Bible 101

Reading the Bible for All It’s Worth!

Wednesdays at 8pm

Zoom Link:

The Bible is both life-giving and really complex. Consequently, many of us wish we knew more about the “Good Book” so that we’d be able to read it with confidence and be able to tap into its soul-shaping power. But too often, if we’re honest, we feel like we have more questions than answers and sometimes aren’t even sure where to begin. We will focus on reading the Bible faithfully, expectantly and thoughtfully. This is a great class for total beginners (there are no dumb questions) and for those looking for a bit of a refresher on how to read the Bible for all its worth! Questions? Contact Rev. Ron.


September 16        What’s in the (Good) Book?

September 23        Beginnings, Crossings, & Kings (Genesis – Nehemiah)

September 30        Songs & Sophia (Job – Ecclesiastes)

October 7               Shock & Solace (Isaiah – Malachi)

October 14             Tell Me the Stories of Jesus (Matthew – John)

October 21             Church Chat & Final Victory (Acts – Revelation)

For printable schedule, click here.

Week 5 Resources & Homework

  • Pick one of Paul’s shorter letters – Galatians, Ephesians or Philippians – and read it straight through. What themes do you notice? What is its central message? Any favorite verses?
  • I Corinthians 13 is one of the most famous passages in the whole Bible.   Read it again (or for the first time!) and pay attention to the characteristics and actions of love. What are the most important for you?  
  • Read Hebrews 11:1-12:2. Who are the characters from the Hebrew Bible that are part of the “Hall of Fame of Faith?” What does it mean and feel like to be “surrounded by a cloud of witnesses?”
  • Find a political cartoon in the newspaper or online and bring it to class with you or send me a copy ahead of time. We’ll use it as part of our discussion of the book of Revelation.  

    For printable Week 5 Homework assignments, click here.

Week 4 Resources & Homework

  • Take a look at the beginning of each of the Gospels. How do Matthew, Mark, Luke and John launch into their respective stories of Jesus?
  • Matthew has the famous Sermon on the Mount.  Read chapters 5-7 of Matthew’s gospel. What is familiar? What is most comforting? What is most challenging?  
  • Luke Chapter 15 is sometimes called “God’s Lost & Found.” What do the three parables tell you about the unconditional love of God?
  • Read John 8:1-30. John is full of much more detailed “encounter” stories than the other Gospels. What do you learn about Jesus and his ministry from his conversation with the Samaritan woman?

    For printable Week 4 Homework assignments, click here.

Week 3 Resources & Homework

  • The Prophets also spoke words of hope and comfort to the people. Read Isaiah 40:25-31, Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 37:1-14.  How do you think these words spoke to the people in their time? How do these words bring you encouragement today?
  • One of the most famous passages from all the prophetic literature comes from Micah 6:6-8. What do you think this means as a summary of how to live in covenant with God and each other? Why do you think Christians and Jews alike find these verses to be so powerful?
  • Read the chapter on the prophets from The Bible Unwrapped called “The Outsiders.” Why does she call them that? According to Good, what is the role of the prophet?

    For printable Week 3 Homework assignments, click here.

Week 2 Resources & Homework

  • Poke Around the Book of Psalms. How many different kinds of Psalms can you find (lament, petition, praise, etc.). Find one that you really like and that speaks to you.
  • Explore the Book of Proverbs a Bit. Proverbs is full of pithy sayings, the wisdom of lived experience. Can you find any that are humorous? Really pertinent to the world or your life today? More descriptive (this is just how life is) than prescriptive (this is how you should live)?
  • Read an Excerpt from Bible Babel. This will give you a sense of the differences and similarities between the Old Testament and Hebrew Bible, a quick overview of the Old and New Testaments and an introduction to how Biblical history is recorded. Take note of any new insights and big picture ideas.
  • Read an Excerpt from The Bible Unwrapped. What are your reactions to    the author challenging the notion of the “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth” approach to reading the Bible? What do you think Good means by reading the scriptures and developing a Biblically shaped imagination? Now that you are “experts” on Genesis 1 & 2 :), what do you think of the way she describes those two accounts of creation?

    For printable Week 2 Homework assignments, click here.

Week 1 Resources & Homework

  • Read Genesis 1:1-2:3 and 2:4-25. What differences in detail and style do you notice about these back-to-back creation stories?
  • Read Genesis 1:1-2:3 and 2:4-25. What differences in detail and style do you notice about these back-to-back creation stories?
  • Read Exodus 3:1-15. How do you think Moses felt during this strange encounter with God? Have you ever felt God calling you to do anything?
  • Take the Bible 101 Quiz. Try to do it without your Bible or Google or other resources the first time. Then feel free to go back a 2nd time with whatever help you can find.

  • Read “Is the Bible Inspired?” by Adam Hamilton. What are your reactions? How does this confirm, challenge or broaden your understanding of the Bible as inspired by God?
  • Here’s the short video on the Canon that we showed last night which talks about the process of deciding what would be included in the New Testament.

    For printable Week 1 Homework assignments, click here.

Some Suggested Books

Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today (2014) by Adam Hamilton

Making Sense of Scripture: Big Questions About the Book of Faith (2009) by David J. Lose

Bible Babel: Making Sense of the Most Talked About Book of All Time (2000) by Kristin Swenson

The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart (2002)
by Peter Gomes

The Bible Tells Me So…Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It (2014) by Peter Enns

What Is the Bible? How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters & Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything (2017)
by Rob Bell

The Bible Unwrapped: Making Sense of Scripture Today
by Meghan Larissa Good

The Abingdon Introduction to the Bible: Understanding Jewish and Christian Scriptures (2014) by Kaminsky, Lohr & Reasoner

Some Good Study Bibles & Bible Websites

The New Oxford Annotated Bible (NRSV)

The Harper Collins Study Bible (NRSV)

The NIV Study Bible (NIV)

Bible Gateway

You Bible (Bible App)

A Good Companion Bible Paraphrase

The Message by Eugene Peterson