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We are having a great time during our Bible Study series. This week my guest is Jake Doberenz from Creatively Christian Podcast and Theophany Media. Jake is known for finding the humor in everyday life, and even in difficult passages in Scripture. He loves to study the writings of Paul, passionate about exploring the depths of Scripture, and loves to snuggle up with his wife and cats on the couch. He has a unique and fresh perspective when it comes to studying God’s Word. Join us for a enjoyable conversation, filled with practical tools and witty, comical sayings!
Jake Doberenz isn’t one thing. He identifies as a polymath, a Renaissance man, or a multipotentialite–one interest or specialty can’t contain him.
But enough of the third-person. I am a writer, speaker, minister, and creative thinker living in Oklahoma City, OK with my wife Samantha. My most significant role is the founder and president of Theophany Media, a Christian education company dedicated to helping Christians engage with culture through new media. I have earned my Master of Theological Studies at Oklahoma Christian University, the same place I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Bible with a minor in Communication Studies. I also worked at my alma mater as a Resident Director and Bible TA.
I write fiction and nonfiction in a variety of mediums, including poetry, short stories, books, stage plays, academic essays, and devotionals. I also venture out into other mediums, like podcasts and video. My favorite topics of choice to discuss and write about (though always changing) include: creating Christian art, helping people understand the Bible better, Christian identity, theology of social media, use of humor in faith messages, superheroes and theology, and a Christian response to culture.
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Hey, there everybody come on in. Sit for spell.
How are you guys doing? I appreciate your support. And
listening to the podcast.
I hope that you are enjoying our series on how to study the Bible. We already had fantastic guests, and they’ve already hit it out of the park, some really encouraging words and practical things for you to do your own Bible study and read the word of God for yourself.
And today we are still continuing on that series. We have a new guest on this show. Now I’m very familiar with his podcast, Creatively Christian. I’ve been on his podcast. His show has a few different interviewers. And so Andrea Sandefur, who you guys know that was on the show, she interviewed me on her show.
And our guest today, Jake Doberenz
the man behind that podcast. He is a funny guy. He likes to bring humor from the Bible and I’ve been reading his blog and following his newsletters and his Facebook group. So I thought he would be a great addition to the podcast series. And I think you’re gonna love him.
I’m gonna tell you a little bit about him. He has a lot of interest here,
so here you go. Jake Doberenz isn’t one thing. He identifies as a polymath, a Renaissance man, or a multi potential light, one interest or specialty can’t contain him. So he says of himself, but enough of the third person, I’m a writer, speaker, minister, and creative thinker living in Oklahoma city, Oklahoma with my wife, Samantha, my most significant role is the founder and president of the Theophany media, a Christian education company, dedicated to helping Christians engage with culture through new media.
I have earned my master of theological studies at Oklahoma Christian university. The same place I earned my bachelor’s degree in Bible with a minor in communication studies. I also worked at my Alma mater as a resident director and Bible TA. I write fiction and nonfiction in a variety of mediums, including poetry, short stories, books, stage plays, academic essays, and devotionals.
I also venture out into other mediums like podcasts and video. My favorite topics of choice to discuss and write about, although always changing, include creating Christian art, helping people understand the Bible better ,Christian identity theology of social media. Use of humor in faith messages, superheroes, and theology, any Christian response to culture.
So, this is gonna be awesome. So I hope that you enjoy my conversation with Jake Doberenz .
Please. Welcome to the show, Jake Doberenz . Thanks for coming on today.
Sure thing, anytime I’m glad to be here.
I really enjoyed being on your podcast. Creatively Christian and Andrea interviewed me and then she was on my podcast and I follow your Facebook group and get your very humorous email newsletter.
And so I thought you were the perfect fit to come on to the podcast for this series. And you’re a Bible geek like me and you have a different perspective on life in the Bible. You find humor in the Bible, which a lot of people don’t find the Bible very funny, so welcome to the show.
yeah. I’m glad to be here providing some humor and quite, possibly even some wisdom and intelligent comments. We’ll see if we get to that part.
yeah, I I was watching your Facebook feed today and you are a lover of cats. I understand. Yes, I am a I’m a cat person. It is true. It is true.
I sort of have a cat. There’s a neighbor down the street, three doors down that, they just left their cat behind, a white Siamese cat. And she’s beautiful. And she is like the neighborhood queen. And so the whole neighborhood just kind of adopted her and we wound up feeding her. She can’t come inside because my husband’s allergic to cats, but she comes up to our porch and she’s very sweet.
