Like all good stories, and the Bible is before and after everything else a story, Scripture begins at the beginning. The beginning of everything, and a garden planted by God. Everything falls apart, for humans fall apart, and many of the stories in Scripture are horrible, grotesque or inspiring, for such a mixture describes the world we inhabit. In the middle of the Bible story, at the start of the second part of the library of Scripture, we hear the story of Jesus and his teaching, his death and resurrection. This is prolonged into the beginning of the story of the new humanity and illustratedRead More →

Bible Users Manual

The Christian Bible is a big sprawling collection of documents from widely different time periods (roughly the end of the Bronze Age to the Roman empire) in many different genres (as different as history and love poems, or proverbs and lengthy letters) composed in three languages and two different writing systems. To make matters worse most Bibles do not “work” the same as other books. Page numbers do not help in identifying sections because they differ in most of the myriad different translations and editions. So, how does one find one’s way around and use such a weird book? This podcast explains “chapters” and “verses”,Read More →

In this second episode about the ‘prosperity gospel’ I turn to questions of love and money. Again I argue that if we think about this claimed good news of prosperity in the light of the Bible it fails. If you have not seen Part 1 it is here. [Warning: reading the Bible may damage the health of your faith in TV preachers.]  Read More →

Mark is the first (probably) and shortest gospel. Yet it is full of tension and ends (if we accept the short ending as most likely original) mysteriously. Mark provides the key to the gospel in his introduction. After listening to this five minute introduction listen also to the whole Gospel (just over another hour).Read More →

Way back, at the turn of the century, I wrote an article for  Festschrift volume: Tim Bulkeley, “Where do you read.” in Mission without Christendom: exploring the site, essays for Brian Smith (Carey Studies in Theology) Auckland: Carey Baptist College, 13-22. Among other things it noted how the assumptions and cultural baggage we bring to “reading” a passage of Scripture can colour, change or allow us to see things more or less clearly. This podcast illustrates this listening to one of Jesus’ best-loved parables (Luke 15:11-32). And (I hope tactfully) suggests Western Christians risk missing the “point” in a quite dangerous way 🙁 BTW IRead More →

Well,the end of the world has passed, again 🙂 That’s the second time this year! It is the Bible that causes all the problems. or rather it is bad reading of the Bible that causes all the problems. No book is more commonly misread than Revelation. Christians keep wanting it to predict tomorrow. And boy, do they get tied in knots! But a simple direct dose of the KIIC principle would cure them… Keep It In Context, that’s all you have to do. Ask how the message would sound to the writer and intended receivers of the message. For a bit more on this inRead More →

Perhaps no Bible text illustrates the dangers of a simplistic reading of Scripture than 1 Cor 14:34. If we tear this verse from its cotext, 1 Or for a podcast. and then read it as if the Bible were “God’s instruction manual for life” and even worse read it also literally then we are in trouble! The verse (in the fairly literal NET) 2 Even the NRSV is less literal here omitting the “the” before women, one of the oddities of this verse is that Paul seems to be talking about some particular women. reads: the women should be silent in the churches, for theyRead More →

There probably is no other book of the Bible that has so much nonsense taught and preached “from” it. So I will use two five minute slots to introduce this “difficult” book. In this session I’ll talk about how NOT to read Revelation and begin to point to a better way. Then in the next I’ll describe John’s situation and the interests of his readers and outline the content of the book. In one line the book aims to encourage its readers (facing a time of persecution) that Jesus is Lord, and rules!Read More →