Dan and Laurence step into the New Testament for an introduction to the three letters of John. After exploring the stark contrasts and Torah references in the first letter they then see how the second and third letters apply the theory from the first letter to two opposite situations. And finally, little children, keep yourselves from idols...uh?
Where do demons fit into a Biblical theology? We look at the few places they appear in the Old Testament and find them linked to the idols worshipped by the peoples around the ancient Israelites. It turns out they are presented as having no real existence or power. So why do demons suddenly make a large appearance in the Gospels?
In the dead of night, in the middle of the sea of Galilee under a ferocious storm, Jesus appears walking on the waves towards his disciples. He calms the sea and the boat is immediately at land and safety. It's no wonder that the disciples were amazed at this. What did this mean? If Jesus could control creation by walking on the raging sea, does that make him divine? Does walking on water show that Jesus is God?
Continuing the conversation from Part 1, Jordan and Dan find that some Psalms express doubts and uncertainties and deeply question what God is doing. But by remembering what God has done in the past the Psalmist is led back to peace of mind and trust in God, ending with a call for "everything that has breath to praise the LORD"!
In the first part of our introduction to the Psalms, Dan talks to Jordan Walton about whether the Psalter is just a random collection of prayers and songs or whether there is some structure to it. Having identified a five book structure, they start to delve into the focus of books one and two.
For the next of our Bible book introductions we take a look at the smallest of Paul's letters, his letter to Philemon. Why should a personal letter about fixing a very personal relationship be included in the scriptures? We find that it is, in fact, an incredibly revealing case study into how being a Christian should change the way we view society and people around us.
Leviticus may not be the most appealing read, after all, what does how long you remain unclean if you touch a dead body, have to do with a Christian today? But by scratching the surface we find that the careful structure of this book points to something, or rather someone, who is so much greater than the law.
How should we read the Old Testament in the light of Jesus? Do we even need to pay it any attention now that Jesus has come? We consider what it means for Jesus to fulfil the Old Testament and find that, when Jesus reads and applies the different parts of the Hebrew Bible, he shows us how to bring it to life in our lives as Christians today.
What does it mean for something to be the inspired word of God? Is it possible to explain how that happens, and if we can't, what certainty can we have about divine authority behind the text of the Bible? Considering these questions leads us to realise how important it is to treat the text with respect and be responsible and humble in how we draw out our interpretations of God's word.
The book of Exodus starts with a great story about how the Israelites escaped from Egypt. There's high action, drama, goodies and baddies… and then intricate detail about how to construct a large tent. Why is that included and how does it fit into the overall narrative?