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How To Study the Bible
Episode 36th February 2022 • Our Hope Podcast • Chosen People Ministries
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The Bible is a book like no other—it tells us who God is, who we are, and how to live. God said, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). In this episode, we go deep into why and how to study Scripture. We tackle topics including:

·     Suggestions for where a new believer in Yeshua can begin reading

·     The role of the Holy Spirit in Bible study

·     How to fit Bible reading into everyday life

·     How to interpret Scripture

·     The Jewish context of the Bible

Our guest is Michael Rydelnik, DMiss. He is the professor of Jewish studies at Moody Bible Institute, host of the Open Line radio show, and editor of the Moody Bible Commentary.

Transcripts

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(cheerful music)

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- [Announcer] Welcome to Our Hope,

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a production of Chosen People Ministries.

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On this podcast, you will hear inspiring testimonies,

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learn about messianic apologetics,

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and discover God's plan for Israel and you.

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Wherever you're listening,

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we hope you lean in, listen closely and be blessed.

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(cheerful music continues)

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(soft music)

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- [Announcer] Studying scripture is incredibly rewarding.

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It tells us who God is, who we are and how to live.

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Best of all, it points us to Yeshua, the Messiah.

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Making the Bible part of daily life

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changes our priorities and desires for the better.

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At the same time, reading the Bible can seem intimidating.

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This book is large, spans thousands of years,

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and takes place in cultures quite different from our own.

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How do we study God's Word and apply it to our lives?

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Whether you have never opened a Bible before

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or have been reading it for decades,

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today's conversation will help you go deeper.

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Our returning guest is Michael Rydelnik,

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professor of Jewish studies and Bible

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at Moody Bible Institute.

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He is host of the Open Line

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with Dr. Michael Rydelnik radio show

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and editor of the Moody Bible Commentary.

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I now introduce the host of Our Hope podcast, Abe Vasquez.

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- [Abe] Welcome back everyone to another episode

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of Our Hope podcast.

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I am so excited to be here another week.

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This is episode three of season eight,

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and I'm just so excited we've made it this far.

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As I mentioned in the past, it's not easy,

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but I have an awesome team around me

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to help just push this forward.

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And so today, I'm so excited to bring back

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Dr. Michael Rydelnik.

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When we were talking about the topic

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for this particular episode, we thought,

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"Who's the best person to answer Bible questions?"

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And we landed on this guy,

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because he basically does it for a living.

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So he is the host of Moody Radio's Open Line

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with Dr. Michael Rydelnik.

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It's a radio show that you can access online.

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Is that right Dr. Rydelnik?

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- [Michael] Sure, yeah.

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- [Abe] So you can access it online or in your car

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if it's on the right channel.

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And he just answers questions people have about the Bible.

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And so, today we're really going to dive into that.

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But before that, I would love to ask a question.

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What do you do for fun?

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What is something you just love to do for fun?

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- [Michael] Thanks to you guys for having me back on.

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It's always fun to be with you.

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And, well, what do I do for fun?

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There's always a lack of fun in my life.

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I need more fun.

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But the most fun thing that I did for example this week,

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this past Friday, it snowed here in Chicago,

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and so I, after shoveling snow with my grandkids,

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which was fun, we did what was really fun,

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we went sledding together. - [Abe] Nice.

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- [Michael] I have a three year old granddaughter

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and a six year old grandson.

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And, mostly I was at the top of the hill,

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my wife was at the bottom of the hill.

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We had a great time just watching them.

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But then my grandkids came up and said,

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"Papi, you have to sled with us, we want to have a race."

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And so, I had to get this body crunched into a little,

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what do they call it?

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A, one of those round sleds. - [Abe] Sled, yeah.

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- [Michael] So anyway, that's fun,

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hanging out with my grandkids.

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- [Abe] Yes.

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- [Michael] Whatever I'm doing,

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that's actually the most fun that I have.

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- [Abe] That is awesome.

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That is awesome.

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So, we have another question for you.

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What will your next book be about?

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- [Michael] Okay, I'm working on two things right now,

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actually three, I've just signed up on a third project,

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but the first of the three is,

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this spring I am revising a book I wrote in 2004

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and revised in 2007,

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it's called "Understanding the Arab-Israeli conflict:

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What the headlines haven't told you."

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- [Abe] Wow, that's awesome.

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- [Michael] And so, it hasn't been revised since 2007.

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So it's going to be, it'll look a little different in the,

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'cause there's events that have happened since then.

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There are some issues that need to be addressed,

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like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement

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which really wasn't around in 2004 when the book

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originally was written. - [Nicole] No.

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- [Michael] So that's what I'm working on.

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I also have signed a contract to write a book called,

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"Finding Messiah in Unexpected Places."

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- [Abe] Wow.

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- [Michael] And it's the, it's really going to be

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sort of a companion.

