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It’s Not for Sale

We live in a society whose standard of value has created broken communities, a generational increase in mid-life suicides, and a steady supply of ideological violence. Yes. The love of money is indeed the root of all evils and we Americans are living proof. And please, no platitudes about how money is fine if you don’t love it. Show me someone who does not love money. Even the great hermits and stylites of old loved money—that’s why they chose to flee the world in the first place—to escape the madness we now embrace. Thanks be to God, the parables of the Kinging in Matthew set forth a new standard of value, one measured not by the acquisition of wealth—but of biblical wisdom. Praise the Lord in the heavens! Praise him in the heights, that this wisdom is definitely not marketable and not for sale. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 13:44-48. Episode 307 Matthew 13:44-48; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Cryptic Sorrow” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

The Noahic Covenant

This week, Fr. Paul discusses the significance of the rainbow as a heavenly sign beyond the control of human beings. This “bow” or “arch” in the heavens, he explains, indicates the distinction between the Abrahamic and Noahic covenants in the Bible. (Episode 95)

It’s All About the Wheat

When the disciples turn to Jesus to explain the parable of the wheat and the tares, they make the terrible mistake of reducing the Lord’s teaching to “the parable of the tares of the field,” omitting any reference to the wheat in verse 36. This omission betrays their misplaced focus: The parable is all about wheat production, but the disciples remain preoccupied with the tares, ignoring the imperative of the parable. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 13:36-43. Episode 306 Matthew 13:36-43; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Frost Waltz” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Life Blood

This week, Fr. Paul explains that only God has dominion over life and death in the Bible, and subsequently, the blood of earth mammals—including human beings—is strictly his domain. (Episode 94)

Hidden in Plain Sight

We human beings foolishly trust in our own eyes. We look at other people and assume that we understand what we see and then we make judgments. But is it really possible to see? When you look at a field freshly planted, can you point out which seed will be most productive? Of course, you can see the field, and you may even know where the seeds are planted, but you have no clue what’s going to happen. The result is in the seeds, but this result is hidden from you in plain sight, from the foundation of the world. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 13:31-35. Episode 305 Matthew 13:31-35; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Magic Forest” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Everything That Swarms

This week Fr. Paul critiques the commonplace human assumption that the animals are “like us,” noting that in Scripture it is the human beings who are like all the other animals. As with the New Testament, where the oikonomos is no different than the other slaves in the household, so too in Genesis, man’s appointed responsibility does make him different than any of the other earth mammals. (Episode 93)

There Are No Good Guys

When we hear a story of judgement in the Bible, our natural tendency is to try to identify the good guys vs. the bad guys so that we can make ourselves one of the good guys. In this sense, we’re no different than the slaves in the parable of the wheat and the tares. We want to be on the right side so that we can remove the ones whom we decide are on the wrong side. However, in the parable, the Lord and Master of his slaves prevents us from doing so in order to protect his wheat. As a result, both the wheat and the tares are forced to live together in God‘s field until the time of the harvest. In the meantime, no one is aloud judge anyone or to separate one kind of person from another. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 13:24-30. Episode 304 Matthew 13:24-30; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Skye Cuillin” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Upon Ararat

Fr. Paul begins his discussion of Genesis 8 by emphasizing the Scriptural priority of the animals, differentiating between the creatures of the sea, the creatures of the ground and the birds of the air—the latter being of special importance. He also touches again briefly on the mention of Ararat, which, he explains, appears in the story as a clear indication of the Syrian desert. (Episode 92)

Roots Not Fruits

Whether dealing with cultural or historical themes, or emphasizing biblical languages, we talk a lot about historical context on the podcast. So let me be blunt, the popular notion that teachers should “make the Bible relevant today” or “make the Bible relatable,” is absolutely wrong. It’s not only wrong, it’s unforgivable, because when you engage in such nonsense, you shut your students out of the Kingdom. In order to understand what someone is saying, you need to learn their language and understand their situation—you need to relate to them. This applies not just to history and language, but also to physical and geographic context. On the other hand, you could try to make the the whole world relate to you, see everything and hear everyone from your perspective and filter everything through the lens of your thoughts, feelings and experiences...please let us know how that works out for western civilization. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 13:17-23. Episode 303 Matthew 13:17-23; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Hotrock” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Out of Control

In today’s program, Fr. Paul explains how the scriptural God acts according to his own good pleasure, disrupting the expectations of the story’s addressees. Do the waters besiege the land? Does the land encroach upon the waters? Can anyone know how God will act or control what he will do? Of course not. All we can do is hear what comes next in the story. (Episode 91)

Ignorance and Blindness

In Matthew’s account of the parable of the sower, Jesus demonstrates the meaning of three critical Matthean teachings: 1) “Seek and ye shall find,” 2) “The eye is the lamp of the body,” and 3) “Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven.” The last warning baffles modern Christians for whom religion is a pursuit of happiness vis-à-vis emotional and psychological consolation. Matthew’s Gospel dynamites this illusion in it’s proclamation and application of Isaiah, where the showdown between God and his people makes it very clear that some sins are definitely unforgivable. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 13:14-16. Episode 302 Matthew 13:14-16; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Come Play With Me” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Let Every Breath

This week, Fr. Paul continues his discussion of Genesis 7 highlighting the difference between soul and spirit in the original Hebrew. Even for English speakers familiar with the distinction between these terms, without a solid grounding in the actual text of Genesis, we are bound, Fr. Paul explains, to conflate their meaning. (Episode 90)

