Since everyone suffers at some time in their life, laments are a normal part of life. Laments are sprinkled throughout the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Nancy C. Lee shares insights gained from 25 years of studying these laments and finding parallels with modern grievous situations.Nancy C. Lee, Ph.D. teaches at Elmhurst University where she is Professor of Hebrew Bible/Religious Studies and Distinguished Niebuhr Chair. . The First Nations Version New Testament is a new translation of the Sacred Scriptures by and for Native North Americans. The idea for this project began in 2002 while Terry and Darlene Wildman lived on the Hopi Indian reservation in Northern Arizona. They were looking for ways to tell the story of the Bible to Native Americans, in a culturally relevant context. InterVarsity Press published the first edition of the FNV New Testament on August 31st, 2021. . Brent Strawn addresses common “lies” or mistruths about the Old Testament, from perceptions of God’s personality (the “angry Old Testament God”) to the relevance of the Old Testament for Christians. Brent Strawn’s research focuses on ancient Near Eastern iconography, Israelite religion, biblical law, the Psalms, poetry, and Old Testament theology. He joined the Duke Divinity School faculty in 2019 and has a secondary appointment at the Duke University School of Law. . Elizabeth Hagen’s new book, Brave Church: Tackling Tough Topics Together, guides readers to think through how they can foster conversations about such challenging topics as infertility/miscarriage, mental health, domestic violence, racism, and sexuality. Elizabeth Hagan is an ecumenical pastor at heart who has most recently served the Palisades Community Church in Washington, DC, as senior minister. Though first ordained as an American Baptist, Hagan has served United Methodist, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian (USA), and Disciples of Christ congregations in various pastoral roles. . How did the Old Testament come into being? Dr.Rick Jordan interviews Dr. John J. Collins on his latest book, Ancient Jewish and Christian Scriptures: New Developments in Canon Controversy, co-authored with Lee McDonald and Craig A. Evans.A native of Ireland, Professor John J. Collins was a professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Chicago from 1991 until his arrival at Yale Divinity School in 2000. He has published widely on the subjects of apocalypticism, wisdom, Hellenistic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. He is the General Editor of the Anchor Bible Commentary Series. . How the New Testament Came to Be: Interview with Lee McDonald. This interview is based on Dr. McDonald’s latest book, Ancient Jewish and Christian Scriptures: New Developments in Canon Controversy, co-authored with John J. Collins and Craig A. Evans. Lee Martin McDonald is Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies and President of Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia, Canada. He is the author of many books including The Biblical Canon: Its Origin, Transmission, and Authority; The Origin of the Bible: A Guide for the Perplexed; also the co-author of The Canon Debate and Early Christianity and Its Sacred Literature. . Rick Jordan interviews Michael Card about his two latest books (both published by InterVarsity Press) : Inexpressible: Hesed and the Mystery of God’s Lovingkindness and The Nazarene: Forty Devotions on the Lyrical Life of Jesus. This is the first and only interview that Mike has given from his car in his barn. Michael Card has recorded over 38 albums, authored over 28 books, is host to a weekly podcast, and has written for a wide range of magazines. He has penned such favorites as “El Shaddai”, “Love Crucified Arose”, and “Immanuel”. , The coins in the ancients’ pockets inform scholars 2000 years later. What do these symbols and words represent? What do they tell us about culture, politics, ideals? How could they help us understand the Bible and the lives of early Christians? Dr. David May has taught at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Shawnee, KS, since 1994. Dr. May’s interest in the biblical world of the first century has stimulated his study of ancient Roman and Judean coins related to the New Testament era. . Education is good. Transformation is better. Chad Hall offers the philosophy and practicalities of directing students toward spiritual transformation by using strong listening skills and excellent questions. Chad Hall is president and co-founder of Coach Approach Ministries (https://coachapproachministries.org/). He has been coaching leaders in ministry and business since 2002. He has applied coaching first as a denominational leader with the Baptist State Convention of NC, later as an internal coach with software leader SAS Institute, and for nearly a decade as the Director of Coaching for Western Seminary. He has also served as a pastor and church planter. Chad also serves as Owner/Executive Partner with the coaching firm StrongLead, LLC. . As tragic as dementia is, it can be redeemed. We can find surprising gifts as we remain present and compassionate.Lynn Casteel Harper is a writer, minister, and chaplain. She is the author of On Vanishing (Catapult, April 2020), a nonfiction book that explores the dimensions of spirituality, social justice, and dementia. An ordained Baptist minister, Lynn completed her M.Div. at Wake Forest University and her chaplaincy residency at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Lynn served as the nursing home chaplain at a continuing care retirement community on the New Jersey