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Exploring My Strange Bible

Welcome to Exploring My Strange Bible by Tim Mackie, lead theologian and co-founder of BibleProject.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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The Lord’s Prayer - Gospel of Matthew Part 10

Specifically, we talk about the meaning and significance of one of the most important things that Jesus ever said to his followers. Jesus passed along his prayer and taught us how to pray, which he addressed in his Sermon on the Mount. Even after I became a follower of Jesus, I still never adopted the Lord's prayer as my own prayer that I prayed regularly. It took me years until I came across other people who really advocated that we should adopt the Lord’s prayer into our daily habits. Listen in to hear more about this on today’s show.

50mins

2 Jul 2018

Rank #1

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God's Kingdom Has Arrived: New Testament Themes Part 1

In this teaching we explore the Gospel of Mark's introduction to Jesus and his basic message and mission. We discover that announcing the arrival of God's kingdom was Jesus' greatest priority. For the most part modern Western people have not truly heard what Jesus was trying to get across, and so the concept of God's kingdom is not familiar to most people. Instead of importing our ideas about what Christianity is, we need to recover the apostles' presentation of Jesus in the New Testament. So this is all about Jesus’s announcement of the Kingdom of God. What did that mean? Why was that important to him? Take a listen…

50mins

4 Sep 2017

Rank #2

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Gold, Darkness, and Dwarves - Gospel of Matthew Part 31

Today we ponder a pretty well-known peril of Jesus that has been misused and abused in unfortunate ways when it is read out of context. This story is about a landowner who gives different sized investments to his servants and then expects them to produce something with the investments. Then based on what they have done with the investment, the landowner rewards or punishes different people. As you can see, this is one of those stories where if you take it out of context, you can just do terrible things with it.BUT when you locate this parable as a warning or challenge that Jesus gives to the leaders of Jerusalem, all kinds of parts of this parable pop out in new ways.

51mins

17 Dec 2018

Rank #3

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Book of Hebrews Part 1 - Are You Listening?

This is a letter that doesn’t actually behave like a letter. There is no proper introduction. So what this first letter does is orient us towards the question “what is the letter to the Hebrews?”. It is kind of like an early Christian sermon, but kind of like a letter too. We talk about what we know (and don’t know) about this letter in this lecture. We also talk about what it means to be the divine identity of Jesus and what that means to be disciples of Jesus.

37mins

4 Dec 2017

Rank #4

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Psalms - The Language of Prayer Part 1: Praying Through Our Fears

As a new follower of Jesus, I loved the Book of Psalms. I remember realizing for the first time that multiple points in Jesus’s life teaching, he used the language of the psalm to express his own thoughts. Jesus models for us what it means to use the psalms as language for our own prayers. This first teaching is based on Psalm 3, it is about learning how to pray in the midst of great fear and anxiety in our lives.

48mins

23 Oct 2017

Rank #5

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Yahweh Saves - Gospel of Matthew Part 1

These sermons originally took almost two years to get through, and it was a remarkable experience for our whole church community. Stories of Jesus can become so over-familiarized that they begin to lack the power and passion and brilliance that they actually possess. Going through this book was an amazing religious and life-transforming experience for me and I hope it is for you too.

51mins

30 Apr 2018

Rank #6

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Torah Crash Course Part 1 - Genesis

After many years of pastoral ministry I found that some of the main misunderstandings people have about Jesus come from misunderstanding the larger biblical story that he brought to fulfillment. When we try to understand who Jesus was without reference to the Old Testament, it's kind of like watching the Star Wars movies, but skipping the first episode. You can follow what's going on, but you won't really understand the deeper elements of the story. This set of lectures was my effort to condense the first five foundational books of Jesus’s bible, because they introduce the Plot conflict and storyline that Jesus believed he was bringing to fulfillment.

1hr 2mins

21 Aug 2017

Rank #7

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Ephesians Part 1: Prayer for Power

This first teaching is actually from the middle of chapter 1. It’s a prayer that Paul prays for the followers of Jesus in Ephesus. It’s an amazing prayer where he prays for power. The kind of power that Paul thinks that followers of Jesus have access to is a very different conception of power. It’s a power that was expressed when Jesus gave up his life and was resurrected by the power of love and self-sacrifice. This is exactly the kind of power that Paul wants followers of Jesus to recognize.

1hr 7mins

30 Oct 2017

Rank #8

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I am who I am Part 1: Yahweh Is Our God

This first teaching explores the word “God” both in English and in the Bible. I discuss the divine name of God revealed through Moses to the people Israel. If you’re going to get to know someone, you have to start with their name. We explore what God’s name means in this episode.

57mins

13 Nov 2017

Rank #9

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Practicing Faith Part 1: Solitude & Community

This teaching is called “Solitude & Community”. In the New Testament, "church" is the gathering of Jesus' followers into a community of support and worship. But in the life of Jesus, that communal practice is also matched by the habit of regular solitude. What is this practice all about, and why was it so important to Jesus?