Seek and Ye Shall Find

Over the centuries, so much of Scripture has been taken out of context that it’s sometimes difficult to hear the obvious in the text. In the Gospel of Matthew, the characters in the story are themselves blind to the obvious meaning of Scripture for the very same reason. In the absence of study, repetition, and familiarity with the written teaching, the obvious becomes hidden to us in plain sight—the obvious appears to us to be a mystery. “Seek,” the Matthean Jesus warns us, “and ye shall find.” (Matthew 7:7) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 13:10-13. Episode 301 Matthew 13:10-13; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Fast Talkin” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Two by Two

In today’s program Fr. Paul begins his discussion of Genesis 7, reading the Hebrew text alongside the KJV and RSV versions of the English text. In doing so, he exposes the limits of translation and the gross over simplification—even disregard—for the author’s original work. (Episode 89)

The Seed Does What the Seed Does

Today’s program marks the 300th episode of the Bible as Literature. Years ago, Fr. Marc and Richard’s wife, Hollie, were going back and forth on a title for the education program at St. Elizabeth—eventually, they opted for “The Ephesus School”—a name inspired by a paper Fr. Paul had recently presented. With the Benton’s move to Minnesota, Fr. Marc had been thinking about ideas for a podcast, something like “The Priest and the Professor” and Hollie, always in earshot of Fr. Marc’s and Richard’s discussions about the Bible, insisted that they record their conversations, “so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.” (John 4:36) With her encouragement, the project became a reality. It is providential that the 300th episode of the podcast falls on the parable of the sower in Matthew. “He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:9) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 13:1-9. Episode 300 Matthew 13:1-9; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Autumn Day” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Birds, Kings, and Shepherds

This week, Fr. Paul wraps up his discussion of Genesis 6, giving Richard and Fr. Marc an opportunity to ask questions. As always, Richard opened Q&A with an insightful discussion of the original Hebrew, which lead to an excellent overview of kings, shepherds, and functionality in the Bible. (Episode 88)

A New Tribe

In a culture that places family first, the Lord’s ambivalence toward his mother and his brothers in the Gospel of Matthew is confusing, if not utterly scandalous. Why would Jesus ignore his close relatives and leave them standing outside? The answer presented in the text is straightforward: the disciples are the Lord’s true relatives, because it is the Father’s teaching—not human blood ties—that serves as the organizing principle for the tribe of Jesus. This new definition of family reflects the teaching of adoption found in St. Paul’s letters: those who submit to the teaching of the Father are adopted into the Lord’s family. “Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:16) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 12:46-50. Episode 299 Matthew 12:46-50; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Acid Trumpet” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

It’s an “Ark” Not an “Ark”

This week Fr. Paul highlights the connection between Genesis 6 and the story of Moses in Exodus. As always, this connection is impossible to discern in English—but this time there’s a twist. The English word “ark” in Genesis 6 sounds deceptively like the word “ark” in Exodus 25. In fact, they are totally unrelated; and as you’ll soon discover, the the real connection to Exodus in the original Hebrew is far more interesting. (Episode 87)

Mitzvah!

The ability to read biblical signs—which comes from hearing, reciting, and doing the commandments of Scripture—protects us from being fooled by false prophets. Is something a righteous act? What’s the difference between an exorcism performed by Jesus and one conducted by a son of the Pharisees? In the Gospel of Matthew, the answer to this question is twofold: 1) do you recognize the commandment of God at work in the action, and, 2) what outcome did the action produce? You will know a tree by its fruit. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 12:43-45. Episode 298 Matthew 12:43-45; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Walking Along” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Why Do You Call Me Lord?

In today's episode we discuss why faith is better translated as trust. We also highlight how faith is not an intellectual concept, but a deep trust that is rooted in the firm belief in God's promises and His coming Kingdom. With respect to the argument of "faith vs. works," the audience will be encouraged to re-frame their thinking of salvation as an inheritance: something that can never be earned, but can be lost. Finally, Fr Aaron shared a saying from Fr Paul Tarazi that we all would do well to remember: "Salvation is free of charge, but with a charge."

The Nephilim

Drawing, as always, on the original Hebrew and his knowledge of Arabic, Fr. Paul explains the folly of the Nephilim who assume their own mightiness, but are, in Fr. Paul’s words, “unto fallenness.” English versions of the Bible refer to the Nephilim as “men of renown,” but this translation ignores the writer’s use of the technical phrase, ha shem, “the name,” which pertains to the biblical God, who is himself referred to as “the name” in Leviticus. (Episode 86)

Read the Signs

When human beings seek a sign from the Lord, the problem is two-fold. First, we think of a sign as proof, making our trust in God’s wisdom conditional. Second, because we do not trust this wisdom, the signs we desire in the world become a reflection of our own vanity. Remember, this is the Gospel of Matthew. The eye is the lamp of the body. If the light in your eye is idolatry, you will find amazement in wickedness and scoff at righteousness; but if the lamp of your eye is filled with the light of Torah, you will see things correctly—the way Scripture wants you to see them—and you will be able to read the signs. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 12:38-42. Episode 297 Matthew 12:38-42; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Danse Macabre” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Third Time’s Not a Charm

