The Word Without Walls Podcast

Professor Michael A. Eschelbach, Ph.D.

Dr. Eschelbach engages life's fundamental questions and concepts with analysis and reference to the witness found in nature, common human experience, and biblical texts. Forty years of caring for the lives of people as pastor and professor provides recognition of questions and challenges that matter, as well as answers and solutions that are real and effective.

All Episodes

This passage tells the account of the Transfiguration.  What was the issue with Peter's response to this marvelous sight?  Why did Jesus tell His apostles not to tell anyone about it?  

Nov 16

18 min 26 sec

Many of us know this passage well, when Jesus commands us to take up our cross and follow Him. But what does that mean, and what does it look like?  When Jesus says He will repay everyone for what they have done (v. 27), what does He mean?  Shouldn't we be terrified by that?

Nov 13

16 min 32 sec

This passage is familiar to many--Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ.  What new things can we learn from a close consideration of these verses? Does the text support the validity of the papacy?  

Nov 10

19 min 19 sec

Why don't the Pharisees and disciples understand the signs of Jesus?  How does that apply to us today?  What is the sign of Jonah?  What is the leaven of the Pharisees?

Nov 5

16 min 15 sec

I've just updated the image I use to describe a Biblical worldview.  Listen in to hear the reasons behind the changes.  You can view the new image and read more details by visiting  

Nov 3

13 min

Who are you? Where are you going? How did you get here?  What happens when you die?  Tune in to hear these questions considered.  The chart and questions referenced can be viewed on

Oct 29

14 min 20 sec

Why doesn't God do anything about the wicked?  What does it mean to be made in the image of God, but not be God?  What is the temptation that results from that? These are a few of the questions that are tackled in this episode. 

Oct 26

30 min 37 sec

Do we have time to listen to God's Word?  This account of Jesus feeding the 4,000 answers that question, along with providing other insights into the nature of our Lord.

Oct 22

9 min 45 sec

What did Jesus mean when he told a Canaanite woman begging for help that the children's bread shouldn't be fed to the dogs.  Who are the dogs, and who are the children?

Oct 20

13 min 48 sec

What really matters, and why?  What doesn't really matter?  These are questions to be considered in this exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees.

Oct 14

13 min 3 sec

Jesus walks on the water, and heals many with even a simple touch from the hem of His garment.  What can this passage teach us about Jesus' work in our lives today?

Oct 12

10 min 46 sec

What does the account of Herod and John the Baptist indicate about what was going on at the time?  In Jesus' grief over John's death, how does Jesus lead us by His example?  How does He demonstrate the great antidote for grief?

Oct 7

14 min 35 sec

As this chapter concludes, what is it about Jesus' teachings that is shocking to the people in the synagogue?

Oct 4

7 min 22 sec

Jesus shares a triplet of parables--the treasure in the field, the pearl of great price, and the fish in nets.  What point is Jesus making?  Are these parables repetitious, or is there a progression in the message?

Sep 29

14 min 52 sec

This passage contains the parable of the mustard seed and leaven. In the Bible, leaven is referenced both positively and negatively.  What does it mean here? Also, Jesus Himself explains the parable of the wheat and the tares.

Sep 24

11 min 49 sec

Why doesn't God do something about the evil in this world?  The parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13 addresses this question that people so often ask.  

Sep 21

9 min 12 sec

The disciples ask Jesus why He speaks in parables. What response does Jesus give?  Hear what Jesus has to say.

Sep 16

13 min 47 sec

Jesus tells the Parable of the Sower.  Why does Jesus speak in parables?  From the parable, which soil do you identify with?  

Sep 9

14 min 41 sec

Jesus speaks of unclean spirits in this passage.  Where do we see this in the world around us today?  How are people closing themselves off to God's witness to the world?  How do we remain in Jesus' family?

Sep 1

12 min 59 sec

When the Pharisees ask for a sign, Jesus responds that they will only receive the sign of Jonah.  What is the sign of Jonah, and why is it significant?  Jonah is indicative of whom?

