Survey of the New Testament - Bible Study: 2021 - 2022
Wednesday Mornings – 8:30 (Optional Mass)
9:00 am (Coffee) - 9:30 to 10:30 am
Resurrection Gathering Space / Church
COME ALL YEAR – COME WHEN YOU CAN!
- Lenten / Easter Series -
March 23rd - St. Mark’s Passion Narrative
March 30th - St. Matthew’s Passion Narrative
April 6th - St. Luke’s Passion Narrative
April 13th - St. John’s Passion Narrative
St. John gives us several important themes. First, Jesus is the Divine, Son of God, who came to came to earth as “the light that shines in the darkness.” Jesus gives us the fullness of life. Unlike the other Gospels, Jesus is very much in control. But, Christ is the Pascal Lamb that is sacrificed to bring us salvation and the forgiveness of sins. Like the other Gospels, we are invited in and we experience the love of Christ in all we do.
April 20th - The Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is probably the most fascinating book of the New Testament and almost certainly the most widely misunderstood. This session argues that the typical way of understanding the book—as a blueprint for the future of our world—is both wrong and wrongheaded. Instead, the book should be read in its own historical context as a kind of Christian “apocalypse."
Apocalypse refers to a literary genre widely used by both Jews and Christians. Typically pseudonymous, apocalypses describe bizarre visions of a prophet, who is taken on a tour of heaven or shown the fate of the earth (or both), in wildly symbolic language. The works are directed to people in the author’s own context who are experiencing inordinate hardship and suffering. The books are designed to offer hope by showing that, contrary to all appearances, God is still sovereign over the world and will soon intervene to right its wrongs.
This is also the theme of the prophet John. John’s tour of the heavenly realms and visions of the future of earth are best understood as assurances to his persecuted Christian readers that the Roman Empire, the chief embodiment of evil in this age, and its emperor, who is the main enemy of Christ (the anti-Christ), will not have the final say in the battle between good and evil. God is on his throne, and he will ensure ultimate victory to those who remain faithful to Christ through these disastrous days.
April 27th - Do We Have the Original New Testament?
We do not have the originals of any of the writings of the New Testament. When the New Testament authors placed their books into circulation, they were copied by hand, one word at a time, by literate Christians in the communities in which they were published. These copies multiplied over time until the originals were lost or destroyed. Today we have thousands of copies of the New Testament in Greek. But most of them are many centuries removed from the originals, none of them are exactly the same as any other, and all of them are filled with mistakes. It is the task of New Testament textual criticism to weed through all of the surviving evidence to decide what the original wording of the New Testament was wherever our manuscripts disagree. Unfortunately, there are more disagreements among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.
Certain kinds of mistakes are readily apparent. Sometimes, for example, scribes simply misspelled words or, through carelessness or fatigue, left out a word or line. In other instances, they may to have intentionally altered the text, for example, by harmonizing two accounts of the same story to remove any discrepancy or by changing passages that seemed to conflict with their own theological beliefs.
Textual critics use a set of rigorously reasoned criteria to help evaluate the evidence for the original text wherever the manuscripts indicate differences. In many instances, the evaluation is quite simple; in others, it is a highly complex matter and open to debate. Some of these latter instances of textual variation prove to be quite significant for interpreting the documents in which they are found.
May 4th - The Book of Hebrews: The Break of Christianity with Judaism (Final Session)
The so-called Epistle to the Hebrews is actually a sermon delivered by an early Christian preacher to a congregation whose members were being attracted away from their Christian faith to Judaism. Many early Christians believed the book belonged in the canon because they thought it was written by Paul, but it does not claim Paul as its author and appears unlike the books we do have from his hand.
Despite the title of the book, the author’s hearers were evidently not Jews but former pagans. He devotes his discussion to numerous demonstrations that Jesus is in every way superior to anything that Judaism has to offer. He is the fulfillment of all the hopes and expectations expressed in the Hebrew Bible and he is the reality that is foreshadowed by the religion found there. For this reason, those who leave the church to join the Jewish synagogue are taking a giant step backward, removing themselves from the salvation that God has now brought to fruition in Christ.
The epistle to the Hebrews contains one of the most forceful statements of the inferiority of Judaism to Christianity in the New Testament. Such sentiments continued among Christians into the second and third centuries. Later, these sentiments became a serious ideology, when the Roman Empire became predominantly Christian and used the political and economic clout at its disposal to silence and punish Jews. This lead to the nefarious acts of anti-Semitism that came down to us through the Middle Ages—a tragically ironic affair, in view of the fact that the founder of Christianity himself was so thoroughly Jewish.
- Fall Series -
September 15th - The Early Christians and Their Literature
September 22nd - The Greco-Roman World of Jesus
September 29th - Ancient Judaism -
October 6th - The Earliest Traditions about Jesus -
October 13th – Mark — Jesus the Suffering Son of God
October 20th – Matthew — Jesus the Jewish Messiah
October 27th - Luke — Jesus the Savior of the World
November 3rd – John — Jesus the Man from Heaven
November 10th - Non-Canonical Gospels
November 17th - The Historical Jesus — Sources and Problems
December 1st - The Historical Jesus — Solutions and Methods
- Advent Series -
December 8th - Birth Narrative of Jesus from Luke - Time change this session only - 10:30 AM
December 15th - Birth Narrative of Jesus from Matthew
- Winter Series -
January 5th - Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet
January 12th - The Acts of the Apostles
January 19th - Paul: The Man, the Mission, and his Methods.
January 26th - Paul and the Crises of His Churches—First Corinthians
February 2nd - Pauline Ethics - Cancelled due to Weather
February 9th - Paul’s Letter to the Romans
February 16th - Paul, Jesus, and James AND and The Deutero-Pauline Epistles
March 2nd - The Pastoral Epistles (Ash Wednesday)
March 9th - The Book of Hebrews – The Break of Christianity with Judaism
March 16th - First Peter and the Persecution of the Early Christians
Deacon Paul Lippard worked in Religious Education for 43 years and 17 years as a Deacon. He holds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Detroit in Religious and Biblical Studies. He has taught adult formation classes across the Archdiocese of Detroit. Contact Deacon Paul at [email protected]