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Exploring My Strange Bible

Exploring My Strange Bible

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


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An Update From Tim

A message from Tim to let everyone know that we will be putting this podcast on pause for now. It will remain active online so you can still listen or re-listen to his sermons.

If you want to hear more from Tim, check out The Bible Project Podcast:

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The Crocus Flower and the Empty Tomb - Gospel of Matthew Part 35

This story has changed the course of human history over the past 2,000 years. Of course the story is profound, but the IMPLICATIONS of what it means to the history of our universe leading up to Jesus? resurrection is incredible. This teaching is a reflection about the significance of Easter.

Jesus walking out of the empty tomb offered a whole new history of the world.

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The Blood Cries Out - Gospel of Matthew Part 34

We are in the final moments of Jesus? story, and we focus on his trial, but also the story in Matthew about Judas after his betrayal of Jesus. Judas experiences extreme remorse and ends up committing suicide.

These are grim stories, but they are very important insights into human conditions. You can see how Judas became trapped in his black hole of terrible decisions and how they destroyed him. It?s a very sobering and sobering portrait of the human condition.

I think you?ll find these stories profound and interesting while they address some of life?s biggest questions.

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Panic Attack - Gospel of Matthew Part 33

We?ve come to (from my perspective) one of the most profound, mysterious, and almost terrifying stories of the Gospel. It is the story of Jesus right before he gets arrested and executed.

He took his friends and followers to a small olive grove and he was disappointed by their inability to stay awake? his closest people fail him at the moment that he needs them the most. So then Jesus turns to God and multiple times he asks that he not have to go through the arrest and execution. It was so scary that Jesus actually experienced a panic attack.

This story tells us so much about Jesus? experience with God and it blows my mind. Listen in and we?ll learn together.

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The Passover Meal - Gospel of Matthew Part 32

This teaching is actually kind of a replay and development of a teaching that I gave numerous times about the Messianic Passover. As we retell the story of Passover year after year, we can see that the story is forward-pointing as it represents liberation. What Jesus does with this meal and how he takes its meaning and tweaks it is really interesting. We address all of this and more about the Passover Meal in this episode.

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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.

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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.

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Love and the Rebirth of the Universe - Gospel of Matthew Part 29

We are in the ?passion? week during Jesus? stay in Jerusalem for Passover, and there are a series of controversies. Today we explore a controversy that Jesus has with some priests. They try to trap Jesus in a scripture-type puzzle, but he really doesn?t fall for it.

We watch Jesus deal with controversy, the future, resurrection, and more in this episode.

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Love Poems, Vineyards, and Rocks - Gospel of Matthew Part 28

We look at a story from a controversy that Jesus was involved in in this episode. During his final week in Jerusalem for Passover, he ends up telling this famous story of God?s covenant with Israel leading up to Jesus. He tells it through a story about a landowner who owns a vineyard and then has some hired hands who end up hijacking the farm and getting violent about it.

Jesus really confronts his contemporaries with the squandered opportunity of Israel?s history. This teaching of Jesus shows a level of challenge for all generations of his followers as Jesus can get under our skin and bother us sometimes.

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Jesus, Prophet and Provocateur - Gospel of Matthew Part 27

In this teaching, we take apart Matthew Chapter 21 and the story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem during the week of Passover, and he creates a storm. He literally storms into the temple and turns over tables and stages a protest.

Immediately following that, there is a story about Jesus and a fig tree. Get ready for Hebrew word plays, prophetic poetry, and more in this episode.

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Forgiveness - Gospel of Matthew Part 26

We slow down on Matthew Chapter 18 and address Jesus? aside road trip in this teaching. He is trying to give his staff and disciples an idea of what it is like to live in the upside-down value system of the kingdom in our personal conflicts and relationships.

He particularly addresses forgiveness because, for Jesus, forgiveness was the quintessential feature of what it means to follow him. We explore forgiveness and reconciliation in this episode.

