Jeremiah Week 2

Being a Prophet is Hard, but Being an Idolater is Easy

In biblical times, many relatively common activities, such as trade, marriage, and political negotiations, required sacrifices. Avoiding idolatry required vigorous attentiveness to how one carried oneself in the world. Full reading and audio »

Selections From the Prophets Week 2

Seeing Jesus through the Prophetic Literature: Luke 4

At the end of our introductory comments on the prophets, we noted that Jesus states in the Sermon of the Mount, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill (Matthew 5:17).” The prophetic power found in the Old Testament doesn’t by any means end with the incarnation of Jesus as the final Word of God. Full reading and audio »

Hebrews Week 2

A Sermon’s “Big Idea”: Hebrews 1:1–4

Sermons are not easy listening for small kids! I went to church because there were no other options. My parents squeezed me between them, with my two sisters seated on either side of my parents out of harm’s way. Full reading and audio »

Mark Week 2

Meeting Jesus in Miracles and Debates: Mark 1:16–3:6

Last week, we noted that the introductory section of Mark’s gospel concludes with a summary of Jesus’ preaching. In Mark 1:15, Jesus proclaims that “the time has been fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has drawn near; turn around and put your trust in the good news.” Full reading and audio »

1 & 2 Samuel Week 2

Eli’s Wicked Sons: Samuel’s Call and the Priestly Fall: 1 Samuel 2:11–1 Samuel 7

This week’s section of 1 Samuel also contains a comparison. Instead of a comparison of times or cities, it is a comparison of two families. Full reading and audio »

Selections From Israel's Story Week 2

The Ten Words: Exodus 20

While much of the legal material of the Old Testament is skipped over by many Christians, the Ten Commandments are often the exception to that trend. In fact, in his, Martin Luther said that the Ten Commandments gave us, “what we are to do in order that our whole life may be pleasing to God.” Out of all the many commandments in the Old Testament, why are these so important? Full reading and audio »

Romans Week 2

The Gospel for Both Jews and Gentiles: Romans 1:1–2:16

When one begins reading, one notices stylistic idiosyncrasies right away. For instance, Paul likes long sentences; really long sentences. (Believe it or not, they tend to be longer than the sentences by this author!) Full reading and audio »

Matthew Week 2

Introducing Jesus: Matthew 1:1–4:17

Last week I mentioned that Matthew created a gospel characterized by careful organization. In fact, a close look at that organization reveals an amazingly complex set of literary patterns designed to direct our reading of Jesus’ story. Full reading and audio »

Genesis/Exodus Week 2

The Created Order: Genesis 1:1–2:3

You and I had a beginning (obviously!). Everyone had a beginning. A song from the musical The Sound of Music tells us delightfully that the beginning is “a very good place to start.” Scripture, too, begins at the beginning. If you know the Bible at all, you know to refer to this beginning as creation. Full reading and audio »

Selections on New Creation Week 2

Paul’s Vision of New Creation: 2 Corinthians 3:1–6:2; Galatians 5:1–6:18

When I consider new beginnings, I think of two stories involving two women half a world apart — both seeking healing and new beginnings. Full reading and audio »

Revelation Week 2

Prophet John to the Sevenfold Church: Greetings! (Revelation 1:9–3:22)

When I was a young child my parents sent my two sisters and me every summer to Camp Wooten in the Blue Mountains of eastern Washington, no doubt to give themselves the vacation they so richly deserved! Full reading and audio »

John Week 2

Show and Tell: Testifying to Jesus: John 1:19–51

Aspiring writers are often advised, “Show, don’t tell. Take readers along for the journey; don’t narrate events at a distance.” If this had been the writing advice in the first century, the fourth evangelist would have failed miserably. Full reading and audio »

Psalms Week 2

Utterly Human, Amazingly Human: From the Ordinary to the Extraordinary: Psalms 8, 33, 144

Psalm 8 — a Davidic psalm — begins and ends with a refrain that accents the majestic name of YHWH in all the earth. Indeed, God’s name is perforce majestic because God’s very being is glorious. The name matches the glory. Glory of this sort is, inexplicably and mysteriously, chanted by those not yet able to speak: nursing babies. Full reading and audio »

James Week 2

Are Any Among You Sick? James 1

I’ve been ill the past few days. Nothing serious— just a really rotten head cold— but I’ve been surprised by how debilitating it has been. Between the cold itself and the medications taken to combat it, I’m left sluggish and staring like a zombie. Full reading and audio »

Week 2 Wisdom Literature

A Prudential Motive: Proverbs 1:7–3:18

As you will recall from Week 1, the overarching theme of this Lectio series on the Hebrew Wisdom Literature can be stated — appropriately enough! — in a maxim: “Education aimed at transformation requires conversation.”
Full reading and audio »

Acts Week 2

Thrill Ride: Acts 1–2

Whenever you read the word Pentecost, think rollercoaster. Not a measly little bumpy carnival ride, but the Ride of Steel at Six Flags or the legendary Cyclone at Coney Island. Think free-falling, twisting, jostling, lurching, spinning rollercoaster, and you are well underway to getting the gist of the first two chapters of the book of Acts. Full reading and audio »

Luke Week 2

Adam, John, Jesus: Luke 3:1–4:13

The kickoff of something new is important. People in Seattle celebrate “opening day” of boating season. The first home baseball game of a new season is a big deal. A new president’s first weeks in office are watched by the nation and the world. Full reading and audio »

Isaiah Week 2

A Tale of Two Cities: Isaiah 1:2–4:6

Besides God, who or what is the central focus of the book of Isaiah? Is it Isaiah the prophet? Is it the Messiah? Is it the Servant? Nope. Isaiah appears occasionally in Chapters 1–39, but is completely absent in Chapters 40–66. Full reading and audio »

1 Corinthians Week 2

Called to Be … Cross-Centered: 1 Corinthians 1:10-2:5

Everyone wants a healthy church. Surveys, resources, books, and websites abound on the topic, ready to dispense ideas, materials, and advice for creating and sustaining healthy churches. No one wants to see a church sick or dying. Well, it was not much different 2,000 years ago. Full reading and audio »

Joshua/Judges Week 2

From Moses to Joshua: Joshua 1:1–18

My family owns the classic Indiana Jones trilogy on DVD and my favorite film in the series is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), where the dashing archaeologist and adventurer pursues the legendary Holy Grail along with his father, Henry Jones Sr. — another scholar who has spent his life obsessed with finding this sacred relic. Full reading and audio »