Summary of Christopher Zoccali, “And So All Israel Will be Saved: Competing Interpretations of Romans 11.26 in Pauline Scholarship,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 2008: 289-317
Staples’ article: Jason A. Staples, “What Do the Gentiles Have to Do with “All Israel”? A Fresh Look at Romans 11:25–27,” Journal of Biblical Literature 130:2 (2011): 371-390
Naked Bible 101: Jesus, the Exile, and the Tribulation
Lots of Christians interested in prophecy talk about the tribulation period (aka, the “Great Tribulation”), but they never seem to get around to asking where the idea comes from. In this episode we explore the development of the eschatological tribulation idea in Second Temple Jewish literature up to and including the time of Jesus. Surprisingly, asking what the tribulation meant in the actual New Testament era is a recent strategy of scholars – and something that never happens in popular prophecy teaching.
We reached a milestone and celebrated with our listeners. Thanks to all who sent in their thoughts. It’s gratifying for both Trey and myself to be helpful to those who care about biblical content. Thank you for listening to The Naked Bible Podcast God bless…
Naked Bible 99: Debunking Greek NT Manuscript Conspiracies
How did we get the New Testament? This episode is in response to listener requests. Mike and Trey interview Rick Brannan, the information specialist for Greek New Testament products and databases at Logos Bible Software, about how we got the New Testament, the KJV-only idea, and conspiratorial views about the history and transmission of the Greek New Testament. We also talk about tools for learning about the Greek New Testament and its vocabulary. Rick is the general editor of the Lexham English Septuagint, translator of The Apostolic Fathers in English, and author of Greek Apocryphal Gospels, Fragments, and Agrapha.
Summary of how the Byzantine-Majority Text (and the Textus Receptus) gets defended against the Alexandrian. Drawn from D. A Carson, The King James Version Debate, A Plea for Realism, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1986), pp. 39-78
Rick’s personal blog: http://rickbrannan.com
Rick’s Twitter: @RickBrannan
Publisher: http://appianwaypress.com (Appian Way Press)
Lexical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles: First Timothy
Publisher page: https://appianwaypress.com/lcpe-first-timothy/
Second Timothy: Notes on Grammar, Structure, and Syntax
Publisher page: https://appianwaypress.com/second-timothy-notes/
In this episode Mike and Trey talk with Tim Andrews and Rich Baker about alternative ways to think about church – specifically, if church wasn’t a time or a place, what would that be like? Tim Andrews currently lives in Atlanta, GA, and has been in leadership in alternative church communities for over twenty years. Rich Baker has a long history in ministry to the homeless and other marginalized communities in the US and abroad. Many who listen to the podcast feel displaced from church and have expressed the desire to connect with likeminded people. This episode focuses on how the traditional modern church model can either be supplemented or replaced with Christian fellowship that builds a sense of family and is serious about biblical content.
Naked Bible 95: David Burnett – Resurrection and the Death of the Gods
This episode invites David Burnett back to the podcast for a discussion of his research on 1 Cor 15:35-50. In an earlier episode on this chapter, we talked about the meaning of Paul’s phrase “the spiritual body.” This time around, David draws our attention to the listing of “bodies” (celestial vs. earthly) in vv. 35-41 and asks: (1) what part of the OT is Paul drawing on for this list and (2) why would Paul bother to bring up this list in a discussion of the resurrection. The answers will blow your mind, as the listing derives from, and connects into, a number of well-known divine council passages. Once you hear David’s explanation of the most important text on the resurrection in the entire New Testament, 1 Corinthians 15, you will never read it the same way again. If you’ve ever wondered how the divine council worldview relates to New Testament theology, this is an episode for you.
To invite David to speak at your church, conference, or event email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook here.
To support David’s ministry – click here.
Naked Bible 94: The Sin of the Watchers and Galatians 3-4
Biblical scholars know that Paul subordinates the Law to Christ (Gal 3:1-18). He writes about how the Law could not result in the fruition of the promises given to Abraham (and, by extension, to all nations; Gen 12:1-3). Paul then asks “Why then was the law given?” He answers that it was “added because of transgressions” (Gal 3:19). The most common assumption is that this (somehow) means the Law was a response to Adam’s sin, or human sins. But, and Adam sinned only once so far as the Bible tells us. Opting for the law being added in response to human sins doesn’t address why humanity became so wicked that it needed the law. Most Christians would defer to Adam’s transgression at this point, but there is no Romans 5:12 in Galatians (Romans is a later epistle). This episode takes a minority view of Paul’s statement about the addition of the law—at least among Christians. This view, however, reflects the viewpoint of nearly every Second Temple Jewish text (Paul’s era) known to exist that comments on human depravity: that the Law was added to restrain human evil, which proliferated not because of Adam, but because of the sin of the Watchers in Gen 6:1-4.
Naked Bible 93: The Book of Enoch in the Early Church
The book we know as 1 Enoch was well known to early Christians. Its importance produced an understandable question among some influential early Christian writers and, one may presume, Christians in general: Should 1 Enoch be considered inspired and thus “Scripture” in the manner of other books in the Old Testament? Ultimately, Christianity at large answered this question negatively, save for the Church in Ethiopia. But the discussion is nonetheless of interest today. This episode presents an abbreviated survey of how select Second Temple Jews and early Christian books and writers assessed the scriptural status of 1 Enoch.
Google Book referenced:
James C. VanderKam, “1 Enoch, Enochic Motifs, and Enoch in Early Christian Literature,” Pages 33-101 in James C. VanderKam and William Adler, eds., The Jewish Apocalyptic Heritage in Early Christianity (Compendia rerum iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum 3/4; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996).
Nickelsburg Knowledge of Enoch and Watchers Story in Early Judaism and Christianity
Ezekiel 28:14, 16 describe an “anointed cherub” who walked in the midst of “the stones of fire” and was removed from among “the stones of fire.” What are the stones of fire? What do these verses describe? How do the phrases relate to what’s going on in Ezekiel 28 and its “twin,” Isaiah 14?
blog post referenced
This episode discusses why hellfire in the New Testament is associated with “the devil and his angels” (Matt 25:41). Where does that idea come from? There are in fact earlier books that are the basis for this language—inside and outside the Old Testament.
There are over a dozen references in the Old and New Testaments to “books” in heaven. The idea of such books extends back to Sumer and Mesopotamian (“tablets of destinies”). In this episode, we trace the lineage of the idea through ancient Near Eastern examples, the Old Testament, 2nd temple Jewish texts, and the New Testament. Are these records “real time” record keeping? Proof of predestination?