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Of Millstones and Guardian Angels - Gospel of Matthew Part 25

This episode takes us into Matthew Chapter 18. Jesus was taking a road trip, and then he decided to go on a solo march towards Jerusalem for Passover. He had been trying to invite his disciples specifically (his closest followers). This chapter focuses on resolving conflicts and relational problems within the kingdom of Jesus.

It is full of practical teachings about what the kingdom of God looks like on the personal, individual relationship level. It starts here, with Jesus urging his disciples to become a student of their own character flaws and how they hurt others without knowing it. It invites followers of Jesus into a journey of self-learning.

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Death and Taxes - Gospel of Matthew Part 24

At this point, we take a look at Matthew Chapter 17 about taxes and death. This isn't the most famous story about taxes in the Bible, but it is one of the first. It is about how Jesus relates to power and the Jewish institutions within religious people. This is an interesting story to show how Jesus related to these powers that he believed were corrupt but still submitted to them, and it also sheds light on what it means for Jesus and his followers to relate to the power structures that they happen to live under.

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The Other Side of the Lake - Gospel of Matthew Part 23

At this point, we look at Matthew Chapter 15. It is a story about a woman who approaches Jesus and asks him to heal her child, and Jesus HESITATES (which is totally bizarre because it doesn?t fit the portrait of Jesus, right?). The backstory of this woman and her history in the scriptures is really interesting, and it really helps us frame why Matthew has included this odd story in the first place.

It has to do with Jesus? mission to the people of Israel and God. Listen in to learn more.

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Severed Heads & Hungry Crowds - Gospel of Matthew Part 22

We?re looking at Matthew Chapter 14. I consider two stories alongside each other in this teaching. One is the story of John the Baptist getting beheaded by the royal family. It is followed by another story of Jesus providing food for hungry people in the wilderness that interrupts his cousin?s death.

The character of Jesus shines brightly in this episode.

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Weeds and Wheat - Gospel of Matthew Part 21

We consider one of Jesus? parables in this episode. Jesus is explaining who he is and what the kingdom of God that he is announcing is like. He is trying to shift and recreate new paradigms for people and life and God. The ?Weeds and Wheat? is a famous parable that Jesus gives in Matthew Chapter 13. Listen in as we dive in together.
Want to learn more about the larger biblical ideas about God's justice in this video? Check out Josh Butler, Skeletons in God?s Closet: The Mercy of Hell, the Surprise of Judgment, and the Hope of Holy War.

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Jesus Gives Us a Sign - The Gospel of Matthew Part 20

In this teaching, we address Matthew Chapter 12. Here, the leaders of Israel challenge Jesus and they want to make him prove his identity. Jesus responds by giving them a riddle and talking about the sign of Jonah.

This story also raises a fascinating parallel with many of our own personal stories where Jesus is not coming through for us at all the way we thought he would, and we begin to bargain with him, but Jesus just doesn?t really work like that. Listen in for more on these topics.

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One Way Road to the Grave - Gospel of Matthew Part 19

Matthew Chapters 11 and 12 are stories about people responding to what Jesus has been doing in chapters 4 -10. What we see here is one of the first notes of people?s rejection of Jesus by the Israelite contemporaries. So in this episode, we situate Jesus how he thought of himself in the tradition of the Hebrew Prophets. He gives warnings that are serious and significant, and they show us that Jesus was fully embedded in the religious controversies of first-century Israel in relation to the Roman empire.

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The Hammer that Heals - Gospel of Matthew Part 18

We look at Matthew Chapter 11 today. It is kind of a puzzling story, where John the Baptist (who is actually Jesus? relative and played a very key role in Jesus? life early on) is in prison. John the Baptist is also expressing serious doubts about who Jesus is and his identity.

It is a fascinating story that gives us a window into the kinds of expectations that Jewish people had about the Messiah. What was Jesus NOT doing that made John have these doubts?