Aug 20

13 min 17 sec

There are some healthy tensions in this passage that cause us to consider many questions.  What is the sin against the Holy Spirit?  How is a tree made good?  How can we know what is in a person's heart? What answers does Jesus provide in Matthew 12? Listen to hear about them!

Aug 11

16 min 24 sec

Jesus heals a demon-possessed man.  How do the demon-possessed man and the hopeful crowds compare to the Pharisees who dismiss Jesus?  How does Jesus, the master of all logic, respond?

Aug 4

15 min 5 sec

It’s noted here that Jesus healed ALL people.  Why is that important?  And He doesn’t want to make Himself known.  How is that different than the fame that people seek today?  This passage considers how the Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus—wonderful things on which to meditate about our Savior who comes low to gather us to Himself and to one another.

Jul 30

14 min 6 sec

Jesus heals the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath. How does Jesus reveal what we are to understand about the Law and the Old Testament here?  How does our fallen nature compare with that of the Pharisees?  

Jul 21

12 min 57 sec

What is the true restfulness God provides to us in His gift of the Sabbath, and what freedom does it give us? How does that differ from the Pharisees' perspective, which we see in this passage? 

Jul 15

11 min 50 sec

Why does Jesus use little children as the example of faith in this passage?  And what is that easy and light yoke that Jesus is speaking of?  

Jul 9

15 min 14 sec

Matthew 11 addresses what the life of an apostle is like.  Specifically in these verses, Jesus sheds light on the two natures found in all people.

Jun 30

12 min 29 sec

John has served the Lord all of his life, and now he is in prison.  Doesn't God care? What kind of captivity do you find yourself in, and why isn't God bringing you out of it?

Jun 24

17 min 39 sec

What do we make of the imprisoned John the Baptist questioning if Jesus is the Messiah?

Jun 17

13 min 49 sec

What does Jesus mean when He says, "I have not come to bring peace, but a sword"?  What does verse 39 mean--losing your life in order to find it?  Listen in for insights into these verses where Jesus names and commissions His apostles. Learn more!  In the episode, a Green V world model is mentioned.  Find more information here. 

Jun 9

15 min 2 sec

Jesus speaks to both of our natures in this passage.  He speaks to our human nature in the only way it understands, which is terrifying. But that always turns us back to Christ.  God’s commands are always surrounded by His promises, and we see that here.

Jun 3

13 min 35 sec

What should those sent by Jesus expect as they carry out His will for them? Jesus warns of persecutions to come but also promises to sustain and inspire His apostles (and ultimately us, as His ambassadors). What if we are worried or fearful about what to say to others about His kingdom? The vast and wonderful promises of Jesus include giving us the right words to say.

May 25

16 min 35 sec

What is the difference between a disciple and an apostle? What kind of power did Jesus give His apostles and for what purpose? How would the apostles demonstrate their own honesty about dependence on the dependability and all-providing nature of God and His kingdom? All of Matthew 10 is concerned with the life of the apostles and ultimately indicative of our lives as ambassadors for Christ and His kingdom.

May 18

17 min 18 sec

What happens to human ailments when Jesus is present? How is the healing work of Jesus related to His teaching and preaching?  How does Matthew's text graciously witness against the religious authorities who falsely accused and ridiculed Jesus? Why does Jesus command us to pray for God to send laborers into His harvest?

May 14

14 min 48 sec

Why are the gospels so full of healing accounts? Why did the synagogue ruler continue to "bother" Jesus even though news had come that it was too late? What is God's remedy for ever thinking it is too late? What is the significance of a woman interrupting Jesus on His way, how she was healed, and how that must have intensified the ruler's sense of desperation? The life of Jesus and its record in the Gospels are a constant remedy for desperation and powerful answer to doubts that oppress with fear that "it is too late."

May 4

15 min 17 sec

Every religion fails in a one-dimensional worldview, as desperately as we would like them to succeed. Why do they all fail to save us? Only God's creation is capable of giving us life and redeeming our life.  How does it work?