After its use of the word ‘adam’ in chapter 5, the text of Genesis returns to the words ‘ha adam’ in chapter 6, referring to humanity in its entirety. This shift, Fr. Paul explains, also points to God’s provision of a third chance for human beings. By now, everyone who tunes in to this podcast knows that in Scripture, the third time is not a charm. (Episode 85)

You Know a Tree by It’s Fruit

We human beings do not take responsibility for what we teach. We speak careless words motivated by self-interest and look the other way when our words—directly or indirectly—cause suffering in the world. It feels good to pretend that we are puzzled by gun violence in the United States, but we all know the truth. If we want to understand American violence, we need only look in the mirror: the teachings we feed our children are utterly corrupt and produce morally repugnant outcomes. In Scripture, the problem is easily resolved when we replace our words with the written words of God’s instruction. This is how we are made righteous in the Pauline gospel. When we say what we are commanded to say and it produces what God desires, then there is a chance that God, on that day, will decide that we are good (despite our wickedness) because we produced good out of the good treasure of his written wisdom. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 12:33-37. Episode 296 Matthew 12:33-37; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Lost Time” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Be Patient and Submit

Noting that biblical names appear and reappear purposefully in Genesis, this week, Fr. Paul emphasizes the importance of having patience with the scriptural God who operates on his own time table. (Episode 84)

The Ultimate Sin

Scripture is written to supplant human words and thwart human agency, so that its wisdom might govern the affairs of men in the place of human self-interest. When we sit at home, when we go out, when we lie down to sleep and when we wake up, we are commanded to recite God’s instruction in the place of empty human words. But what happens when vain talk consumes our thoughts? What happens when we are no longer able to hear, let alone recite God’s wisdom? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Matthew 12:30-32. Episode 295 Matthew 12:30-32. Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Lotus” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

There is No New Humanity

Following his discussion of the Toledot of Adam in Genesis 5, Fr. Paul explains how God manages to continue his plan and salvage humanity despite the people’s disobedience. (Episode 83)

Binding the Strong Man

When the Pharisees accuse Jesus of being in league with Beelzebul, Jesus slams them by exposing a fatal contradiction in their logic: if the only way I am able to’ cast out demons is by Beelzebul, how are your sons able to do it? I’ll tell you how. If you are right and I am in league with Satan, then so are your sons; but if I am in league with God, then the Kingdom of this God is upon you, and you have chosen the wrong side. Truly I say to you, I will not relent until your strong man is bound in chains and your house has been plundered. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 12:22-29. Episode 294 Matthew 12:22-29. Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “The Descent” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Son of Man

This week, Richard and Fr. Marc had the chance to follow-up Fr. Paul’s discussion of Genesis 5 with questions, leading to an important discussion of the anti-kingly tradition of the Bible and it’s connection with the phrase, ‘son of man.’ (Episode 82)

Teach and Move

Internet comment culture invites useless and emotionally charged conflict that accomplishes nothing, except to inflame everyone’s self-serving sentiments. That’s why, in Matthew, Jesus refuses to engage in any argument with the Pharisees. To do so, Matthew teaches, is to squander what is holy. In keeping with the teaching of Isaiah, Jesus refuses to quarrel with anyone so that nothing and no one (including Jesus himself) stands out upon the earth, except the judgment of his Father, “who will not give his glory to another.” (Isaiah 42:8) It is the judgment of the Father that brings divine justice and victory, which Matthew proclaims as hope for the Gentiles. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Matthew 12:14-21. Episode 293 Matthew 12:14-21. Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Sneaky Snitch” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Ha Adam

This week, Fr. Paul uses his own family tree to help explain the tree of Adam in Genesis 5. Following verse 2, in which God “created them male and female, and he blessed them and named them man,” whether directly, as Seth or indirectly, as the followers of Seth, the main actor, Fr. explains, is Adam, through his tenth son Noah. (Episode 81)

The Lord of the Sabbath

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female slave or your cattle or your immigrant who stays with you.” (Exodus 20:8-10) This commandment, which joins the needs of the vulnerable—of the immigrant and the lowly creatures in your care—with the needs of your sons and daughters, captures the truth of the Sabbath’s purpose: to supplant the empty work we do each day in the service of greed with the substantive work of hearing and doing the teaching of Scripture. It is no coincidence that encoded within this instruction we find the very thing that saves us. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Matthew 12:9-13. Episode 292 Matthew 12:9-13 Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Whisky on the Mississippi” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Ha Adam or Adam?

This week Fr. Paul touches on the importance of the author’s purposeful use of the word Adam in some places and the words Ha Adam elsewhere. The various connections between biblical words, he explains, hinge not on philosophical premises, but the author’s use of these terms within the flow of the narrative. (Episode 80)

God Doesn’t Need Our Bread

When the Pharisees complain about the disciples picking and eating grain on the sabbath, they betray both their ignorance of Torah, and their desire to control the consecrated bread of God’s instruction to consolidate their power. But God, Matthew teaches, does not need our bread. After-all, whatever we offer him already belongs to him. What he desires is knowledge of and obedience to his Law: that we are to love our neighbor, showing mercy and compassion on one another. This is the sacrifice that God demands in Hosea, one precluded by the Pharisees’ ignorance of his Torah. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Matthew 12:1-8. Episode 291 Matthew 12:1-8 Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Investigations” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