Her name is Meow. And she got named that because she’s a Siamese, she is a very vocal cat and I’m trying to interpret the meows. And where does this Meow mean? Meow pet me, Meow feed me. Meow, scratch me, whatever. Trying to figure that out right now.
So maybe you could shed some light on that.
As I said on my Facebook today I didn’t go into cat behavioral psychology as was one of my potential career plans. I did the next best thing. I became a Bible major. Just a real, common transition. Everybody does that from cat psychology to studying the Bible. so that’s what I did.
Yeah. You had three cats you’re you were telling us about in the Facebook group. I’m a dog person. I’ve had dogs my whole life, and I can tell you all about dogs and why they do what they do.
So, I’ll pray for you as a dog person, it’s okay. I think you can still get to the kingdom of God, so we’re good.
All right. I’m in . So, you haven’t been on the podcast before so tell the folks a little bit about yourself and your family.
Okay. Yeah. Always a fun question because where do you start? Where do you end? But yeah, I am in Oklahoma city right now. I am an Oregon native and got stuck in Oklahoma.
Stuck sounds too negative, but I got planted here. That sounds better. After college I married an Oklahoma girl and so I’m around here now. I got my bachelor’s degree in biblical studies with a minor in communication studies. I have a master’s of theological studies. And for a while, I was kind of going down the Bible professor route.
That was gonna be my thing. And it’s not like completely off the table right now, but it is not my chief kind of path anymore because there are not a lot of jobs in that area. And there’s a lot of different things there that make it quite challenging. A lot of schooling, a lot of debt for maybe not so much reward, but we’ll see what the future brings.
I am still flexing my desires to write and teach. That has always been what I wanted to do. Even when the subject changed, even when it was cat psychology or whatever I always wanted to write and teach. And so I’m still doing that in different ways. Certainly still using my degrees. Even though I’ll be going into teaching middle school geography this year.
Ooh. Kind of a new adventure, add some more skills and, weird things on my resume. That’s kind of how I do it, so cool. I think that’s me. Yeah.
That’s very brave. Middle school, that particular age. Did you pick the age group you were teaching or did they just kind of throw you in there?
I applied to high school and middle school. I wasn’t gonna do anybody under middle school. And the high school jobs never called me back and the, I got some different offerings on the middle school side of thing. So I said, okay, that’s what you want me to do. God, I will walk into this wilderness.
And then they gave me some kind of choices between, and I chose sixth grade specifically. So I’ll be with sixth graders. They they still have some childlike heart and wonder they’re not so jaded. Like they get when they’re a little older. But they’re just mature enough where you can start to get a little more serious, so good age.
Hm. I liked sixth grade. It was a good year. We’ll be praying for you either way because, that’s a lot of work and geography is cool. I like Bible geography ever since I went to Israel in 2019. How different reading the Bible is when you’ve been to those places? Have you been to Israel?
I haven’t. Oh, I haven’t.
Yeah, if you’re into geography, you would really love going to Israel. For obvious reasons, of course, but geography, it just makes the Bible come alive. When you’ve been to the place where Jesus, put
Legion into the herd of pigs and over the cliff. Sure. I’ve been to that cliff. And so you can see it now in your head, so it’s awesome. Or you’ve been on the sea of Galilee and you can actually imagine Jesus walking on the water and because been in the boat. So, yeah I’m just getting into, being interested in geography right now.
There you go. Yeah. Cool.
What would you say is your particular specialty as far as Bible goes?
Yeah. I did my master’s thesis on Paul’s view of spiritual formation specifically from first Corinthians chapter three, verse three. And four just around there. So, that’s a very specific kind of thing.
Most of my training has actually been more on the new Testament side, specifically, Paul. I’ve done a lot of more academic work with the use of children as a metaphor in the Bible. I’ve done work with that in both Paul and the gospels. Sexuality in the new Testament has been something I’ve kind of explored.
Nowadays though I have more of theological interests and I’m asking some different kinds of questions. We don’t divorce theology from the Bible, but they’re just different kinds of questions and different kinds of, and ways and sources for that. But in terms of Bible yeah, a lot of studying Paul and a lot of thinking about sort of how he makes arguments and specifically like in that thesis, it was all about how he used this metaphor about being an infant in Christ.
What does all that mean? And how does that reflect how we grow as people? And so I’ve gone down those kind of rabbit trails a lot. My, my day.
