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Exploring My Strange Bible
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Exploring My Strange Bible

Author: Tim Mackie

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Welcome to Exploring My Strange Bible by Tim Mackie, lead theologian and co-founder of BibleProject.
113 Episodes
An Update From Tim

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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Comments (82)

Jeremy Walker

Loving this series. It has completely changed my view about the book of Jonah, helped me see how it fits in with the rest of the Bible and challenged me personally. Thank you for putting this material out there. I pray that many may be encouraged in their faith through this.

May 10th

Jamie Fields

Thank you so much! I have to say that your teachings coupled along with Michael Heiser's stuff has completely reinvented and reinforced my biblical worldview! I have spent my life trying to decipher the word, while naturally skeptical of the status quo that had been piped down the line to us lay people. I've learned through you and Michael Heiser that the ancient near eastern context is a really big deal! Your guys work is a answered prayer, literally for me! If I'm honest, I really struggled with the dichotomy of the old and new testaments, and now it all seamlessly flows together, and its cohesive and coherent. Thank you again, from another language and history nerd alike!

Feb 11th

Shaun Holst

Not sure this will be seen at thin point but in this episode you reference a book by a scholar who looks at the development of the Bible and you said his entry point is Luke’s talk of why he wrote. You never said book title and I know it’s dated it was 5 years by this recording so it’s probably like 10 years now so do you have another recommendation or is this still a good one to look at.

Sep 12th

Jamie Sommers


Jul 21st

Guido Hellendoorn

Thanks Tim for sharing your teaching this way. Currently listening Mathew #18. I've been learning so much already from 1-17. Great stuff!

Jul 17th

Indreiu Flavius

Such a good podcast!🙌🏼

Jun 17th

Fran Fricke you have ears?

Nov 9th

Ricki Smit

Hi Tim, absolutely love your stuff! Thanks so much for making this available! I would love it if you would put the power points you are referring to in the podcasts in the show notes... It would make it easier to follow and understand! 😊

Nov 4th

Rutger Salverda

Hello Tim, Thank you for your sermons. Its been an amazing journey through a Bible i thought that i knew. God bless you and your work.

Sep 29th

Alexander Stephens

I love both your podcasts! You have kindled a love of the bible in me. Now I'm a self-proclaimed Bible nerd! Twitter: Alexander.8979

Aug 18th
Reply (1)

Paul Ramocan

I'm totally a fan and supporter of TBP and my life has been enriched from listening to the Exploring My Strange Bible podcasts. This series on Ecclesiastes and Wisdom has been phenomenal. Thanks Tim Mackie for the work you're doing to spread the Gospel. I try to promote TBP as much as I can to everyone. My God continue to bless this ministry!

Aug 2nd

Tim Raley

hands down the best podcast. Tim has broadened my understanding of the Bible ten times in just the past year. Thank you so much for everything Tim!

Jul 30th
Reply (1)

Christopher Easton


May 22nd

Christopher Easton


May 17th

Tonya Donithan

uh ... you mentioned a handout. any chance I can get a copy?

May 1st

Luke Ong

“The one thing that I'm certain that we all must hear from the story is the fact that Jesus of Nazareth who is called the Messiah he loves you. And despite your wishy-washiness and your apathy and you're being misinformed and are unwillingly participating in the blood of the innocent, he loves you and he gave himself for you and for me."

Apr 20th


It amazes me how EVERY sermon is awesome. We need Tim Mackies in churches all over the world.

Mar 11th

Jodi Skrip Horsley

You've really helped answer some long time questions of mine. Also, thought provoking of our own behaviors.

Mar 6th

Neil Hass

amazing episode. I was particularly fascinated by the context provided for Judas, Pilate, the Jewish high court, and the crowds of Jerusalem. I've always struggled to understand what could have possibly compelled them to do the things that they did.

Feb 21st

Rikka Stephanie Barbosa

I really enjoyed this episode. Thanks for sharing it 😊

Feb 18th