We explore this story and our own personal expectations of Jesus in this episode.

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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?

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Who Can Forgive Sins? - Gospel of Matthew Part 16

We unravel a well-known story that takes place in Gospel Chapter 9 about Jesus forgiving the sins of a man who is paralyzed in legs. Then, he heals his legs so that he can get up and walk away. However, this is a controversy around this healing that Jesus performs, and it becomes a focal point for the whole story.

For Jesus to forgive sins a first-century Jewish context was a loaded and symbolic act. We?ll discuss more about this and Jesus redefining the definition of God in today?s episode.

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A Jesus-Centered Community - Gospel of Matthew Part 15

Today we look at a story in Matthew chapter 9. Each story makes a unique claim on Jesus?s identity, about his character, and the kind of communities that Jesus came to create. Jesus has brought together a diverse and complicated group of people around his Kingdom of God announcement. He?s labeled a rebel by the Jewish community, but today we are going to explore the method and mindset that is underneath Jesus? mission of creating these really unique Kingdom of God communities.

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Storms and Swine - Gospel of Matthew Part 14

We are in the narrative chapters of Matthew Chapters 8 and 9, where Matthew has collected nine stories of Jesus performing a whole number of powerful deeds and acts. Some of them are acts of healing, others of them are acts of creative power.

In this episode, we talk about two stories. One is about Jesus calming chaotic waters. The other is about Jesus meeting two dangerous men in a graveyard. Listen in to hear more.

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Make Me Clean - Gospel of Matthew Part 13

In previous episodes, we explored the Sermon on the Mount, but now we turn a corner back into the story Matthew of chapter 8. We explore this story of Jesus healing a man with a skin disease, which holds a lot of symbolic freight.

Most importantly, this story is about Jesus? contagious holiness. Jesus embodies the healing power of God?s holiness. This is an amazing story, especially once you take into consideration all of the Old Testament context.

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Ask and You Will Receive - Gospel of Matthew Part 12

This episode explores Jesus? teaching about prayer. It is the famous ?ask and you shall receive? teaching.

Personally, prayer has always been one of the aspects of following Jesus that I?ve found most difficult to make a big part of my life. So in this episode, I explore both what Jesus says, but also some of the objections or questions that come up in our minds when we try to take Jesus at his word and pray.

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To Judge, or Not to Judge - Gospel of Matthew Part 11

Today we are going to explore one of the most memorable teachings of Jesus that many people, even non-Christians, know. It is the teaching that centers around judgment or the idea ?Don?t judge so that you will not be judged?.

What did Jesus mean when he said not to judge other people? This is one of the teachings of Jesus that has truly taken on a life of its own. How has its meaning morphed over time, and what did Jesus intend for this teaching to mean?

We address these questions and more in this episode.

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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.

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Love Your Enemies - Gospel of Matthew Part 9

Today we explore the meaning and significance of Jesus?s command ?Love your neighbor?, which even includes the people who hate you (or your enemies). We?re going to look into why this is such a shocking and controversial teaching, especially in Jesus?s day and age. It can sometimes feel very counter-intuitive.

This is a difficult teaching to hear and process and think of what it means, but let?s go into this with open minds.

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Jesus, Truth & Spin - Gospel of Matthew Part 8

Today we are going to focus on Jesus? teaching about swearing? as in ?swearing oaths?. You?re probably not too hung up on ?swearing too many oaths?, but it was actually a really important part of Jesus? culture in his day and age.

More importantly, we?re going to explore some of the basic heart-level issues that Jesus is getting at here. The way we talk to each other with spins, half-truths, etc. is actually the very same thing that Jesus is trying to address in this piece.

This became a surprisingly relevant and important teaching for me, and I hope it is helpful for you.

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Jesus and Sexual Desire - Gospel of Matthew Part 7

Today?s particular teaching is about one of the few times that Jesus addresses the topic of sex and sexual desire. He uses a lot of intense language that has really stuck with Jesus? followers for many thousands of years.