That’s really interesting. Paul’s usually a favorite Bible character, most people. Though you can never go wrong with the apostle Paul. Now, so today we’re talking about Bible study for abuse survivors, and reason why we’re doing this series is because when we’ve gone through abuse, usually there’s some spiritual abuse involved and we want to distance ourself from God because we’ve experienced that spiritual abuse.
And, that affects our relationship with God. And a lot of people, when they leave or get out of the abuse, then they’re like okay, I don’t wanna read the Bible. I don’t wanna pray. And I don’t wanna go to church anymore. I don’t trust anybody. But I’m trying to encourage on this podcast to
come. And if you have questions, let’s talk about the questions.
So, so I’ve kind of answered my own question. Why should we study the Bible for ourselves, but what would you say to that or add to that?
Yeah, I think what I would add to that.
One thing that our teachers or pastors or scholars don’t have is that they’re not you. You are yourself and you come with your experiences and you come with your own personality and identity, and you’re gonna often pick up things that other people might miss. Or you’re gonna just sort of focus on things more, realize there’s a thread of a theme or something like that.
We, we shouldn’t come to the Bible, Biased necessarily, or with too many preconceived notions. Cuz then the text starts to say what we wanted to say that’s not what I’m saying, but we do bring ourselves to the text and we have to admit that like I’m not reading this in a vacuum.
I am reading this because of who I am and what I’ve experienced and all these things like that. And I think that’s really powerful. And I think the Bible is it’s strong enough to take it. Like , it’s not about, pulling whatever meaning you want from it. Like I said, but it is about seeing things that are hidden in this multi-layered, onion like text here that has so much stuff in it that we can’t expect even a really smart guy to just know everything.
So yeah, we gotta study the Bible for ourselves. We gotta do our own digging and our own reading and see what we can find.
Yeah, I like that answer, bringing yourself to the table. That’s different than what somebody else would bring to the table. So let’s start with something everybody asks about.
When it comes to Bible study, you go to the bookstore and you’re trying to pick out a Bible and there’s a gazillion different Bible versions out there and too many versions in my opinion, which one do I pick? Does it matter?
At the end of the day, it probably doesn’t matter. There are those that are better than others and I’m the term better here.
You can use them in different ways. I’m using the term better as in. More accurate to the text, although Hey, we are translating language here. Translation is an art, not a science, which makes us a little uncomfortable. We can still get that meaning across. You’re a, you’re an artist and you’re a creative.
You can still communicate accurately and faithfully even through a song or something like that. And so in the same ways, translation is a little bit of an art form and there are people that have to choose certain words. And I think this means that so yeah, there are some that are more quote unquote scholarly and others that are more, paraphrase, like The Message or something like the Amplified Bible that is just trying to sort of squeeze some more possible meaning out there by becoming like glorified the source.
So, you got some different options. Most readings are probably not gonna hurt you. At least as long as you understand, like, kind of what’s going on here. I know in the past, that king James has had the word unicorns in it , and that, that threw some people off, and then later we’re like, actually we should have translated that like gazelle was not supposed to be translated unicorn, so, okay.
We can get some things here that might throw some people off, but as long as we kind of give some grace to the translators, something like the king James is older and we have some different data. We have some older manuscripts that we’re pulling from now. So yeah, it’s gonna be a little bit more closer to, what the originals were saying kind of thing.
So yeah, there are those considerations, but, I don’t think, you’re gonna make or break your faith if you read the ESV, over the NSV or something like that, yeah.
I came from a camp that they were very definitive in what Bible you should read and which ones you should not read and sure.
And they were very dogmatic in that. I’ve changed my stance since then, because I’ve actually dug into that sort of thing. That, okay.
You, so you’re saying that. Most of the main line translations out there, we will still get the main point of what Bible was trying to say?
Yeah. I don’t know any that are, too left field and crazy or something like that. There are versions, like, I could be wrong about this, but I think the Jehovah’s Witness has, versions of the Bible that seem to play a little fast and loose with some things and have cut out some different stuff.
So obviously I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that for Christians. The only other thing I would say is, make sure a bunch of different people were involved. Most translations. Large groups of people. And then you have things like I mentioned The Message that Eugene Peterson did.
It was just him, but he wasn’t necessarily trying to make a definitive, thing. That’s more of a paraphrase translation, which is like a devotional rather than, something to study. So there are just different uses for all these different things. There are, I could go into the weeds.
My dad used to own a Christian bookstore, oh. And so you have your thought for thought translations and then you have your word for word. And some people think word for word is better because it’s more accurate. But the thing, the problem is, the Bible might literally say X, but when we translate that word to today, it makes no sense.