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I did the "Moody Handbook of Messianic Prophecy,"

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which is, I edited it and contributed it.

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It's much more of a reference book on Messiah

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and the Hebrew Bible.

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But this one, "Finding Messiah in Unexpected Places"

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will start with my own faith story

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and how I came to know Yeshua, Jesus, as the Messiah.

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And then after I tell the story,

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then I'm going to go through some of the passages

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that convince me.

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So it'll be much more of a popular explanation

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of messianic passages.

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And so that's the next book.

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And then there's a secret project

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that I can't even discuss yet.

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- [Nicole] Ooh, okay.

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- [Abe] Well, that makes it exciting.

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- [Michael] Yeah. - [Nicole] Yeah.

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- [Abe] So just to dive in today's topic,

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let's sort of start at the most basic question.

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What is the Bible and what makes it unique

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from other Bibles?

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It's probably the most read or purchased book in the world

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and everyone knows what it is.

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I don't think there's one person who really doesn't know

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what the Bible is.

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So, maybe just from your perspective,

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explain, what is the Bible?

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- [Michael] Well, obviously other groups

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have sacred scriptures as a Quran

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and the Jewish people when they, for the most part,

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understand the Bible, they include just the Hebrew Bible.

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Then there's the, what Christians call the Old Testament.

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And then, of course Christians would include

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both Old and New Testaments.

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So, there's a lot of different approaches.

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I like to think of the Bible as God's sacred scriptures

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or God's revelation to humanity.

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And it's incorporated into a book.

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The Bible calls itself God breathed.

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So, which would make it distinctive from example,

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from the Book of Mormon or other sacred books,

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like the Quran.

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The Bible, I actually believe

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is God's revelation to humanity.

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And, a lot of times I remember doing Bible studies

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in the past with groups of people

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who had never read the Bible.

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And I would always start the Bible study group with,

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the first lesson was on the table of contents of the Bible.

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And I would say, I would hold up my Bible and I would say,

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"The Bible isn't a book, it actually,"

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and I turned to the table of contents, say,

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"This is a library of books."

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And they all compiled over about 1500 years,

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40 separate authors.

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They still have the same message and they compliment

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and unite around the message of the Messiah.

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So, it is really that God revealed His word to us,

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His revelation, His communication to humanity,

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God put in a book, through a variety of authors

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that he superintendent to make it happen

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so that it could be a trustworthy book

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that we could read and believe.

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- [Nicole] And I know we as believers,

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definitely understand the power and the impact

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of scripture on our lives.

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But what would you say to somebody who asked,

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why reading the Bible specifically is so important?

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We live in an age where there's a lot of self-help books.

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So what is it that's really important about the Bible?

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- [Michael] I read a,

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can I mention something?

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I want to mention this book I did,

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it's called, "50 most important Bible questions."

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And it's sort of a summary of different things

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that people have asked me through the years.

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But there was a book, a GQ article by a novelist

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named Jesse Ball and he wrote this article,

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21 Overrated Books You Don't Have to Read Before You Die.

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And he included the Bible,

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in that. - [Nicole] Ooh.

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- [Michael] He put it as number 12.

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Now I'd never heard of Jesse Ball before.

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He may be a great writer,

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but I think he's pretty much mistaken about this.

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The Bible is a book that we should read

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because it's great literature.

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He says, it's not, but it actually is marvelous literature,

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but more important than being great literature,

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it has divine truth.

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God speaks through it.

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Also, Bible itself says that it's a supernatural mirror

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that when we look at it, we understand ourselves better.

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So not only is it revealing God,

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it's revealing who we are and how we are

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in relationship with God.

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And, ultimately I think that the Bible

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is the greatest love story ever written

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'cause it shows God pursuing humanity

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and doing everything he can to redeem us.

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And what He did is, He sent the Messiah, Yeshua,

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who out of love, no man took his life, He said,

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but he laid it down willingly out of love.

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And that's how God demonstrated His love for humanity,

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that he gave the Messiah, Yeshua to die

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and then be raised again so that we can enter

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into a forgiven, forever relationship with God

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as his children.

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That is the great love story of the Bible.

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- [Nicole] Amen.

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(soft music)

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- [Announcer] We'll be right back.

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- [Announcer] During these difficult times,

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we know how hard it is to hold on to hope.

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And we want you to know that Chosen People Ministries

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is here for you.

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If you have any prayer request,

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our prayer team is standing by to receive them.

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You can submit your request at chosenpeople.com/pray.

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Again that's chosenpeople.com/pray.

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(soft music)

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(cheerful music)

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- [Announcer] Shalom.

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We are so glad you're joining us on this episode

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of Our Hope.

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We created this podcast as a resource

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for followers of Yeshua,

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where they can learn more about Israel, the Bible,

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and the Jewish community.