shore for seven years. She now serves as the Minister of Older Adults at The Riverside Church in the City of New York. . There are stories of children in the Bible, but very few studies have been done about the lives of these children. Fewer still have looked at the stories through the eyes of the child. Kristine Garraway, however, is doing that and teaching us how to do that. Kristine Henriksen Garroway was appointed Visiting Assistant Professor of Bible at the HUC-JIR’s Skirball Campus in Los Angeles in 2011. She received her doctorate in Hebrew Bible and Cognate Studies at the HUC-JIR/Cincinnati in 2009. She has spent time studying and researching in Israel and has participated in excavations at Ashkelon, Tel Dor, and Tel Dan. Garroway’s scholarship focuses on children using archaeology and texts of ancient Israel and Mesopotamia. . The interpretation that a Bible leader offers students has consequences. That has always been true but is now receiving more attention in academic circles. Dr. Justin Reed introduces us to “reception history” and the consequences of the selection of one interpretation over another has had and continues to have.Justin Reed is Assistant Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at Louisville Seminary in Louisville, KY. . Depression is more than circumstantial sadness. It is a deep sense of loss and isolation. How can we help class members deal with depression? In her book, Companions in the Darkness (IVP, 2020), Diana shares the stories of seven saints who struggled with depression and doubt. She does a wonderful job explaining who each person was and what they did that made them heroes of the Christian religion: Martin Luther, Hannah Allen, David Brainerd, William Cowper, Charles Spurgeon, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Each of these persons suffered in ways that were unique to them. Each found different “tools” that helped them find light. . African scholarship in the Bible has radically changed in the last few decades. Part of this change includes appreciating African mindsets in interpretation as compared to Western mindsets. It makes a world of difference.Andrew M. Mbuvi, Ph.D. (Biblical Studies and Hermeneutics), is faculty in the Religious Studies Department at UNC-Greensboro, NC. He is the author of Jude and 2 Peter (A New Covenant Commentary Series: Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2015), a commentary that applies a postcolonial approach. . I use these animated videos to get a quick understanding of a Biblical text or concept. I think you’ll like them, too! Mike McDonald from TBP gives some behind-the-scenes scoop. The Bible Project is a nonprofit animation studio helping people experience the Bible as a unified story that leads to Jesus. bibleproject.com. . Ambiguity. Polarization. Community. All of these affect our Biblical interpretation as well as our identity formation. Amanda Mbuvi teaches at High Point University in NC. She authored the book, Belonging in Genesis: Biblical Israel and the Politics of Identity Formation. . . Saving the Widows and Orphans: An Interview with Sandra Richter (part 2): Care for widows and orphans is pure religion (James 1:27). Yet, these are first and foremost injured by bad environmental policies. We can do better. Sandra Richter, chair of Biblical studies at Westmont College, published a 2020 book through IVP about the role of a Christian disciple as a steward of the earth: Stewards of Eden: What Scripture Says About the Environment and Why It Matters. . Why Environmentalism Matters to Christians (or should) – Being a steward of God’s creation is not a platform for progressive politicians alone. All Christians are called to care for the creation. Sandra Richter has just published a book through IVP about the role of a Christian disciple as a steward of the earth. Stewards of Eden: What Scripture Says About the Environment and Why It Matters. . The Four Adult Learning Styles and How I Use Them – We may be tempted to follow the literature piece or to teach in only the way we like to learn. Find out about other learning styles that will reach more of your class members. Bo Prosser has been teaching and coaching congregational leaders for over 30 years. He has published seven books, over fifty articles, and contributed chapters to numerous titles on leadership, creativity, humor, and learning. . Live Like Your Father – James, the Bible’s problem child, an epistle of straw (according to Luther) – so what is there to like? Lots, according to Mariam Kovalishyn, associate professor of New Testament at Regent College in Vancouver, BC, who recently published a commentary on the book of James. . The Four C’s of Biblical Interpretation – We may be tempted to use only one way to interpret a Biblical text. Use at least one more to add depth to your lessons advises Dr. Barry Jones of Campbell University Divinity School, Buies Creek, NC. Insights from his book published by Smyth & Helwys, Gaining a Heart of Wisdom. . A Slow and Silent Reading of Scriptures – A pondering prayer in silence is one way to invite God’s spirit to inform and shape us. Here’s the technique one pastor uses to equip parishioners, sometimes called lectio divina or holy reading. Garrett is the co-pastor, with his wife, of Fort Street Presbyterian Church in Detroit. . There’s a Reason for the Repetition – The Bible was written with listeners in mind. Today’s readers gloss over texts that the early hearers of the Word would have recognized as significant. While we can still appreciate the construction and grasp some understanding when we read, we miss much of the message because we’re