Bible Study Lessons

Below are the Bible Study Lessons from our Tuesday Study Group that I have been able to upload to this site.

Genesis 1: The Story of Creation

The Story of Creation takes a close reading of first creation story in Genesis 1:1-2:3 within its historical, linguistic, and Scriptural context. Within the first chapter of Scripture we explore topics such as the nature of God, the work of the Trinity, the nature of time, how to read the Scriptures, the (non-)existence of evil, who we are, the nature of salvation, and our responsibilities to creation and to each other. For background in this study, I have used primarily Bereishit (Genesis) Rabbah, the JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis, and St. Augustine’s Confessions. This Epiphany study covers seven weeks.

Genesis 2-3: Adam & the Fall

In this study, we read the story of Adam & the Fall as given to us in Genesis 2:4-3:24. The creation story of Genesis 1 that we studied in Epiphany 2020 is the story of God and his bringing about all that is seen and unseen. The story of Genesis 2-3 is the story of us. It is a story that seeks to tell us who we are and the very nature of our human condition. This story prepares us for Jesus who took upon himself our human nature and who perfected the same through his incarnation, obedience, and resurrection. Rom. 5:12-211 Cor. 15:42-50. As preparation for the study, I am using the JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis, the writings of Richard Beck, a lecture by Jordan Peterson, and St. Athanasius’s On the Incarnation. This Epiphany study covers seven weeks.

The Story of King David

In the Story of King David, we walk through the entire saga of King David from the anointing of a young shepherd boy by the prophet Samuel until his death in old age and his son Solomon’s securing the throne. David not only gives us a great story that rivals anything HBO has to offer, but allows us to dive deep into the Scriptures and find Jesus. For background in this study, I have used David Wolpe’s book David: The Divided Heart and David Payne’s commentary on I & II Samuel. This Fall study covers thirteen weeks and 1 Samuel 16 through 1 Kings 2.

Ecclesiastes

In this Lenten Study, we will be discussing the first half of Ecclesiastes. The theme of Ecclesiastes is that the things of this world are no more substantive than a vapor that soon disappears and is forgotten. The writer reminds us that regardless of how wise or righteous we are, death comes for us all. During Lent, as we walk with Jesus towards Jerusalem and ultimately Golgotha, we are faced with the question of whether death also comes for God’s Wisdom incarnate who exhibits the perfect Righteousness of God. For if death comes for Him, then all that we do is in vain. Therefore, Ecclesiastes compels us, like the male disciples on Easter morning, to run to see if the rumor of the empty grave and the defeat of death itself is true. For background of this study, I have used the JPS Bible Commentary: Ecclesiastes by Michael Fox, The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus, and The Resurrection of the Son of God (Ch. 3) by N.T. Wright. This Lenten study covers five to six weeks.

Jonah

In this four-week study, we read through the story of Jonah. At its core, Jonah is a polemic against a nationalistic retributive understanding of God who destroys our enemies in favor of a universal understanding of God abounding in such great mercy as to require us to not only love our enemies but to intercede for their redemption. Jonah holds us to account for our selfishness which causes us to flee from the love of neighbor and delight in the downfall of others. For the background of this study, I am using Tyndale’s Old Testament Commentary on Jonah (academic approach), Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz’s Jonah – A Social Justice Commentary (modern application approach), and Dr. Robert Alter’s Strong as Death is Love (academic and application). This study covers four weeks.

Malachi

In this brief Advent study, we look at how the prophet Malachi reminds us that Advent is not a time of preparation for the arrival of a baby, but that Advent is the time of preparation of the Lord God of Hosts inserting himself into human history. This Advent study covers two (or four) weeks.

Matthew’s Infancy Narrative

In this Advent study, we read through the Christmas story as found in Matthew 1-2. Our story begins with the genealogy of Jesus, continues with his birth as told through the eyes of Joseph, and ends with the visitation of the Magi. For the background of this study, I have used N.T. Wright’s Matthew for Everyone and Pope Benedict XVI’s Jesus of Nazareth – The Infancy Narratives. The Advent study covers three weeks.

The Sermon on the Mount

In this study, we read through the Sermon on the Mount (excluding the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer) as found in Matthew 5-7. For background in this study, I have primarily used Oswald Chamber’s Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Emmet Fox’s Sermon on the Mount, and Soren Kierkegaard’s The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air. This study covers six weeks.

Passion Predictions in the Gospel of John

In this Lenten study, we read and reflect on the Passion predictions in the Gospel of John. These are the statements of Jesus where Jesus speaks about his death and resurrection. Through the study and meditation on these verses, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. For background in this study, I have used D.A. Carson’s Commentary on the New Testament’s Use of the Old Testament. This Lenten study covers six weeks

The Pastoral Epistles

In this summer study, we read through Paul’s Pastoral Epistles – 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. These letters contain Paul’s advice and encouragement to a younger apostle. For background on this study, I have used N.T. Wright’s Paul for Everyone, 1 &2 Timothy and Titus, Luke Timothy Johnson’s The Writings of the New Testament, and Abraham Malherbe’s Paul and the Popular Philosophers. This lesson covers thirteen weeks.

1 John

In this summer study, we read John’s letter to a community in turmoil where John reminds his people and us of the good news of God’s unmerited Love and our calling to demonstrate that love towards others. For background on this study, I have used Ben Witherington’s Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, Lukie Timothy Johnson’s The Writings of the New Testament, and Oliver Clement’s On Human Being. This summer study covers six to eight weeks.

The Revelation to St. John

The final book of our Bibles is by far the most misunderstood, misquoted, and generally abused or ignored book of the Scriptures. As we study the Revelation to St. John, we will place the book within its literary and historical context and envision how this extraordinary book speaks to us in the church today. Revelation is a liturgical book centered around worship and it tells us that evil is conquered, the saints are redeemed, and a new creation will be brought about not through the force of arms but through the blood of the Lamb and the testimony/martyrdom of Its followers. In preparation for the study I am primarily using Dr. Michael J. Gorman’s Reading Revelation Responsibly and Fr. Lawrence R. Farley’s The Apocalypse of St. John. I will also be using Reading Revelation in Prison, a blog post by Richard Beck in “Experimental Theology”, the chapter on “The Meaning and Mystery of Wrath” in The Prophets by Abraham Heschel, and the relevant portions of Her Gates Will Never Shut by Brad Jersak, The Writings of the New Testament by Luke Timothy Johnson, and the Commentary on the New Testament’s Use of the Old Testament by G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson. This study covers fifteen weeks.

The Resurrection Narratives

In this unit on the Resurrection, we explore the various New Testament writers’ understanding of the nature of Jesus’ Resurrection and what it means for us on the other side of the Resurrection. We also look into the post-Easter feast days of Pentecost, Ascension, and Trinity. For background in this study, I have used N. T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God. The Eastertide study covers eight weeks.