Displaying episodes 1 - 30 of 606 in total

Put Away the Sword

A committed person is hard to find in 2021. Well, let me rephrase. All of us—every last one of us—are committed to ourselves, and we organize the time allotted to us as such. Few of us, less than a few, are committed to something that does not directly benefit us or someone for whom we care. In Matthew, Jesus is committed to the teaching of the Father. Even though his disciples are hopeless, the situation is stark, and his end, as per his Father, is unavoidable, Jesus continues to teach. Why? Because he is committed to his Father’s will, to the bitter end. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 26:51-54. Episode 403 Matthew 26:51-54; Music: Anamalie by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4980-anamalie License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Isaac Obeyed

In today’s program, Fr. Paul continues his discussion of Genesis 26, reiterating the unique role of Isaac in the story while highlighting critical Hebrew wordplay that is simply untranslatable. (Episode 192)

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Trapped by the Reformation and endless reactions against it, it’s difficult for contemporary Christians to escape ongoing and silly theological debates about grace and salvation. Everyone cheapens the Master’s grace by treating it either as a free pass or as some mystical force that controls their lightsaber. The only way to understand grace is the way the writers of the New Testament use it—as the currency of the Pater Familias, who approaches his underlings with an offer they can’t refuse—a gift free of charge, with a charge. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 26:47-50. Episode 402 Matthew 26:47-50; Music: Trio for Piano Violin and Viola by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4546-trio-for-piano-violin-and-viola License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Because Abraham Obeyed My Voice

Fr. Paul begins his reading of Genesis 26 by pointing out what so many miss and thus misread Paul: you are blessed not only because Abraham trusted God but because he obeyed his voice. (Episode 191)

Failed Watchmen

We scratch our heads when the Bible repeats a boring statement over and over again, but what should puzzle us is the odd moment when the Bible seems to take shortcuts like the rest of us. Why, after enumerating the words of Jesus twice, does Matthew summarize the third prayer to the Father by saying, he said “the same thing once more”? The answer reflects the Lord’s exasperation with his watchmen, who, as it turns out, are not very good at their job. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 26:43-46. Episode 401 Matthew 26:43-46; Music: Gearhead by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3799-gearhead License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Salama, Aslama, Salam

In today’s program, Fr. Paul wraps up his Q and A session with Richard and Fr. Marc on Genesis 25. (Episode 190)

The Problem With Peter

When English speakers co-opt the Matthean expression, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” they inevitably de-scripturalize them. They twist the words of Jesus as though they refer to an inner psychological struggle or matter of conscience: “I want to do the right thing, but my nature fights against it.” After 400 episodes of the Bible as Literature podcast, do you still need us to spell it out for you? On what basis do you assume that the spirit which opposes Peter’s flesh has anything to do with Peter, let alone your make-believe inner struggle? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 26:40-42. This week’s episode is presented in loving memory of Saleh Canavati. Episode 400 Matthew 26:40-42; Music: Vision of Persistence by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4592-vision-of-persistence License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

You Hear the Text

This week, Fr. Paul takes follow-up questions on Genesis 25. (Episode 189)

Not As I Will

We naturally want Jesus to be invulnerable, and the thought of him feeling anxiety or, as Matthew writes, extreme grief about his predicament presents an uncomfortable picture of God’s messiah. We prefer a version of Jesus that manifests perfection and stoic implacability because we believe in this possibility for ourselves. But that’s not what Matthew is saying. On the contrary, in the entire situation, the only reliable, invulnerable, perfect thing is the commandment of God the Father, upon which even Jesus depends. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 26:36-39. Episode 399 Matthew 26:36-39; Music: Funk Game Loop by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3787-funk-game-loop License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

No! No! You Have to Know!

