Understanding the Scriptures

Jul 07 2009 75 mins 2.2k

The Understanding the Scriptures Podcast (Understanding-Scriptures.com) is composed of 30 episodes with each episode having a length between 72 and 80 minutes. Each episode/class covers one of the 30 chapters in the textbook titled "Understanding the Scriptures," by Dr. Scott Hahn, Ph.D. (this textbook is part of the Didache series published by the Midwest Theological Forum at TheologicalForum.org). Listeners to the podcast need not purchase this textbook, though it would be beneficial to do so. The course follows the plan of Salvation History from Genesis to Jesus and demonstrates the unity of God's salvific plan throughout the Old Testament, into the New Testament, and even through to today. Presented by Carson Weber, B.B.A., M.A. You may find Carson online at CarsonW.org.
























Ch. 9 - The Rise of the Kingdom
Jul 07 2009 78 mins  
In this lesson, Carson covers the history of salvation between the 40 years of Israel's wilderness wanderings and the rise of King Saul to the throne. We cover one of the most important books in the Old Testament: Deuteronomy, which means Second Law. It was delivered to the 2nd generation of Israelites (since the exodus from Egypt) on the plains of Moab, just east of the Jordan river, in response to that generation's apostasy at Beth-Peor through worship of Ba'al-Peor. In it, Moses delivers various concessionary laws that Ezekiel 20 describes as "not good" such as divorce remarriage, genocidal warfare, slavery, and concubinage. Structured like an ancient Hittite treaty between a suzerain king and a potentially rebellious vassal, Deuteronomy serves as Israel's national constitution, to keep Israel under probation. Towards the end, Moses tells Israel that it will transgress this Deuteronomic Covenant, it will incur its covenant curses, which includes eventual exile to a foreign land, and finally, Israel will be restored by God himself and be given a new, circumcised heart. Thereby, Moses has given Israel a preview of the rest of the Old Testament, which will be fulfilled in the New Testament through the gift of the Holy Spirit, which recreates the Christian with a new heart through sanctifying grace. This review of Deuteronomy will greatly serve the student of the New Testament in the task of understanding St. Paul, especially in what he writes in his Epistle to the Galatians.



Ch. 10 - The Kingdom of David
Jul 07 2009 79 mins  
In this lesson, Carson begins with the ascension of Saul to the throne of kingship over all 12 tribes of Israel in the First Book of Samuel. However, due to Saul's repetitious sin, he loses not only his dynasty (his own son will not succeed him) but his kingship as well. We discover that the words Messiah and Christ are the Hebrew and Greek terms, respectively, for "the anointed one." When the king is installed in office, he is anointed with a flask of oil, and it is this anointing that makes him "the Messiah" or "the Christ." God chooses David, a young shepherd boy, to replace Saul, and eventually, when Saul dies at the hand of the Philistines in battle, the Tribe of Judah anoints David as their king. David reigned over Judah for 7 years and 6 months before the other 11 tribes of Israel decided to make David their king as well. David reigned another 33 years over all Israel. It was during this time that God entered into the Davidic Covenant with King David, which is one of the most important covenants of the Old Testament. David's dynasty would never end, no matter how sinful the Davidic King will be. Eventually, one day, Jesus will arise in the line of David to be anointed at his own baptism in the Jordan River as to ascend to the throne in his Ascension into Heaven. As an added bonus, we compare 2 Samuel 6 with Luke 1 to see how St. Luke the Evangelist portrays Mary as the New Ark of the New Covenant! So, tune in to this week's podcast and don't miss out on all there is to learn.