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Together, we discuss messianic apologetics,

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dive into scripture and hear stories

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from Jewish believers in Jesus.

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If you've enjoyed our podcast series,

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please consider supporting us @ourhopepodcast.com/support.

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We are so grateful for you.

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And we hope this episode of Our Hope

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is both enlightening and encouraging.

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(soft music)

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- [Abe] So, does Judaism emphasize reading scripture

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as a regular practice?

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- [Michael] Well, really the greater emphasis

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among ultra Orthodox, those who study,

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the greater emphasis is usually on the Talmud, the Gemara.

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But, sometimes that's used as sort of an attack on Judaism.

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And I wouldn't do that,

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I think it's really important of what they're saying is,

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as they understand it, the Gemara,

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which is the Talmud, okay, is really about,

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it's a curriculum for learning how to obey the Torah.

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And so, first of all, it presumes you know the Torah,

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which is part of the Bible, the first five books.

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So there's a presumption also that,

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you know the rest of the Hebrew Bible,

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and so even though people are studying Talmud

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or Gemara in Judaism, there's a presumption

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that they have to know the scriptures.

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And so I think that that's important,

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and I would always encourage people.

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I once went to a Talmud study just out of the blue

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in Brooklyn, I was going with a,

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this Jewish believer was invited,

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they were going to try and convince him

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not to believe in Yeshua, so he brought me along in fear

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and it began with a Talmud study.

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And so I was in the class,

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they didn't know who I was in this class,

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and the Talmud study alluded to Ezekiel 38 and 39,

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and no one in the class knew anything about it.

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And when we're looking at it, I said,

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"Well, this is from Ezekiel 38 and 39.

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It presumes we know what it is."

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And they said, "Well, what is it?"

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And I proceeded to teach the class,

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- [Nicole] Wow.

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- [Michael] On Ezekiel 38 and 39,

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and the Wars of Gog and Magog and the rabbi in charge

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of the class came up to me afterwards

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and he wanted to know if I was Orthodox.

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- [Nicole] Oh.

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- [Michael] Then I said, "No, I'm not.

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And then he said, "How do you know this?"

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'Cause I was able to read the Talmud and I was able

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to explain scripture he was like, "How do you know this?"

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I said, "Well, I read the Bible all the time."

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He says, "Oh, I so wish all our students would."

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But anyway, I just thought

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that was kind of a funny thing that,

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- [Abe] That is.

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- [Michael] Of course they were shocked afterwards

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to find out I was the Messianic Jew

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who came with this other guy.

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They didn't know who I was at first.

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- [Nicole] Oh man, that is awesome,

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that you were able to teach about scripture

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in that kind of setting.

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And we know that you're a Jewish believer in Jesus.

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You would've been exposed to the Hebrew scriptures

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before you came to faith.

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And obviously the New Testament after you came to faith.

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What role did scripture play in you coming to faith

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in Yeshua?

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- [Michael] I always really loved the Bible growing up.

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And, when I was in high school,

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my mom went public as a follower of Yeshua.

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My dad divorced her 'cause he had told her,

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if she ever told anyone that he would leave her and he did.

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And I was really angry at my mom for breaking up our family.

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I felt that she was responsible.

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And one of the things that happened,

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is I happened to meet sort of against my will,

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the woman who was teaching the Bible

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at the messianic congregation,

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the Chosen People Ministries had in Brooklyn,

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her name was Hilda Koser

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and I thought I would convince her not,

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I would argue with her and show my mom

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how wrong Miss Koser was about this.

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I blamed Miss Koser although my mom

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had believed this for a long time,

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but she was my mom's Bible teacher.

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So I began to meet with her about messianic passages

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in the Hebrew Bible.

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And I had a book that gave me all the explanations

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about why they weren't about Yeshua.

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I also had a book with all sorts of criticism

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of the New Testament and we basically argued

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our way through the Hebrew Bible

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and what it says about Messiah.

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So that's the role that scriptures played.

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And during the day, when I was arguing,

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I felt very confident of my interpretation.

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Afterwards I'd go home and think about it.

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And I think that Ms Koser's explanation

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seemed more likely than mine.

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And that's really what role the Bible played.

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Ultimately, I finally made the decision

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that if I was going to be a good Jew

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and believe everything that the Hebrew Bible said,

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for example, about the restoration of the state of Israel,

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I would also believe what the Hebrew prophet said

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about Messiah.

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And even if I were the only Jew ever to believe in Yeshua,

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I would still be a good Jew because I was believing

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in what the prophets were told.

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- [Nicole] So when you first started

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looking at the New Testament

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or even just looking at scripture

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through a new lens, what was the first book you read

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and what book would you recommend for a new believer

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in Yeshua who wants to start reading scripture?

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- [Michael] The first book I read in the New Testament?

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Is that what you're asking?