In this week’s discussion of Genesis, Fr. Paul recalls a personal example, reflecting on the criticality of memorization for the study of Scripture. (Episode 188)

The Bitter Pill

Just as human biology is inevitable, so too are human words about development and growth. We talk about building and sustaining to defend and survive, and we talk about supporting and protecting for deeply selfish reasons tied to our biology. In Matthew, Peter’s zeal when he proclaims, “I will not deny you,” is not for God’s teaching or even his teacher’s life. All he cares for is the victory of his tribe and the defense of his city against all enemies. All he cares about is himself, defending the very community that Jesus proclaims must be broken and scattered for the remission of sins. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 26:30-35. Episode 397 Matthew 26:30-35; Music: Shaving Mirror by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4344-shaving-mirror License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

The More You Know Scripture

This week, Fr. Paul continues his discussion of Genesis 25. (Episode 187)

Pink Floyd and Mr. Rogers

When Jesus uses the word “body” in Matthew’s gospel, unless you abandon all assumptions, transporting yourself to first-century Roman society, it is impossible to hear—let alone understand—what the Lord is saying during his Last Supper. The disciples may be concerned with tribe and city, eager to wave their flags and pledge their allegiances, but Jesus Christ has a different mission. The difficult work he is about to do is a public matter, but it has nothing to do with their silly flags and allegiances—it pertains to the entire commonwealth—on behalf of all and for all. In the letters of St. Paul, the Lord’s body are the people in your neighborhood, and all we are, brothers and sisters, are just bricks in the wall. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 26:26-29. Episode 397 Matthew 26:26-29; Music: Griphop by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3830-griphop License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Another Wife

In today’s program, Fr. Paul begins his discussion of Genesis 25. (Episode 186)

It’s All About You!

We Americans love it when it’s about us. We just love it. Until we are sitting with Jesus in the Middle East, eating with our hands, and Jesus says, “it’s the guy sitting with me, eating with his hands.” “Which guy, Jesus?” Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 26:20-25. Photo Credit: “The Last Supper,” by Sliman Mansour Episode 395 Matthew 26:20-25; Music: Narcissus by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4113-narcissus License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

It Can Be Done

This week, Fr. Paul takes questions regarding his analysis of Genesis 24. (Episode 185)

You Are Not Ancient

We imagine an historical connection between the peoples of the biblical story and the peoples living in the modern world because our premise in 2021 is our identity. Who are you? To what group do you belong? What are your beliefs? On whose side are you? The moment you mistakenly answer these questions (almost always, using the pronoun “we” even though you are a single individual), inevitably, you refer to a modern institution or group. It has to be modern because you are talking about yourself, and you live now, today, in the present hour. It is a present-day thing with a clearly defined identity, membership, platform, and borders. When you refer to it, you sound like a politician—like the princes and sons of men in the Bible, in whom there is no salvation. Then you tint your glasses with your present-day identity and use it to lead Bible Study. Then you are confused when everyone, including you, sees the words on the page, but no one can hear them. On that day, it will be too late for lens wipes. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 26:17-19. Episode 395 Matthew 26:17-19; Music: Organic Grunge by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4176-organic-grunge License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

How Many Ships?

This week, Fr. Paul concludes his reading of Genesis 24, noting the importance of paying close attention to even the smallest detail of every verse. (Episode 184)

Judas Iscariot

Tribe, nation, city, patrimony, heritage, religion, flags and bumper stickers—Judas Iscariot. Value, opportunity, market, profit, commerce, civilization, exploitation and slavery—Judas Iscariot. Judas Iscariot, “man of the city.” Judas Iscariot, “tribe and city.” Judas Iscariot, securing his future by the throwing “the ordinary man” under the bus. Nothing changes under the sun. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 26:14-16. Episode 394 Matthew 26:14-16; Music: Protofunk by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4247-protofunk License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Live Long and ṣālēaḥ

In today’s program, Fr. Paul explains how the term “prosper,” used in English translations of the Bible, does not reflect the meaning of the original Hebrew term, yiṣlēaḥ, which means to make thing go correctly, according to the words of instruction. (Episode 183)

A Poverty of Instruction

In so far as the “daily bread” of the Lord’s prayer is the daily reading by which the disciples should be fed, in Matthew’s gospel, poverty is the consequence of refusing to receive and distribute the Lord’s heavenly bread. In the plainest and most obvious meaning of Matthew’s metaphor, if the people living in your house are poor, it’s because you are not feeding them. You have no one to blame but yourself. You will always have poor instruction, but there is only one written gospel. Exit Peter. Enter Timothy. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 26:6-13. Episode 393 Matthew 26:6-13; Music: With Regards by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4636-with-regards License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license


