We introduced the extraordinary acrostic Psalm 119 tonight and explored verses 17-24 as they are part of the Thursday Week I Daytime Office. We explored the psalmist's prayer to have their eyes opened to see the wonders of God's law and how our eyes are opened. We discussed the concept of being a sojourner in this world and made some cross references to the Beatitudes.
We then began our exposition of Psalm 25. We noted that it addressed major themes of prayer such as recollection and contemplation. We looked at issues of justice and persecution and examples of Satan as our accuser. We cited the need to always ask for our eyes to be opened to see what we do not see and explored the connection between God being good and His showing sinners the way.
Tonight's study examined Psalm 48 as a response to God's miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from the overwhelmingly superior Assyrian army. We spent some time addressing how God's perspective on physical life and death may be different from ours as well as the different understandings of love and hate between Hebrew and Christian thought. We touch briefly upon the geography of Jerusalem and some of the common metaphors used in this psalm.
In the unrecorded second half, we prayed the Thursday Morning Office from the 13th week of Ordinary Time.
In the first half of tonight's study, we examine the historical and cultural setting of God's promise to gather and prosper Israel in Jer 31:10-14. We chose this particular section of scripture because it is the second psalm in the Morning Office of the first Thursday of the four week Psalter. The first half concludes with a discussion of sections of scripture that can make us uncomfortable about God such as killing 185,000 Assyrians as they are getting ready to attack Jerusalem.
The second half continues this discussion and branches into questions about who are Christians and the necessity of the organized Church.
We begin tonight's study with a discussion of the Ordinary, Proper, and Common regarding Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours as well as a discussion of Solemnities, Feasts, Memorials, and Optional Memorials. We proceed to explore the Benedictus, the Canticle of Zechariah as part of the Ordinary of the Liturgy of the Hours including its historical setting, powerful Old Testament references, and images of light, darkness, and peace.
The second half proceeds to Psalm 57 which we will use when we pray the Morning Office from Thursday week I. We show the possible connection to David's early flight from Saul and the treachery of Doeg and David's trust in God's deliverance. We touch upon the constant spiritual threat to our lives.
We finish our exploration of Psalm 18 by examining how some of the colorful images of conquest are more than images but reflect events from David's life. We reflect on God's humility and how He makes us "sound" as He is "sound". We saw how David perceived the living God by observing God's actions in his life and how we do the same. We also mused on how Christians understand verses about vengeance upon the wicked.
We covered about half of Psalm 18 tonight with an emphasis on understanding specific events in David's life that shape the images in this Psalm along with references to the Exodus. We read about Cherubim, examine David's musings on how God treats us according to how we are and perceive God, and conclude by discussing the role of humility in exaltation.
We finish our exploration of Psalm 95 tonight focusing on verse 11 and what it means to enter God's rest. Tangential topics examined include different degrees of sin, the Sabbath, the Millennium rest, and evaluating truth.
Tonight's study covers most of Psalm 95 including its place in the Divine Office, its context, and its abrupt shift of mood. We examine the novelty of the view of God as creator of all nature and review the historical background in Exodus and Numbers. We touch upon the idea of God forgiving sins and at that same time exacting punishment. Finally, we begin an examination of the use of this psalm in the Book of Hebrews.
This evening's study introduces the Psalms, discusses Liturgy and communal prayer, and introduces the Liturgy of the Hours as an example of using the Psalms in communal prayer.
In the short first half of tonight's study, we address the question, "do we have to suffer to learn to love God?"
In the second half, we begin our introduction to the book of Psalms including structure, origin, editing, challenges in translation, and, very importantly, what does it mean when we say the Bible is the Word of God.
As we conclude our study of the Letter of James, we briefly review judging each other and mercy, examine James' treatment of anointing, illness, and healing, observe James' appeal to oral tradition, and address the need to pray for each other and our fellow sinners as part of being doers of the word in keeping with James' theme.
In tonight's study, we revisit the important role of suffering in bringing us to holiness, explore the signs of breakdown in Christian communities growing weary under suffering, and examine the difference between the way the merciful and the merciless are judged.
We examine James' exhortation to patience in the face of oppression and supplement it with similar exhortations in II Peter, the message to the Ephesians in Revelation 2, and the in the letter to the Hebrews. We explore how the discipline of suffering brings us to the adulthood of Christianity and read several excerpts on suffering from the Diary of Saint Faustina.
We suggest you begin here:
Foundations of Bible Study