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- [Nicole] Yes.

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- [Michael] Not the old, okay.

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I started with Matthew.

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- [Nicole] Nice.

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- [Michael] I went through the four Gospels,

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immediately when I first came to faith

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and that was kind of fun, I'd say.

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I do remember reading the story of Messiah's passion,

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the death, the trial and the crucifixion

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and the resurrection.

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And it made me weep and I was really surprised

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at the emotional power that that story had.

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Sometimes I think we forget what it's like

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to read that story originally, that first time.

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It's become so common to readers of the New Testament

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that they just read it.

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But if the first time you're reading it in detail

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and seeing how the innocent, willingly died for the guilty,

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and it's just, it was...

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And then the glory of the resurrection that follows

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and the joy that you see in the Gospels,

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that just really moved me to tears.

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(soft music)

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- [Abe] Did you notice, as you were studying the Bible

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over the years, are there certain translations,

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we all know that there are many translations of the Bible,

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are there certain translations that you would consider

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more sensitive to a Jewish reader of the text?

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- [Michael] Yeah, I think so.

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One of the things I appreciated

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about the Holman Christian Standard Bible,

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not the revised one which is called the Holman CSB

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or the Christian Standard Bible without the word Holman.

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But the original that came out,

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I don't know about 15 or 18 years ago or so,

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before it was revised, the Holman Christian Standard Bible,

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one of the things I really appreciated about it is,

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every Jewish context in the New Testament,

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it translates the word Christos, not Christ, but as Messiah.

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And I really feel like that's very helpful

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for a Jewish reader of the New Testament.

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And, I don't feel like we have,

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that's one of the ways that it could be more sensitive

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to a Jewish person.

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But I don't really believe that the Bible needs to be,

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we don't need to be protected from the New Testament.

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- [Abe] Right.

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- [Michael] But the reason I like that for Jewish people

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is 'cause we think of Christ as the last name.

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Joseph Christ, Mary Christ,

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they had their little son Jesus Christ.

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But the reality is, is that the word Christos

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means anointed one and the word Mashiach means anointed one.

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And Messiah in the Jewish context

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is what would've been understood.

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And so, we Jewish people,

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we understand the concept of Messiah,

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and so to translate Christos as Messiah

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in those Jewish contexts makes a whole lot more sense

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'cause it's more, communicates better.

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- [Abe] Yeah.

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- [Nicole] So in light of new Jewish believers in Yeshua,

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coming to faith, they're starting to discover

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the New Testament and also see the Old Testament

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in a whole new light.

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How would you recommend they can fit Bible reading

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into their regular busy schedules.

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- [Abe] And a follow up to that,

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what is a good way to structure our daily time in the word?

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So maybe talk us through some practical ways we can sort of,

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read the word.

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- [Michael] Yeah.

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Well, when I first came to faith, I was a very,

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I used to be a real night person.

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I don't know what happened to me, I think aging.

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- [Abe] I'm a night person right now, so.

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- [Michael] Now, I get up very early every day by 5:00 AM.

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Yeah I used, my best time used to be at night,

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and so I would read before going to bed,

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I would always read the Bible before going to bed.

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Now, if I did that, I would be asleep

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in about a minute and a half and not read much.

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So, I think basically finding your best time of day,

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the time when you're most alert

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is the time to read the Bible.

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And one of the things that I do now is when I get up,

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I get up early and the first thing I do

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is take a sip of coffee.

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The second thing I do is I open my Bible and I read,

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and I tend to read, at least, I read systematically.

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I don't just read random books, I don't open the Bible.

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Sometimes I've used Bible through the year guides,

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but I only use those that mix Old Testament

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and New Testament, Hebrew Bible and New Testament.

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And I just have some time every day

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reading from both testaments.

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And that's really important to me.

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I think that people who start in Genesis,

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they get through Exodus and then they're halfway

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through Exodus and then they start thinking,

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"Really, this is the laws of what do you do

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with a slave (indistinct)"

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or an indentured servant is really what they were.

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- [Nicole] Yeah.

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- [Michael] Whatever it is,

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then they get to Leviticus and they're done.

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So, I think it's really important to read all that,

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I find great wisdom and significance

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in the Book of Leviticus, but I need to recognize

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that there are some parts that are more exciting

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and some parts, little less exciting,

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some parts that are clear, some parts that are less clear.

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And so I read from a variety of,

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I read a little bit in the Old Testament,

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a little bit in the New.

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I think it's best to do that.

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And a person doesn't have to go crazy.

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If a person reads 15 minutes a day,

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they basically will read through the Bible in a year.

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Which 15 minutes a day, I think anyone can do.

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- [Abe] Yeah.

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- [Michael] But even if a person reads couple of chapters

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in the Old Testament,

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couple of chapters in the New Testament

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and that's all they do,

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they may not get through the Bible in a year,

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but they will have a systematic approach

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going through the books and it will be beneficial.