Because language is weird like that. And so the thought for thought is going to be more of an interpretation, but they’re trying to say, okay, but what this is trying to say is this, and here’s a thought that you can digest and that makes sense to you. So it’s just kind of what you want. But thanks to the internet.
In fact, on another screen here, I have pulled up Bible gateway.com. That’s what I use a lot. can look through all sorts of different translations and compare and contrast, if I really wanted to study with more than one it’s legal in most states. So go for it.
You, it’s funny, you mentioned The Message because that was my first Bible.
When I got saved my okay friend that I met in high school, I told her I had gotten saved and I didn’t have a Bible. And she gave me The Message, which was her Bible. And I loved. Oh, yeah, I lighted that thing. Yeah. And I just tore it up with underlining and I couldn’t wait to read it. And then of course you get to Bible college and they tear it out of your hands.
So yeah. but yeah I like the ESP today. I have a really nice archeology study Bible I bought and I’ve li I’ve read the king James, most of my Christian life and switching to another translation was really, eye-opening all this different stuff that I hadn’t seen before just popped out.
Like, I didn’t know. The Bible said that. Wow. , that’s pretty neat. So along the same lines, do we have to be a Greek and Hebrew scholar to understand the Bible?
I hope not because I struggled through Greek and barely made it out alive. And so languages are not my strong suit but I think, the answers, of course, no, you don’t have to be. It depends on what kind of study you’re doing. And I probably should have mentioned that earlier.
There’s a way to look at the Bible in an academic scholarly way. And, there are some Christians that think that’s wrong or bad. I don’t think it’s bad. It’s just one way to look at it. When I am in scholarship, when I’m writing this college paper, I am, I have to kind of slice and dice it.
And I’m doing a work that an atheist could do, it’s that kind of work. . But then there’s another way to look at the Bible that is much more pastorally or for spiritual formation, the kind of thing that treats the text as sacred that an atheist can’t do. So, if you’re doing the academic work, it really helps to know the words because you’re trying to get as precise as possible and getting into there.
But luckily for us other people have done the work for us and we have these English translations. So, Ooh, you don’t need to know Hebrew and koine Greek and a little bit of Arameic in like Daniel or whatever. Like we don’t have to know that cuz somebody else has done the work for us. And I mentioned already.
There’s a lot of people involved in a Bible translation, not just one guy. It’s a lot of people have done this work and they’ve argued and yelled at each other and come to some conclusions to say, this is the best we can do right now. This is what we got. So yeah, we don’t have to, we don’t have to be language pros.
So what I mean, I’m a language geek. I love languages personally. I speak two languages besides English, but I haven’t taken any Greek or Hebrew maybe someday, but they didn’t cover that in my Bible college.
But it’s good that we already have the tools online that, Hey, this is the translation for that word. And there’s really no, no real argument about it. Is there? A long mainline denominations?
Yeah. Most people probably aren’t gonna tell you, you have to know all those languages, unless somebody, there, there are groups of people that would say the only inspired text to the Bible is the actual original Greek and Hebrew. And so our English translations are not, inspired, but that’s a minority view.
That’s not super common. Yeah. The, know, most people can understand the inspiration still comes through, even when it’s translating different languages. The word of God’s for the whole world, not just Those that can speak actually dead languages that nobody speaks today.
so like Latin. Yeah. So now we’re gonna get into the nitty gritty here. Okay. When we are sitting down with our Bible and we’re deciding to study a passage of scripture, maybe a book, what are some basic rules of interpretation? Now we use the fancy, big word hermeneutics, but like the basic ones that you really shouldn’t ignore in order to do a proper Bible study?
This is one that gets definitely drilled into in Bible school and in other contexts. But it’s that actual, it’s a word context. Like context is key. Context is king. And one of the best things we can do is zoom out. So if we’re looking at a particular scripture, like one verse, we zoom out to the chapter those headings or whatever, aren’t like, God inspired or whatever, but they’re helpful to kinda see what the flow of things are.
Then we can zoom out to the book level and sometimes zoom out to the biblical level and things like that. But that is key. Sometimes we get into trouble thinking that the Bible is just like, the whole thing is like Proverbs, where everything’s just disconnected and you got these good one liners and they’re fun and they’re good zingers, but most of it is some kind of story or, in Paul I mentioned that being some of my background, Paul’s letters are arguments.
