Logos Bible Software
Sign In
Products>Mobile Ed: BI161 Problems in Bible Interpretation: Difficult Passages I (3 hour course)

Mobile Ed: BI161 Problems in Bible Interpretation: Difficult Passages I (3 hour course)

Digital Logos Edition

Logos Editions are fully connected to your library and Bible study tools.


Collection value: $164.99
Save $55.00 (33%)
Payment plans available in cart


Believe it or not, not everything in the Bible can be understood by children; many passages are not even easy to understand for adults. Delve into a number of difficult passages with Dr. Heiser as he introduces key interpretive issues and the problems that are lurking in the background of these verses. He guides you through what needs the most attention and introduces you to several options for interpretation for each passage. Dr. Heiser focuses on the importance of being able to wrap our minds around and navigate through the difficult passages of Scripture, because although they may be challenging, they are still significant for theology. How you understand these verses will have an important ripple effect on the interpretation of other passages you will encounter in the course of your own personal Bible study.


Master more challenging biblical topics. This course is included in Mobile Ed: Tough Topics 2018 Bundle (4 courses)

See more teaching from Dr. Heiser in Mobile Ed: NT281 How We Got the New Testament Mobile Ed: NT281 How We Got the New Testament (4 hour course)

Resource Experts

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion you should be able to:

  • Understand grammatical elements of multiple books of the Bible and how they drive interpretation
  • Assist friends and church members in de-tangling confusing passages of Scripture
  • More clearly teach the Bible in its entirety

Course Outline


  • Introducing the Speaker and the Course

Unit 1: The Creation Account

  • Issues in Genesis 1:1–3
  • Introducing Types of Clauses
  • Combining Clause Types
  • Clause Function
  • The Traditional View
  • Considering the Ramifications

Unit 2: Saul’s Reign

  • Issues in 1 Samuel 13:1
  • Examining the Two Problems
  • Understanding the Two Problems
  • Resolving the Problems

Unit 3: The Bridegroom of Blood

  • Issues in Exodus 4:21–26
  • The Context of Exodus 4
  • Explaining God’s Anger
  • The Circumcision of Moses
  • The Bridegroom of Blood

Unit 4: The Sin of Ham and the Curse of Canaan

  • Issues in Genesis 9:20–27
  • Common Interpretive Options for Ham’s Sin, Part 1
  • Common Interpretive Options for Ham’s Sin, Part 2
  • Common Interpretive Options for Ham’s Sin, Part 3
  • A Viable Interpretation

Unit 5: The Gods of the Nations

  • Issues in Deuteronomy 32:8–9
  • The Worldview of Deuteronomy
  • Considering Spiritual Entities

Unit 6: The Word Was God

  • Issues in John 1:1–2
  • The Definite Article
  • The Incoherency of the Definite Article Argument

Unit 7: All Things in Common

  • Issues in Acts 2:42–46
  • Defining Political Theories
  • The Context of the Early Church
  • The Canonical Context

Unit 8: Baptism as Spiritual Warfare

  • Issues in 1 Peter 3:14–22
  • The Context of 1 Peter
  • Typology
  • The Baptism Element

Unit 9: Baptism for the Dead

  • Issues in 1 Corinthians 15:29
  • Considering Interpretive Options
  • Baptism in Honor of the Dead

Unit 10: The Death of the Old Nature

  • The Context of Romans 6:6
  • Issues in Romans 6:6
  • Internal and External Redemption
  • Battling Sin


  • Summary

Product Details

  • Title: BI161 Problems in Bible Interpretation: Difficult Passages I
  • Instructor: Michael S. Heiser
  • Publisher: Lexham Press
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Product Type: Logos Mobile Education
  • Resource Type: Courseware, including transcripts, audio, and video resources
  • Courses: 1
  • Video Hours: 3
Value if sold separately
||Partially included
Value if sold separately
Total value if sold separately:

About Michael Heiser

Dr. Michael S. Heiser is a former Scholar-in-Residence for Faithlife Corporation, the makers of Logos Bible Software. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Awakening School of Theology and Ministry at Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida. His varied academic background enables him to operate in the realm of critical scholarship and the wider Christian community. His experience in teaching at the undergraduate level and writing for the layperson have both directly contributed to Logos’ goal of adapting scholarly tools for nonspecialists.