When Men Begin

Dismantling the mistranslation found in Genesis 4:26, “at that time men began,” Fr. Paul explains that in the Hebrew, in the passive God merely allows—literally, it was allowed—to call on the name of the Lord. The action is initiated by God, without even mentioning human beings. This distinction is critical, since throughout Scripture, whenever men begin something, it is always negative. (Episode 79)

The Father

In a society that consumerizes rebellion against parents both as entertainment and an axiom of pop-psychology, the basic premise of the New Testament—that the Son is disempowered because all glory and all power belong to his Father—is practically impossible to accept. In Matthew, when Jesus praises his Father, in the very content of his prayer, he underscores that his God is the Lord both of the heavens and the earth, a span that imposes total dominion, stripping Jesus, and therefore, all human beings of power, in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah. Still, in language reminiscent of 1 Corinthians, in Matthew 11, we hear that all things are handed over to Jesus—but what does that power look like? What is the power that Jesus brought to Chorazin and Bethsaida if the outcome of his life is abject failure and defeat? How is this an easy yolk? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Matthew 11:25-30. Episode 290 Matthew 11:25-30 Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Modern Jazz Samba” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

In Spite of Cain

This week, Fr. Paul continues to unpack the story of the new seed given to replace Abel, in spite of his murderous brother, Cain. Pointing to the Hebrew, where an ish posits an ish, Fr. Paul notes the actualization of God’s blessing in Genesis 1. The human being produces another human being, and another, remaining alive throughout time and history. (Episode 78)

It’s Worse for Us

One of the strangest characteristics of religious psychology is the commonly held belief that those who have received instruction are better than those left untaught. We don’t phrase it that way, but the implication of consumerized evangelism is that others need what we have so that they can become like us. It is precisely this arrogant mentality that is condemend in Matthew’s gospel. What the others truly need is not us but what we were given despite our wickedness to save them from becoming as evil as we are. Moreover, our wickedness knows no bounds, not only for having passed judgment on them, but for refusing to bear fruit for their sake through instruction. Truly, “it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment” than it will be for us. (Matthew 11:24) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Matthew 11:20-24. Episode 289 Matthew 11:20-24 Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Big Rock” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

A New Seed

This week, Fr. Paul continues his discussion of Genesis 4, explaining how the RSV’s mistranslation of the Hebrew not only misleads but betrays and deconstructs the biblical text. Unlike the birth of Cain, the subject of Eve’s action, Seth is received by the wife of Adam as the gift of the Lord. Notably, Fr. Paul explain’s, Eve’s name disappears from the text with Cain’s in Genesis 4:1 and is not mentioned again until the New Testament. (Episode 77)

Ideology is Idolatry

When we choose an ideological framework, we employ a system of ideas and ideals to bolster our self-styled morality. We want so desperately to have power over others that we create a false reality in which we are always right, always the victim, always justified, and always able to find the culprit. Instead of child abuse at the border, we see criminals getting what they deserve; if a lie suits us, we call it true; if a person challenges us, we argue, on the basis of self-styled ideals, that they are evil. Up is down, black is white, John the Baptist has a demon and Jesus is a drunkard—we say whatever we want based on whatever we believe because we worship our owns thoughts. There’s a word for that in the Bible. It’s called idolatry and the Gospel of Matthew was written to smash it. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Matthew 11:11-19. A quick shout out to Fr. Dustin Lyon, a regular listener who suggested that “a reed shaken in the wind” (11:7) from last week’s episode, may refer to a symbol printed on Herodian coins. A point, Fr. Lyon explains, which may enhance our reading of the text. Episode 288 Matthew 11:11-19 Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Scheming Weasel” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

What He Undertakes

In today’s program, Fr. Paul explores the functionality of biblical names in the genealogy presented in Genesis 4. (Episode 76)

More Than a Prophet

When we look at the world, intuitively, we betray Matthew’s admonition against judgment, assessing and interpreting people and texts based on our presuppositions. Instead of seeing everything through the lens of God’s teaching, we trust the lamp of our human eyes, which presents the world to us in darkness. Thankfully, the preaching of John the Baptist—made up entirely of God’s words—can’t be seen. So no matter how flawed your vision, as long as you open your ears, there is hope. In this sense, the Lord’s refrain, “what did you go out to see,” is ominous: you were called to hear, why do you still trust your eyes? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 11:7-10 Episode 287 Matthew 11:7-10 Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Fuzzball Parade” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Name and Function

This week, Fr. Paul notes the significance of Cain’s construction and subsequent naming of a city after his son, Enoch, the significance of the name Lamech as a metathesis of Melek, and the problem of civilization connected with the city as the production of man. (Episode 75)

Immigration Letter

“The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart.” —Alexander Solzhenitsyn The letter read in today’s program quotes the following article in the last paragraph: Sonia Nazario, “How to Secure the Border,” Los Angeles Times, April 23, 2017. Music performed by the West Side Riverview Choir, St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Kingdom of the Heavens

In Matthew 11, we discover that John the Baptist, who earlier preached the Kingdom of God in the wilderness, is now imprisoned. At this point in story, we do not know how John ended up in prison. All we know is that he preached the Kingdom. Looking a few verses ahead, we learn from Jesus that this very Kingdom “suffers violence” at the hands of violent men. (Matthew 11:12) It is Caesar, the antichrist, and Herod, the traitor—a false king who pertains to his Roman master—who, in Matthew, struggle to take the Kingdom of God by force. Later, in chapter 14, we learn of Herod’s petty role in John’s imprisonment. All the same, hearing news of the works of Jesus Christ, an imprisoned John found hope, against hope, and sent word to his rightful King, who proclaimed: “The blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at me.” (Matthew 11:5-6) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 11:1-6 Episode 286 Matthew 1:1-6 Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Dark Times” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