This week, Fr. Paul critiques the biblical priests as the first platonists who sought control by making out of the many words of God’s instruction a platonic oneness—“the teaching,” so to speak—which they refer to as “the Torah.” (Episode 182)

An Ordinary Guy

Sometimes we want so desperately for Jesus to be a super hero that we willfully ignore what is written before our eyes. Faced with powerful religious chiefs and elders—men whose position and power in Israel depends on the approval of the very people they mistreat—we ourselves are blinded by titles and want to make the phrase “son of man” into a title of equal or greater value. But it’s not, because Matthew is critiquing titles and the trail of lies and abuse that follows them. In biblical terms, son of man means “ordinary human being.” In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus stands before the supposed rulers of the people as an ordinary child of Adam, just like you and me. He has no one to impress, no need to please, and no reason to fear. His only concern is his Father’s desire, that he take every situation, including his impending death, as an opportunity to teach Scripture. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 26:1-.5 Episode 392 Matthew 26:1-5; Music: Grand Dark Waltz Allegretto by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/7920-grand-dark-waltz-allegretto License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Abraham and Isaac

This week, Fr. Paul introduces his presentation of Genesis 24 touching on Isaac’s role and the significance of what he terms the prolegomena of the story. (Episode 181)

There Will Be No Flags in the Kingdom

Whatever term we use to describe it, be it “worldly,” “earthly,” “materialistic,” or the more precise biblical phrase, “of the flesh,” the fact is, the way we think and speak is dominated and controlled by our fears and desires. We fear judgment, so our hands bend the commandment into a cultural bludgeon. We desire comfort, so our minds twist the written gospel into an amorphous oral tradition, accessible over a cup of coffee without disciplined study or memorization. As such, we find ourselves safe and sound inside our borders, under our flags, while others burn. The exact opposite of St. Paul in 1 Corinthians, we are comfortable and cozy while others hunger and thirst. In light of Matthew 25, it’s no wonder we believe that wrought memorization is a waste of time. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 25:41-46. Episode 391 Matthew 25:41-46; Music: Feral Angel Waltz (feat. Alexander Nakarada) by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/7915-feral-angel-waltz License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Let’s Make it Functional

This week Fr. Paul takes questions and discussion on the meaning and usage of Hebrew terminology in Genesis. (Episode 180)

Repeat These Words

Repetition is the foundation of knowledge. A student repeats vocabulary. An athlete repeats a physical movement. An apprentice repeats a task. A reporter repeats what someone else said so that it can be heard. Whether memorizing, practicing, recounting, drilling, or mastering, repetition is a common denominator of all forms of education. More than this, in Scripture, repetition represents an attention to detail intent on telling a story as it unfolds, literally, with no allowance for assumptions. Scripture does not talk about a story; Scripture is the story! Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 25:34-40. Episode 390 Matthew 25:34-40; Music: Beauty Flow by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/5025-beauty-flow License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license


In this week’s episode, Fr. Paul explains Hebron’s significance in Genesis 23 as the place of fraternity when human beings return to the adamah. (Episode 179)

Flash-forward, Be Afraid

The opening verses of the Judgment in Matthew 25 establish what the Bible repeatedly proclaims on every page, within every paragraph, and in every single verse. There is one power, one judge, and one authority in the Bible. On the precipice of the Crucifixion, Matthew reminds us that the weakling sheep whom we are about to pierce is also God’s anointed. You know, the God of Abraham, of whom Paul said, “do not be deceived, God is not mocked.” That God. Matthew thought it would be a good idea to give you a preview of his throne before his son’s execution, just in case you missed that verse. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 25:31-33. Episode 389 Matthew 25:31-33; Music: Crossing the Chasm by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3562-crossing-the-chasm License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

The People of the Land

In today’s episode Fr. Paul continues his discussion of Genesis 23. (Episode 178)

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