Author and speaker Margaret Feinberg believes the Bible is meant to be more than read—it’s meant to be tasted and savored and explored with holy chutzpah. She recently went on an extraordinary biblical quest to explore six different foods in the Bible. The result is a scrumptious 6-session DVD Bible study and book.
Bible Gateway interviewed Margaret Feinberg (@mafeinberg) about her DVD Bible study, Taste and See: Discovering God Among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers (Zondervan, 2018).
What inspired you to undertake this spiritual-culinary quest?
Margaret Feinberg: Several years ago, I wrote the book and Bible study Scouting The Divine: My Search For God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey. I spent time with shepherds, beekeepers, farmers, and vintners and opened up the Scriptures and asked, “How do you read these passages in light of what you do every day?” Their answers changed the way I read the Bible forever.
When I finished the project, I was both undone by all I learned but also sensed I wasn’t done. That provided the genesis for the Bible study Taste and See: Discovering God among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers.
You sought out people whose lives and livelihoods are intimately entwined with the foods you were investigating. What did these people reveal about food and biblical principles?
Margaret Feinberg: If you look for food in the Bible, you’ll discover it popping and sizzling on almost every page. I zeroed in on six foods and traveled the globe to better understand the Scriptures and ancient agrarian world.
I cast fishnets in the Sea of Galilee, descended into salt mines 450 feet below ground, baked fresh matzo at Yale University, harvested olives on the Croatian coast, studied artisanal meats in Texas, and tasted figs at a world premier farm.
For those looking for delicious insights, for those who hunger for more of God, there’s a richness to life and relationships and faith when we dig more intentionally into the text.
What do you mean when you call God “the original foodie”?
Adam and Eve are invited to nosh on everything good (Genesis 1:29). Only one food—a particular fruit—is off-limits, and the original couple bite into the temptation (Genesis 3:6). One might think God would make food a dark thing, but instead God redeems food just as he does us.
So many miracles involve food: the manna flavored with honey and olive oil (Exodus 16:4, Numbers 11:8), the widow’s overflowing oil (2 Kings 4). Even the Promised Land is described as a Zagat-rated buffet with figs, dates, pomegranates, grapes, olives, wheat, and barley. When Jesus arrives, he identifies himself with sheep, vines, living water, and the bread of life. And when he returns, we’ll partake in the marriage supper of the Lamb.
The Son of God is even described as someone who knocks on the doors of our souls, so we’ll invite him in for supper (Revelation 3:20).
As children of God, our story begins with food, continues with food, and concludes with food. That’s why I think it’s fair to say God is the original foodie.
What do you hope people discover as they dive into the Bible study?
Margaret Feinberg: Sometimes when we read Scripture, the stories can feel thousands of years old, the places thousands of miles away—we want to connect, but sometimes it’s hard.
By studying fruit in the Bible, we catch a fresh glimpse of what God intends for us as we become fruitful through Christ. We also taste and see the sweet intention of God for us.
By spending time reflecting on the mentions of salt in the Bible, we discover that Jesus’ calling to be the “salt of the earth” is so much more than being “down to earth.” In fact, it means something different entirely.
By learning livestock in the Bible, we start to grasp of what it means that our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills—and how that reality impacts us today.
There’s so many more foods in the Bible we explore in the study, but it literally makes study groups hungry for more Scripture, more of God, more the his transformation.
Plus, the activities that go with the study are so fun! Salt tastings and bread bakings and fruit savorings and more. This has got to be one of the most fun Bible studies ever! Be sure to order the 6-session Bible Study DVD, Taste and See: Discovering God Among Butchers, Bakers and Fresh Food Makers. And for delightful bonuses including invitation, recipe cards, and memorable meals conversation starters, visit www.margaretfeinberg.com/tasteandsee
Taste and See Study Guide with DVD is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
Bio: Margaret Feinberg is a popular Bible teacher and speaker at churches and leading conferences such as Catalyst, Thrive, and Women of Joy whose books have sold more than one million copies and received critical acclaim. She lives in Utah with her husband, Leif, who pastors a local campus, and their superpup, Hershey. She believes some of the best days are spent in jammies, laughing, and being silly.
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