Naked Bible 88: What is the “spiritual body” Paul talks about in 1 Cor 15?
This episode focuses on Paul’s language, in 1 Cor 15 and elsewhere, about the “spiritual body” of the resurrected Jesus—a body that believers will also share. In Paul’s day, Gentiles (Greco-Roman culture) and Jews (OT) both believed that gods had bodies — not made of flesh and blood, but of something that was superior to flesh and blood. In other words, gods weren’t simply formless, substance-less “energy” or spirit. Paul taught that Christians would one day share Christ’s body—that they would have the same sort of body.
Naked Bible 87: Exorcism of Demons as Part of the Messianic Profile
There is no direct talk in the Old Testament about the messiah, the son of David, would cast out demons. Yet that title (“son of David”) is found only in the synoptic gospels in association with Jesus’ healing and demonic exorcisms. While healing is a clear part of the messianic profile in the Old Testament, exorcising demons is not. What predisposed first century Jews to the idea that the Davidic messiah would cast out demons? How was that part of the messianic profile?
Naked Bible 86: The Head Covering of 1 Corinthians 11:13-15
This episode begins a series of topical episodes following the end of our series on Leviticus. The topic for this episode is the controversial head covering reference in 1 Cor. 11:13-15. The discussion summarizes the material discussed in a scholarly journal article published in 2004 by Dr. Troy Martin entitled, “Paul’s Argument from Nature for the Veil in 1 Cor. 11:13-15: A Testicle instead of a Head Covering” (Journal of Biblical Literature 123:1 : 75-84). Martin summarizes his approach as follows: “This article interprets Paul’s argument from nature in 1 Cor. 11:13-15 against the background of ancient physiology. The Greek and Roman medical texts provide useful information for interpreting not only Paul’s letters but also other NT texts.” The article (and the author’s subsequent responses to criticism, also published in academic literature) presents a compelling case and is, to Dr. Heiser’s knowledge, the only approach that provides a coherent explanation as to why the head covering warnings are important, in the words of Paul “because of the angels” (1 Cor. 11:10). This warning ultimately takes readers back to the incident with the Watchers (sons of God) in Gen. 6:1-4. One of Martin’s concluding application thoughts is also important: “Since the physiological conceptions of the body have changed, however, no physiological reason remains for continuing the practice of covering women’s heads in public worship, and many Christian communities reasonably abandon this practice.” In other words, Paul’s rationale for what he says here is no longer coherent today — but his teaching points are (modesty, sexual fidelity). As such, wearing veils (in church or elsewhere) is a conscience issue, not a point of doctrine.
The nature of this material is overtly sexual, so this episode is for adult listeners.
Paul’s argument from nature for the veil in 1 Corinthians 11.13-15: A Testicle instead of a Head Covering
Why Should Women Cover their Heads bc of the Angels
Our 9th Question and Answer episode! Also find out what topics are next for the podcast.
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Harvey book on term Jew:
Graham Harvey, The True Israel: Uses of the Names Jew, Hebrew, and Israel in Ancient Jewish and Early Christian Literature (Brill, 2001)
This episode covers Leviticus 26-27, bringing our study of Leviticus to a close. Our focus is primarily a question raised by Lev 26 — whether the offer of restoration to Yahweh (and thus to the land) described in Lev 26:40-42 is being fulfilled now or is yet to be fulfilled. The episode also addresses the reference to Sabbath cycles in Lev 26 and the “offering of people” to the sanctuary in Lev 27.
This episode discusses items in three chapters of Leviticus including how Leviticus 23 conceptualizes the Sabbath, how its description of Israelite feasts and festivals diverges with other passages in the Torah, the imagery of the “shewbread” (“bread of the Presence”), the principle of lex talionis, and the concept of jubilee in Leviticus 25 and other sources, such as the New Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Wacholder Chronomessianism The Timing of Messianic Movements and Calendar of Sabbatical Cycles
Leviticus 21-22 overlaps a great deal with earlier material in Leviticus. This episode focuses on certain mourning rites and Israel’s need to maintain a holiness distinction from pagan religions in that regard. Of special interest in this episode is Lev 21:5 (cp. Lev 19:26-28), a passage many use to condemn tattooing.
Roberts A New Parallel to 1Kgs18
Gevaryahu Lev1928 Tattooing or Branding
This episode covers two chapters in Leviticus, chapters 19-20. Leviticus 19 is essentially a mini-Torah of sorts, in that it mimes a number of the Ten Commandments and a wide range of laws and commandments that are representative of the overall Torah. Chapter 20 re-articulates much of Leviticus 18 with respect to prohibitions of certain sexual behaviors. More specifically, the episode devotes time to the issue of why “mixtures” are prohibited (e.g., sexual relationships, fabrics, animal breeding, planting) and how those prohibitions reflect the supernatural worldview of the Old Testament.
Heiser OT Response to Pagan Divination
These two chapters launch that portion of Leviticus (17-26) that scholars refer to as the Holiness Code. The Holiness Code is oriented by the idea that the people of Israel bear the responsibility for holiness, a concept expressed in Lev 19:2 (“You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy”). Though rare in Leviticus and the rest of the Torah, this statement is stated repeatedly in the holiness code (e.g., Lev 17:1; 18:1; 19:2; 20:2; 22:17). In terms of chapters 17 and 18, the episode focuses on the heinousness of personal worship violations against Yahweh (ch. 17), punishable by “cutting off” (Hebrew: karat), and the logic behind forbidden sexual unions (ch. 18).
Hahn Bergsma Noahs nakedness and the curse on Canaan
Every year Mike attends the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), the Institute for Biblical Research (IBR), the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and the American Academy of Religion (AAR). This year Mike recorded short conversations with scholars, pastors, and other folks who were also attending. This episode is the second of two parts that shares those interviews with Naked Bible podcast listeners. Among those interviewed are Assyriologist and editor Dr. Steve Wiggins; Rick Brannon, the person in charge of Greek databases at Logos Bible Software; Dr. Ken Penner, who specializes in Septuagint, Pseudepigrapha, and Qumran texts; and Old Testament scholar Elizabeth Hayes.
