Jeremiah Week 1

Are You Up to This?

My prayer is that in reading Jeremiah, you will discover a complicated and richly textured picture of God’s relationship to Jeremiah and the people of God that will strengthen your own complicated and richly textured relationship with God. Full reading and audio »

Selections From the Prophets Week 1

Introduction to the Prophets: 1 Kings 18:20–40

In 1 Kings 18:20–40, Ahab gathers all the Israelites on Mount Carmel for a showdown between the prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal. This is a time of reckoning akin to a Wild West shootout, where contending powers gather in one place for a “winner take all” demonstration of power. Full reading and audio »

Hebrews Week 1

A Letter Without a Home: Introduction to Hebrews

The Letter to the Hebrews is surely one of Scripture’s most enigmatic books. Not only does its language seem strange to us, it is also an orphaned letter that finds a home neither among Paul’s letters (Romans–Philemon) nor among those from the apostolic Pillars of Jerusalem (James–Jude). Full reading and audio »

Mark Week 1

Introduction to the Gospel of Mark: Mark 1:1–15

Good news. Death and Darkness. Revelation. Misunderstanding. Miracles. Mystery. Authority. Suffering. All of these contrasting terms characterize the vivid portrayal of the good news in the Gospel of Mark. Full reading and audio »

1 & 2 Samuel Week 1

The Preview: 1 Samuel 1:1–2:10

I am a big fan of movie previews, and there seems to be a particular formula to the good ones: They tell you enough about the film as a whole so you know whether you want to see it, without giving away the entire plot. The first two chapters of 1 Samuel — Hannah’s story and song — function like a good preview of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel. Full reading and audio »

Selections From Israel's Story Week 1

Introduction: From Egypt to the Promised Land

December 2010 was when we were last in the Old Testament; since then, the Lectio has covered the New Testament books of Matthew and Romans. We are now returning to Israel’s story at the place we left off …Full reading and audio »

Romans Week 1

Introduction to the Epistle to the Romans

Perhaps no book of the Bible has had a greater influence on the course of Christianity than Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. The list of individuals who have been associated significantly with this book is without parallel … Full reading and audio »

Matthew Week 1

Introduction to Matthew

Though the Gospel According to Matthew wasn’t the first of our gospels to be composed (most scholars now believe Mark is the oldest of the four), already by the second century many Christians were showing their admiration for this book by placing it first in line among those ultimately included in our New Testament canon. Full reading and audio »

Genesis/Exodus Week 1

Introduction to Scripture

The only Scriptures Jesus and his earliest followers recognized and appealed to as God’s authoritative word were those Christians would eventually call the Old Testament. Indeed, this goes for Jesus’ detractors as well, virtually all of whom belonged to various branches of Judaism (it was not known as Judaism in Jesus’ time). Full reading and audio »

Selections on New Creation Week 1

From Text to Life: New Creation in the Fourth Act

On the afternoon of June 5, a young man entered the SPU campus and began a violent shooting episode that ended with one student dead, Paul Lee, several others injured, and our community wounded by fear, grief and shock. Full reading and audio »

Revelation Week 1

Prologue to Scripture’s Conclusion (Revelation 1:1–8)

The Book of Revelation is the strangest book in the Bible and its most controversial. For almost two thousand years, Christians have found its bizarre snapshots of peculiar beasts in strange places both disturbing and captivating. Full reading and audio »

John Week 1

Singing an Index: An Introduction to the Gospel of John (John 1:1–18)

Music is a powerful source of identity and connection. Even people with forms of memory loss often remember songs that they were taught at younger ages. Full reading and audio »

Psalms Week 1

Singing the Psalms in the Right Key: Torah, God, God’s Anointed, a Final Amen: Psalms 1, 2, 33, 150

The book of Psalms is arguably one of the most favored parts of the Bible. Christians to whom the Old Testament might seem distant, perplexing, or forbidding nevertheless cherish the Psalms. Full reading and audio »

James Week 1

Introduction to James and the Catholic Epistles

Most folks I know conceive of the Bible as relatively uniform. It is God’s word — a single book that tells a single story about a God of singular importance and power. Full reading and audio »

Week 1 Wisdom Literature

Introduction: A Good Conversation: Proverbs 1:1–7; Job 1:1–4:21

Education aimed at transformation requires conversation. That, in a nutshell, is the overarching theme of this nine-week Lectio series on the Hebrew Wisdom Literature. Full reading and audio »

Acts Week 1

Introduction: On the Journey

Let’s start off with a quiz. After all, this website connects us all to a university. And who doesn’t love an exam? Full reading and audio »

Luke Week 1

Birth Announcements: Luke 1 and 2

Today, young couples exercise great creativity to make birth announcements memorable. The pregnancy that led to our first grandchild was announced by his parents in a surprise visit — from Southern California to Seattle. Full reading and audio »

Isaiah Week 1

Isaiah as a Christian Prophetic Book

“What books have been most influential to you?” This is a question commonly raised in interviews for faculty and ministerial candidates, because it helps identify the voices and ideas that have shaped the individual. Full reading and audio »

1 Corinthians Week 1

Called to Be … Who We Are: 1 Corinthians 1:1–9

We should probably admit it right from the get-go. It seems a little odd to think we can find help for living today by reading a letter written to people living 2,000 years ago and half a world away. And yet this is exactly what we expect reading Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth … Full reading and audio »

Joshua/Judges Week 1

Introduction to Joshua: Eden Lost, Canaan Found

Mark Twain once wrote, facetiously, that a “classic” could be defined as a book that people praise but don’t actually read. I’m afraid, then, the Bible has become a “classic”! No doubt the Bible can be intimidating — my study Bible is more than 2,000 pages of text with very tiny font. Full reading »