The goal is to get inside Jesus? heart and mind about his vision of what sexuality is and what it is for.

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Jesus and the Torah - Gospel of Matthew Part 6

Probably Jesus's relationship to the Torah isn't something that you woke up thinking about this morning, but it was actually a major major issue. The Torah represents not just the Bible, but the whole story and terms of the covenant that Israel used to relate to God.

Jesus came saying that the Kingdom of God had arrived through him and the work he was doing, but it was confusing to a lot of people so he addressed how he related to the story and the covenant that God made leading up to him. This is super important to learn about how Jesus talked about himself and what he was here to do.

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A Kingdom of Blessing - Gospel of Matthew Part 5

In this section, we?re exploring Jesus?s most famous collection of teachings in Matthew chapters 5-7. Jesus is announcing to the Kingdom of God that way of life that he?s inviting his followers to join only makes sense WITHIN the announcement that God?s Kingdom has arrived through Jesus.

This teaching focuses on those famous little poetic sayings at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount called ?The Beatitudes?. It makes reference to the types of people who are blessed, but what does that even mean? What would it mean for a Jewish prophet or rabbi to go around and announce that certain people are blessed? These are familiar words that can lose their power and sharpness from over-use, but we?ll explore more about these questions in this episode.

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Jesus and the Kingdom of God - Gospel of Matthew Part 4

This teaching is about the second half of Matthew Chapter 4. Jesus is an adult in this segment, and he says his first words to the public (the people of Israel). He talks about the Kingdom or the reign of God.

To me, this was a foundational idea and a big part of my own rediscovery of Jesus? own life, mission, and values. This is ground zero for understanding Jesus and why you should follow him.

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Testing Jesus in the Wilderness - Gospel of Matthew Part 3

This is specifically a teaching that I did about Matthew Chapter 4 and the well-known story of Jesus being tested by the evil one in the wilderness. One of my biggest goals was to debunk a bunch ideas about Satan and the devil that aren?t actually in the Bible. I think debunking these ideas is a really important part of following Jesus because we should recognize the reality of ?evil? and what that means.

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God with Us - Gospel of Matthew Part 2

We are going to explore probably the most famous story from the Gospel of Matthew in today?s show. It is the Christmas story, or the story of Jesus?s birth (you know, all the iconic images of Joseph and Mary riding on the donkey). So for this sermon, I tried to shake off all that familiarity and read this text from Mary?s perspective. Because interestingly, the story focuses in on her personal narrative.

In today?s episode, We also look at how Matthew keeps connecting these events in the early story of Jesus into large events happening in the Old Testament scriptures.

I learned a lot from this, and I hope you do too.

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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.

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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.

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The Messianic Passover

The meaning and the symbolism of that final meal left a HUGE impression on the disciples that were there. So much so, that some sort of account has made it into every single one of the Gospels in the New Testament, and even made its way into one of the Apostle Paul?s letters.

We did this teaching leading up to resurrection Sunday during holy week. During this episode, I reenact a short version of this Messianic Passover. You?ll hear how Jesus is intentionally explaining what is about to go down and the meaning of his death at the Passover meal.

Listen in to hear more?

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The Meaning of Hope

This was part of an Advent series that was kind of a stand-alone message the week before Christmas, and it is a reflection on the meaning of hope in the Old Testament. Hope is such an important virtue that God?s people have to actively cultivate throughout their lives. The hope for the Messiah in the Old Testament was a kind of hope that followers of Jesus actually still need to be anticipating? there is still a lot that needs to be fulfilled in the promise of the return of the Messiah.

In this episode, we focus on how what we hope for shapes what we live for.

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Jesus' Final Words

You find these words only in the crucifixion account in the Gospel of John. And these words bring into culmination a whole theme throughout the entire story of John?s Gospel.

This sermon was from some of my very early days as a pastor at Door of Hope Church. I hope you enjoy this episode.