Dr. Heiser earned his PhD in Hebrew Bible and Semitic languages and holds an MA in ancient history and Hebrew studies. He is the coeditor of Old Testament Greek Pseudepigrapha with Morphology and Semitic Inscriptions: Analyzed Texts and English Translations, and can do translation work in roughly a dozen ancient languages, including Biblical Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Ugaritic cuneiform. He also specializes in Israelite religion, contextualizing biblical theology with Israelite and ancient Near Eastern religion, Jewish binitarianism, textual criticism, comparative philology, and Second Temple Jewish literature. He was named the 2007 Pacific Northwest Regional Scholar by the Society of Biblical Literature.

Getting the most out of Mobile Ed

Logos Mobile Education is a highly effective cross-platform learning environment that integrates world class teaching with the powerful study tools and theological libraries available in Logos Bible Software. Every course provides links to additional resources and suggested readings that supplement the lecture material at the end of every transcript segment.

This course comes with an Activities resource that functions as a type of “workbook” for the course. This resource includes learning activities such as: places for you to respond to reflection questions, exercises that will challenge and show you how deepen your understanding of this course by using specific Logos tools and resources, tutorial videos on different features of Logos Bible Software, and links to relevant Logos guides and tools. A link to open the Activities resource is conveniently placed at the end of every segment.



8 ratings

Sign in with your Faithlife account

  1. Randall Barkman
  2. Joseph E

    Joseph E


  3. Robert J Richardson
  4. Eric Wendt

    Eric Wendt


  5. Into Grace

    Into Grace


    This review will cover John 1:1-2. Dr. Heiser defends the traditional Trinitarian interpretation (“and the Word was God”) against the NWT (“and the Word was a god”). Dr. Heiser falsely charges JW’s of teaching that the absence of the article in Greek before the word “God” means Jesus is “a god.” After his misrepresentation, he claims that this passage teaches that Jesus is fully God without providing any basis for why the Apostle John made inspired distinctions between the Father (“the God) and the Son (“[no article] God.” Let’s unpack this further. Some Christians continue to falsely charge JW’s of teaching that the translation “a god” should be used in the New Testament every time there is no article before the word “God” in the Greek. Dr. Heiser states, “What if we used their own criterion, their own litmus test (wherever “God” lacks a definite article, we should translate it “a god”)? What if we did that through the rest of John 1 and the rest of the nt? What kind of readings would that produce?” The problem is that the Watchtower Society has never made such a claim. All one has to do is examine their translation (NWT) and it becomes evident that this charge is fallacious. Just because the unbiblical, authoritative Watchtower Society has made past failed prophecies and continues to promote some unbiblical doctrines is no justification for leveling this false charge. Because Dr. Heiser omitted the controversy surrounding the translation of John 1:1c, a brief summary follows: John 1:1 contains three clauses. The controversy is over how to correctly translate the third clause (“and the Word was [?]”). The second clause reads, “and the Word was with God” (ESV). Because the Word (Jesus) was with God (“and the Word was with God”), Jesus cannot be the same God He was with without the heresy of Modalism. Who is the God that Jesus (Word) is with? The Trinity has three choices. Jesus is undisputed with His Father (“God”). So Jesus is not the same God He was with (John 1:18). The second clause in the Greek translates, “and the Word was with THE God.” It includes the definite article “ton” before the word “God” (omitted in English translations). John made a second inspired distinction between Jesus (Word) and His Father (“the God). He placed a direct article before the Word “God” in the second clause for the Father and omitted this article in the third clause for Jesus (“and the Word [Jesus] was [no article] God. This leaves no doubt that Jesus is not the same God He was with. Yet Trinitarian translations pretend that John also used a direct article for Jesus and make Him the same God He was with (“and the Word [Jesus] was God [the Father]”). Trinitarian translations teach Modalism and don’t reflect the underlying Greek. A literal translation that transmits the inspired distinctions that the Apostle John made is to translate the third clause, “and the word was a god.” Since the Father who is greater (John 10:29, 14:28; Romans 6:10, 1 Corinthians 3:23, 11:3, 15:24-28, Ephesians 4:6) is sometimes called “a God” in the Old Testament (Exodus 34:6, Deuteronomy 32:4, 1 Samuel 2:3, Nehemiah 9:17, Psalm 7:11, 68:20, etc.), it is not out of place for Jesus to be called “a god” in the context. Other Bibles had this translation before the JW’s came into existence (For example, see the 2-3rd century Coptic Gospel of John). A correct understanding of the first verse of John sets the tone for the entire Gospel.
  6. Kelly Mann

