This is Part 7, in our “How To Read The Bible Series.” Tim and Jon discuss the importance of understanding “Setting” in Bible stories.
In the first part (0-15:37) of the show the guys talk about how in the Bible, locations and directions are a big deal. For example, after the fall, man is banished to the east of the Garden of Eden. The direction east, is generally associated with exile and banishment in the Bible. This is reinforced in other stories in the Bible. Tim says when a direction or a place is repeated, it becomes a symbol.
In part 2 (15:37-23:48), the guys discuss the use of “time” in the Bible. When reading a story, there can be a speed up or slow down timing process. In the books of Kings and Chronicles the author generally presents episodic events in a paced, chronological order. Yet in the book of Mark, Mark chooses to race through the earlier parts of his life in 10 chapters by briefly recounting key events and then slowing things down immensely when Jesus arrives in Jerusalem. He takes 6 chapters to recount the stories surrounding the crucifixion.
In part 3 (23:48-27:33), Tim continues to outline the use of timing in the Bible. Some moments, speeches or books are expanded into real time. For example, Tim says the whole book of Deuteronomy took place in one day. Whereas, other moments are condensed, such as the speech Paul gave to the Greek philosophers in Acts. Paul would have given a longer speech, but it has been condensed for literary purposes.
In part 4 (27:33-end), the guys briefly discuss the usage of days, times, and years. For example, the number “40” is associated with a period of waiting. 40 days, 40 years, etc...40 is associated with “expected waiting.” Israel was waiting to go into the promised land for 40 years. Jacob was embalmed for 40 days.
Jon asks about distinguishing Biblical time from “bible code” meaning and searching the bible for hidden references, meanings, or numeric/alphabetic codes. Tim says that while it is true the Hebrew alphabet and numerical system were the same, and both used in reading and writing the Bible, he doubts the Bible writers would try to intentionally hide information.
More Bible Project resources are here on the website: thebibleproject.com