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Lenten Study—Overview of the Bible

Lent has come upon us very early and quickly this year. As in most Anglican Parishes, we normally have a specific Lenten Study during this time. While the Diocese does produce a booklet each year for a Lenten Study, participants have felt that these are not always helpful. Nevertheless, I thought we could comply with Diocesan suggestions on studies. A motion during the last synod stated the following:

  • That the Diocese recommend to Parishes to especially target, with studies that teach the overarching narrative of the Bible, the over 65 age group who have been Anglicans all their lives but still lack a coherent understanding of Scripture and the Christian worldview.

In particular, it was also recommended that in those studies we should consider how the various books of the Bible fit within the overarching narrative. Therefore I want to provide a Lenten Study that gives an overview of the Bible. I hope it can be relevant even if you are under 65 and even if you have a coherent understanding of Scripture and the Christian worldview. Even if you know a lot, we could still dedicate 5 minutes or so to a discussion whether the Latin Vulgate or the Greek Septuagint is a better translation of the Hebrew.

Because I could not find a study that easily fits within a five-week or six-week structure, I’ll have to put something together. I’ll use resources from my teaching at St John’s College and the Diocese of Waikato, some generally available resources, a simple overview that Murray Matthews wrote a few years ago, and a course from the Diocese of Nelson on the Bible. Hopefully that will give a coherent overview.

I propose the following studies:

20th February: The structure of the Bible—books and sections of the Bible, original languages, important translations, history of Bible transmission

27th February: The Big Picture—a Bible Society resource that looks at the overall narrative of the Bible

5th March: The Old Testament (Part 1)—the first five books of the Bible and the historical books

12th March: The Old Testament (Part 2)—the Prophets, Wisdom Literature and Psalms; the Apocrypha

19th March: The New Testament

Please let me know what time on a Tuesday would be most suitable for you.

In other Lenten news: due to the restructuring of the Catholic Parish of Christchurch North and the early date for Ash Wednesday, we were not able to organise an ecumenical service with the Catholics. We will join the Northwest Christchurch Anglican Parish at a service at St David’s in Belfast. Hopefully, we will have an ecumenical service with our Catholic brothers and sisters later in the year.