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The Bible For Normal People
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The Bible For Normal People

Author: Peter Enns and Jared Byas

Subscribed: 17,466Played: 202,767


A weekly podcast talk show having serious talks about the sacred book. Hosted by Peter Enns and Jared Byas.
161 Episodes
In this episode we are answering some of the most asked questions on our Ask Pete ( ) page. We get into a lot of topics like how other cultures interpret Jesus, how normal people can study the Bible on their own, and how we make meaning out of the Bible. Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
Praying can feel difficult during hard times and especially after a faith deconstruction. Sarah Bessey joins us on this episode of the podcast to talk about what inspired her to write a book on prayer and shares what has been helpful in her discovery of what it means to pray. Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
It shouldn’t be a surprise to us now that people can read the same text and walk away with vastly different meanings. On this episode of the podcast, we’re talking with Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Brettler who share some reasons why Jews and Christians use and understand the Bible in different ways. Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
James Kugel is back on the podcast sharing about how people during the biblical period understood God and how their views changed overtime. How does their understanding of God influence our understandings today? Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
We’re back with Season 5! On this episode, Pete shares what makes Christianity distinct for him. He discusses the beginning of the Jesus movement, explains how New Testament writers probably understood their faith, and how first century Christians made sense of Jesus’ crucifixion. Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
2020— What a year. We’re wrapping up the year and the fourth season of the podcast with a look back onto what we learned from this season and from the year as a whole. Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
This episode features linguist and professor Christopher Rollston who helps us understand the importance of studying languages when it comes to dating and understanding the Bible. We talk about other ancient Near Eastern languages, biblical manuscripts, inscriptions, and more! Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
Many of us have encountered a type of Christianity that preaches an impending rapture and a call to repent of our sins as soon as possible. But where did that interpretation of Christianity come from? On this episode we ask psychology doctoral student Dan Koch what he’s learned from studying the movement and the history behind it. Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
How has theology developed alongside the findings of science? On this episode, Pete is sharing his reflections on what quantum physics and the theory of evolution tell us about the Bible and how we should interpret it light of scientific findings. Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
Benjamin D. Sommer is back on the podcast telling us all about his work on a biblical understanding of God’s body. He takes us through the history of thought on God’s body, the material God’s body is made out of, what God looks like, and how the Trinity actually has a lot of continuity with texts of the Hebrew Bible. Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
Jared has been breaking down Jonah for us on his solo episodes this year and this is his last segment! He delves into what the over all message of Jonah is, what questions it leaves us with, and what it teaches us about the questions of ancient Israelites. Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
We invited Emilie Townes on the podcast to talk about womanist ethics but our conversation morphed into so much more. We touched on the role of the Bible in ethics, the relevance of the Bible in our lives today, and why it is important to chose hope. Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
In this reissued episode, Pete and Jared sit down with Austen Hartke to discuss what the Bible has to say about transgender people. They get into unexamined Bible passages, mysterious Hebrew words, and how to make your church a welcoming space for people with gender identities outside of the binary. Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
Getting into the Halloween spirit? Don’t miss this spooky episode talking about all things apocalypse in Second Temple Judaism! Our guest Martha Himmelfarb is an expert on the subject and she tells us all about the key features of apocalyptic literature, some theories on its popularity, and shares about some apocalyptic literature that didn’t make it into the Bible. Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
This episode is the second installment of Jared’s deep dive (no pun intended) into the book of Jonah. In this episode, Jared gives us a taste of how rich this book is in metaphors and how a fuller understanding of the ancient Near East brings out the context of this book. Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
John Franke joins the podcast to discussing his new book, Missional Theology ( ). John shares some key components of missional theology and discusses how to overcome plurality, what evangelizing looks like through a missional lens, and why the church needs the world. Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
We are so excited about the Everyday Life in Ancient Israel class Cynthia is teaching for us we just had to reissue her podcast episode from back in season 2. Cynthia talks with Pete and Jared about what she does as an archaeologist, how it has informed her view of the Bible, her favorite finds, and more! Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
What separated Judaism from the Christian movement during the Second Temple Period? In this episode, Paula Fredriksen breaks down the beginnings of the Jesus movement and how it came to flourish. She gets into what religion looked like in the broader culture, how religion was defined, and what clues people left behind for us to know these things. Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
This episode of the podcast is filled with listener question from our Ask Pete and Jared page on the website. Pete answers questions about Job, ancient Egyptian letters, the world of biblical scholarship, shifting faith views, and much more! Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
What does it mean to “speak the truth in love?” On this episode we’re taking about Jared’s new book Love Matters More ( ) and what it should actually look like for Christians to interact with people they disagree with. Show Notes → ( ) Support this podcast at — Advertising Inquiries:
Comments (28)

kim labreche

not sure that I agree that this book of Job was written later or over a period of time. God's Word will often use language or terms before they are used in general practice or culture

Jan 10th
Reply (1)

Lina L.

Hi! I love your conversations and insights. My 10 years old son is so fascinated by the Rick Riordan series of Greek, Egyptian and Norse mythology narrated in such a dynamic and live way that he is no longer appealed the same way for childish or dull versions of the Bible...Is there any version that you could recommend for him and my 7 years old daughter?