Ch. 15 - Revolt of the Maccabees
Jul 07 2009 74 mins  
In this lesson, Carson gives an overview of the history between when the exiled Jews first began to return to the Holy Land (i.e. Palestine) in 538 B.C. and the rule of Herod the Great when our Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. We look into the reason why Israelites such as Jesus and his 12 Apostles spoke Aramaic and not Hebrew. We also take a look at what version of the Old Testament our Lord and the Apostles read and quoted from: the Septuagint. The material this session covers includes 1 and 2 Maccabees, which you will find in Catholic Bibles, but not in Protestant Bibles. These two historical Old Testament books serve as a bridge between the Old and New Testaments. They describe the revolt of pious Jews against the paganizing and tyrannous rule of Antiochus IV "Epiphanies" (meaning "God Manifest" because he considered himself the visible manifestation of Zeus). You will learn of how Alexander the Great conquered Persia, but when he died of fever, his empire was split among his 5 generals. Then, the Holy Land was vied after by the descendants of two of his generals: Ptolemy and Seleucus. We will see that Antiochus IV was a Seleucid king who wished to Hellenize (i.e. to spread the Greek culture) everyone everywhere, including the Jews. Eventually, the Jews under the leadership of Judas "Maccabeus" (meaning "the hammer") and his brothers won independence from Seleucid rule in 142 B.C. However, in 63 B.C., this independence was lost to Rome when Pompey took control of Jerusalem.







Ch. 18 - The Incarnation
Jul 07 2009 79 mins  
In this lesson, Carson begins with an explanation of the Christological definition formulated at the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D. (a location which is now a part of the modern day city of Istanbul). He then speaks about the two means by which God has successively dealt with humanity. In the Old Testament, God descended (katabasis) to our human level in dealing with us, by offering us temporal goods as rewards and conceding to our sinful longings. This condescension came to a climax in the Incarnation when he took upon himself a human body and a human soul. In the New Testament, God takes on our humanity in order to lift us up out of our misery, so that we might ascend (anabasis) into the heights of his divinity. At this point, we read from the important passage Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:4 - "he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature." We look closely at how Jesus identified himself with the Temple (in the end of John 2) and with how St. John - in the prologue of his Gospel - speaks of the Incarnation in the same terms, which describe how God came down upon the tabernacle among Israel in the Sinai wilderness. From here, we move into St. Luke's Gospel, which begins with a very clear and precise indication of the historicity and verifiable nature of the information presented: "Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent The-oph'ilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed" (Luke 1:1-4). Come join us as we delve into the rich Old Testament allusions Luke paints in his beautiful Gospel. Caution: This will change the way you read St. Luke... from now on, you won't read it in the same light.






Ch. 21 - The Cup of Consummation
Jul 07 2009 79 mins  
In this lesson, Carson examines the theme of Jesus as the New Passover lamb. We are told in the Gospels that the Last Supper was specifically the Passover meal, which was celebrated by faithful Israelites once a year. This meal commemorated the Exodus of Israel from Egyptian captivity/slavery. When Jesus celebrates this feast, there is no lamb present at the meal - or is there? Jesus declares the unleavened bread of the meal to be his flesh, and he commands his guests to eat of it. Just as in the Old Passover, Israelites were commanded to eat of the sacrificial lamb, so we are commanded by Jesus to consume the flesh of the New Passover lamb of the New Covenant in the New Exodus! We look closely at the Gospel accounts of the Passover and discover that Jesus the Passover meal unfinished with his apostles to go out to the Mount of Olives, for he had not yet partaken of the final cup, the 4th cup of wine, which is the cup of consummation. It isn't until the moment before Jesus gives up his spirit from upon the cross that Jesus partakes of wine. John tells us that Jesus said, "I thirst" from upon the Cross and partook of wine given to him from upon a reed; then, Jesus said, "It is finished," indicating that the Passover meal concluded with his death. In the sixth chapter of his Gospel, Saint John faithfully records Jesus' Bread of Life Discourse where Jesus tells his audience that they must indeed eat his flesh and drink his blood. His audience interprets him literally, and Jesus explains what he meant by reaffirming this literal interpretation no less than six times! Not only that, but in four of these six re-affirmations, Jesus switches from the usual Greek word for "to eat" {fag-oh} to a rare literal Greek word {troh-goh} that cannot be interpreted figuratively. John then only uses this word in one other place in his Gospel: at the Last Supper. John does this in order to tie the Bread of Life discourse to the institution of the Eucharist, to teach us that it is in the celebration of the Eucharist that we fulfill Jesus' command to partake of his very own flesh and blood, which gives supernatural life to members of the Church, the New Israel.