They build on top of each other. And so you can see if we’re trying to look at, something wild, like first Corinthians 14 or something, we can understand it because by just kind of going a little backwards and oh, okay. So that’s always really important. And a lot of times authors in the Bible will also tell us kind of their themes and tell us what they really want us to get across.
The gospel John for instance, is written so that we may believe Luke talks about writing in a An orderly account of things. So we have some of these statements that if we zoom out a little bit oh, okay. We can make sense of this in light of that. And so different things like that, but, we could go all day into the hermeneutics and then the other fancy word exegesis and that kind of stuff.
But at the end of the day, a tool anybody can use is something I learned in elementary school when there was a hard word, it was called R.A.T read around the text, read around the text. Ooh, that’s the acronym there. And that just helps us understand, wait, what is going on? What is Paul mean when he says this?
Why is this guy saying this in Judges? Let’s take a look. What else is going on here? So it’s just a great tool that anybody can use be if they, can just zoom out a little bit and read the rest of the Bible and the rest of the passage.
Everybody gives a different answer to that question.
Now obviously when we read the Bible, we come upon these passages or some of the stories that are either difficult to understand, or it’s a topic that we don’t wanna deal with. It’s really hard to swallow. Like, a lot of times it’s the genocide passages, of course and, or, similar things like that. What do we do when we encounter those passages?
Yeah, there are also there are also passages that are sometimes called. The genocide fits into this passages called text of terror. A lot of passages about different abuse situations. And I won’t go into all those, but I’m sure a lot of us can come up with some things that can be triggering in the Bible that seemed just really messed up and stuff like that.
So I think what’s important, first of all, is we recognize the gut feeling the awkwardness. We talked to the beginning about how I see humor in the Bible. And I do, I think there are some things, the Bible that we should laugh at, it’s actually hilarious.
Tell us about one.
Jonah gets swallowed by a big fish.
That’s funny. You should be laughing. And it’s hilarious that he wants this city destroyed and he’s supposed to be a prophet of God and he’s not doing his job description and stuff like that. So like when it’s funny, we should laugh. And when it’s not funny, when it’s uncomfortable, we should be okay
being uncomfortable. I remembered when I did college ministry for a time, we talked about the story of Oh, man. I can’t remember if it’s Eli. I think it’s Elisha. And when they make fun of him for being bald and he calls these, she bears to attack these 40 youths and this kid would kid could not get over it.
He’s like, why is this in the Bible? This is ridiculous. And I just tried to help him. Yeah. Let’s feel that first. Let’s feel that, oh boy, we got some emotions here. So step one, I think it’s totally okay to feel those things. And then we can do some digging. Again, it’s that zooming out.
Let’s look at the context here. Let’s look at what’s going on. There’s a lot of times I think some of these texts of terror or uncomfortable text. Sometimes they’re not as bad when we look at it through maybe historical lens or something. But sometimes we can’t just justify them really nice and neatly like some of the stuff about genocide.
So ultimately I have to go back to Jesus because Jesus is the ultimate expression of God. It is the best lens into the divine that we’ve ever seen. It’s through this person of Jesus. And so sometime we got to use our Jesus magnifying glass and look over the scripture and say, that’s awkward. I don’t like that very much.
This makes. This triggers me. This is Ugh, but we put Jesus over and say, but through Christ, we don’t have to live like that. We can recognize that there, there are plenty of examples of what not to do in the Bible. Jesus calls us to a different way and Jesus shows us that, some things that maybe people thought were really godly in divine at certain points were not.
So at the end of the day, when things make us uncomfortable I say, feel it, but then ultimately let’s just go back. What does Jesus say? And if Jesus’ words are kind of, don’t seem to jive with this other crazy stuff going on here. Let’s just ch let’s follow Jesus over some of these other uncomfortable things.
So it’s probably not a satisfying answer. But that’s kind of like the point, like we try too hard sometimes to wrap everything in a pretty bow, but sometimes we just can’t with the Bible. The Bible is complicated and that’s what makes it powerful. It’s not always so neat and tidy and doesn’t always make you feel good.
It is a like Christ. It is both human, fully human and fully divine. And in that there’s some awkward tension. There are some, there are human emotions and human things that, that bleed through the divine pages of scripture.
I appreciate the honest answer and yeah, I think that was a great answer.
I was just reading through the patriarchs and wow. You just wrap your head around how much they messed up and that’s not how God wanted us to live. Yeah. That’s just an example of God just lets everybody see how these people messed up, but still God used them in a mighty way. God still gave them grace and forgiveness and love and mercy.