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But I would say find the best time of day.

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I find the first thing I do, I'm drinking my coffee,

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I'm reading my Bible.

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And that's apart from studies that I do,

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teaching that I do where I'm much more in depth.

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I just do daily reading.

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I'm not even, I'm generally not reading it

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in the original languages then,

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I'm just reading as fast as I can

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just to get some input in the morning.

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That's what I would start with.

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Of course, there's other times when I'm reading

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much more carefully, reading from the original languages,

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studying, but that's not what I'm talking about here.

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- [Abe] Yeah.

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That's great.

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That's very helpful.

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It takes a lot of perseverance

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to try to get that momentum, right,

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to read the Bible throughout a year.

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I think there are a lot of people who start it,

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like you said, and then they kind of wean off

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and I know that's happened to me plenty of times but,

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- [Michael] So, - [Abe] Yeah, go ahead.

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- [Michael] So, the dedication of the book,

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"50 Most Important Bible Questions,"

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is dedicated to Chosen People staff member, Larry Feldman.

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- [Abe] Yeah. - [Nicole] Oh.

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- [Michael] And here's what it says,

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"To Larry Feldman, who's read the Bible every day

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since 1972."

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- [Abe] Wow. - [Nicole] Wow.

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- [Michael] He has not missed a day

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and he knows the answers to this

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and to probably every other Bible question

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and is the most faithful friend a person could have.

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But, the thing that's remarkable about Larry

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is someone told him in 1972 that the Bible is God's word.

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He had just come to faith, 50 years ago in January,

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this month is when we're recording, in January.

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January 15th, 1972, he had come to faith,

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someone told him immediately it was God's word.

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He thought if God went to all that effort

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to give me a book with his message

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so I could hear his voice, I had better read it every day.

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And since January of 1972,

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he has not missed a day of Bible reading, not once.

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- [Abe] That's amazing.

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- [Nicole] Wow.

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- [Michael] He is not a super human being.

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But keeping that perspective, this is how God talks to us,

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that has kept him in the word.

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And if Larry could do it, I promise anyone could do it.

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- [Abe] So, as we're attempting to be like Larry,

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how should we interpret the Bible?

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Should we interpret the Bible literally?

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What does that even mean?

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- [Michael] Some people say,

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we should interpret the Bible literally.

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And then of course what they say is,

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Yeshua said, "I am the door."

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So do I think he had hinges on one side

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and a knob sort of in his midsection?

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I don't think so.

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And he called Herod that old Fox.

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I don't think Herod had a bushy tail and a pointy nose.

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I think it's far better to interpret the Bible

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literarily rather than literally.

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And what I mean by that,

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is now I recognize it's sacred literature

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and there's some things that, they happened

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and they're supernatural.

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And I take that at face value.

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But they're obvious.

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So I'll give you an example,

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a serpent speaks early in the Bible.

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People say, "Well, you can't take that literally."

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Well, I do, 'cause in narrative, the history,

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the stories of the Bible,

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they're intended to be taken as factual.

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And so I think there must have been

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something supernatural happening there

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that enabled that serpent to talk.

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And I don't think it was a good supernatural

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because what the serpent was doing was lying

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and trying to tempt the first woman.

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And so, I would say there was a supernatural power

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that took over that serpent, an evil one.

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But then there are other places

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where there's a deliberate symbolism.

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I was just asked about this morning, Psalm 45,

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which is a song about the king getting married.

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But the king in this is the Messiah,

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he's actually called deity.

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"Your throne, O God," speaking of the king,

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"Is forever and ever."

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And so, obviously it's a symbolic wedding of the Messiah

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with all his people.

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And so, if there's something symbolic,

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we should take it symbolically.

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If there's something that is literal,

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we should take it literally.

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If there's a figure of speech,

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we should read it as a figure of speech.

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And so the point of it all is,

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what we need to do is read,

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just learn to be good readers.

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- [Nicole] Yeah.

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- [Michael] And that's something that,

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our schools used to try and teach us to do.

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But just learning how to read

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and looking for the clues within the text itself,

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is this literal?

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Is it figurative?

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Is it symbolic?

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Is it,

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what is the message of it?

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Reading that way is the way to understand the Bible?

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I think we make it more complicated than we ought.

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Rydelnik's first rule of Biblical interpretation

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that I teach my classes, that is,

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that in order to understand the Bible, we must read it.

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And then the second rule I give my classes is,

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if you didn't understand it the first time, read it again.

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- [Abe] Yeah.

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- [Michael] And that's I think just good reading and it's...

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So I think we should uncomplicate reading of the Bible.

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One of the things I always tell people is,

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don't read the King James Version,

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people get mad at me 'cause there's some people

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who love the King James Version.

