Friday, May 18, 2012

Study through Acts, Chapter 7, part two

As I mentioned in the last lesson, without even a cursory understanding of Israel’s history, Stephen’s rehearsal of it here in chapter 7 will be nearly meaningless for us. That is why I asked the reader to read (or at least slowly skim) Genesis chapters 12-50 before starting the last lesson. Now, for this second part of the lesson from chapter seven, please read Exodus chapters 1-15. Afterward, answer the following questions.

Verses 17-38     Notice in verse 40 how long Moses was in the Midian wilderness. Does that speak to the preparation time God sometimes employs with you or me as He gets us ready for the work He calls us to do? What might that teach us about patience and impatience?

If your Bible does not have reference notes for the Old Testament passages St. Stephen refers to, please use the following as an aid to your study:

Acts 7:27-28 – Exodus 2:14
Acts 7:29 – Exodus 18:3,4
Acts 7:30 – Exodus 3:1 and following verses
Acts 7:32— Exodus 3:5
Acts 7:33-34 – Exodus 3:5-10
Acts 7:37 – Deuteronomy 18:15-18
Acts 7:40 – Exodus 32:1-23

What does this comparison suggest to us about this “waiter’s” familiarity with the Scriptures? The Jews were always known (until recent times) as “The People of the Book.”  Why might they have been known that way?  If true about the Jews, what about the Church? What does the Church teach about the study of Scripture? For example, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraphs (131-133):

131 "And such is the force and power of the Word of God that it can serve the Church as her support and vigor, and the children of the Church as strength for their faith, food for the soul, and a pure and lasting fount of spiritual life." Hence "access to Sacred Scripture ought to be open wide to the Christian faithful." (Bold print reflects my emphasis of the paragraph)

132 "Therefore, the study of the sacred page should be the very soul of sacred theology. The ministry of the Word, too - pastoral preaching, catechetics and all forms of Christian instruction, among which the liturgical homily should hold pride of place - is healthily nourished and thrives in holiness through the Word of Scripture."

133 The Church "forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful. . . to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. (Bold print reflects my emphasis of the paragraph)

We will move further into this chapter next time.

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