The Only Avenger

This week Fr. Paul explains that in murdering Abel, Cain is responsible for his own sin and may not blame his forefather. Individual responsibility for sin, Fr. Paul explains, is a main feature of the chapter. The fact that Cain ends up in the same situation as Adam (ha adam) cannot obscure this point, which is unmissable in the original Hebrew. (Episode 74)

To These Little Ones

Today is July 4, a holiday in the United States. As is the custom of our church, over the centuries, many such holidays have been coopted to serve the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In this spirit, on this day, we at The Bible as Literature remember all those in peril—the many refugees fleeing poverty and violence and their fallen brothers and sisters. We implore God on their behalf to grant them shelter and refuge through his teaching, in fulfillment of his promise, that, “whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 10:40-42 Episode 285 Matthew 10:40-42 Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Sardana” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Cain and Abel

In today’s program, Fr. Paul begins his discussion of Cain and Abel, explaining the famous phrase, “sin is couching at the door.” He also reiterates the importance of the Hebrew word, yalad, noting that it can only be used in conjunction with the woman—an important point lost in translation. (Episode 73)

Bringer of the Sword

Bewitched by the lie of acquisition and consumerism, we have become of society of people whose actions proclaim the vulgar creed, “me first.” With supposed possessions in hand, we emerge as a nation of cowards, so terrified of losing what we think we have that we elevate our cravenness with ugly platitudes: family first, religion first, and nation first. But in our cowardice, we run afoul of the Lord warning in Matthew: “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 10:32-39. Episode 284 Matthew 10:32-39 Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Funkorama” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

East of the Garden

This week Fr. Paul concludes his discussion of Genesis 3 with the expulsion of Adam from the garden, away from the Tree of Life. As always, he highlights critical connections in the Hebrew, in this case, technical terms that pertain to the keeping of God’s Law. (Episode 72)

Fear Wisdom

People claim to be members of God’s household—to be followers of his teaching—but in the Roman Empire, your master determines your household, and in the Bible, your fears reveal your true master. Insofar as our fears control us, the Matthean metaphor of the Roman household contextualizes this dynamic perfectly, as a kind of slavery. If human beings are controlled by their fears, why not transfer this power to a Master who truly cares for us—not a Roman patrician, but a teacher—the one who gives us wisdom for the sake of the common good. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 10:24-31. Episode Matthew 10:24-31 Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Tyrant” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

The Curse

In today’s program, Fr. Paul explains how the dust of the ground is the curse, and uncovers a parallel in the text between Adam in the story and the kings that oppress God’s city city, a reading that hinges on the versatility of the Hebrew word marshal.(Episode 71)

Daniel Anthony del Castillo

This homily was delivered on June 8, 2019 at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in loving memory of Daniel Anthony del Castillo. May his memory be eternal.

How the Gospel Uses Fear

Critics of the Bible often complain about its violent stories. How could the Bible be considered sacred, they ask, when it is full of so much cruelty and abuse? The answer—of course—is that it is human civilization that is overflowing with cruelty and violence, and the Bible holds this fact up to our face. Almost always, those who cringe at its stories are those who can’t face the truth about themselves. But the Bible does more than present the reality of our ugliness; its stories coopt human cruelty, transforming it into something beautiful. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 10:21-23. Episode 282 Matthew 10:21-23 Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; Music from https://filmmusic.io: “Urban Gauntlet” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Nahash

This week, Fr. Paul continues his discussion of Genesis 3, highlighting the functional connection between nahash and idolatry, and concluding with a review of the Bible’s critique of Plato. (Episode 70)

Are You Worthy?

So often, we hear Scripture in translation and assume a meaning for its words based on how we use those words in our modern language. When we do this, we make three mistakes. First, we forget that the way words are used can change over time; second, we disregard the problem of translation; third, and most importantly, we ignore the author's use of the term, which may part ways even with the way that word is understood in his historical context. In Scripture, to understand a word, you have to look at its usage throughout the text. Fortunately, in the case of the term, "worthy," Matthew leaves plenty of breadcrumbs. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 10:11-20. Episode 281 Matthew 10:11-20. Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Darkling” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Serpent

This week, Fr. Paul explains the Hebrew word play in Genesis 3, underscoring, as always, the criticality of the original languages. While he has often emphasized that Genesis 1-4 contains the entire message of the Bible, he is quick to point out that this message is found in the hearing of the original Hebrew words, which reappear later in the biblical canon, and not in the understandings in our minds. (Episode 69)

Do Not Muzzle the Ox

The famous Negro Spiritual, “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize,” captures the spirit of Matthew 10. The hymn calls to mind an array of Scriptural passages to encourage and enjoin the faithful to run the race set before them. In its famous verse: “Keep your hand on the Gospel plow; Won't take nothing for my journey now;” the hymn’s anonymous authors understand that in the work the Bible demands of us, we are fed only by the commandment that sends us. “For Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain.’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages.’”(1 Timothy 5:18) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 10:5-10. Episode 280 Matthew 10:5-10. Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Fearless First” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Man and Woman

