Growing in our understanding of the Bible is something like a marathon hike through a mountain range, isn’t it? It’s certainly not easy, and it’s usually pretty slow going.
But every now and then, we get an “aha” moment about something that forever changes the way we view and understand Scripture. It’s kind of like summiting the occasional mountain peak along the way in your marathon hike. You gain a sudden clarity and perspective standing at the top that energizes you to press on and keep climbing.
While these light bulb moments happen regularly for me in little ways through sermons, in books, and in conversations with people, there have been few times where I’ve experienced a more dramatic upgrade in my baseline knowledge and love for the Bible.
The first time was in college, after I stupidly left my laptop on top of my car and drove off, not realizing my mistake until 50 miles later. Computerless and with “nothing to do” while I waited for my new computer to come in (this was in the days before Amazon Prime), I spent the bulk of my free time over those next few weeks just reading and reading and re-reading the Bible. Not studying, just simply reading, soaking in the words. Before then, I had never read through the whole Bible or absorbed it in big, extended chunks like that. And while it marked a huge leap forward in my knowledge of the general content of Scripture, it also gave me a love for the Bible that I hadn’t had before. Taking the time to just plain read the Bible (and a lot of it) made the whole of Scripture beautiful and engrossing to me for the first time, and it marked a huge milestone in my Christian journey.
The second time was shortly after I graduated from college when I audited two semesters of theology at Eternity Bible College. I was seeing all these individual biblical concepts that I’d heard all my life being woven together into a systematic theology and it was absolutely mind-blowing. Even though I’ve since come to learn the significant limits of systematic theology in general, at the time it was so helpful to trace those lines and ideas throughout Scripture. It gave me an awe and love for the Bible, equipped me with new terminology and categories to describe what I was seeing in Scripture, and it marked another major leap forward in my walk.
Well, I’ve come to another one of those periods where God has reworked my framework for understanding the Bible, re-igniting a love for Scripture and the God of its pages, and this time it’s come in the form of a podcast.
Months ago, I wrote about this great company called The Bible Project that creates short videos and other materials to help people understand the big themes and individual books of the Bible. Well, they also have a podcast and I started listening to it in earnest shortly after I wrote that post. Little did I know when I began that it would become so helpful in transforming and evolving my understanding of Scripture in such a significant way.
I won’t get into all the ways that this has happened in this post, but I do plan to write some future posts about the things I’ve been chewing on and learning as a result of the podcast. So for now I’ll just say it’s helped me understand so much more of the cultural context, original language, and themes of Scripture. What I’ve learned has humbled me and caused me to realize that the Bible is much more complicated than I thought, and I understand it only a fraction of how well I thought I did. But at the same time, it’s helped me to see how wonderfully cohesive the whole of Scripture is despite the questions that we can only speculate about. It’s been refreshing to learn new things about the Bible that I’d never heard before and that help me to make sense of what I already know.
So, details. What is it? In short, the podcast is two guys in conversation about big biblical themes like The Holy Spirit, The Kingdom of God, the Wisdom Literature, etc. They trace the featured theme throughout the whole Bible, giving you a sort of creation to new creation understanding of it, providing cultural and historical context while also being very devotional and practical since yes, our understanding of these ideas absolutely shapes how we live.
One of the guys is the knowledge guy – a professor and pastor with a PhD in Semitic Languages and Biblical Studies. Despite his credentials and the impressive body of knowledge he has, he’s easy to follow and very pastoral. The other guy has a BA from Multnomah but his function is more to ask some good questions and verbally process what’s being said in a way that guides the conversation and teases out the facets of each theme. It’s a great pairing. The two play off each other very well and conversation flows naturally. It’s focused and informative but also fun and absorbing.
You can find the podcast episodes by clicking HERE or by searching The Bible Project on any of the normal ways you get your podcasts. While all of the episodes are fantastic and you could pop in on any one of them, I’d suggest starting from their first episode. Their conversations tend to build on past things they’ve discussed so it’s helpful to start from the beginning.
One extra note. If you check it out you may hear some things that fall outside the “normal” boundaries of your theological and interpretational camp, but I think if you’re patient to go with them and follow their train of thought to the end, you’ll discover some equally valid perspectives that will only help your understanding of Scripture to grow and stretch in a good way.
So that’s my commercial. I’m really thankful for this podcast and the ways God is using it to help me know and love His word in new and refreshing ways. I hope you check it out and find it to be every bit as encouraging and helpful a resource to you as it’s been to me!