working in the wrong medium. Paul Borgman, recently retired English professor from Gordon College, equips readers to read as if hearing, focusing on overlapping patterns of hearing cues that shape each text and embed theological perspective. . Jesus, Race, and the Bible – Mitzi Smith recently co-authored the book, Toward Decentering the New Testament: A Reintroduction, as an alternative to traditional introductory texts. In this interview, Mitzi talks about that project, about how sexual abuse relates to Jesus’s crucifixion, and about the slave society of the early church. She is Professor of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. . Biblical Contradictions as Conversation Starters – Why does one Biblical teaching seem to contradict another Biblical teaching? How does the Old Testament inform the New Testament? Are the Jews exclusively God’s chosen people? Dr. Frank Spina taught Old Testament at Seattle Pacific University for 46 years and is the author of The Faith of the Outsider: Exclusion and Inclusion in the Biblical Story. . The Basics of Biblical Interpretation – Robert Canoy shares the six steps he uses before preaching or teaching a Bible study lesson. Canoy is the Dean of the Gardner-Webb University Divinity School in Boiling Springs, NC. . Studying the Old Testament with Commentaries – The Old Testament is hard to understand at times. Commentaries can be great helps – but which commentaries should you use? Stephen Chapman is Associate Professor of Old Testament at the Duke University Divinity School and the author of 1 Samuel as Christian Scripture: A Theological Commentary. . .Being Honest About Violence in the Bible – Violence in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament, makes the Bible teacher squirm. What do we do with these passages? Stephen Chapman is Associate Professor of Old Testament at the Duke University Divinity School. . The Talking Book – As old as the Bible is, it speaks fresh words when we are open to hearing them. Bible study teachers have a responsibility to bring fresh, challenging words – and a responsibility to “do no harm” as we interpret the text. Allen Callahan is an independent scholar whose book, The Talking Book: African Americans and the Bible traces the development of Black culture from slavery’s secluded forest prayer meetings to the bright lights and bold style of today’s hip-hop artists. . Pay Attention to the Tensions – Paul was a great missionary, evangelist, theologian, and church planter. Still, he remains divisive. Todd Still, Dean of the Truett Divinity School, shares his enthusiasm for Paul in this interview. . Put the Spirit in Spiritual Formation – As Bible teachers, we are not alone. The Holy Spirit is present and working. One method of giving the Spirit space to work is by offering reflective silence and holy readings (lectio divina). Angela Reed is Associate Professor of Practical Theology and the Director of Spiritual Formation at Truett Seminary, Baylor University, Waco, Texas. . Africa in the Bible – Africa is a large continent, larger than we give credit to, according to Dr. Rodney Sadler. And that affects our understanding of the Bible. He also points out the fallacy of interpretations around the curses of Cain and Ham – interpretations that are still promoted today in some Christian circles. Dr. Sadler is Associate Professor of Bible and Director, Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation, at Union Presbyterian Seminary, Charlotte, NC. . Questions, Contexts, and Commentaries – We teach best when there is the freedom to ask questions and the freedom to share personal perspectives. Scott Ryan of Claflin University talks about the power of questions and the importance of context – both of the ancient texts and of the modern interpreter. . Jesus was a Troublemaker – People in power want the endorsement of Jesus. People without power – those are the ones Jesus spoke to and for. If we want to know the real Jesus, we need to listen to Biblical interpretations from people who are not from the dominant culture but from those the dominant culture holds down. Listen to those who are, like the earliest Christians under Roman domination, the non-violent resistors. Dr. Blount is President and Professor of New Testament at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA. . Reading as an Extension of Prayer – Marilyn McEntyre shares insights from her life, her teaching life (recently retired as an English professor), and from her writings. The author of 15 books and a frequent retreat/conference leader, she shares her wisdom about reading, poetry, and that even a to-do list has the potential to be an instrument for spiritual understanding. . Would Luke’s Jesus Support You? – On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed. Before we knew of his death, but earlier that same day, Lewis Brogdon spoke to me about the need for Christians to listen to minorities and to their insights into the Scripture. The Gospel of Luke, demonstrates Jesus’s concern for the underprivileged and his condemnation of the privileged. We who are privileged have found ways to take the teeth out of Jesus’s teachings and life. Lewis Brogdon says we need to rediscover this revolutionary, Jesus. . Trends that Concern Me about Today’s Church – Brian McLaren talks with Rick Jordan about the persons who were the Great Bible Teachers that shaped his faith, the importance of searching out interpreters of Scripture who have a different background than ourselves, the four crises facing the Church, and the dangers of white supremacists using the Bible for justification of their evil behavior.