    Kelly Mann


    The Good: Very easy to listen to. (So easy that I can use 2x speed within Logos) Great explanations of ideas that could be new for some. Nice point that the “Hebrew Grammar View” doesn’t contradict the modern view that says the earth is millions of years old. (Genesis 1.1-3) He stresses the needed reminder to not filter the Bible through modern day lenses. (Acts 2 discussion) It is also great that he highlights various views on a given text and doesn’t just present his own as the final authority. The Bad: (well... questionable) 2 Samuel 13.1: Heiser says that 30 was inserted in the LXX from the parallel account. However, it is possible that the LXX drew on a different Hebrew text. Quaram has verified that differences exist. The whole LXX issue is debatable but he doesn’t present an alternative view. Gen 9:20-27: While Heiser view is possible it also raises serious questions. Why is the account sandwiched with Noah’s intoxication if it is really about Noah’s wife? If his nakedness is actually his wife’s what about the other masculine pronouns in the context? What does it mean when it says Noah woke up from his wine and learned what his son did “to him”? Everything in the context seems to center on Noah and not his wife. (of course doing something to his wife could be considered as doing it to Noah) In addition, If Canaan was the incestuous offspring from this act how is is possible that when he woke up Noah cursed a zygote? (It is possible that the account could look back and insert the name which the zygote was given later.) Deuteronomy 32.8: Heiser is strong on translating it “sons of God.” He has done much research on this and that has no doubt contributed to his stand. (Bib Sacra 158 52-74) However, there are other factors in addition to the Masoretic text saying “sons of Israel” not “sons of God.” (Peshitta agrees with MT) Gen 42:1-4 speaks of “Jacob” (though in Chapter 32 he is named Israel) and his sons. However, in verse 5 the expression “Sons of Israel” is used. This is in connection with going to Egypt where Israel on coming out of Egypt become a mighty nation. See also Gen 35.10-12; 36:31 where it mentions “nations” and kings ruling over the “Sons of Israel.” Thus Deuteronomy could very well be a prophetic indication of this future “nation.” The Ugly: Heiser unfortunately gives information that amounts to a straw man while discussing the position of Jehovah’s Witnesses on John 1.1. (Especially the 5 minute section “The Definite Article” under “The Word Was God”) While, to a degree, this is understandable since he no doubt relied on Wallace and Wallace stated in GGBB that he relied on Robert Countess. It should be made clear that the JW’s have not and do not teach that the “a” is added solely because theos lacks the article. What they have written is easy to find and can be used to verify that what Heiser says is not a position and argument that the JW’s have taken. They have stated context and syntax comes into play with John 1.1. One can read it here: https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1001060096 This particular article is more than 30 years old. Also Heiser comes very close to sabellianism when he says Jesus was “the God”. Usually “the God” is “the trinity” (or Father by default) and surely Heiser doesn’t mean to say that Jesus is the trinity (or is the Father) but it sounds that way many times.
  7. Thomas J. Fullen
    Great presentation, answers many questions for me!
  8. Darryl Medley

    Darryl Medley



Collection value: $164.99
Save $55.00 (33%)
Payment plans available in cart