First Reading offers exegetical resources for the Old Testament Lectionary reading each week. Hosts Rachel Wrenn and Tim McNinch are PhD students at Emory University. Each month, they invite a leading Hebrew Bible scholar for a longer conversation about the nitty-gritty of the week's text.
Isaiah 61:1–4, 8–11
Binding Up the Broken-Hearted
Lectionary Date: December 13, 2020 [3rd Sunday of Advent, Year B]
What’s broken in a broken heart? And how does God plan to repair it? News you can use for this lamentable Advent season.
Comfort, Comfort Now My People
Lectionary Date: December 6, 2020 [2nd Sunday of Advent, Year B]
This famous passage isn’t about Pollyannaism—it’s comfort from the middle of real trauma (something many of us can relate to this Advent).
Preach Advent Slant
Lectionary Date: November 29, 2020 [1st Sunday of Advent, Year B]
Welcome to Advent and to Year B in the lectionary! Rachel is taking the lead during Advent with tips on how to preach it “slant” — to use Emily Dickinson’s term.
Ezekiel 34:11–16, 20–24, with Safwat Marzouk
I Myself Will Shepherd Them
Lectionary Date: November 22, 2020 [25th Sunday after Pentecost, Reign of Christ Sunday, Year A]
The 23rd Psalm is not the only biblical text to feature the shepherding metaphor! This week Rev. Dr. Safwat Marzouk joins Rachel and Tim to discuss Ezek 34, a powerful critique of Judah’s “shepherds” and a promise of divine shepherding for the vulnerable of God’s flock. Dr. Marzouk is Assoc. Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at Anabapist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, in Elkhart, IN. We recommend his books, Intercultural Church: A Biblical Vision for an Age of Migration and Egypt as a Monster in the Book of Ezekiel. Safwat is also a contributor to the “Politics of Scripture” blog at politicaltheology.com. First Reading is happy to be partnering with the Political Theology Network by sharing this week’s episode as the “Politics of Scripture” blog entry for Nov 16!
By the Hand of a Woman
Lectionary Date: November 15, 2020 [24th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A]
It’s the only entry from the fabulous book of Judges in the Lectionary! Tim has a couple ways to think about preaching this text about Deborah.
Joshua 24:1–3a, 14–25
Gotta Serve Somebody
Lectionary Date: November 8, 2020 [23rd Sunday after Pentecost, Year A]
At the end of Joshua, he calls the people to make a choice—but it’s not an uninformed decision. Tim has some thoughts about this.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great resource for preaching
I’ve found this podcast very helpful for preaching. My worship committee requested a summer preaching series on the prophets and these episodes have helped me prepare faithfully. Thank you!
This podcast is full of great scholarship and helpful angles with which to approach the text for sermon writing. It had quickly become a go to resource for me. Thank you so much Rachel and Tim!