Ch. 22 - The Resurrection
Jul 07 2009 78 mins  
In this lesson, Carson begins speaking of the resurrection of Jesus not with the Gospel narratives, nor with St. Paul's testimony of the Risen Christ, but with the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, Chapter 37. It is here where we discover the theme of resurrection tied up with the idea that God will deliver his people from exile and restore them once again under David's royal successor, the son of David, the Messiah to come. So, when Jesus rose from the dead, a good Jew schooled in the Old Testament such as Saint Paul would see how it is now time for Israel to be restored, how exile is coming to an end, how it is time for sin to be forgiven. We look at passages such as John 20:21-23, Acts 2:22-33 and 22:1-16, Matthew 9:1-8 and 18:15-20 and 28:18-20, and Chapter 15 of St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians. As we examine these passages one by one, you will see how Jesus is present in the episcopal authority of his Church, how he restores Israel with the Gentiles in his Church by giving his apostles the authority to forgive sins. Ecclesiology (study of the Church), soteriology (study of salvation), pneumatology (study of the Holy Spirit), and eschatology (study of the end of time) are shown in unison as they are bound up with one another. We are saved corporately as we become members of the Church, and this salvation is none other than incorporation into the resurrected body of Jesus by means of the Holy Spirit, which will resurrect our bodies at the end of time to be like that of Jesus Christ's own resurrected body. This is the plan of God, his plan of Salvation History. Join us as we unravel the beautiful treasures buried deep in the riches of Sacred Scripture.


Ch. 23 - Jesus Fulfills the Old Testament
Jul 07 2009 74 mins  
In this lesson, Carson discusses how Jesus perfectly fulfills the Old Testament in two main ways: (1) Jesus fulfills various Old Testament foretypes that point to him, and (2) Jesus is the answer to the building climactic story of the Old Testament. In this particular chapter, focus is placed on the first of these two means of fulfillment. Numerous Old Testament characters served as types or figures of Jesus. We get the English word "type" from the Greek term tupos {too-pos}: "impression, figure, or stamp." These types find their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus who is the antitype. The Greek term anti {an-tee} means "opposite to" or "in place of." So, the antitype is that which the type finds fulfillment in. This has been discussed previously in Chapters 2 and 3, and this lesson sums up our study of various major Old Testament types. You will learn how Jesus is the New Adam, the New Noah, the New Moses, the New Israel, the New Isaac, the New David, and the New Solomon. The major characteristics of these prominent figures are mirrored in our Savior, as the authors of the Gospels are careful to point out. Throughout the course of Salvation History, God has prepared humanity for the climactic revelation of his Son. We are granted the blessing of 20/20 vision as we look back in hindsight and discover this gradual and beautiful divine work of preparation. Jesus summed up the Sermon on the Mount with these words: "Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock" (Mt 7:24-25). Jesus' audience knew well of a famous wise man (Solomon) who built the most famous house of all (the Temple) upon the stone of foundation, which today is housed under the golden capped Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Like Solomon of old, Jesus builds his Church - the New Temple - upon Peter, the Rock. Almost two-thousand years later, that kingdom continues to thrive as it is united around the successor of St. Peter: the pope.