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- [Nicole] Yeah.

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- [Michael] And I think that there is good meaning

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in the King James Version,

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but get a good modern translation.

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The King James it says,

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"Suffer the little children to come to me,"

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because in King James English, 17th century English,

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suffer meant permit.

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But today we don't use it that way

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and we don't want little children to suffer,

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so we misunderstand the text.

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And so it's best to get a good,

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easy to understand modern translation.

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I think that's crucial.

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And then read well, read at face value

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and understand it that way.

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- [Abe] That's great.

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- [Nicole] So in light of reading scripture

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to understand it, what are some of the common mistakes

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people can make when they're interpreting the Bible?

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And how do we know if a passage of scripture

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can have more than one interpretation?

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- [Michael] Well, there's more than one interpretation

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but there's only one meaning.

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- [Nicole] Ooh. - [Abe] I like that.

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Love that. - [Nicole] Okay.

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- [Michael] Yeah. - [Nicole] Elaborate.

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- [Michael] The Bible only means

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what the author intended it to mean.

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The meaning lies with the author and what he intended.

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Now the author, according to 2nd Peter 1,

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was moved by the Holy Spirit.

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It didn't even come from him, the Holy Spirit of God,

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the Spirit of God moved him

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and that guarantees that what that author intended is true.

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But it only means what the author intended.

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So you go to a Bible study sometimes and they say,

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"What does this mean to you?"

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I don't care what it means to you.

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What I want to know is, what did it mean to the author?

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- [Nicole] Yeah. - [Abe] Right.

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- [Michael] What was he trying to say?

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Now, how does it apply to you?

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Certainly that is the basic rule.

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I think the biggest mistake people make,

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and I hear it all the time is,

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passages that are intended to be read as narrative story,

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factual, this is what happened,

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and that yes, there's a lesson to be derived from it

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that the author wants us to get.

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Generally he puts it at the climax of the story,

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in the mouth of one of the characters.

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That's usually where you'll find your meaning.

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But nevertheless, and you need to have

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the whole narrative scope, the whole (indistinct)

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not just the individual story you're looking at,

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but the story within.

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But then people want to find allegories within that.

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And they read it symbolically or allegorically

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when it's more straightforward.

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So, I was just talking with an old friend of mine

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and she was saying that in the story of Abraham and Sarah,

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that Abraham is God, the father and Sarah is the believer.

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And, I don't remember, - [Nicole] Oh wow.

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- [Michael] I think she said Pharaoh,

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Pharaoh, when they went down to Egypt,

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that he represents the Holy Spirit.

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I've heard people do this with the story of Ruth,

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that Ruth represents the Jewish people.

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I'm sorry, that Naomi represents the Jewish people

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in that story because she's embittered and Boaz is Messiah,

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He's the Redeemer. - [Nicole] Oh wow.

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- [Michael] And Ruth is the Gentile,

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no, that's not what it's about.

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- [Nicole] Yeah.

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- [Michael] Stop it.

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- [Abe] Stop it, I was just about to say that.

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- [Michael] Stop trying to make hidden,

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hidden, mystical meanings.

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The Bible's very clear and Isaiah 48:16,

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Isaiah says, that puts, the Lord says through Isaiah,

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"From the beginning, I have not spoken in secret."

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So don't count the letters and come up with secret meanings

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or numerological meanings or allegorical meanings.

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Read it literally for what it means.

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- [Abe] Yeah.

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- [Michael] And what the author intended it to mean.

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By the way, the story of Ruth is just a great story of her

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ultimately bringing a child into the world that in the end,

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having been redeemed, this Moabite woman,

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in the end, her child gives birth to another child

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and leads to the line of David.

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And so you've got the genealogy of David there.

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What's so significant, is it sets up the Messiah,

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that Messiah will come from the line of David.

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So the whole story is determined

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to get us to that genealogy.

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So we know where the Messiah is going to come from,

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the line of David.

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- [Abe] Just to, as we sort of wrap up this episode,

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we always speak about the Jewishness of our faith.

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How helpful is it to read the Bible

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with an understanding of Jewish culture?

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Can you give an example of how this might help us?

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- [Michael] Sure.

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We all have been to a Seder, right?

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I hope.

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- [Abe] Yep.

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- [Michael] It's the most commonly celebrated meal

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or religious observance of Jewish people,

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even among secular Jews.

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And you go to a Seder and there's salt water

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on the Seder plate and a bowl and it says,

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and we say, "These are our tears."

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- [Abe] Yeah.

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- [Michael] And you hold up matzo,

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"This is the bread of affliction."

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And it represents our affliction when we were slaves

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and we hold up horseradish.

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"This is our bitterness when we were slaves in Egypt,"

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right? - [Abe] Mm-hmm.

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- [Michael] And all that.