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Faithfulness in Exile: Daniel Part 5 - Resurrection Hope

This episode is a reflection on Daniel Chapter 12 (the last chapter of Daniel) and how it culminates the dreams and visions that Daniel had in the chapters previous to that. Ultimately, this chapter is really a meditation on the hope of the resurrection and new creation. We even explore the roots of the resurrection and new life throughout the Old Testament.

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Faithfulness in Exile: Daniel Part 4 - So Righteous

The book of Daniel is about of a group of Israelites who are essentially kidnapped and exiled from their homeland. Daniel and his friends struggle to remain faithful to God in a place that is pressuring them to disobey.

This book explores the challenge of being ?in the world but not of the world.? It offers valuable lessons to us today, as we try to follow Jesus in the modern world.

Listen in to learn more...

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Faithfulness in Exile: Daniel Part 3 - Super Beast & the Son

The book of Daniel is a story about a group of Israelites who have been exiled from Babylon, and the whole point is to explore what it means to be God?s people when you?re a minority. This book is about the struggle to maintain faithfulness and the struggle to maintain hope.

What does it mean to be people who maintain hope and a way of life that says that Jesus is the king of the world? Welcome to Daniel Chapter 7. This whole story is portraying the four characters as models or examples of resistance to the empire. One night Daniel has a dream that gives us a new perspective on things? Listen in to learn more..

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Faithfulness in Exile: Daniel Part 2 - The National Idol

I did this teaching a couple of years ago about Daniel Chapter 3. It is a famous story in the Old Testament about the three guys who get thrown into this Babylonian furnace because they won?t worship an idol of the kingdom of Babylon as if it is God.

Because most people are introduced to this story as a children?s story, they miss out on the extremely adult themes in this chapter. This is not a children?s story. It is an example of how nations exult their power, national security, and the economy as if they were God.

Let?s dive in and learn together.

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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?

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Book of Hebrews Part 8 - Tale of Two Mountains

In today?s teaching we explore the second to last chapter in Hebrews Chapter 12. It brings to a close the theological and pastoral challenge that the pastor has been offering the early Christian. He compares and contracts an experience that the Israelites had as they all camped out at the foot of Mount Sinai after escaping out of slavery in Egypt. He wants to show that our experience of approaching Jesus is both similar and different. Learn more in this episode.

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Book of Hebrews Part 7 - What is Faith?

In this teaching we camp out in chapter 11, which is a re-telling of the first 3/4 of the Bible. It highlights all of the characters who had moment of bold and courageous fate. It is one of the few chapters that specifically has the issue of fate and trust at it?s main theme. We let the pastor of this letter define what biblical faith is, and what it means to have that kind of trust and faith in Jesus. Tune in to learn more?

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Book of Hebrews Part 6 - Let Us Draw Near

The second half of Hebrews Chapter 10 is one of the stiffest and most challenging warnings that the pastor who wrote the letter gave to this early Christian community. Why doe the author get so intense? Why does this pastor really want the people in this early church community to examine their very motives for following Jesus?

What?s up with these challenges? Why is there risk involved in the adventure of following Jesus? More in this episode?

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Book of Hebrews Part 5 - Jesus is your Priest

This section is about showing that Jesus is the human embodiment of the priesthood from the Old Testament. Why should we care about Jesus of Nazareth now in the 21st century? The pastor who wrote this letter is convinced that that matters a lot.

In fact, the very meaning of Jesus? life and the resurrection affects your ability to see that he is your priest. Learn more in this episode.

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Book of Hebrews Part 4 - The Anchor of your Soul

This section is based off of Chapter 6 of the Letters to the Hebrews. It's the pastor's meditation on the nature of God?s covenant promises. What does it mean for people to live as if God really meant what he said when he made his covenant promises to bless all of the nations through Abraham?

Why is this such a big deal? Why do promises that God made to somebody thousands of years ago matter to us? We explore these questions in this episode.

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