Bible Study

Last Bible Study of Spring Term

Reading the Bible in its World for Your World: Sunday, May 25, 9:30 a.m.Have you answered your homework questions regarding the Historical Jesus?

I hope you will join me for one last Bible Study of Spring Term on Sunday, May 25, at 9:30 a.m. in the Pusey Room of the Memorial Church. We will discuss the following questions:

1. Calling him "Jesus of Nazareth" was considered an insult — why?

2. He's described as a carpenter, but where did he work?

3. Why is the destruction of the temple so important in the creation of the narrative of Christ (and the people who began writing about it)?

4. How does he go from Jesus THE Christ to Jesus Christ?

5. And what might all of these questions have to do with the global superrich plutocracy in contemporary times?

Next Bible Study Tomorrow Night

The fifth session of our year-long Bible Study series, "Reading the Bible in Its World for Your World," will be held tomorrow night, Thursday, March 27 from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. in the Pusey Room of the Memorial Church. Please join us!

Spring Term 2014 Bible Study Series

Spring Term 2014 Bible Study Series"Reading the Bible in its World for Your World," our new Bible Study series, continues during Spring Term 2014. The next dates for the series are:

  • Tuesday, February 18
  • Thursday, March 27
  • Tuesday, April 29

Each session will be held from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. in the Pusey Room of the Memorial Church. For more information, please contact Nora Lessersohn, Community Relations Coordinator at

Delayed But Not Denied

12 Years a Slave Have you ever experienced a crisis of faith? Do you ever feel as if the gulf between your conception of God’s justice and the prevalence of injustice in the world (or your world) is too wide to reconcile? If so, you are not alone. This was the dilemma of the Hebrew prophet Habakkuk at the end of the 7thcentury BCE. And this was the subject of Sunday’s sermon, “Delayed But Not Denied.”

For more on the life of Solomon Northup who is referenced in this sermon, see his amazing autobiography, 12 Years a Slave. John Ridley's adaptation of Northup's story is currently in theaters.  


HabakkukThis week I am preaching from the book of the minor prophet Habakkuk. In the tradition of the Hebrew prophets, Habakkuk is concerned with justice for those on the underside of privilege and power. And like his contemporary Jeremiah (they both lived late 7th and early 6th centuries BCE), Habakkuk often wrestles with God concerning God’s sense of justice, or apparent lack thereof. 

My former Old Testament professor at Princeton Theological Seminary Jimmy Jack Roberts provides a very helpful commentary, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1991). Here Professor Roberts helps to unpack the historical context, textual issues, and major themes of Habakkuk. What form did social injustice take in Judah? Who were the Chaldeans? How did Habakkuk interpret the Chaldean invasion and the sacking of Jerusalem? What seemed to be Habakkuk’s beef with God?... Read more about Habakkuk

Bible Pronunciations Sunday’s sermon Stir Up the Gifts included a few names that we do not hear everyday. Timothy and Paul are easy to pronounce. Philemon and Onesimus, er, um, not so much. Or how about the city of Lystra? Is it pronounced with a short or long vowel sound? Li-stra or Lie-stra? 

If you, like me, ever have pronunciation problems, “there is an app for that!”  Check out Bible Pronunciations.

Socio-Historical Reading of the Bible

The aim of "Reading the Bible in Its World for Your World" is to demonstrate the tools I use when preparing a sermon.  I am not a biblical scholar.  I read neither Greek nor Hebrew.  Nor was I trained as an interpreter of ancient Jewish, Semitic, or Hellenistic worlds.  Yet as a social ethicist my scholarly research focuses on the role of religion and contemporary society, paying particular attention to Protestant communities and the moral problems they face.  

This is why I am particularly drawn to socio-historical reading of the Bible.  A socio-...

Read more about Socio-Historical Reading of the Bible

Studying the Bible in Its World for Your World

Hello Friends:

I hope all of you are working hard on your homework from last week's Bible Study.  A few reminders from last week lessons:

How do you identify a credible source?  Check the publisher.  Is it a University Press? If so, great.  Also consider religious publishing houses such as Westminster John Knox, Continuum, Abingdon, Orbis, Fortress, and Brill.  

Currently we are examining the New Testament, Luke's gospel to be exact.  Some of my favorite NT Scholars are Luke Timothy Johnson, Gail O'Day, Brian Blount and Laura Nasrallah.  I also came across a great book The Hospitality of God: A Reading of Luke's Gospel by Australian theologian Brendan Byrne.  

... Read more about Studying the Bible in Its World for Your World