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Now there are many people,

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both Roman Catholics and Protestants

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with slightly different interpretations,

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but they still see a mystical presence in the pass of the,

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in communion, of Jesus, 'cause the Lord Jesus

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held up a piece of matzo at a Passover Seder,

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his last Seder and he said, "This is my body."

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And he also held up a cup and said,

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"This is the blood of the new covenant

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or the new covenant in my blood."

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And they said, "Oh, Yeshua meant that literally."

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Well, just think about it, it was a Passover meal,

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so it was a Memorial meal.

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He also said, "Eat this in remembrance of me."

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So He's saying, it's a Memorial meal

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when we have the matzo and the cup.

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And every Jewish person at that Seder,

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when he said, "This is my body," would've understood,

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just like the saltwater, just like the horseradish,

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"This is a symbol of my body.

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This is a symbol of the blood of the new covenant."

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They all would've understood it.

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Apparently, by not reading it as a Jewish text,

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in a Jewish environment,

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people have completely misunderstood

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what the significance of the Lord's Supper is.

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And it's why I think we need to read the Bible.

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These are Jewish writers

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and describing events with Jewish people.

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And we had better understand what it means

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in that cultural context

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or we'll fail to understand the scriptures.

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- [Nicole] I love that you pointed out

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that these are all Jewish writers.

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I think we often miss the Jewish context

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of the New Testament.

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And we know that all the writers of scripture

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were divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit.

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- [Michael] And, some of them were not Jewish,

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actually just one, Luke.

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- [Nicole] Ah, yes.

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- [Michael] He wasn't Jewish.

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There are some people who believe he was,

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but for the most part, he wasn't Jewish.

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So Luke wasn't Jewish, but he was a doctor, physician.

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So, by profession he was Jewish.

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So (laughs) but Colossians 4 is pretty clear,

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Paul identifies the Jewish believers with him.

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And then after he identifies the Jewish believers,

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then he talks about Luke,

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the beloved physician being with him.

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So Luke wrote Luke and Acts.

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He's the only exception,

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but he was writing in essence for Paul.

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He was Paul's representative.

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And of course Paul was Jewish.

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- [Nicole] Yes.

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Yes and we know that Luke was also

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divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit.

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- [Michael] Yes.

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- [Nicole] And we need the Holy Spirit

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in order to probably interpret scripture.

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So what role would you say the Holy Spirit plays

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in our Bible study?

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- [Michael] There are Godly people who will look

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at a passage and they are trusting in the Holy Spirit

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to guide them.

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And they will interpret differently

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from another Godly person,

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they'll understand a passage differently.

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So when we talk about the Holy Spirit illuminating us,

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it seems to me that it's not in the area of interpretation.

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When the Holy Spirit illumine's us,

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what he is doing is he's showing the relevance

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of a particular aspect,

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the practical application in my life.

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That's what he's really punching at us.

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He's saying, "You Rydelnik, this is about you

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and this is where it applies."

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An example, we've had some sad stories in our area

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of leaders of congregations kind of crashing and burning.

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And when it started a couple years ago,

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I was reading through 1st Kings

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and I came to 1st Kings 13,

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the man of God who declares by the word of the Lord,

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his words come true, he's really good at proclamation.

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But then the king says,

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"Okay, stay here, let's eat."

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And he says, "No, by the word of the Lord,

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I was told, I must go back and go by another way."

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And then this old prophet comes out and deceives him

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and says, "Oh, I heard from the word of the Lord,

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he said, 'Come eat with me.'"

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And then the prophet,

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the man of God goes and disobeys the Lord,

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what the Lord told him.

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And I started thinking about that passage.

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And at first I thought, "Oh, this is,"

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someone said, "What does it mean?"

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I said, "It seems to me,

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it's saying that those who proclaim the word of God

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must be obedient to it, must be subject to it.

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They can't just be good at proclaiming it.

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They have to be obedient to it no matter what."

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And then that was good for me to say about other guys.

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Don't you think?

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But then the kicker was,

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"Rydelnik, you're the one on the radio

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proclaiming the word of God.

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You're in front of the classroom

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proclaiming the word of God.

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You're the guy that goes to speak at different conferences.

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You've opened the Bible, you're proclaiming the word of God.

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How good are you at obeying it?"

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And it's, no, I didn't think, "Oh, that's illumination."

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But that's what I really believe the Holy Spirit's doing,

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is when he takes a passage of scripture,

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and instead of us thinking, this is about Nicole or Abraham,

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this is about me and how am I going to apply it?

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- [Abe] Last question for you.

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What resources would you recommend to some,

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to our listeners who want to study more deeply.

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Maybe they're messianic believers.

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What would you recommend?

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- [Michael] I'd always start,

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one of the first things you get

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is a good one volume commentary.

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I believe in that so much

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that I actually worked on producing one,

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it's called the Moody Bible Commentary.

