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Making Sense of the Bible: How Do We Read It?

While most Christians affirm the authority of Scripture, many are not quite sure how to arrive at its authoritative message.  This lecture explores issues of biblical interpretation, considering the obstacles to interpretation, understanding a text within its original context, recognizing the limitation of each reader, and explaining the tremendous importance of interpreting scripture responsibly.

What Happened Between the Testaments and Why Does it Matter?

Most within the Protestant tradition have virtually no knowledge of what happened in the life of Israel between the close of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament.  But these 400 years of history are vital for understanding the situation we find in the New Testament.  Could anyone properly understand 21st century Americans without knowing the last 400 years of our history?  Of course not!  Then why do we assume we can understand our New Testament properly without understanding its history?!! This lecture walks the reader through this crucial history of Israel and considers how this history impacts the way we understand the New Testament

Understanding the Jewish World of the New Testament

Understanding the Judaism of the first century is crucial for understanding the New Testament.  Who were the Pharisees?  Who were the Sadducees? What literature did Jews regard as scripture?  How did they reading and understand their scripture? What did Jews believe about a Messiah?  How did Jews feel about Rome and non-Jews?  This lecture answers these questions and more, offering both an introduction to the Jewish world of the first century and also ways in which knowledge of that world helps us understand the New Testament. 

Understanding the Roman World of the New Testament

While the Christian movement was birthed out of the first century Jewish world, that birth and growth took place under the enormous shadow of the Roman Empire.  Virtually every book of the New Testament is, in one way or another, engaging the realities of Rome's empire and the world within it. As a result, knowledge of the Greco-Roman world, its cultural, politics, history, and geography, is crucial for understanding the New Testament.  This lecture introduces the reader to the realities of the Greco-Roman world and offers numerous examples of how such knowledge helps the reader better understand the New Testament. 

What are the Gospels?

Daily Christians engage the four Gospels of the New Testament, all the while never stopping to ask what type of literature they are, where their information comes from, and how each of these Gospels might be related to each other.  What many Christians do notice is that these four accounts of the life of Jesus are not all the same, and at times, might appear to be contradictory in certain details.  This lecture not only offers information on the Gospel's genre, source material, and literary relationships, but it also uses that information to resolve the tension many Christians encounter when they read these four different accounts of the life of Jesus.  One aim of this lecture is that by its end people won't see the differences in the Gospels as problematic, but instead will find them to be sources of significant meaning! 

Who Was The Apostle Paul?

Perhaps the most significant missionary and theologian of the first century (and perhaps the last 2000 years!) was Paul of Tarsus.  In the first century Paul was a polarizing figure, one who was hard to understand, and seemed a magnet for controversy.  In many ways, these descriptors apply to Paul in the 21st century!  While Paul is adored by some Christians he is disliked by others.  He is notoriously difficult to understand, and controversy still exists over his teachings.  This lecture increase both understanding and appreciation for Paul.  It introduces the reader to his significance, history, identity, mission, and theological contributions--among a few other things!. 

Pick a Book!

If your church is interested in gaining greater knowledge about one particular book, I am happy to offer a single lecture or lecture series to such an end (though I would recommend a lecture series for this option!) Books you could choose from include: The Gospel of Mark, The Gospel of Luke, The Acts of the Apostles, The Letter to the Galatians, The Letter to the Romans, The First Letter to the Thessalonians, The Book of Revelation.  And you might be able to talk me into another one! 

Special Topics

Perhaps you are interested in different matters related to the study of the New Testament.  I am happy to offer lectures on particular topics.  While you can propose your own topic, here are some topics I would be happy to address:

New Testament Christology and how first century Christians understood Jesus' identity; Eschatological beliefs of First Century Christians as evidenced in the New Testament; New Testament challenges to Rome's Empire; Why was Jesus Killed?

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Single Lecture

I would be happy to come to your church and provide a single lecture to your church community. For one evening (or afternoon?), I would be happy to join you and discuss any of the lectures you see here.  After lecture, I am happy provide a Q&A session. Lectures can vary from an hour to an hour and a half depending on the topic. Listen to sample lecture below!

Lecture Series

If you are looking for more than a single lecture, I would be happy to join your church for a weekend lecture series.  Such series can be custom made for your church in terms of both schedule and topic.  Perhaps you would like me to offer a series on the book of Revelation, with a Friday night lecture, two lectures on Saturday, and a sermon on Sunday.  Or perhaps you would like to combine lectures on interpreting the Bible, the history between the testaments, and the Judaism of Jesus' world.  These could be spread out over a weekend or given all on a Saturday.  Each lecture will be between an hour and an hour and a half, with a Q&A session to wrap up the lecture. 

Sermon

I am happy to serve as a guest preacher for your church.  Sermons will be engaging and grounded in close and contextual reading of the biblical text.  Listen to a sample sermon below!

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Take a Listen! Samples

Lecture: What Happened between the Testaments and Why does it Matter?

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Sermon: The Choice (Revelation 13)

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