I was just on Twitter and that’s a dangerous place. Is Christian Twitter. Oh my goodness. And there was a big thread about some people that didn’t believe that Jesus was the same God as the God of the old Testament. They cut the line because they thought Jesus, over here in the New Testament his attributes seems so different than the God of the old Testament.
I don’t necessarily agree with that, but that was an interesting concept. That’s how they dealt with those horrible stories. I’m just gonna just trust in Jesus and just believe in Jesus and throw everything else away.
Yeah. That’s a heresay in the second century that, yeah.
Unfortunately haven’t quite gotten rid of completely, but marmism it’s what that’s called, still alive and yeah. Oh, that’s what you call. Okay. There’s your little fun, little historical theology trivia, but yeah,
There was probably a word for it, but that goes into my next question is, how do.
You study the Bible and read it and make sure that you’re not slipping into some heretical teaching. Cause I, I personally know some people that they believe some stuff that’s way off base that nobody else in, mainline Christianity believes in, but they’re like, quoting Bible versus, and taking them out of context.
How do we avoid going down that path?
Yeah. Yeah. I had a youth minister who used to joke that if you wanted to, he could justify kicking babies across the room from scripture. Like that was just his wild example because yeah. People can kind of justify the whole gambit of things. So I think now we talked about why it’s important to study the Bible for yourself. At the same time though,
I think there’s a living breathing scripture is something that we must read through community. You can do your own work, do your own prep, but ultimately the Bible belongs to all of us. And so we need to read in community and that can mean your pastors and teachers and your scholars. It can also mean your neighbor and your friend and your kids and your mom and your cousin, from a couple states away.
But it can also mean, dead people, not like, seance or whatever, but like read these old preachers and read the church fathers and the church mothers. And like, we got 2000 years of Christian history here. There’s some wild stuff.
But there’s some good stuff too. So I say we read scripture in community and you come to your own conclusions. Don’t just copy paste, whatever, Mr. XYZ says, but what do they think? And when we start looking at, oh Christians have kind of seemed to think this for a long time, probably a direction we should lean in.
I don’t know. I guess people could be wrong, but the way the spirit works, I think is a lot of times through community. And it’s a way to check it’s a checks and balance for ourselves. So, I think that sometimes we can get a little a little wild with our own interpretations, but we bring in other people.
What do you think? Did you see this too? Is this accurate? Is this. Does this fit in with historical context of, first century Palestine or whatever kind of questions you want to ask, community. So that’s flesh and blood people, but that’s also books and podcasts and all sorts of things.
I just think we’re made to be together. And honestly, when I studied Paul’s view of spiritual formation for my thesis I didn’t get to dive into it too much, but what I kept coming across is spiritual formation is not a you on your own kind of thing. It is something that happens with people who are, this great cloud of witnesses that is cheering you on and it’s helping you out.
So I think that’s a great way to kind of check, check ourselves. And then of course, Use your brain. Let’s be logical here. That scripture is probably not actually talking about America because it was written 3000 years ago. I don’t know so, so stuff like that, we gotta use our brains.
Yeah. I like when you talk about community because I think, and I’ve seen this before people go off the rails is that they’re isolating themselves. They don’t wanna go to church because they don’t trust. They don’t trust people. They’ve been hurt. But even, if we can’t drag ourselves to church just yet in a healing process.
Yeah. There are other ways to create community and checks and balances. So that’s a really good point. We really don’t want to be that guy that started his own denomination on a couple Bible verses.
Yeah we got plenty denominations think we’re set for a little bit, so let’s just chill out for now.
Yeah, that’s crazy. So like, if we’re in a community, we’re under a Bible teacher or a pastor or Sunday school class. What would be like a red flag that would put your antennas up, Hey, you may wanna check this out whatever this preacher teacher is saying is not a good thing?
Are there any like red flags that you would look for?
I think Arrogance is definitely a big red flag. Oh goodness. That is how you get into spiritual, spiritually abusive situations. Definitely. And what I mean by arrogance is people that are not willing to be corrected, not willing to admit they’re wrong, not willing to learn.
I was privileged to have professors when I was getting my Bible degrees, people with PhDs, from, prestigious, British universities who would listen to student comments and be like, that’s really interesting. I heard it like that. Tell me more about that. And one of my Hebrew Bible professors, he spoke like nine languages.
Most of those are dead ones. And still he’s curious to know what these, 20 year old college students are thinking, which is wild because he is way smarter than us, but he is. These guys were adopting this posture of, I can learn from anybody here. I want your perspective and I could be wrong.