Apr 27

18 min 31 sec

What hope was there for a Jewish tax collector; despised by Jews and Romans? What hope is there for medical care when you are waiting in the ER and finally your name is called? What if the question isn't about hope for the unrighteous or sick but for those who insist they need no healing nor redeeming? If God desires mercy and not sacrifice, why did He establish the sacrificial system through Moses on Mt. Sinai?

Apr 20

17 min 58 sec

Why did God create a material universe if the soul and our relationship with each other and God is essentially spiritual? How did Jesus confirm His will and identity? Why did Jesus confirm forgiveness for the paralytic and only afterwards heal him? Notice that neither the friends who brought the paralytic nor the paralytic himself indicate disappointment that Jesus forgave rather than healed the man?

Apr 13

12 min 19 sec

What is the will of the devil and demons except to destory? Why was the legion of demons that possessed this poor man unable to destroy him? Why wouldn't Jesus let him follow after he was healed?

Apr 8

13 min 31 sec

What should we spend our time on? What should we devote our time and interest to and what should we leave to others? Jesus redirects our thinking from a world of death to a kingdom of life. Why should we listen to Jesus; how do we know He has the authority He speaks with? Besides His virgin birth, sensibility of His teaching, and miracles of healing - He controls nature, which makes since He created it to serve His care for our lives.

Mar 23

14 min 47 sec

Jesus healed everyone - not just some. Jesus healed with a Word; He is the cause of all healing and His Word conveys absolute, comprehensive, and permanent healing. Jesus healed by taking the infirmities, distresses, and trauma of others upon Himself, as prophecied in Isaiah. Though Jesus is Creator and Redeemer of the world, the world is so opposed to Him that He found no place to lay His head?

Mar 16

16 min 37 sec

Jesus heals to authenticate His identity and to demonstrate His will. Why does Matthew follow Jesus' proclaiming and teaching with a chapter on healing? Why does Matthew choose these three examples of healing since the text goes on to say that Jesus healed everyone, everywhere, all the time?

Mar 14

18 min 30 sec

Why would anyone build their house on sand? Because it is fast, easy, and most of all, because sand conforms to our plan. But does it last? Why not build on rock? Because it is hard work but most of all, your plan is determined by the Rock. Storms and floods are the consequences of Adam's failure which corrupts us all. Storms and floods come but they need not destroy our lives How is it that Jesus teaches with authority and why couldn't the scribes of the people?

Mar 9

11 min 18 sec

How do we know if a person or minister or ministry is of God? Jesus said you know a tree from its fruit. Jesus warns against pretentiousness and self-deception.

Mar 7

16 min 29 sec

Jesus said the path is narrow that leads to life and few find it. How can the path be narrow if God desires all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth? What is it that makes the path to life infinite narrow? Is there something that makes the path singularly narrow and yet open to all at the same time?

Mar 2

17 min 52 sec

Our world thinks in terms of give and TAKE. God's kingdom is one of give and be given to.  Jesus speaks about what we have been given, how to protect that from being despised or wasted, and how to open ourselves to all that God has to give us. What does it mean that the kingdom of God is "holy" and a "pearl" (in fact, THE pearl of great price)? What does it mean to ask, seek, and knock in our relationship with God?

Feb 25

17 min 14 sec

How do we know if we are seeing things as they really are? Does Jesus really forbid judging one another? Why do we tend to see the worst in others but not in ourselves and what is the remedy?

Feb 22

15 min 9 sec

Jesus forbids worry based on God's economy. If God feeds the birds and clothes the flowers, how will not much more wonderfully and abundantly provide for you? Why not seek God's kingdom first and let everything else follow?

Feb 20

15 min 30 sec

Jesus explains how the eye is the lamp of the body. Jesus speaks the the significance of our bodies being full of light or darkness. Jesus also warns that we cannot serve two masters.

Feb 18

12 min 9 sec

Jesus continues in this section of the Sermon on the Mount with warnings about fasting and charity.  There is never anything hypocritical, formalistic, or pretentious about those who are honest about dependence. Fasting is an antidote for a noisy selfish corrupt human nature and charity is an antidote for greed. Both antidotes are pursued by inspiration from God and for love of neighbor.

Feb 15

14 min 48 sec