Every year Mike attends the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), the Institute for Biblical Research (IBR), the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and the American Academy of Religion (AAR). This year Mike recorded short conversations with scholars, pastors, and other folks who were also attending. This episode is the first of two parts that shares those interviews with Naked Bible podcast listeners. Among those interviewed are theology professors Dr. Carl Sanders and Dr. Gerry Breshears; Danish Old Testament historian Dr. Jens Kofoed; New Testament scholar Dr. Darrell Bock; Mike’s first Bible professor, Dr. Ed Glenny; and Mike’s first pastor as a new Christian, Dr. Dave Burggraff.
This episode focuses on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) ritual. Unlike many popular commentaries teach, this important Old Testament ritual was about “resetting” the tabernacle/temple sanctuary, its priesthood, and the Israelite people to the state of ritual purity (holiness) evident when the entire Levitical system and the Tabernacle was originally sanctified in Leviticus 8. The episode reviews the nature of “atonement” language discussed in earlier episodes, the matter of the goat “for Azazel,” and the conceptual meaning of the “mercy seat.”
Equilibrium and the Sacred Compass: The Structure of Leviticus
This episode covers Leviticus 12-15, chapters that speak to the ritual impurity of women after childbirth, skin diseases (commonly referred to as leprosy), and loss of bodily fluids. The episode discusses the theological and worldview rationale for the laws about ritual procedure to restore individuals falling into these categories to ritual purity.
This chapter of Leviticus describes the categories of clean and unclean animals allowed or disallowed for food. The Israelite “food laws” have long puzzled scholars. This episode overviews the various approaches to discovering a coherent rationale for these laws.
Leviticus 10 describes the deaths of the priests Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, for offering “strange fire”. The nature of their transgression and other admonitions from God to the priesthood are discussed in this episode.
Leviticus 8-9 describes two distinct but related ceremonies: the consecration of the altar and Tabernacle, and the consecration of Aaron as High Priest (vv. 6–12) and his sons as priests. This episode focuses on some of the objects worn by the high priest (ephod, gold plate) and the enigmatic Urim and Thummim.
Our 7th Question and Answer episode!
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Genesis & Creation – Class 3 of 4 – September 29, 2010 from Grace Church Bellingham on Vimeo.
These two chapters of Leviticus present the “law” for each of the sacrifices described in chapters 1–5. The earlier chapters emphasize the mechanics of the sacrifices (e.g., the preparation of sacrifices and their ingredients). Leviticus 6-7, on the other hand, focuses on the duties of the priesthood in regard to sacrificial offerings and how the priests participated in sacrificial meals. Analogies to the Lord’s Supper and the NT idea of the priesthood of the believer are discussed in the episode.
In this episode we take a break from Leviticus to talk to two friends of Mike who use the divine council worldview of biblical theology in a unique way – ministering to deliberately / ritually traumatized people (e.g., victims of human trafficking and satanic ritual abuse). For those who have read Mike’s novel, The Portent, sequel to The Façade, the name “Fern” will be familiar. The “Fern” of this episode’s interview is the real person behind that character, though Fern is not her real name. “Audrey” (also a pseudonym) assists Fern in this ministry.
Contact information for Fern and Audrey is available upon request at email@example.com or visit their website: https://discoveringmercy.org
Leviticus 5 focuses on the so-called “guilt offering” of the OT sacrificial system. As was the case with the “sin offering” of Leviticus 4, the terminology / translation “guilt offering” is misleading, due to how Christians naturally filter OT sacrificial talk through what happened on the cross. The episode discusses what the “guilt offering” really meant and accomplished (or not).
Leviticus 4 focuses on the instructions for, and meaning of, the so-called “sin offering” of the OT sacrificial system. In this episode, we talk about how the translation “sin offering” is misleading, due to how Christians naturally filter OT sacrificial talk through what happened on the cross. The episode discusses what the “sin offering” really meant and accomplished (or not).
Each of these two chapters covers a different offering: the grain offering (Lev 2) and the “peace offering” (Lev 3). This episode focuses on the theological messaging of prohibitions (leaven, honey) and requirements (salt) in the rituals.
Leviticus 1 focuses on one offering, the burnt offering. Our focus this episode is how an Israelite (not a modern Christian) would have processed the ritual and its meaning. The burnt offering was not about forgiveness of sin. Rather, it was designed to initiate contact with God—which was viewed as a dangerous thing.
Leviticus is a fascinating but neglected book. In this episode Dr. Heiser introduces the flow of the book and important concepts that will reoccur throughout the book: sacred space, holiness, and ritual impurity vs. moral impurity.
In this episode Mike interviews his friend and fellow divine council researcher David Burnett. David is a graduate student and teaching pastor in Texas. Mike and David discuss how they met, David’s research, and how he teaches Scripture framed by a divine council worldview at his church.
David’s paper has been solicited by the Journal of the Study of Paul and His Letters and is waiting on the official publication date. To request a copy of his paper, feel free to email David at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook here.
This episode wraps up our study of the book of Acts. These two chapters focus on Luke’s account of Paul’s hazardous journey by ship to Rome. Through the course of his narrative, Luke drops some cryptic references to the theological concept of a promised land for the people of God and Paul’s role in reclaiming the nations disinherited at Babel, the heart of the Deuteronomy 32 worldview.
Here is the paper referenced in the show:
Colson Triangular Numbers in the NT
These chapters cover the trials and imprisonments of Paul before setting sail for Rome to appeal to Caesar. Rather than focusing on the trial scenes, this episode of the podcast for the most part focuses on several statements of theological importance nestled amid the narrative, such as the what the Sadducees denied about angels, whether it is proper to say that Christianity was viewed as a heresy in the first century (i.e., whether our typical understanding of that word applies correctly), and whether Jesus was a secretly a member of a religious sect that the New Testament writers don’t want you to know about.
paper referenced in the show:
Nazōraios – TDNT
In an earlier episode (#50), we asked whether Paul’s stoning at Lystra in Acts 14 was the backdrop for the heavenly visionary experience he described in 2 Corinthians 12. Did Paul in fact have an NDE? We concluded that the chronology Paul alluded to in 2 Corinthians 12 didn’t align with the Lystra event and therefore dismissed that possibility. In this episode, we consider a more fruitful trajectory. In Acts 22:17 Paul alludes to a trance vision he had shortly after his conversion experience – an experience distinct from his encounter on the road to Damascus but in which he nevertheless saw Jesus again. This correlation works chronologically. If we presume a relationship between Acts 22:17-21 and 2 Corinthians 12, but passages take on new significance – especially when we consider similar ascension experiences into the heavenly places found in Jewish literature prior to, and contemporary with, the apostolic era.