We gotta have some things where we have a firm foundation and where we don’t sway. We absolutely have to have those. There are some people these days that I think sort of lean too heavily into the wishy washy, depends on the day when I’m feeling cafeteria style Christianity.
We can’t do that, but we also can’t go over here where it’s I figured it out when I was 30 years old when I was 40 years old and now I’m like done, I’m done learning. Got it. Right. I happen to be the only one to get it right. And that’s how denominations start. Right. Woo. Everybody else got it wrong all the time now.
I’m right. So that’s dangerous. So let’s learn from people who are themselves. Learners who are willing to be challenged and to ask questions and wanna know your take on things. I know from being in ministry settings that oftentimes, I am the guy with the more Bible degrees than most people in the room.
But then there’ll be these 70 year old church ladies who, have lived this and they’ve been in the Bible their whole life. I can learn from them. They have something to say, even though they’ve never read the text in Greek, they have something to add to the conversation we need to be learners.
I love that. That is so awesome. And so very true. The Holy Spirit speaks to each of us individually and gives us different lessons and we can share those lessons. Now you as a scholarly person, you must have some favorite resources that you use to study the Bible. Can you recommend some specific resources that are maybe easy to use?
Yeah. There’s a couple websites. Bible gateway. I mentioned that already. They have. Some free commentaries and Bible encyclopedias and things kind of on the sidebar there. So as you’re looking to scripture, you could glorified study Bible or, have access to chunks from different commentaries.
And for a while, while I was doing some more preaching, I actually did the paid there’s a kind of a paid version that it was like five bucks a month or something really cheap like that. I just got access to more things, so I could have the scripture here and then all my resources next to it. And that was handy.
Bible hub.com is also another one. That one’s especially good. If you do wanna look at the language stuff, knowing that you’re not a scholar, you can say, but what is that Greek word? And you can click on it and it will show you the definitions, show you other places in scripture it’s used. You can kind of get a feel for that.
So that’s a really good one for people who are not, who don’t know the languages or like me who always need help with my Greek homework or something like that. So yeah, those come to mind, but man, like we are, we at our fingertips, there’s a lot of good stuff out there. A lot of bad stuff, no doubt.
But there are podcasts and all sorts of books and there’s just, there’s a lot of good stuff there wouldn’t even know where to begin. Just sort of thinking broadly, but I think, Bible gateway, Bible hub, Easy. Anybody can access those for free and you don’t necessarily need a giant library or really expensive commentary sets cuz they’re really expensive.
Yeah, that’s why my parents get me one commentary for my birthday and for Christmas each year. And so in 50 years they’ll have the full set or whatever. That’s not true. That’s it’ll actually probably be, I can’t do the math. However it takes to get 66 books. But anyway,
Wow. All I had in Bible college that we were allowed to have is Matthew, Henry commentary, which is kind of on the dry side.
yeah. Most Bible professors would pass out hearing you say that. It’s not bad stuff, but it’s not bad, but it’s not, it’s not easy to read let’s just say. Yeah.
And we were allowed to read, Weirsbe books.
It’s a pretty good series. But where I came from, John MacArthur’s commentaries were like hearsay, then oh, okay. The Baptist didn’t like the at least the churches that I was in, they didn’t like MacArthur’s stuff. But and I had, the actual Strongs concordance, I still own sure.
So it’s really free way to get that besides, if you don’t want to go giant volume.
Yeah. I like to read the physical books too.
Sure. Nothing not knocking the physical, but yeah, if people are on a budget yeah.
People are on a budget and you can’t go and buy the, the big, huge coffee table books.
Or if you’re near a Christian university, see if you can get a library card, that’s they have tons of stuff.
I can walk in there. And there are, whole shelf of like Genesis commentaries or whatever. It could be information overload, but also I can, I’ll pick up a couple different volumes of different perspectives and I’ll read what they each have to say about the first or chapter I’m dealing with.
And I can kind of synthesize a conclusion and that’s how you do it.
Yeah. I’ll also mention I, we were allowed to listen on the radio J Vernon McGee and yeah. He was definitely expository. He would go verse by verse and go through the entire Bible verse by verse, which I thought was really good. Now I don’t agree with everything he said, but that’s the way I learned a lot of stuff was through verse by verse radio program back in the day I’m dating myself.
It’s all good here. All good.
