Foundations in Biblical Study, Part 1: Essentials in the Study and Understanding of Scripture

Dr. Vern Steiner
Instructor
Dr. Vern Steiner
Foundations in Biblical Study, Part 1: Essentials in the Study and Understanding of Scripture

The first of two Foundations in Biblical Study offerings, this ten-week course will focus on questions of Biblical Introduction. It is designed to familiarize God’s people with the Bible generally, preparing us to read, study, pray, live, and proclaim the Sacred Scriptures. Clergy and Christian faithful (consecrated religious, teachers, Bible study leaders, missionaries, dads and moms, the curious and inquisitive)–all are welcome.

Each of the five parts to this course will answer an introductory question about the Bible. Part One engages the question: Is the Bible a Protestant book, or can Catholics really be Bible Christians? It debunks some popular myths in this regard and makes an urgent appeal both to Catholics and non-Catholics to renew their love for and familiarity with Sacred Scripture. Part Two addresses the question: What is the Bible?, and provides a threefold definition that will help us think about the Bible in such a way that we receive it on the right wavelength. Here we also clarify the relationship between Scripture and Tradition in the Church’s teaching, and why that relationship is important for our task of reading and studying the Bible. Part Three tackles the fascinating and important question: How did we get the Bible? It traces the history and formation of Sacred Scripture, from the invention of writing and why God chose it, to the availability of the Bible for purchase at bookstores everywhere. Included here is a discussion on why Catholic Bibles are larger than Protestant ones (or Protestant Bibles smaller than Catholic ones), and on how and why Bible versions vary and which ones are to be preferred. Part Four asks the question: What does the Bible say, and why does it matter? It offers an answer in the form of an overview of the grand biblical “theo-drama” in a way that is conveniently memorable, and reflects on what it means to “inhabit” the sacred story in such a way that we discover its transforming relevance in our lives. Finally, Part Five addresses the question of reliability: Why should we believe the Bible? And what about all those parts that are hard to square with modern-day conceptions and objections about reality and morality? Here we will consider the reasonableness of supernatural revelation and the five pillars of believability.

This course should be viewed, ideally, as prerequisite to Part II in the fall, which will focus on Biblical Interpretation. That course will move further along a path from theory to practice, from guiding principles to their application in the actual task of discerning the meaning and message of biblical texts.

Required Texts:

  • Sacred Scripture, the Bible (preferably RSVCE 2nd edition)
  • Instructor’s notes (provided and included in the registration cost)

Classroom Location & Directions