In this conversation Michael, Dr. Widder, Dr. Zuber, and Dr. Chavalas discuss:
- The value of understanding the Bible as a whole
- Best practices for study
- Why we’d seek to understand the whole Bible together
- How Biblical history relates to Biblical literacy
- How to help others engage in Scripture
“If you want a deeper understanding, you have to go back and start with the beginning.” – Dr. Mark Chavalas
“Leave the minutia aside: what is the Gospel? If you can capture people where they feel something, the text is applicable to those issues. This story is magnificent and it is relevant, and you are in it. If we can’t help people see that then all of the minutia of our lives, the trivial things that so occupy us, get eclipsed by the story—and then you’re caught. As teachers, it’s our job to find those connections and grab our students where they feel it.” – Dr. Wendy Widder
“The authors expected the readers to have a lot of intuitive knowledge that we don’t have, and we have to go back and learn that.” – Dr. Kevin Zuber
About Our Guests
Dr. Mark Chavalas is a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse. He has authored and/or co-authored many books, including Mesopotamia and the Bible, the InnerVarsity Press Bible Background Commentary, Old Testament. He was co-editor of the Ancient Near East and Women in the Ancient Near East. He has done fellowships at Harvard, Yale, Cornell, and others. He has nine seasons of excavations. We should probably interview him just about that sometime. And the Bronze Age sites in Syria. Over the past decade+, his research has been centered on interconnections with ancient Mesopotamia and outlying areas (Anatolia, the Aegean, Iran, Egypt, and Syro-Palestine, and even the Adriatic). Dr. Chavalas has also focused on issues such as gender constructs in the ancient Near East and Mesopotamian historiography, and his current research concerns a history of Bronze Age Syria from the advent of writing in the mid-third millennium B.C. to the Iron Age. Dr. Chavalas is happily married to Kimberlee, along with our six children and two grandchildren. He serves in a number of capacities at his local church primarily teaching about the historical context of the Bible. In his spare time, Dr. Chavalas is a self-proclaimed “hopeless baseball fanatic,” bleeding Dodger blue.
Dr. Wendy Widder has a PhD in Near Eastern Studies from the University of the Free State, an MA in Hebrew & Semitic Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MDiv with an emphasis in educational ministries from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. She is the author of two books for single adults, co-authored a third book for Christian school teachers, Authored a commentary on Daniel for The Story of God Commentary published by Zondervan and is working on a second (Hearing the Message of Scripture). Additionally, her master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation have been published by Logos Bible Software and Walter de Gruyter, respectively. Dr. Widder’s career has included adjunct professorships at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and Bethel Seminary, as well as serving as a Contributing Editor to Logos Bible Software’s Mobile Ed division. .
Dr. Kevin Zuber has more than 20 years of pastoral and teaching experience. For 17 years he served as a professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. During that time, he also pastored local churches in Iowa and Indiana. He earned his M.Div. and Th.M. degrees from Grace Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Currently, Dr. Zuber is a Professor of Theology at The Master’s Seminary in Los Angeles, California.