Bible Study Group.
What is a bible study?
In Christianity, a Bible Study is the study of the Bible by ordinary people as a personal, religious or spiritual practice.
Why does St Paul’s have a Bible Study?
In order that the parishioners and clergy can together positively respond to the call of Holy Scripture in that ‘it is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man (or women) of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.’ (2 Timothy3 16, 17).
In other words so that parishioners and clergy can know and understand what scripture has to teach us about what we should do in life as well as what should be avoided and be corrected. Additionally it identifies what it means to be righteous so that both as individuals and as various parish groups, people can be adequately prepared and equipped in order to undertake every good work in the building up of the church, meeting the needs of the poor; spiritual and temporal as well getting to know God on a personal and ever more intimate way.
When did the St Paul’s bible study commence?
When and where does the bible study take place?
The study takes place on a weekly basis on a Wednesday morning immediately following the morning mass or Eucharistic service and again in the evening at 7.30pm. Both studies are held in the presbytery which is located immediately next door to the parish church of St Paul’s.
Why are there two groups?
Because of working and other commitments it is important to give parishioners a choice of attending either in the morning or in the evening if a parishioner works or has other commitments during the day.
What takes place in the bible study?
Group members sit in a circle and begin with shared refreshments and a general welcome followed by the collective saying of the prayer of St Thomas Aquinas (see below for the prayer) who himself always prayed before he commenced his own study.
Following the prayer those present study a book of the bible from start to finish studying a few verses each time the group meets. It takes many months to study each book. To date the groups have studied the gospel of Luke and are in the process of completing the Acts of the Apostles.
Each person attending has their own bible which they bring with them each week. Bibles are available to borrow if a person does not possess one.
Carrying on from the place reached at the end of the previous meeting a member of the group reads an agreed chapter or versus. The group then goes back to the beginning of what was read and, on a verse by verse basis, discusses what it is that the verses are saying by way of:
* Teaching: those present about God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), life lived for and in God, positive life giving activities for self, families, parishes etc,
* Reproof and correction: of those things in life that do not lead to God,
* Righteousness: training in so that those present can be built up so that they are adequately equipped for every good work that can be done for the honour and glory of God and the service of our neighbours.
The constant question on every one lips is “how can I put into practice in my life that which I have learnt from the study” be it:
* directly from the words of scripture
* and/or from the experiences or advice of group member(s) who share their insight into what scripture is saying to them,
* Or a combination of both.
What is the style or atmosphere in the bible studies?
Although the subject matter is important the style and atmosphere of the groups is light hearted and friendly.
What do the members of the bible study say about their bible study experiences?
“When Deacon Barry originally offered bible study to parishioners, I was very sceptical. I immediately thought meetings would be deep, boring or probably both. I decided to try it just for one meeting and how wrong were my thoughts. Of course we read bible but the group is so much more. We have very interesting discussions, between us we ask questions and most are answered or we discuss the query. I have learnt so much! If I do have to miss bible study I actually miss it. I really enjoy it plus we have a laugh! It isn’t strictly serious meetings. I attend the Wednesday morning group. So if any parishioner (male or female, any age!) is free, please come and join us and you may also be surprised at how good the ‘bible study’ is.”
“I did wonder if the bible study would be too theological, above my head, but I found that I am learning and thinking more about the basis of my faith. I especially enjoy the discussions with a friendly group of people.”
The study times are very rewarding. Each one of us is allowed to say what we receive from the talks and the readings and many views are aired. This is most rewarding, as one might have one interpretation, while another attendee will input a different slant; this is so helpful and makes one more open to further discussions regarding the Old and New Testaments and the impact upon our Faith. The group is lucky to have serious, knowledgeable people willing to lead the group when required. Father Madden was present at one of the sessions and we all greatly benefited from his superb knowledge and input which was most helpful.
What do I do if I would like to come along and see what the group is like?
Details of the meetings are published in the weekly parish bulletin. Please just turn up. Or if you prefer speak to Deacon Barry.
What is the study prayer of St Aquinas?
BESTOW UPON ME, O God AN UNDERSTANDING THAT KNOWS YOU, WISDOM IN FINDING YOU, A WAY OF LIFE THAT IS PLEASING TO YOU, PERSEVERANCE THAT FAITHFULLY WAITS FOR YOU, AND CONFISDENCE THAT I SHALL EMBRACE YOU AT THE LAST. AMEN.