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Archives of Previous Studies

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May 23, 2019

Psalm 146: Praise God With Every Breath

After some comments on the Flame of Love devotion, our study of Psalm 146 starts with the psalmist's exuberant burst of praise which we explore in two directions, viz., in liturgy as the eternal loving work of God's people and the need to make use of the time we have on Earth according to Paul's admonition to "redeem the time."  The latter led to a lengthy discussion about why our spiritual lives seem to become more arduous as we grow close to God.

We go on to examine the psalmist's comparison of relying upon man to relying upon God and dwell on how God is not only all powerful and eternal but faithful.


May 9, 2019

Is 38:10-20:Deliverance From Certain Death and Ps 85: Promise of Hope and a Way Forward

The first half of tonight's study explores Hezekiah's canticle of thanksgiving in Is 38:10-20.  We examine the context, the interesting side bar that God left him to himself after his illness so that he could see and repent of his pride, several linguistic nuances sometimes lost in the English translation, and various verses that appear corrupt.  We also briefly review Sheol, discuss the idea of death at the completion of God's work in us and the challenges we often face for our own welfare.

The second half expounds Psalm 85.  We briefly review who the Sons of Korah were and posit a couple of reasons why there is both a statement that God's anger has turned away and a plea the He turn His anger away.  We look at some significant variations in translation, briefly touch upon the relationship between righteousness and the health of a nation, but spend most of our time discussing the differences between the Jewish and Christian perspectives on the promises in this psalm.  This leads us to examine the importance of Jesus as fully human and fully divine and the source of our righteousness.


February 28, 2019

Psalm 40:2-14,17-18: Many Shall See and Trust

We cover quite a number of topics in this involved Psalm.  We discuss its background, why certain imprecatory verses are omitted in the Breviary, and how to view those imprecatory verses and psalms.  We examine possible contexts and how new and alive God's presence was to David and should be to us.  We examine evangelization through our example in difficulties and how this is a reason for embracing trials with joy.  We point out the important differences between the Masoretic Text and Septuagint in this psalm and its messianic nature.  We digress into the account of Saul and the Amalekites and the subject of loving obedience being more important than sacrifice.  We spend considerable time looking at the reference to this psalm in Hebrews 10 and its relationship to the New Covenant.  We touch on sharing our faith but also doing so discretely.  We look at examples of how sin can blind us and conclude with the importance of seeing our neediness before God can do great things in us.


February 14, 2019

Psalm 91: God Protects Through All Trials

In this study, God seems to draw us repeatedly to the theme that He does not save us FROM trials but rather saves us IN trials both in the sense of saving us in the trial itself and saving us by means of the trial as we explore Psalm 91.  We discuss much of the imagery — fowlers, pinions, eagles, bucklers — as well as possible ties to the Exodus.  We take a brief look at the role of angels and our need to not only be protected from evil but to be given the strength to battle against evil.  We look at what it means to cleave to God in love but we keep returning to the theme that, to love Him as He loves us, we must learn love through experience, not just knowledge and that experience is often given to us as the way to salvation by means of trials.


October 25, 2018

Psalm 63: Your Love Is Better Than Life

This study explores Psalm 63 including its possible context of Absalom's rebellion against David.  We considered how we can still see God's power and glory in His sanctuary today.  We dwelt upon what it means to value God's love even more than life itself.  We spoke of spiritual delights and intimacy with God and challenged ourselves to see how close we are to Him gauged against this psalm.


September 27, 2018

Psalm 15 - Who Can Dwell With God?

In this study, we begin by setting the context of Psalm 15 as David bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Zion.  To do so, we spend time exploring the history of the Ark and its journey including the abuse of religion while the Ark is in Shiloh, the capture and return of the Ark, and the disturbing incident of Uzzah being killed for steadying the Ark during transport.  This leads to a discussion on conscience.  We then expound the psalm itself including the issues of "despising the reprobate" and not lending money at interest.


May 31, 2018

Psalm 95: Rejoice Before God our Maker and Listen to His Voice

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.


May 24, 2018

Introduction to Psalms and the Divine Office

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.


May 17, 2018

Introduction to The Psalms

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.


April 19, 2018

Forgiveness, Healing, Prayer as Doers of the Word in James 5:14-20

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.


March 3, 2018

An Overview of Grace

We resume a discussion of questions raised in the last study and new questions tonight.  We address the difference between Baptism and Confirmation as two sacraments involving the Holy Spirit.  We begin an overview of Grace, Faith, and Salvation and digress into the topics of Original Sin and Infant Baptism.


December 7, 2017

Sinful Prayer and Spiritual Adultery in James 4:4

In tonight's study we connect James' depiction of praying wrongfully with his condemnation of spiritual adultery and then explore the theme of spiritual idolatry in the prophets.  We also take time to establish the historical context of the prophets by reading the contemporaneous accounts in First and Second Kings.


September 21, 2017

Good Teachers and Bad Teachers in James 3:1

In tonight's study, we discuss our responsibilities to our teachers and leaders, their responsibility to us, and how to deal with good and bad teachers in the Church.  We address the importance of the Oral Tradition and teaching as we have been taught.  We also touch on the difference between information and formation and the idea that we must know God in order to make Him known.


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