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.
This poignant psalm reaches so deeply into our humanity and our relationship with God that it provokes a wide range of discussion on core doctrinal issues. In tonight's study, we touch on the nature of sin and how God is justified and entirely practical to condemn us even if sin is the way we are. We discuss how important it is to keep our sins in mind especially as we grow toward perfection and how God's willingness to extend grace at every moment to support our perfection inspires us to see the magnitude of His love in every moment of our lives. We follow with a discussion of original sin and sanctifying grace pointing out that, if we do not understand these doctrines, we do not understand salvation.
In our second half, we discuss the inviolability of conscience but also its need to be formed and to admit that our consciences may not be right.
Tonight's study started with the background of the pictured destruction of Rome and the harlot upon the beast that set the stage for Revelation 19. We briefly discuss the word "Hallelujah" and its evolution into "Alleluia". We spend some time examining the idea of eternal punishment and what the earliest Church believed about it. We conclude with an exploration of the bride making herself ready.
Tonight we study the Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55. We discuss what God is teaching us about humility, grace, and exaltation in Mary. We examine Mary's need for a Savior and look at some of the earliest Church writings to examine the ancient practice of the veneration of Saints. There is a question about the Rosary and we talk about being great and the importance of obscurity as we grow in 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.
Tonight's study consisted entirely of comments and questions. The initial questions sprang from our reading of James 5 and deal with the idea of saving a soul by bringing them back to the practice of the faith. We then proceed to a discussion about the roles of faith and grace in salvation.
In this study we examine the letter of Paul to Philemon as an example of a mature Christian relationship and a model of our relationship with God.
We suggest you begin here:
Foundations of Bible Study