Here are the papers referenced in the show:
HEAVEN, Heavenlies, Paradise-DPL
Heavenly Ascent in Jewish and Pagan Traditions-DNTB
Acts 20-21 describes Paul’s last missionary trip before returning to Jerusalem where he was saved by Roman soldiers from rioting Jews who spotted him in the temple. His deliverance would ultimately result in an appeal to Caesar and subsequent journey to Rome. These two chapters include the story of Eutychus, an incident of surprising importance for (again) establishing Paul’s apostolic and prophetic credentials. Lastly, Acts 20-21 provide insight into Paul’s understanding of how his life was a living fulfillment of the reclaiming of the nations set aside by Yahweh at Babel (Deut. 32:8-9).
In this episode Mike chats with his friend and co-conspirator in divine council research, Dr. Ronn Johnson. Ronn and Mike met as undergraduates in Bible college in the early 1980s. Ronn has a PhD in Bible Exposition (Old and New Testament) from Dallas Theological Seminary. His dissertation focused on how the Deuteronomy 32 worldview of the gods of the nations influenced Paul’s thinking about principalities and powers. Ronn is the author of the small group leader’s guide for Mike’s book Supernatural.
Acts 18-19 introduce three people that become part of Paul’s ministry and the storyline of his missionary journeys: Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos. This episode discusses some of the language in Luke’s description of how the testimonies of people who embraced Jesus outside the ministry of the apostles were authenticated by the laying on of hands and manifestations of the Spirit identical to the phenomenon of Pentecost. Two incidents at Ephesus (the “sons of Sceva” encounter with a demon and the riot at Ephesus) are also discussed.
In Acts 16 Timothy joins Paul and Silas. In these two chapters there are several items of interest: the Spirit forbids and directs the team, they encounter a “python spirit,” they are supernaturally delivered from prison, and Paul uses some pagan literature to articulate some biblical theology – including some insight into the Deuteronomy 32 worldview.
Acts 15 is the account of the Jerusalem council, the meeting of the leadership of the church in Jerusalem, along with Paul and Barnabas, to discuss the matter of Gentile acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some Jewish believers were of the opinion that to be truly saved, Gentiles had to essentially become Jews—i.e., submit to circumcision and follow the law of Moses (Acts 15:1, 5). Peter, Paul, and Barnabas disagreed. The chapter records the decision of the council. Part of that decision includes an important citation of the OT by James, the leader of the church at Jerusalem, which helped to settle the matter on the side of Peter, Paul, and Barnabas. Nevertheless, certain stipulations were made of Gentiles, but not with respect to their salvation. This episode of the podcast takes a look at two items: (1) James’ use of the OT, asking the question of how the fulfillment of OT prophecy “worked”; and (2) the nature of the stipulations on Gentiles.
Here are the papers referenced in the show:
Glenny The Septuagint and apostolic hermeneutics Amos 9 in Acts 15
Tanner James’s quotation of Amos 9 to settle the Jerusalem council debate in Acts 15
Beale Carson Acts 15
Acts 14 has several items of interest related to the ancient supernatural worldview of the New Testament writers. This episode will take us into Greco-Roman beliefs about the gods, some Pauline commentary on the Deuteronomy 32 worldview, and the possible context of Lystra for Paul’s mystical experience (NDE?) in 2 Corinthians 12.
Acts 13 marks the transition in the book to the ministry of Paul. That is, Paul and the mission to the Gentile nations becomes the focus, whereas the church in Jerusalem fades into the backdrop. In this episode, we’ll discuss the odd citation of Psalm 2:7 in Acts 13:33, a problem for the idea of soul sleep, and remnant theology.
Here is the paper referenced in the show:
Meyers Secondary Burials
This episode continues with the expansion of the early church. In the wake of Cornelius’ conversion, early Christians (who are mostly converted Jews or converted Jewish proselytes) are learning that the gospel is meant for Gentiles as well. This episode focuses on why that was news, how the book of Acts continues to telegraph the reclamation of the nations in the Deuteronomy 32 worldview, and some interesting points of angelology in Acts 12.
Here are the papers referenced in the show:
Kallai Patriarchal Boundaries Canaan and Land of Israel Patterns Application Biblical Historigraphy
ANE Pagan Divination Practices
Acts 10 is the account of Peter’s vision whereby God teaches him that Gentiles are acceptable candidates for the gospel and the first transparently Gentile convert in the book of Acts – the centurion Cornelius. The chapter takes us into Jewish attitudes toward Gentiles and the theological question of whether unbelievers can ever please God.
Here is the paper referenced in the show:
Proselytism and Godfearers
Acts 9 marks a transition in the story of the early church – the conversion of Saul, apostle to the Gentiles. That’s the part everyone knows (and it’s important, to say the least). But there are other interesting and noteworthy things going on in the chapter: the multiple references to Damascus (why Damascus?), the vocabulary (and theology) of “holy ones,” and the matter of how “son of God” meant more than a claim to be the Davidic king.
Acts 8 features snippets from the ministries of Peter and Philip. Against the backdrop of Jesus’ words that the disciples would take the gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the “uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8), as well as the messaging of the place names in Acts 2, it is no accident that the material of Acts 8 focus on Samaria, Ethiopia, and the little-known Azotus. This podcast episode discusses the significance of these places, the events associated with them, and two featured converts: Simon the magician and the Ethiopian eunuch.
Acts 6-7 are familiar to most Bible students as being about the selection of deacons and Stephen’s martyrdom. For sure those items are important, but there are other items of interest in these chapters that are frequently overlooked. Some of these connect back to the divine council worldview and provide hints as to how the early believers understood the kingdom of God was not only about the future but had already begun.
Here is the paper referenced in the show:
Abraham and the Merchants of Ura
Acts 4-5 picks up threads discussed in previous podcasts: the “name theology” of biblical theology re-imagined in Jesus, the use of the OT by NT writers to make subtle theological assertions, and the “having all things in common” theme. We’ll discuss these items and draw attention to two new theological trajectories that are often missed: the first mention of Barnabas and its connection back to the reclamation of the nations launched in Acts 2 and how what the early believers in Jerusalem undermines the modern concept of “church” as a time and place.