This week, Fr. Paul expands on his discussion of the creation of woman, noting the introduction of two new words to define ha adam—ish and ishah—terms that twist the original intention of God in the story. (Episode 68)

The One Who Betrayed Him

Insofar as Matthew’s Genealogy in chapter 1 dismantles and ridicules the patrilineal line of David, it provides context for our understanding of the names of the Twelve in chapter 10. Where the name Matthew looks ahead, offering the hope of his gospel for Israel, the names that come after foreshadow a gift—a “Matthan”—already rejected. These names, which should mark hope and a return from exile, instead point backward, to the human kings and men of violence who first led God’s people astray. In this sense, the name Matthew in chapter 10 is a line in the sand—a last chance—and there’s no going back. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 10:3-4. Episode 279 Matthew 10:3-4. Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Malicious” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Out of the Man

In this week’s episode Fr. Paul continues his discussion of Genesis 2 highlighting its interconnection with Genesis 3. Beginning with verse 16 and the Lord God’s commandment than man not partake of the tree of knowledge, Fr. Paul will explain how death as punishment in the biblical story is not the same as natural death. He will also talk about his famous reading, that the creation of woman, who was “built out of the man” is a clever play on the biblical critique of the things men build with their own hands. (Episode 67)

First Things Last

As in the case of the Matthean Genealogy, our understanding of the summoning of the Twelve Apostles in Matthew 10 depends heavily upon the meaning of names. Not only their meaning, but their placement within Matthew’s list and their language of origin, taken in context of the broader narrative—all of which is amplified by the importance of the number twelve as a metaphor for the tribes of Israel. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 10:1-2. Episode 278 Matthew 10:1-2. Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Silver Flame” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

To Serve and To Keep

In this week’s episode Fr. Paul explains how verse 15 of Genesis 2, literally impossible to hear in translation, serves as a powerful hinge for the entire Bible. (Episode 66)

The Lord of the Harvest

Among the many themes emphasized in the Gospel of Matthew, none are more ominous than the admonitions given to those who would teach. It is the teachers of the people who must protect what is sacred; it is the teachers, above all others, who must not judge; it is the teachers who are responsible for the wellbeing of the flock; and, in Matthew 9, it is these teachers, entrusted with knowledge and the duty to share it, who have abandoned the people, as sheep without a shepherd. “Therefore,” Jesus warns, “beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:38) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 9:36-38. This week’s episode is dedicated in loving memory of Daniel del Castillo, a man of duty, who served his country faithfully. May his memory and the legacy of his efforts for the sake of the common good be eternal. Episode 277 Matthew 9:36-38. Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Dark Fog” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Toward the East

In this week’s episode, Fr. Paul continues his discussion of Genesis 2 with the importance of rain, breath, and the garden of Eden, located toward the east in the Syrian desert, a critical point in his book, the Rise of Scripture. (Episode 65)

Don’t Address the Critics

Of the many attributes of a society in decline, none are more despicable than the degradation of speech. The inability to listen, the intent to smear and demonize so that others are not heard, the ideological delusion that leads us to believe such smears, born of our lies and marketing spin—all of this—is extremely dangerous and the epitome of evil because it erodes our ability to form community. In the end, our only hope is community, expressed in the New Testament through the metaphor of Table Fellowship with the people we fear and despise. In Matthew, when confronted with this type of speech, Jesus demonstrates the only correct response. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 9:32-35. Episode 276 Matthew 9:32-35. Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Envision” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Elleh Toledot

Fr. Paul explains the interplay between Genesis 1:1 and 2:4. (Episode 64)

Two Blind Men

Instead of teaching Hebrew and Greek (to empower others to read Scripture) modern Christians talk about how wonderful Jesus is, how much he has done for them, and how much they love him. Instead of leading Bible study, they “testify” to miracles in their life and why others should “believe.” The problem with this approach is that it is in direct disobedience to Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Matthew 9:27-31. Episode 275 Matthew 9:27-31. Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Midnight Tale” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Seventh Day

This week, Fr. Paul begins his discussion of Genesis 2. (Episode 63)

Clean and Unclean

Ritual purity, which depends on the Temple and its customs to relieve people of their burdens, falls short of the cleaness demanded in the Bible. Does touching something really make you unclean, or was the Law given to show that you are not clean and you cannot make yourself clean? At this point, whether or not we got the point is a mute point, since the Temple has been destroyed. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Matthew 9:18-26. Episode 274 Matthew 9:18-16. Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Envison” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Male and Female

In this week’s episode Fr. Paul explains the significance of the phrase “male and female he created them.” (Episode 62)

The Bridegroom

When the disciples of John ask why the disciples of Jesus do not fast, they betray their disregard for the Lord’s unique station as the Messiah and earthly representative of the Father. Jesus is their king who brings the Law of the Kingdom. As the Bridegroom, he is the head of the feast and the reason for the gathering. He is also the only person able to do what that Law requires. As such, the only reason to mourn in his presence is if you do not like what he has to say. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Matthew 9:14-17. Episode 273 Matthew 9:14-17 Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Leaving Home” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Image and Likeness

The first part of Fr. Paul's concluding remarks on Genesis 1, (Episode 61)

