This Lent I began editing and co-authoring a weekly free, downloadable PDF Bible study with Pr. Bryan Wolfmueller on the Penitential Psalms (6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143) for Around the Word.
We’ve had a number of people tell us how useful they’ve found these studies for their congregations and personal bible study. For my part, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed teaching these studies at my two congregations as they have resulted in some very substantive, edifying conversations. There are a number of points of departure in these studies for further teaching (e.g., for the pastor or learned layman who’s leading a study), yet the studies readily lend themselves to dialogue or individual use and don’t necessarily require a leader (the questions themselves are “leading”). Here’s a sample from this week’s study on Psalm 130:
v. 1: “Out of the depths I cry to you”
The Hebrew word for “depths” (מַעֲמַקִּים) occurs four other times in the Old Testament, each time in a context where there is imminent danger from water (Psalm 69:2, 14; Isaiah 51:10; Ezekiel 27:34).
What danger threatens to destroy the psalmist here in this psalm? Consider especially verse 3.
Compare also 1 Corinthians 10:1–14. What example has Israel set for us in the Old Testament?
I’ve often struggled to find a good balance between lecture and discussion in my bible classes, and these studies have been quite helpful in that regard. The questions in the study aren’t of the “how did this passage make you feel” variety, but drive us into a deeper study of God’s Word, always with a Christological and practical emphasis. One lady (whom I’ve never met) had this to say about these studies:
I lead an English Bible reading class for women once a month at my (Japanese) church. I used this as my guide. Thank you so much! It was a very good study yesterday. One woman (who had been attending churches primarily for contact with English speakers for over 20 years) who was baptized a few years ago finally understood that the Old Testament is not just a collection of random stories, but they point to Christ. Made my day! Thanks again.
Soli Deo gloria!
The final installment of our penitential Psalms study (Psalm 143) will be released on Holy Monday. On Easter Monday we will begin publishing a study of 1 Corinthians 15 on the Resurrection from fellow BJS author and Steadfast Throwdown co-host Pastor Randy Asburry. After that, look for studies on Ecclesiastes, Revelation, and Isaiah.