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- [Abe] Yeah.

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- [Michael] And I edited it with Michael Vanlaningham.

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I've contributed quite a number of commentaries,

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my fingerprints, even the things that don't have

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my name on it, I worked hard on that.

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- [Abe] Yeah.

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- [Michael] And the reason the Moody Bible Commentary

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is one I recommend, although there are other good ones,

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I don't want you to think otherwise.

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I mean, I think it's good, but there are other good ones.

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I like it because it has a very clear Messianism

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in the Hebrew Bible, it shows Messiah in the Old Testament.

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I like it 'cause it answers the questions

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that most people have when they're reading the Bible.

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It shows flow of thought and all the books has a good intro.

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But also you won't hear any kind,

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this particularly for Jewish believers,

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there's absolutely no supersessionism,

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which is a teaching that the church has replaced Israel,

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and a lot of commentaries have that.

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This Moody Bible Commentary, I guarantee you,

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there isn't a word of that.

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All the 30 contributors agreed

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that God is going to be faithful to every promise

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He made to Israel.

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So, start with a good commentary.

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And I'm doing a little commercial,

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I think Moody Bible Commentary

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is a great one to start with.

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I think, second thing is,

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everyone needs a good Bible dictionary.

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There are a number of great Bible dictionaries.

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I just happen to know 'cause I'm a Moody publisher's author.

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The Unger's Bible Dictionary is really good,

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but the Holman dictionary is good.

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And the Zondervan, they're all good.

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But get a good Bible dictionary,

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so you read something, you open it up, you say,

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"Okay, this is about Samaritans.

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I don't know anything about Samaritans."

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So you can open your Bible dictionary

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and read about Samaritans, okay.

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So it's not a dictionary of words,

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it's actually a dictionary of concepts.

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It's like a little mini encyclopedia.

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- [Abe] Right. - [Nicole] Nice.

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- [Michael] Everyone needs a one volume Bible dictionary.

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- [Abe] That's great advice.

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- [Michael] And that's where I would start.

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One other thing that I think is helpful,

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believe it or not is a book of doctrine,

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because so often one of the guidelines,

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we need to really interpret the Bible within the framework

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of what the whole Bible teaches,

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and so there's a good book by Charles Ryrie

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called the "Survey of Bible Doctrine"

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and it sounds boring, but it's really kind of interesting

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and it gives us a framework as we read the Bible,

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not just about what the Bible is saying,

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but the parameters of where we shouldn't go,

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'cause people will take things and fly with it.

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So, that's a really good one.

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A "Survey of Bible Doctrine."

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- [Abe] Dr. Rydelnik, thank you so much.

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I think in the last 48 minutes, I have on my timer,

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I've grown leaps and bounds in my faith.

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- [Nicole] Yes.

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- [Abe] Just by hearing how you read the scriptures

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and how you've grown over the years.

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And so just thank you for your time

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and for your generosity today.

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We really appreciate it. - [Michael] My pleasure.

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- [Nicole] Thanks Dr. Rydelnik.

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- [Michael] Glad to be with you guys.

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And remember what I say every week on my radio show,

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keep reading the Bible, we'll talk about it next week.

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So keep reading the Bible,

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we'll talk about it next podcast I'm on.

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- [Abe] Sounds good.

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(soft music)

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Studying the Bible takes time and discipline,

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but the reward is profound.

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The Bible is God's word and spending even just a few minutes

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in it each day is transformative.

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We hope this episode has kindled a passion for the Bible.

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It is never too late to start or restart

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a habit of regular scripture reading.

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We leave you with Psalm 1:1-3.

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"How blessed is the man who does not walk

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in the council of the wicked,

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nor stand in the path of sinners,

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nor sit in the seat of scoffers.

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But his delight is in the law of the Lord.

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And in His law, he meditates day and night.

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He will be like a tree firm planted by streams of water,

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which yields its fruit in its season.

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And its leaf does not wither.

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And in whatever he does, he prospers."

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Thank you for listening to this week's episode

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of Our Hope featuring Dr. Michael Rydelnik.

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If you enjoyed this episode,

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I really do hope that you will go on either Apple Podcast

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or are now on Spotify and leave us a review.

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You can also share it on social media

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with your friends and family.

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This episode was produced by Nicole Vacca and Grace Swee,

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and written by Rachel Larsen and edited by Grace Swee.

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This episode was created thanks to Dr. Mitch Glaser,

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Kieran Bautista and Jann Bautista.

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I am Abe Vasquez.

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Until next time.

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(soft music)

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- [Announcer] Thanks for listening to Our Hope.

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If you like our show and want to know more,

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check out ourhopepodcast.com or chosenpeople.com.

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You can also support our podcast by giving today

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at ourhopepodcast.com/support.

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See you next time.

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