Ch. 25 - Reaching Out to All Nations
Jul 07 2009 79 mins  
In this lesson, Carson looks back at the whole of Salvation History to better understand God's purpose for Israel, which is to be a light to the nations. Ultimately, this purpose is fulfilled in Jesus, who recapitulates Israel in his own person and mission. Due to his redemptive work upon Calvary (wherein he takes upon himself the curses of the Mosaic Covenant), the separation between Israel and the other nations is obliterated (See Ephesians 2:11-22). Jesus has made it possible for all of humanity to stand on equal footing in the covenant family of God, and so the Catholic Church - which is that family - incorporates both Israelites and Gentiles equally. "The nations" in Hebrew is goyim. In Greek, it is ethnos. In Latin, it is gentilis. We use the English term "Gentiles" to refer to all of those nations other than the nation of Israel, and in most all English translations of the New Testament, the Greek word ethnos is translated as "Gentile." There is no need now for those ceremonial precepts as dictated by the Mosaic Law. Those precepts or commands served a temporary (albeit over a long period of time) purpose: to root out idolatry from the heart of Israel and to separate Israel from the Gentiles so as to rehabilitate Israel. God knew that Israel could not be ultimately be rehabilitated unless God gave this firstborn son of his a new heart (See Deuteronomy 30:1-8), and so the Law revealed Israel's sinfulness, showing Israel that it could not be holy without the gift of grace. Jesus Christ fulfills the message of the Prophets - especially Isaiah - by bringing about the possibility of worldwide blessing to all the families/nations of the earth as promised to Abraham in Genesis 22:18. His work of redemption results in the gift of the Holy Spirit, that grace Israel needed from the beginning to live in right relationship with its covenant bridegroom: the Lord God. Plus, in order to restore all 12 tribes under the Messiah, the Gentiles must be incorporated, for the lost tribes of Israel are now indistinguishable from the Gentiles. When the Gospel goes out to the Gentiles, it is not going out just to non-Israelites, but to Israelites as well who have lost their national identity.



Ch. 26 - Paul, An Apostle
Jul 07 2009 78 mins  
In this lesson, Carson looks at the person, history, and theology of one of the greatest saints in the 2,000 year history of the Catholic Church: St. Paul the Apostle. In this episode, we read from the writing of a presbyter, a Catholic priest, who wrote around 160 A.D. In it, we discover a description of what St. Paul looked like. We read from Eusebius of Caesarea's "Church History," wherein he describes the means by which St. Paul was martyred under the persecution of the Roman emperor Nero. Before his monumental conversion to Christianity, Paul was a zealous persecutor of the Catholic Church. Why? What did he care if other Jews embraced the Christian Faith.. of what concern was that to him? Only by looking at the nature of first century Judaism and the sect of Judaism that Paul embraced - Pharisaism - we can understand why Paul was concerned about whether or not and how other Jews kept the Mosaic Law. On his way to persecute the Church in Damascus, Paul met the risen Jesus face to face, and that experience changed his life forever. Paul came to discover that his view of the Mosaic Law, his interpretation, was askew. This supernatural event turned one of the most formidable foes of the early Christians into their most powerful advocate. Finally, in this episode, we look closely at St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans and discover a look at a new way of reading this famous text. This advance in Biblical studies is known in scholarly circles as The New Perspective. Join us as we take upon ourselves the mind of first century Judaism and read Paul's words afresh.


Ch. 27 - The New Kingdom
Jul 07 2009 79 mins  
In this lesson, Carson first gives 12 characteristics of the Davidic Kingdom in the Old Testament. Since the New Covenant is a renewal and extension of the Davidic Covenant, we find these characteristics fulfilled by Jesus, Mary, Peter, and the Church in the New Testament. He then moves from a presentation of these 12 features to a quick examination of the whole of Matthew's Gospel. We move from chapter to chapter quickly to see how Matthew presents the New Kingdom in the pages of his Gospel narrative. This latter half of the episode is fast-paced and moves very quickly. As you listen to it, you will want to have a copy of Matthew's Gospel in front of you. The Catholic Church is the Davidic Kingdom redeemed, restored, and transformed. It primarily resides in heaven with the Church Triumphant centered upon her king: Jesus the Anointed One (Messiah/Christ). The Church on earth or "the Church Militant" is the Kingdom in transit. She is in a pilgrim state as her members are purified and as they shed their sin by the means of transforming grace. The 12 Characteristics of the Davidic Kingdom: 1. A Monarchy governed by its representative head: the King Jesus is our King, and the Church is a monarchy, not a democracy. 2. The Davidic Covenant is made with David's seed (Hebrew: zera'h) This is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus who is a direct descendant of David. 3. The King is anointed by a Levite, making him Messiah or Christ Jesus is anointed by the Holy Spirit when baptized by John the Baptist, a Levite. 4. The Son of David is the Son of God Jesus bears both of these titles throughout the Gospel narratives. 5. Jerusalem is the capital city with its own center located at Mount Zion The Redemption begins in the Upper Room on Mount Zion; the Church is the New Jerusalem 6. The Temple is the architectural symbol of the Davidic Covenant Both Jesus and his Mystical Body (the Church) are the New Temple 7. It is worldwide in scope, incorporating other nations. "Catholic" means "according to the whole" or "universal" - composed of every nationality. 8. It is everlasting in duration, according to God's promises It continues in the Church, which is the Kingdom restored: a Kingdom without end. 9. Its Law is found in the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament The Psalms play a central role in Catholic worship 10. The King's personal representative was the Majordomo or Prime Minister Jesus establishes this office by giving Peter "the keys of the kingdom" 11. The King's own mother reigned as Queen Jesus' mother, Mary, was assumed into heaven where she reigns as Queen Mother 12. Principal sacrifice is the Todah or "Thanksgiving" sacrifice in the Temple The Eucharist (which means "Thanksgiving") fulfills this sacrificial offering.


