Bible Study

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Bible Study: Epiphany 2 (B) – 2012

January 16, 2012

1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)

As we enter a new year, change is happening. Change always precipitates or occurs concurrently with a transition in our lives. The reading from 1 Samuel is all about transitions. This story of Samuel and Eli was probably collected, edited, and placed into the book we call 1 Samuel during the time of King Josiah. King Josiah’s reign was a huge period of reform and transition for the southern kingdom of Judah. King Josiah must have felt that this story revealed something important about transitions.

In the reading itself, we witness the change of leadership from Eli to Samuel. Eli’s sight is growing dim and Samuel’s time has come. Through a theophany, Samuel has a vision and hears the word of the Lord. What he hears is not pleasant, for it is a pronouncement of judgment upon his mentor Eli. Eli accepts this transition, and Samuel becomes the prophet.

  • What are the transitions that have occurred in your life over the past year? How have they been good and how have they been difficult? In these transitions, where do you see the presence of God? Is there part of your life that is like Eli, and God is moving you out of that part? What are the parts of your life that are like Samuel, new parts of your life where God is present?

Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17

It is speculated that this psalm was composed during the post-exilic period. The post-exilic period was a time when the Judeans were able to return to their homeland after years of being in exile. This psalm captures the emotions of their return and their faith that nothing can separate them from God.

  • Have you ever had an experience were you felt cut off, separated from God? How did you feel after that experience? What has that experience taught you about God and yourself?

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Paul letter to the Corinthians is a rhetorical argument formed to help the Corinthians understand their relationships (personal and communal) with God. The Corinthians currently had two major misconceptions about their relationships with God.

The first misconception is that if one loves God, then one is incapable of sin because a person who loves God would not choose to do anything contrary to the love of God. Therefore, “all things are lawful for me” and “all sin is outside of the body.” The second misconception is that one’s sin only affects the individual and not the community. This is the idea of “sins against the body itself.”

Paul unravels both of these misconceptions and reminds the Corinthians that we are in a relationship with God and each other. Everything that we do affects God because God dwells within us. Everything we do also affects the other members of the body of Christ. This means our utmost duty is to glorify God, who loves us through the sending of his son Jesus.

  • The deep theology Paul is unpacking is captured beautifully in our Confession of Sin that we pray weekly at the Holy Eucharist. Read that confession (Book of Common Prayer, p. 360) and reflect upon the following questions. What does it mean to love God with our whole hearts? How do my actions affect God? How do my actions affect others? What does it mean that God dwells inside of me? How can I glorify God?

John 1:43-51

The gospel of John was written to a community that was struggling. They had been cast out of their synagogues and labeled heretics for their beliefs. One can imagine that this raised a lot of skepticism and doubt within each person and the community.

The gospel passage, I believe, is written specifically to comfort the Johannine community. It was not intended to remove all their skepticism and doubt, or condemn them for it. No, the story of Nathanael and Jesus’ closing line in verse 51 promised the community that Jesus is the incarnate Son of God. Jesus has and will continue to be revealed to you as you struggle and wrestle with the things happening to you because you are a disciple of Jesus.

  • Where in your life is God asking you to “come and see”? What would be the cost to you if you heeded God’s call? How would that affect you, your friend, your family, and your community? How can you value your skepticism and doubts, but remain open to God?

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Christopher Sikkema


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This page is available in: Español