Tonight's study starts with Psalm 120. We use it as an opportunity to discuss verbal emphasis which is lost translating from Hebrew to English and ways in which we can try to recover that emphasis. We examined the psalmist's lament over living among those who are wicked and then explored a Christian approach to the same difficulty.
The second half continued with Psalm 121. We discussed how the Psalms provide a variety of human perspectives on the same unchanging God, God's persistence providence, and how sometimes it seems that providence is lacking.
We began tonight's study with an outline of the rankings of liturgical days: Solemnities, Feasts, and Obligatory and Optional Memorials.
We continued with the burst of praise that is Psalm 113. We explained the meaning of the word Hallelujah and the reasons behind the different spellings and pronunciations. We looked at its cultural context amidst the return from the Babylonian exile and its praise of a God who is both transcendent and immanent. Finally, we discussed how a Jewish and Christian understanding of the reference the barren woman bringing forth children might be different.
We conclude with another explosion of praise — Psalm 147:12-20. We explain why the Divine Office starts in the middle of the psalm and its context around the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem with several references to the Book of Nehemiah. We end in appreciation of how what God is doing in Christianity is different than any other religion and how that is a source of our praise.
We expound Psalm 30 in the first half of tonight's study including its liturgical history, the story of David and the census and the altar in Jerusalem, the influence of Satan and the demons in our lives, and the experience of feeling abandoned by God.
We explore Psalm 32 in the second half. We discuss the importance of love covering a multitude of sins, the connection between sincerity and forgiveness, and the dangers of ignoring God.
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.
We conclude the first chapter of James focusing on James' admonition to be doers of the word and explore his references to deceiving ourselves. This includes an examination of how we use our tongues and how fully we are willing to come out of the world.
Our study of James continues with a discussion of the implanted word and interior transformation. We also respond to a question about judgment, punishment, and proper reception of the Eucharist.
In this study, in response to James' admonition to be "quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath", we cross reference many scriptures about speech, anger, and making peace. We conclude by examining the phrase "God's righteousness" and compare that to other forms of righteousness.
We continue our study of the Book of Job and shift our focus from the shortcomings of the friends to the shortcomings of Job and identify the dysfunction in Job's relationship with God. We then start the speech of Elihu and explore how his approach is different from both Job and the friends.
We continue the study of the Book of Job focusing on the friends' rigid religion and Job's bewilderment at God's actions. We discuss the problem of spiritual dishonesty and the danger of not letting reality challenge our understanding of God.
We suggest you begin here:
Foundations of Bible Study