No w we talked a lot about a bunch of different stuff. Is there anything about Bible study that we didn’t talk about that you would like to mention? I know there’s so much.
Yeah, I just touched on it a little bit, but I kind of wanna bring it back. Look at different views than yours.
If you are, really. Charismatic then look at something that’s not quite charismatic or if you are well, I won’t go I’ll skip all those differences. You know what you are. Read some of the stuff that’s a little different stuff that challenges you. That’s how we grow. It’s how we grow is to hear something a little different.
And the thing is you’re not required to believe it. Good. You can just read it and at least know what they’re saying. I know in my Christian upbringing and not necessarily I was intentional, but I only knew my side of the argument or if I knew somebody else’s. It was this straw man version that was just not accurate.
And then I, you go to the big wide world and be like, oh wait, there are lots of different views. And those people are actually smart and they have things to say about this, but somebody else says the opposite and they’re also a smart person what’s going on. It’s just good to expose ourselves to different things.
In most cases, we could, we, you can choose your own boundaries and things like that. it doesn’t mean if you’re studying something, the Old Testament, you have to read the Jewish and the Muslim and the Mormon view of what, it doesn’t mean you have to go there, but just check out some different things.
Have your favorite commentaries do it, but every once in a while, peek into your your local heretic and see what they have to say. I dunno, maybe not heretic, somebody who’s a little different.
You’re your Calvinistic Yeah. Our last guest was talking about, Calvinism and stuff, right?
Yeah. That’s an excellent suggestion because I definitely was in my own camp for many years until I got out of my abusive situation. And started looking into other views. And I have since changed nothing major. I didn’t change any major views, but I realized that, okay, there are other godly people.
Now I see they can use scripture to defend their position too.
And there’s a little bit of wiggle room in there for sure. Sure. For different viewpoints.
I went and did a study and looked at somebody else’s view on a tertiary argument. Sure. Tertiary doctrine. That’s not a doctrine of the faith, but something that’s very important. And it’s like, okay, I’m not gonna be judgemental.
And that was hard for me to change my viewpoint. Yeah. Yeah. But they gave me really great scriptural evidence. So yeah, that’s kind of a sideline, but you made excellent point.
But anyway I appreciate you sharing all this valuable information in your view viewpoint, and it’s fascinating. Everybody has different answers for these questions. I’ve asked everybody the same questions, right.
And they’re all giving me different answers, which I think that’s very helpful.
Oh yeah. Yeah. Very helpful. Yeah. Getting people exposed to different things and again, like I am me and you are you and we’re different. And that’s the point. Like we all come together with our different focuses and our different backgrounds and knowledge and together we are the body of Christ.
Amen. And that’s beautiful. So tell the folks how people can connect with you and you have resources and maybe if they wanna play stump the Bible teacher, they can email you.
Yeah. You can find out all about firstname.lastname@example.org. D O B E R E N Z as in zebra. And that’s kind of my home base on the interwebs.
If you do Jakedoberenz.com/email, you can get on my email list that was mentioned earlier, where I talk about funny stories from my life that have spiritual points and I bring out spiritual points from that. And yeah, you can definitely contact me through social media or email and that’s all on my website there.
So I’ll let you track me down and tell me how wrong I am and all of that kinda stuff. that’s fine. It comes with the territory. So totally okay with that. And then lastly, I do a bunch of work with Christian creatives with Theophany media, and as was mentioned, I produce the Creatively Christian podcast. So, would love for you to check that out if that’s kind of your thing, if that’s your area.
Yeah. You guys have a real great variety of guests on that show. It’s not just one particular kind of art. You guys represent a lot of different ones, which is fun.
Oh yeah. And we’re trying to get more variety all the time.
Awesome. Now I don’t usually have guests pray on the show, but would you pray for our listeners in their journey in the scriptures?
Of course let’s go ahead and pray. Heavenly God, we come to you in prayer on this podcast episode. And we ask that whoever’s listening now in the future in a couple years where wherever we are, that that we can be receptive, how you speak to us through scripture and through our communities that help us see scripture, let the spirit guide us as we dive into this sacred, but sometimes confusing and complicated documents.
Lord, I ask that you give us the wisdom to be able to rightly divide your word and to remain faithful. Even when our own preferences might wanna lean in a different direction. Lord, thank you so much for the ministry of this podcast. We pray that people continue to have healing and continue to find themselves in a better place both in the world and with you spiritually in Jesus’ name.
Amen. Amen. Thank you so much for coming on the show. God bless you.
Sure thing. God bless you.