There are two focus points in this episode. The first is Acts 3:6, specifically the concept of the “name” and the NT understanding of the term “Christ” (Greek: Christos). Is the term merely an adjective (“anointed”)? Is it a proper name, like a last name? Or is it a title—and if so, who can bear that title? The second is Acts 3:18, where Peter claims, via the words of Luke, that “what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.” The concept of a suffering messiah (mashiach) is not found in any verse in the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament. Peter does not cite a specific verse from the Hebrew Bible here, but makes a blanket statement, as though to say that, as a collective whole, the Old Testament points to a suffering messiah. How is this possible?
Here is the paper referenced in the show:
Christ – Anchor-Yale Bible Dictionary
This passage has been used by scholars and lay folks alike to justify socialism, communism, or some sort of politically utopian society that has the veneer of socialism or communism. This isn’t the case at all. Jesus couldn’t have been clearer when he said, prior to the events of Acts 2, “my kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). The kingdom of God is not to be identified with any political or socio-economic system that guides statecraft. The concerns of God’s kingdom are other than those of an earthly state. Consequently, Acts 2:42-47 cannot legitimately be used to tell the state how to conduct its business. Such is not the concern of God’s kingdom. The political systems of men are to be evaluated by Biblical theology’s opposition to the coercive abuse of power and the sanctity and dignity of human life reflected in biblical teaching and divine law.
This episode will focus on two items of biblical theology that are controversial in biblical study:
How the New Testament writers / apostles quoted the Old Testament
The meaning of Acts 2:38
Of the two, the second is more familiar to Christians due to denominational debates about baptism. Acts 2:38 needs to be interpreted in light of the new covenant context that Luke has been framing since early in Chapter 1 and that we’ve been talking about in the preceding episodes.
The first issue is less known because many Bible readers never bother to compare what they read in the New Testament to the Old Testament, even when Old Testament passages are being quoted. Neglecting this simple exercise stunts one’s understanding of biblical theology, and leads to interpretations that are often out of context and idiosyncratic.
While this episode covers Acts 2:1-21, the emphasis is on vv. 14-21. The first thirteen verses are only summarized with respect to what they describe and its biblical-theological significance. Listeners are encouraged to watch the video Introducing the Divine Council Worldview (located under “New? Start Here!”). The second half of that video covers Acts 2:1-13, the events of Pentecost.
Acts 2:14-21 takes us back to the New Covenant idea of the Old Testament. Dr. Heiser talks about the connections between these verses and items in Acts 1, Jer 31:31-34, Ezek 36:22-27, and Joel 2:28-32, which Peter quotes in this section of Acts 2. The episode gets into how these inter-connections should inform how we think about eschatology (end times) and biblical theology in general.
This episode focuses on the decision to replace Judas and restore the number of disciples to 12. There are several issues of interest:
What was an apostle?
What was the significance of the criteria for choosing the replacement for Judas?
What are the OT connections to these criteria?
What does the replacement of Judas tell us about how God works to further his kingdom?
What was important about keeping the number 21 intact?
Most Bible students would say this passage is about the ascension of Jesus to heaven. For sure that’s described, but the passage directs our attention to several points of biblical theology that are simultaneously tied to the OT and look forward to the events of Pentecost described in Acts 2. In other words, Luke isn’t just reporting the ascension—he’s framing the theological context for what he’ll be describing in his second book.
In this episode we’ll see how Acts 1:1-11 makes us think carefully about how the NT writers connected their thoughts to the OT. The passage raises questions about the kingdom of God and eschatology—specifically, whose eschatology are we talking about, and what is the kingdom of God? Rather than filter the passage through theological systems to which we’ve been exposed, we need to allow the OT to guide our thinking about Jesus’ teaching and the events of his life—just like the NT authors did. Discussing these things in the context of the OT passages to which Luke alludes helps us see the beginning of an important biblical-theological motif: the “already but not yet” nature of God’s plan for reclaiming the nations and having a human family to rule and reign with him.
Naked Bible 033: Studying the Original Languages of the Bible: Word Study Techniques, Part 2
Episode 33 continues our series on Bible study at the word level. Last time we talked about word usage as it pertains to usage by a single biblical author within the scope of that author’s writings. Our launching point was the lemma behind “unmarried” in 1 Cor 7. The lemma was used only four times in the New Testament, all within that chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Today we’ll primarily focus on thinking about word usage in relation to other words — specifically, synonyms and grammatical relationships. Our starting point is the Hebrew word bara’, the lemma behind the word “created” in Gen 1:1. Find out what the word does and does not mean in this episode.
Naked Bible 032: Studying the Original Languages of the Bible: Word Study Techniques, Part 1
Today we’re continuing with our series on Bible study at the word level. Last time we talked about exegetical fallacies that arise from flawed word study methods. In this episode, I want to transition to some important elements that go into word study. Today we’ll primarily be focused on examining a word as it’s used by a single author throughout the material that author wrote – in this case the apostle Paul. But the word I’ve chosen for our focus also means that we’ll be getting into the issue of a word’s distribution across a corpus – in this case, obviously, the New Testament. Since this example is so restrictive – since my primary interest in this episode is a single author’s use – I’ll probably return to word distribution when doing word studies in a future episode.
Greek-English Lexicons cited in the episode:
A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition
older edition of the above (1979, now out-of-date, but useful):
A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Second Edition
Digital edition of BDAG
Liddell-Scott (abridged hard copy edition)
An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon: Founded upon the Seventh Edition of Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon
Liddell-Scott in digital: full 9th edition
Naked Bible 031: Studying the Original Languages of the Bible: Exegetical Fallacies
This episode continues the series on studying the Bible at the word level. The episode utilizes the audio of a short screen capture video (click to download) that Dr. Heiser created to illustrate a range of exegetical fallacies that amateur researchers frequently commit when doing Greek and Hebrew word studies. For those to whom the term is unfamiliar, an “exegetical fallacy” is the academic term use to described flawed methodology in word study and the flawed conclusions that such methods yield. Enjoy this important podcast!
Naked Bible 029: The Bible’s Literary Context: Prophecy and Apocalyptic
In this episode, we’re going to talk about two genres: prophecy and apocalyptic. The reason for doubling up will become apparent as we proceed, but basically we need to talk about these two genres because most modern Bible students don’t realize there are clear differences between the two. That is, most people assume that “prophecy” has something to do with predicting the end times – but it actually doesn’t – that’s the apocalyptic genre.
Naked Bible 028: The Bible’s Literary Context: The Comedic Genre and the New Testament
This episode of the Naked Bible podcast features Dr. Heiser’s interview with his friend Dr. Sam Lamerson about the use of the comedic genre in the New Testament. Dr. Lamerson is Professor of New Testament at Knox Theological Seminary in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He has a specific research interest in the comedic genre in ancient Greek literature.