The Tax Collector

By reason of his profession, Matthew, like Paul (who persecuted the church), was sent to preach the gospel as one despised by his addressees. How could a Jew who collaborates with Roman authorities approach his fellow Jews to collect taxes for their occupier? Worse, how could the Lord send such a person to preach his Gospel? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Matthew 9:9-13. Episode 272 Matthew 9:9-13; Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Industrial Cinematic” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Ish and Isha

Fr. Paul discusses the Hebrew terms ish and isha in Isaiah 2 as they relate to Genesis. (Episode 60)

The Forgiveness of Sins

Students of the Bible often wrongly emphasize the sins of individuals over and above the forgiveness of sins as a general proclamation of the King. When this proclamation is contextualized in the New Testament, it pertains to redemption—literally, ones purchase in the marketplace—and the paying off, or “forgiveness” of former debts. The news of this forgiveness is a warning: yes, your debts have been covered, but now, you are in debt to a new Master, duty bound to follow the rules of his household. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 9:1-8. Episode 271 Matthew 9:1-8; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Metalmania” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Living Breath

Fr. Paul discusses the belittling of man in Genesis 1. (Episode 59)

On Caesar’s Turf

When Jesus crosses the Roman sea in Matthew, he brings the good news of the Matthean genology—of the liberation of God’s people from captivity—to the gentiles living under the control of Caesar. The Gadarene exorcism consolidates a pattern in Matthew: those whom we assume to be wrong are the very ones who obey the command of the Master. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 8:28-34. Episode 270 Matthew 8:28-34; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Nightdreams” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Eretz and Adamah

Fr. Paul revisits the term eretz in his exposition of Genesis 1. (Episode 58)

Pressure and Order

In the face of situational chaos, all of us appreciate strong leadership. We value the clear and confident voice of the one who knows what to do—we value their knowledge—and we listen to what they say. Leadership provides clarity, order, and the pressure necessary to help all of us do what must be done. But there are plenty of examples where placing this kind of trust in a human leader has led to disaster. That’s why the Gospel of Matthew won’t ascribe such authority to anyone, not even Jesus. It is the teaching that Jesus carries—the word that he speaks—to which we look for direction. This word was handed down from above as the immutable will of God our Father, the Patrician of all, whose authority brings order to the household of the nations. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 8:23-27. Thanks to all of our listeners for supporting this live recording of the podcast. It was great to see many of you at this year’s symposium. If you’re looking for a cutting-edge appliance repair school run by industry experts, one of our listeners can help! Visit https://mastersamuraitech.com for more information. Episode 269 Matthew 8:23-27; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “The Show Must Be Go” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Dry Land

Fr. Paul continues his analysis of Genesis 1. (Episode 57)

Leave the Dead

At the start of the New Testament, the Matthean Geneology remedies an incorrect understanding of Abraham’s line by belittling of the kings of Judah, highlighting the failure of tribal lines. Thus, Matthew reorients his readers to the original intent of Abraham’s household as a mechanism of adoption into the Lord’s fold, through his teaching. To claim Abraham as a tribal or national banner is to diminish the Lord’s promise, making Abraham’s seed just like any other human line. In Matthew, as in Genesis, the Lord is forced to intervene to ensure that the folly of David’s seed does not jeopardize God’s promise of life to Abraham and his descendants. All human lines are dust to dust. Thus, the Matthean Jesus challenges loyalty to tribe and clan with a stern warning: ”Leave the dead to bury their dead.” Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 8:18-22. Episode 268 Matthew 8:18-22; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Cold Sober” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Second Day

Fr. Paul discusses Geneis 1:6-9. (Episode 56)

Peter’s Household

The head of the household, in biblical terms, is the one responsible for leading with the teaching of Scripture. Where civil characterizations of this role emphasize the acquisition of wealth, the Bible stresses obedience to God’s instruction as the chief duty of both the Biblical Patriarch and the Roman Patrician. A true parent is the one who provides instruction along with bread and shelter. That is why in the Orthodox and Catholic traditions, the one responsible for teaching is called, “Father.” But what happens when the head of the household is himself disobedient? What if that person, who is responsible for the wellbeing of everyone, allows a member of his family to suffer because of a failure to teach? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 8:14-17. Episode 267 Matthew 8:14-17; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Onion Capers” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

One Day

Fr. Paul continues his discussion of Genesis 1. (Episode 55)

The Roman Household

Too often, students of Scripture dismiss difficult texts by separating the culture of the biblical era from what they consider the real ”message” of the biblical story—but this is a fallacy. Empirically, the text—the letters and words inscribed on the page—are the message. The rule of Matthew precludes the addition or subtraction of anything from this inscription. If the message in your head does not recount every letter of Hebrew and Greek in the entire Bible, it's not the biblical message. So when Scripture deals with Roman culture, like it or not, Roman culture is part of the package. When we attempt to sift it out, the Gospel becomes unintelligible. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 8:5-13. Episode 266 Matthew 8:5-13; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Crusade - Heavy Industry” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Light and Darkness

Fr. Paul resumes his reading of Genesis with a discussion of light and darkness in 1:3-5. (Episode 54)

The Witness of the Leper

In the Gospel of Matthew, knowledge of Scripture determines the value of a Levitical priest. What are the specific rules of Leviticus and what do they mean? What is the priest commanded to do when he encounters a leper? What does the Levitical sign of skin disease teach the priest about the household of Abraham? In the story of the leper’s healing in Matthew 8, Jesus demonstrates the answer to these questions through his obedience to the rule of Leviticus, placing accountability for the plight of the outcast squarely on the shoulders of “Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests.” (Leviticus 13:2) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 8:1-4. Episode 265 Matthew 8:1-4; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Cottages” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Grammatical Functionality

