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ORU podcast bridges the gap between ancient text and modern audiences

At the genesis of Covid-19, Oral Roberts University Professors Matthew Delaney, lecturer of Hebrew, and Nathan French, assistant professor in Theology and Hebrew Bible in the Ancient Near East, joined together to create “Hebrew Bible Insights,” a podcast dedicated to connecting ancient texts with modern audiences in today’s rapidly evolving digital environment. With aims to bridge the gap between academia and the general public, the two hosts recently discussed their work and the relevance of the Hebrew Bible’s historical and linguistic components.


“I for years had been sharing insights with coworkers or friends, things that I had learned from my Hebrew teachers when I was [an] undergraduate student at ORU, or things that I had learned from being in Jerusalem or studying Scripture in Hebrew,” said Delaney, founder and lead communicator of the podcast. “These things impacted my life on a personal level. And at some I just had too many people say more people need to know this.”


Inspired by the teachings of John Walton, an Old Testament professor from Wheaton College, French emphasizes the podcast’s mission of understanding the significance of the cultural and historical context surrounding the text.


“The Bible was written for us, but it was not written to us,” said French, quoting Walton. “It was written to another people of another time, in another place.”


They assert that grasping the worldviews of the ancient Near Eastern peoples, to whom the Bible was originally addressed, is essential for comprehending the scriptures.


The podcast gives Delaney and French a platform to share their knowledge and discuss biblical texts with other scholars on various readings and viewpoints. They value the complexity and diversity of scholarly perspectives, acknowledging that debates and discussions are critical to understanding the meaning of the texts.


“To be part of understanding Scripture at a very deep level, you have to be willing to come into conversation with others who may or may not agree with you,” said French.


Delaney and French use the power of podcasts to make Hebrew Bible study accessible and interesting for all. Their dedication to scholarship and the dissemination of knowledge inspires a new generation of students and colleagues to excel in delivering compelling content and connecting with audiences in meaningful ways.


Using language in biblical studies is an important component of their podcast. Delaney and French promote ancient language study as a catalyst for spiritual regrowth within the Church.


They suggest, using historical records, that every great revival in church history has been followed by a renewed emphasis on biblical language studies.


“When we begin to engage the text at the level of the languages within their proper context, God begins to do amazing things in our midst,” said French. “And so great revival is tied to the deeper study of the text and I think we’re in it. We’re definitely in a moment like that where it is going to take the hard work.”


By delving into the original Hebrew texts, listeners of “Hebrew Bible Insights” will hear more about the connection to the occurrences and symbolisms of Scripture, allowing them to appreciate the intended message within its correct context.


Delaney and French’s scholarly endeavors have been expanded beyond the bounds of the classroom thanks to podcasting. Engaging with listeners who may dispute their points of view has highlighted the value of respectful debate. French is especially grateful for the ability to communicate with people through social media and comments, fostering meaningful conversations that contribute to the continuous study of Scripture.


Delaney adds the podcast is a never-ending frontier for discovery.


“We are constantly in a journey of trying to better understand the things that we study, and for us, that being scripture,” said Delaney. “So, if you feel like you don’t know enough, welcome to the club! This is a lifelong journey and that’s what makes it fun … learning more about God, learning more about Scripture and how this is relevant for our lives today.”


The duo welcomes people to join them on their adventure to grasp Scripture. They underline that the quest for knowledge and insight is a lifetime undertaking, reminding individuals overwhelmed by the subject matter that they are not alone — every scholar goes on this road of continuous growth and discovery.


To gain a deeper understanding of the Old Testament’s origins and context, explore “Hebrew Bible Insights” on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and through Apple or Spotify podcasts.

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About the Contributor
Rachel Schrader
Rachel Schrader, Editor-in-Chief
As a Public Relations and Advertising major, I never expected to find myself writing more than emails or company newsletters. My time spent at The Oracle has introduced me to new ways of creativity and strategy. Further interests include: afternoon coffees, jazz, New Balance sneakers and list-making.

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