The book referenced by Dr. Sam Lamerson in his interview with Mike was Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale, by Frederick Buechner.
Naked Bible 027: The Bible’s Literary Context: What is a Proverb?
In the last podcast episode we continued our series on studying the Bible in light of its various types of literature – its literary genres. We looked at parables and offered some guidelines for interpreting them. In this episode, we’re going to briefly look at another familiar type of biblical literature that is at times badly misunderstood: the proverb.
Naked Bible 026: The Bible’s Literary Context: Parables
In the last podcast episode we continued our series on studying the Bible in light of its various types of literature – its literary genres. We looked at an example related to the New Testament – how the literary features of Greco-Roman phantom tales and “post-mortem appearances” of the dead inform our reading of NT resurrection accounts. In this episode, we’re going to focus on a type of literature that appears in both testaments, but which is most familiar in the New Testament: the parable.
Naked Bible 025: The Bible’s Literary Context: Greco-Roman Ghost Stories and the Gospels
In the last podcast episode we continued our series on studying the Bible in light of its various types of literature – its literary genres. We’re going to continue that effort in this episode and shift gears into the New Testament.
I want to look today at two familiar episodes in the life of Jesus: the incident where he walks on the water and his disciples think they are seeing a ghost, and his appearances to the disciples after his resurrection. It may sound surprising, but the ancient world of which the NT was part actually had many stories about ghosts and what scholars call “post-mortem appearances” of the dead. New Testament scholars have investigated how the New Testament writers both utilized and subverted these genres in their attempts to communicate what it was they experienced and believed about Jesus.
Jason Robert Combs, “A Ghost on the Water? Understanding an Absurdity in Mark 6:49–50,” JBL 127:2 (2008): 345-358
Deborah Thompson Prince, “The ‘Ghost’ of Jesus: Luke 24 in Light of Ancient Narratives of Post-Mortem Apparitions,” JSNT 29:3 (2007): 287-301
Naked Bible 024: The Bible’s Literary Context: The Military-Historical Annal Genre
In the last podcast episode we continued our series on studying the Bible in a way that amounts to more than reading by taking a look at the legal genre in Old Testament books. Today we’re focusing on another genre – military annals. I think the best way of illustrating how this genre can matter for interpretation is to begin with a problem that it solves, one that biblical scholars have grappled with for centuries. More specifically, I’m speaking of the problem of the unrealistically large numbers in the exodus and wilderness journey of Israel. In this episode of the Naked Bible podcast, I’ll illustrate this problem from the biblical material, mention a commonly proposed solution, and then introduce you to what I think is a better solution—one that derives from the type of literature we’re dealing with in the exodus, wilderness, and conquest narratives.
David L. Fouts, “A Defense of the Hyperbolic Interpretation of Large Numbers in the Old Testament,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 40 (1997): 377-387
Naked Bible 023: The Bible’s Literary Context: The Legal Genre
In the last episode of our series on studying the Bible, we transitioned to an important area of study: learning to read the Bible in terms of the various types of literature found in its pages. Our first example concerned reading narrative, where I recommended reading biblical stories like fiction — like you would read a novel. In this episode we focus on the legal genre of the Bible using a controversial example from Exodus 21.
Naked Bible 022: Introducing Genres and Reading Bible Stories Like Fiction
In the past few episodes of the podcast series on learning how to really study your Bible, I’ve focused on the issue of how critical it is to take the Bible in its own context, not a context that is familiar to us, like modern evangelicalism or the Reformation. I want to transition now to another important area of study: learning to read the Bible in terms of the various types of literature found in its pages.
In this episode, we’ll talk about how to read narrative intelligently. I recommend reading it like fiction — like you would read a novel. The problem is that we read the Bible like we read a textbook. That kills inquisitiveness. Read it like a novel; read it like the writer had an agenda or a plan – because he did.
Shimeon bar-Efrat, Narrative Art in the Bible [Understanding the Bible and Its World
Naked Bible 021: Taking the Bible’s Own Context Seriously, Part 6: Books for 2nd Temple & NT Study
In the last podcast, I recommended the best books and reference sources for understanding the religion and culture of the ANE for OT study. This episode wraps up my overview of taking the Bible’s own context seriously by immersing oneself into the intellectual worldview of the biblical writers by taking a look at books dealing with the literature of the Second Temple period for NT study. Scholars who are steeped in this material have produced fine material for explaining how the Second Temple period worldview contributes to NT interpretation. My goal in this episode is to direct you to the some of the best reference works and monographs in that regard to enrich your NT study.
Books and Reference Works on Second Temple Texts and Worldview
Most Recommended Reference Works for NT Study in the Context of both the Old Testament and Second Temple Judaism
Green, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series)
Hawthorne (ed.), Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series)
Laansma (ed.), Dictionary of the Later New Testament & Its Developments (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series)
Evans (ed.), Dictionary of New Testament Background (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series)
van der Toorn, Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, Second Edition
Levine (ed.), The Jewish Annotated New Testament
Simmons, Peoples of the New Testament World: An Illustrated Guide
General Works on Second Temple Context
Skarsaune, Jewish Believers in Jesus: The Early Centuries
Skarsaune, In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early Christianity
Naked Bible 020: Taking the Bible’s Own Context Seriously, Part 5: Books for ANE and OT Study
We’ve talked in previous episodes about how the best way to understood the original context of the biblical writers is to immerse yourself in the worldview of the civilizations with which the biblical writers had regular contact. We’ve already spent several episodes on my recommendations for accessing the texts of the ancient Near East and Second Temple period – the intellectual output of the civilizations and cultures that form the original contexts of the Old and New Testaments. In this episode and the next, I want to recommend the best books and reference sources for understanding the religion and culture of the ANE and Second Temple period. Scholars who are steeped in this material have produced many essays explaining the worldview of these civilizations and how that worldview matters for biblical study and interpretation. My goal is to direct you to the best of those resources. As is our pattern, we’ll devote this episode to the ANE, the context for the OT, before moving to the Second Temple period, the context for the NT, in the next episode of the podcast.