Ch. 28 - The Catholic Church in Scripture
Jul 07 2009 77 mins  
In this lesson, Carson divides the lesson into four parts. First, he discusses the historical meaning of the term catholic. While it literally means "according to the whole" or "universal," when the early Christians first used this term as an identifier for the Church, they used it specifically to denote the true visible empirical Church from heretical or schismatic congregations or followings. We look at the first appearance of "catholic" in Christian literature, which is by St. Ignatius of Antioch in his Epistle to the Church in Smyrna. We also look at its usage in the Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem and two of St. Augustine's writings: The True Religion and Against the Fundamental Epistle of Manachaeus. Second, we build upon the previous discussion of Peter from prior sessions with a quick review of Peter's primacy throughout the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles. This is a fast-paced sketch of how the Gospels present Peter as the head and representative of the group of Jesus' apostolic disciples. Often, we read the Gospels without noticing just how prominent Peter is, which says something of his successors in the life of the Church: the bishops of Rome. Third, we look at the methodology by which the Church resolved a doctrinal dispute in Chapter 15 of St. Luke's Acts of the Apostles. How did the early Church handle differences in interpreting Scripture and understanding Christian doctrine? Did they allow for these divisive differences to remain unsettled... did they leave it up to the individual believer to determine by himself... or did they convene in an ecumenical council to hash it out and close the debate with a pronouncement by Peter and then accept the decision as binding upon all of the regional churches? Of course, the latter is the case, and so this is the Biblical basis for the ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church throughout history. Fourth, and finally, we discuss the seven sacraments - especially those sacraments that are distinct to Catholicism - from the pages of Scripture. We focus in on the efficacy of baptism, the need for confirmation, the reality of holy orders, the call for the anointing of the sick, and the command for auricular (that is, audible) confession. Since we have already covered marriage and the Eucharist in depth in previous episodes, they are briefly mentioned. So what are you waiting for? Listen in as we discover the Catholic Church in Scripture!




Ch. 30 - How to Read the Bible
Jul 07 2009 79 mins  
In this lesson, Carson wraps up the Understanding the Scriptures Bible course by empowering his students to read and interpret Scripture faithfully. He does this by examining paragraphs 109 through 119 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. First, we must determine the literal sense of the passage at hand by taking into account (1) the conditions of their time and culture, (2) the literary genres in use at that time, and (3) the modes of feeling, speaking, and narrating then current. Inseparable from and built upon the literal sense of Scripture, there are three additional spiritual senses that we may draw from the sacred page: (1) the allegorical, (2) the moral, and (3) the anagogical. Due to the fact that Sacred Scripture is not a purely natural creation of man and is inspired by the Holy Spirit, there are three criteria that the Church provide us with to interpret the Bible. First, we must be attentive to the content and unity of the whole Scripture. This is necessary because of God's plan borne out in Salvation History. This unifying plan unites the different passages and books of Scripture. Second, we must read the Scripture within the living Tradition of the whole Church... because Scripture was written in the heart of God's covenant family, the Church, which lives and moves through time, ever retaining the Apostolic Tradition in her memory. Finally, we must be attentive to the analogy of faith, which is the coherence of the truths of divine revelation. God does not reveal mutually contradictory truths. This final criterion is taken from a piece of advice relayed by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (12:6).


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