51mins

11 Sep 2017

Rank #10

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An Open-Minded Faith - Gospel of Matthew Part 17

This episode addresses faith in a story about Jesus healing a blind man in Matthew Chapter 9. In the Gospels, the word “faith” and specifically "having faith and trust in Jesus" really has a specific meaning. We see that different people have very different experiences with Jesus. Why the different reactions and responses? We address that question and more in this episode…

56mins

20 Aug 2018

Rank #11

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Heaven & Hell 2 - Heaven and Zombies

In this lecture we tackle the biblical word “heaven," and what that does and does not mean. From there we tackle the language about life and death throughout the rest of the bible. What you’ll see pretty clearly is that biblical authors don’t see death as something that just happens to you at the end of your physical life. Rather, from page 3 of the bible on, both life and death are present realities. Basically, the concept of zombies is a biblical idea. Most of these ideas aren’t mine. I brought together what I thought were the best scholarship and thinking and observation mixed with my own observations and synthesized it into these lectures. I encourage you to get your bible out and notebook, or whatever you need, and take a listen! FREE STUDY NOTES

45mins

18 Sep 2017

Rank #12

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The Amazing Jonah Part 2: Asleep at the Wheel

Jonah is ironically portrayed as God’s own prophet, but he is the only person who really refuses to listen to God. This episode explores how Jonah is “asleep at the wheel” and deaf to God and everything that God uses to communicate to him. This story invites us in to think about our own lack of perception and awareness of the ways that God might be trying to get through to us.

48mins

14 Aug 2017

Rank #13

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Faithfulness in Exile: Daniel Part 1 - Dreams and Idols

This first message explores chapter 2 of Daniel. Daniel is a weird book that has a misconception that it is only about ends of timelines. In fact, there is a lot of hope in Daniel too. This episode addresses a story that develops themes from page 1 of Genesis. Get ready for surprises! Let’s dive in…

55mins

29 Jan 2018

Rank #14

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Book of Hebrews Part 2 - What does it mean to be Human?

This teaching comes from Hebrews chapter 2 and it is exploring the portrait of Jesus as God becomes human that the anonymous pastor goes into. What is it that human story of Jesus reveals about the glory and power of God? We explore this on today’s episode.

44mins

11 Dec 2017

Rank #15

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The Amazing Jonah Part 3: A Severe Mercy

In this episode we ponder the very strange and beautifully intricate poem that Jonah utters in the belly of the fish. This is a powerful and heavily ironic moment in the story. This poem represents a moment when one of God’s people is in crisis. Jonah discovers that his crisis is actually God’s work to bring him to the end of himself. Jonah’s experience in this story forces us to think about similar moments of crisis in our own lives.

46mins

14 Aug 2017

Rank #16

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Love Is Not A Black Hole

These are famous love poems where Paul talks about nature and love in a Christian vocabulary. A lot of love poems from weddings begin right here in this teaching. Paul didn’t write for people getting married, but he actually wrote it to bring local community members together who were riddled with moral compromise. He wanted to give us an idea of what human existence and love was all about, and it manifested into this poem.

59mins

23 Apr 2018

Rank #17

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Heaven & Hell 4 - A Renewed Creation

This episode draws together all the ideas of the previous three lectures. We explore the images of eternal death and what these images mean, and the images used by Jesus in his teachings about God’s final justice. In the second half, we talk about the images of new creation, resurrection, and eternal life. We explore what Jesus and the Apostles have to say about this. Then, we focus on the last two pages of the Bible and ponder the beautiful hope of heaven and earth reunited in the renewed creation. FREE STUDY NOTES

53mins

20 Sep 2017

Rank #18

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Making of the Bible Part 1 - The Making of the Old Testament Books

In this series we explore how the Bible was written and the long process of its composition and manuscript history. The bible is a book with a very traceable history, it was not written in secret. The authors of these texts were of course humans, but they also claimed that through these human words God speaks to his people. It's important to keep the divine and human nature of the Bible in balance. Many people think that believing the Bible is God's word necessitates believing it came into existence with little or no human agency. This idea is foreign to the biblical authors and we should cherish the beautiful and complex ways the Bible was composed and collected over the centuries.

52mins

23 Aug 2017

Rank #19

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Signs of the Times - Gospel of Matthew Part 30

We go over Matthew Chapter 24 today, which in modern, especially American Protestantism, has become a very controversial text related to biblical discussions about “the end times”. The longer I’ve gone on to learn more about the bible and how symbolism works and apocalyptic texts in Jewish writing, my understanding has really depended. That being said, they still remain controversial because of the symbolism. Let's dive in together.

59mins

3 Dec 2018

Rank #20