Books and Reference Works on Ancient Near Eastern Texts and Worldview
Most Recommended Reference Works for OT Study in Ancient Near Eastern Context
Sasson (ed.), Civilizations of the Ancient Near East/4 Volumes Bound in 2 Books (v. 1 & 2)
Baker (ed.), Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series)
Williamson (ed.), Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series)
Enns (ed.), Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series)
Boda (ed.), Dictionary of the Old Testament: Prophets (IVP Bible Dictionary)
van der Toorn, Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, Second Edition
Ancient Near East
History and Culture:
Hoerth, Mattingly, Yamauchi (eds), Peoples of the Old Testament World
White, Everyday Life in Ancient Egypt
Naked Bible 019: Taking the Bible’s Own Context Seriously, Part 4: 2nd Temple Texts in Translation
The series on Bible study continues with the emphasis on interpreting the Bible in its own context. The context we’re discussing is the world of the ancient Near East (with respect to the OT) and the Second Temple period with respect to the NT. Interpreting the Bible in these contexts means thinking like a person living at these times. The best way to do that is to immerse yourself in the worldview of the civilizations of these eras with which the biblical writers had regular contact. That is accomplished by immersion in the written sources of these civilizations. The last episode of the podcast dealt with the need to tap into the written material of the ANE since that is the context for the OT. In this episode we’ll turn attention to the NT context, the Second temple period (6th century BC-1st century AD). As in the last episode, all print and online sources I mention in the podcast are found (with links) at the “Bibliography and Resources” tab here on the podcast website.
Ancient Texts in English Translation: Second Temple Period of Judaism (5th century BC – 1st century AD)
Old Testament Apocrypha
King James Version of the Apocrypha
The New Oxford Annotated Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version
R.H. Charles’ edition: The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament: Apocrypha
digital version (Logos has Charles’ Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in one set)
New Testament Apocrypha (less relevant, as these come from after the apostolic period):
one-volume edition of M. R. James: The New Testament Apocrypha
two-volume scholarly compendium by Schneemelcher
New Testament Apocrypha, Vol. 1: Gospels and Related Writings Revised Edition
New Testament Apocrypha, Vol. 2: Writings Relating to the Apostles Apocalypses and Related Subjects
Old Testament Pseudepigrapha
H. Charles’ edition: The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, Pseudepigrapha
digital version (Logos has Charles’ Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in one set)
James H. Charleworth’s two-volume edition (with introductions to each book):
Naked Bible 018: Taking the Bible’s Own Context Seriously, Part 3: ANE Texts in Translation
The last episode of the podcast dealt with the need to tap into the intellectual output of the ancient Mediterranean world — the Bible’s own context – in order to start thinking the thoughts of the biblical writers. This episode takes this recommendation further by directing listeners to the best volumes and websites for English translations of ancient literature pertinent to biblical studies. The episode focuses on the civilizations that give the OT its context – the civilizations of the ancient Near East (ANE). Dr. Heiser recommends books (whether hard copy or digital form) as well as websites for tapping into ANE literature.
Ancient Texts in English Translation: Ancient Near East
Books: General Collections
The Context of Scripture (COS); 3 volumes
Ancient Near Eastern Texts (ANET) by Pritchard (one volume hardcover; split into two volumes paperback; vol. 1 and vol. 2)
Writings from the Ancient World set (amazon link to volumes in the series)
Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature (3 vols)
Foster, Ancient Egyptian Literature
The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, Stelae, Autobiographies, and Poetry; Third Edition by Professor William Kelley Simpson, Professor Robert K. Ritner, The Reverent Dr. Vincent A. Tobin and Professor Edward Wente Jr.
Moran, The Amarna Letters
Mesopotamia (Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian)
Foster, Before the Muses: An Anthology of Akkadian Literature
Foster, From Distant Days: Myths, Tales, and Poetry of Ancient Mesopotamia
Naked Bible 017: Taking the Bible’s Own Context Seriously
In this second episode of the series on Bible study, Dr. Heiser discusses what interpreting the Bible “in context” really means — taking the Bible’s own primitive context seriously. Rather than filter the Bible through creeds dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, or even the period of early Christianity, the Bible’s actual context is the one that produced the biblical books — the era stretching from the 2nd millennium BC to the first century AD. All other contexts are foreign to the Bible, no matter how persuasive they are in denominational traditions. The student of the Bible must make all foreign contexts subservient to the Bible’s own context. That means replacing our own worldview with that of the biblical writer living during this ancient time span in the ancient Near East and eastern Mediterranean. The way to do that is to immerse ourselves in the intellectual output of those cultures in which the biblical Israelite and later Hellenistic Jews lived when God moved them to write Scripture. The episode ends with suggestions about resources for familiarizing oneself with the literature of all these cultures. These guides are the first step, and set the stage for a discussion of where to find these texts in English translation, as well as informed discussion of that material for enriching Bible study.
Guides to the Literature of the Biblical Context and Worldview:
Old Testament (informed by the Literature of the Ancient Near East)
John Walton, Ancient Israelite Literature in its Cultural Context
Victor Matthews, Old Testament Parallels: Laws And Stories from the Ancient Near East
Kenton Sparks, Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible: A Guide to the Background Literature
New Testament (informed by the literature of Second Temple / “Intertestamental” Judaism)
Larry Helyer, Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period: A Guide for New Testament Students (Christian Classics Bible Studies)
Craig Evans, Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: A Guide to the Background Literature
D. deSilva, Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance
Naked Bible 016: Heiser’s Laws for Bible Study: Learning to Study the Bible, Part 1
This episode begins a series on learning how to engage the biblical text in ways that take you beyond merely reading the Bible. Dr. Heiser overviews a popular Naked Bible blog post (“Heiser’s Laws for Bible Study“) as an introduction. You don’t have to be a scholar to learn to engage the biblical text and move beyond just reading the Bible in English. There are tools that will help you penetrate the text, and techniques for reading more carefully.
Naked Bible 015: The Lord’s Supper and 1 Corinthians 8-11, Part 2
This episode builds on the previous one, where Dr. Heiser discussed the context of Paul’s teachings on the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11 — namely, the three chapters prior, 1 Corinthians 8-10. Those chapters show Paul laying out the “fellowship context” of the Lord’s Supper, that Paul wants believers to know that they “partake” of a meal by which they enjoy fellowship (koinoinia) with the Lord. His context for that thought is the partaking of OT priests in sacrificial meat (though not of the sacrifices for atonement or sin offering), and the demonic “fellowship” that is the result of pagan sacrifice. This episode moves into 1 Corinthians 11, where Paul describes the Lord’s Supper in relation to a fellowship meal. This context is crucial to understanding the focus of the Lord’s Supper and the admonitions of Paul in connection with observing the Lord’s Supper.