Fr. Paul concludes his discussion of functionality in Scripture. (Episode 53)

These Words

As teachers and students, we delude ourselves with abstraction. How many of us, instead of teaching the words of the Bible, offer a cheap summary or moral extraction to get at (what we call) the gist of the story? How often have you heard someone talk and talk and talk about God for hours without following the storyline of Scripture, in English, let alone the original languages? How often? The King James Bible contains 783,137 words. There is no gist. There are only “these words.” “Everyone,” Jesus explains, “who hears these words of mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” (Matthew 7:26) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 7:24-29. Episode 264 Matthew 7:24-29; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Dream Catcher” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Biblical Function

Fr. Paul discusses the central importance of functionality in Scripture. (Episode 52)

Not Everyone Who Says, “Lord, Lord”

It’s unclear how or when the phrase “I love you” became the sacrosanct rubric of America’s devolving mating rituals, but it did. In the place of duty, honor, and commitment, we peddle the fake importance of a self-involved, emotionally insecure obsession with three words that represent a hormonal response. Even if you think you disagree, you know its true. Your spouse can say, “I love you” until they’re blue in the face. It is meaningless if their behavior says otherwise. Enter Matthew 7. Jesus does not care if you say, “I love you.” The world does not stop spinning and it is not an apocalyptic sign that now you are truly his disciple. No way. Human words are cheap. You are only his disciple when you act like it. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 7:21-23. Today’s episode begins with a reading of Deuteronomy 13:1-3. Episode 263 Matthew 7:21-23; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Hackbeat” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Waters

Fr. Paul explains the function of the waters in Genesis 1:2. (Episode 51)

Beware of False Prophets

Priorities control a person's speech. If a pastor’s goal is to share the words of the Bible, he will speak the words of the Bible. If his goal is to grow his parish, he will add to (or subtract from) the words of Scripture to appeal to his target audience, ignoring the Lord’s warning in Matthew 7:6 to protect what is holy. In Matthew, this kind of teacher is singled out as a false prophet, easily identifiable, Jesus explains, by the content of what is taught and by its outcome. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 7:15-20. Episode 262 Matthew 7:15-20; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “That’s a Wrap” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Tohu wa-bohu

Fr. Paul continues his reading of Genesis with an analysis of the words tohu wa-bohu in 1:2. (Episode 50)

The Narrow Path

In the modern Internet of Consumers, everyone is treated as a profit center. Content, images, and themes are all engineered to attract the widest audience possible. If everyone likes your message, it must be good, right? This profit centered model has corrupted our media institutions and undermines our trust in each other. In 2018, everyone is in sales—even our universities—and it’s a catastrophe. While the Bible was indeed written in such a way that the widest possible audience could understand it’s content, it was not written to be accepted by a broad audience. It was written to say what it has to say with no regard for its appeal. That is what it means to teach and the biblical teaching in Matthew is itself the narrow path of which Jesus speaks. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 7:13-14. Episode 261 Matthew 7:13-14; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Just Nasty” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Title of Scripture

In the fourth part of his introduction to the Book of Genesis, Fr. Paul discusses the importance of the Hebrew words bereshit bara. (Episode 49)

Ask, Seek, and Knock

Too often, the Lord’s promise in Matthew 7:7, that those who ask will receive, and those who seek will find, is reframed by a consumer mindset, as though prayer is the adult version of writing a letter to Santa Claus. But if we hear this verse in the context of Matthew, we’re stuck with a different reality: God’s will is immutable and dominant, he already knows what we need, and we are not allowed to ask for stuff when we pray. So why and what are we suddenly asking for and seeking in verse 7? In a gospel that began with an overview of the Old Testament and a crash course in biblical Hebrew, Matthew is challenging us: whatever we need is already available in Scripture—so ask the Torah and seek its pages. Everything you need will be provided. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 7:7-12. Episode 260 Matthew 7:7-12; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Club Seamus” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Toledot

In the third part of his introduction to the Book of Genesis, Fr. Paul revisits his discussion of the Hebrew word toledot. (Episode 48)

Dogs, Swine, and Pearls

Too often, teachers use Matthew 7:6 to cast aspersion on the unchurched, difficult students, or people who are not interested in what they have to say. In doing so, they twist the meaning of the Gospel to serve themselves at the expense of others. When the Lord warns his followers, “Do not give what is holy to dogs,” it is the believer, not the gentile “dog,” who is under judgment. Those entrusted with the Gospel are responsible to abstain from defiling it with their lips. If you sit on the seat of Moses and proclaim your words in judgment and not the words of Scripture, you can’t help but be self-serving. Such words defile you and those who hear you. Therefore, Jesus warns, don’t be surprised when the people you abuse with your lies “turn and tear you to pieces.” In that moment, Ezekiel proclaims, ”you shall know that I am the Lord,” (Ezekiel 11:12) the only Judge, whose throne is in the heavens. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 7:4-6. Episode 259 Matthew 7:4-6; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Chillin Hard” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Triliteral Root

In the second part of his introduction to the Book of Genesis, Fr. Paul continues his discussion of the language of Scripture with an overview of triliteral roots. (Episode 47)

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