Aug 25th

Michelle Monks

Love this, thank you Brooke, the world needs fo hear your voice, particularly us in Australia. We are connected.

Jul 5th

Pavle Trajkovski

Big up for the cat who kept voicing her opinion throughout the episode! 😁

May 25th

Bianca Blackstone

so this podcast is God ordained. but the bible isnt spirit breathed?

Mar 6th

Jennifer Lawrence

I was also part of the purity generation. Listening your story inclines me to believe the movement was much MUCH more intensive than it was in Arkansas. All youth groups were doing it with the ring and signing of the pledge with some pointed sermons thrown in. What you describe sounds like you were in a more fanatical environment than most. FLDS for example. I am in no way scarred from having been taught sex before marriage isn't what God intended and support keeping that in youth group curriculum.

Jan 31st

Lowell Hennigs

wonderful conversation. the words we use shape our expectations and imagination. using the language of healing and recovery with grief and mourning risks making grief an illness, particularly a mental illness. I prefer language of growth, integration, reconciliation and other metaphors that acknowledge that loss changes me and the world irrevocably.

Oct 20th
Reply (1)

Alex St.Onge

"what it means to read the Bible well," *proceeds to read it poorly*

Oct 3rd


best episode yet so much truth here

Sep 16th

Amber Marie

This is fascinating!

Jul 3rd

Amber Marie

I love his laugh. It's so sweet and genuine.

Jun 30th


Well, here's the answer to my question. These guys don't think the Bible is factually true. They think the Bible is good advice how to live life. So, are you Christians? Do you believe in Jesus? You don't believe in the Bible. ...I'm unclear why Jonah or Job are instantly discarded. If you believe that God created the heavens and the earth, and there are extremely good reasons for believing in our intelligent design, then why would it be so hard for God who created everything to do a miracle? It's a much smaller task for God. Why specifically do you not believe in the Bible?

Jun 28th


But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. I Corinthians 8:9 NKJV Right out the gate Kay missed the actual text. She sounds like she's being thoroughly biblical, but she's actually the one who is cherry picking scripture and throwing her heavy cultural and subjective perspective on this. Sad that these guys aren't aware of the scripture either. And it's not hard to look up. ...I'm not insulated from other ideas. I'm just sad that you jump on board with this. A couple brief observations. Guys are crazy visual--indisputable. All actions have a destiny. Exciting men sexually can have SO many consequences. Few sins have such deeply felt life consequences. Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18 NLT Purity culture could possibly put it more in terms of walls and rules. The spirit of the rule would be to love others. In our cheating culture, do you think it's okay to look at porn, or to look around in a sexual way at others? Porn is very unloving--completely selfish. And guys who look around will eventually cheat. ...I heard that 65% of men cheat in marriage in our country, and more than half of women. I don't know what church statistics are. My point is that cheating is extreme unlove and it IS OUR CULTURE. That is what a girl should be aware of and afraid of. Cheating culture wears what they want and looks at what they want, and there is a destiny for that. I really like what Kay said about talking about values. Yes! Absolutely. We need to talk, talk, and talk some more about this, rather than superficial shaming and sheltering. We need to go deep, deep, deep into the value of love and how to navigate this and reclaim it in this day and age. But not sure what value system would say "wear what you want". I'm sorry she was slightly inconvenienced as a child, and more so that she got a negative view. But don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Stumbling our brother is completely a biblical concept. Sometimes loving is doing something that is not easy, and inconvenient. Sorry to hear that Kay and the other speakers were spiritually and intellectually lazy (consider yourself rebuked)(in love!) about this issue. Another sidenote. This might just be a product of a social church movement. But every single one of the 6 or so evangelical churches I have been involved with in the last decade to whatever degree have all mentioned sexual violence very strongly.

Jun 28th

Michael Metz

Just listened to the first 15 min of episode 91; interesting. This thought occurred; the minimalist request was made to give Pharaoh the opportunity to say "yes" and had he done so would have had the Israelites back (the art of the deal started long before Pres. Trump). Having said yes the Lord would have softened his heart and perhaps 40 years later would have released the Israelites. Just a thought.

Jun 25th

Ted H

The reading by Rachel at the end of this episode moved me deeply. Thank you.

Jun 2nd

Really appreciated this one. Thank you!

May 23rd

Erik Mattson

14:50-16:00 Paul is still working things out. He was not writing a systematic theology. If the Bible had all the answers, it would be God. Not a book that points to God. The book would turn into an idol.

Mar 11th


one of my favorite ones you have done

Feb 28th

Neil Hass

What a great conversation. Glad I found this podcast, look forward to hearing more!

Nov 30th

Johann Wassermann

The Bible is the only truth we have. I believe God says what He means, and means what He says. It is inyetesting to note that when ever scripture is quote in the Bible, it is taken literary. Not interpreting it to suit their needs. "The only God ordained podcast"? And then applying worldly filters to the Word to suit your needs?

Mar 20th
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