Naked Bible 014: The Lord’s Supper and 1 Corinthians 8-11, Part 1
This episode transitions the discussion of a biblical theology of the Lord’s Supper to the primary passage in the New Testament on the topic: 1 Corinthians 11. The episode focuses on the context of 1 Corinthians 8-10 for informing what Paul says about the Lord’s Supper in chapter 11. The “fellowship context” of the Lord’s Supper is shown to be important for understanding the issues Paul will get into in 1 Corinthians 11. Paul wants believers to know that they “partake” of a meal by which they enjoy fellowship (koinoinia) with the Lord. His context for that thought is the partaking of OT priests in sacrificial meat (though not of the sacrifices for atonement or sin offering), and the demonic “fellowship” that is the result of pagan sacrifice — his primary concern in the disputation over meat sacrificed to idols in 1 Cor 8-10.
Naked Bible 013: The Lord’s Supper and the Gospels, Part 2
Today’s episode continues the problem of John 6, the “bread of life” passage. We explore the rest of the passage, drawing attention to two items: that the second half of the passage needs to be interpreted in light of the first half, and that John 6 is not an account of the Last Supper, which the epistles are clear was the context for the Lord’s Supper or Communion.
Naked Bible 012: The Lord’s Supper and the Gospels, Part 1
When I introduced this topic and series, I said that I’m convinced that this doctrine is one of the least critically examined of all biblical doctrines. This episode gets us into some territory that illustrates the pervasive influence of assumptions about this topic. Anyone who has studied the doctrine knows that it is linked to the Last Supper. They also know about the problem of John 6, the “bread of life” passage. But did you know that John 6 isn’t in the context of the Last Supper? Most students don’t, and the observation begs the question of whether the controversial “eat my flesh and drink my blood” wording in John 6 has anything at all to do with the Lord’s Supper, despite centuries of assuming that it’s central to the topic.
Naked Bible 011: Introducing the Lord’s Supper Series
Today we begin a new topic, and with it a short series on a doctrine that most listeners will have heard of or experienced firsthand. I think it would be difficult to find anyone who has spent any time in a Christian church of any denomination who has not heard of the Lord’s Supper, also known as communion or the Lord’s Table. But while most listeners will have heard of the doctrine before, I’m willing to bet few have really thought about or, perhaps stated more precisely, have ever questioned what they’ve been taught about it in light of their own reading of the Scriptures. As familiar as you might think it is, I’m convinced that this doctrine is one of the least critically examined of all biblical doctrines. If I made a “Top Ten” list of things churches do without much thinking, this would be in the list for sure.
Naked Bible 010: Baptism & Problem Passages: Acts 2:38
Our next problem passage related to baptism is Acts 2:38. The interpretation of this passage involves the Greek preposition eis as well as the overall context of the book of Acts when it comes to repentance and baptism.
Naked Bible 009: Baptism & Problem Passages: Acts 22:16
Acts 22:16 is a passage that often provokes debate due to its apparent connection between baptism and “washing away” of sins. But that idea is connected to other phrases in succession in the passage. How should Acts 22:16 be interpreted amid these other phrases and the verbal actions described? This episode takes listeners into some Greek grammar for the answer.
Naked Bible 008: Baptism & Problem Passages: 1 Peter 3:14-22
1 Peter 3:14-22 is an odd, controversial passage since it amalgamates, baptism, salvation, Noah, the ark, and Jesus’ descent to preach to spirits in the Underworld. The key to understanding the passage is to recognize that Peter embraces the worldview of non-canonical Jewish literature like 1 Enoch and seems an analogy between the events of Genesis 6-8, salvation, and baptism.
Naked Bible 007: The Mode of Baptism and the Biblical Text
How should baptism be done — immersion, sprinkling, or pouring — and can we gain any clarity about this from the biblical text?
This episode of the Naked Bible focuses on the mode of baptism, focusing on the Greek word baptizo, frequently translated “baptize” in the New Testament. Is the meaning of this word sufficiently clear to settle the mode issue? Does it matter?
Naked Bible 006: Applying the Baptism – Circumcision Theology to Adult or Believer’s Baptism
Getting the Baptism-Circumcision Relationship Right: Adult and Believer’s Baptism
In the previous episode, we talked about how to articulate a biblically defensible doctrine of infant baptism, one that avoids the theological problems created when one fails to say only about baptism what one can say about circumcision. Getting that relationship right also helps us talk about the baptism of adults.
Naked Bible 005: Baptism, Circumcision, and Biblical Theology
Getting the Baptism-Circumcision Relationship Right
In the last few episodes, we saw how some of Christianity’s historic creeds made statements about baptism (particularly infant baptism) that muddles an otherwise clear gospel presentation. The problem is a failure to say only about baptism what one can say about circumcision. Getting that relationship right is the key to articulating a biblically defensible doctrine of infant baptism, and has implications for believers baptism as well.
Naked Bible 004: Baptism: Contradictions in Creeds Part 3
Contradictions over baptism and salvation in creeds, continued (Part 3).
In the previous episode, we saw how the Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechisms offered muddled, contradictory statements on salvation by grace through faith and what happens at baptism. This episode details more of the same, this time in the Westminster Confession.
Naked Bible 003: Baptism: Contradictions in Creeds Part 2
Contradictions over baptism and salvation in creeds, continued (Part 2).
In the previous episode, we saw how the Belgic Confession was, in places, clear on its articulation of the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone. And yet when it discussed baptism, these ideas were muddled, creating theological confusion. This episode details more of the same, this time in the Heidelberg Catechism.
Naked Bible 002: Baptism: Contradictions in Creeds Part 1
In the first podcast episode on baptism, I made the comment that many well-known Christian creeds are internally contradictory when it comes to articulating the clear gospel (salvation by faith in Christ apart from any work or merit of our own) and baptism. That might seem hard to swallow, but it’s true. In this episode, I illustrate the problem via the Belgic Confession, whose clear description of the gospel turns to muddled thinking when it comes to the section on baptism.
Naked Bible 001: Baptism: What You Know May Not Be So
Inaugural Episode: Introducing the series on understanding and misunderstanding baptism.
Everyone knows about baptism, right? What’s there to think about? Turns out quite a lot. Christian traditions all have positions on baptism, but it is rare to find a coherent articulation of the topic that doesn’t create theological dilemmas with other points of doctrine. Don’t believe that? Then you need to listen to the Naked Bible Podcast’s series on baptism, starting with this episode.