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Bible Study: Last Sunday After the Epiphany (B) – 2012

February 20, 2012


2 Kings 2:1-12

In 1 Kings 19, Elisha leaves his home and his fields to become the servant of Elijah. This story in 2 Kings describes Elijah being taken up to heaven and Elisha’s reaction to his master’s departure. The emotional tone of this passage is heightened through repetition: three times Elijah tries to keep Elisha from continuing with him (vs. 2, 4, 6), and three times Elisha responds that he will not leave him while he is still alive. Twice, a group of prophets tells Elisha that his master will leave him that day (vs. 3, 5), and twice Elisha tells them to be quiet. In verse 12, we see that Elisha views Elijah like a father, which explains why he feels such profound grief at his parting.

  • Why do you think the author highlights the emotional tone of the relationship between Elisha and Elijah? Why is this relationship important?
  • Why do you think that Elijah grants Elisha’s request in vs. 10 only on the condition that he sees him taken away?
  • Did you find anything curious or intriguing that jumped out to you in this passage? What is it, and why did it stand out to you?

Psalm 50:1-6

As poetry, psalms are often best read aloud. Take a moment to read through these verses aloud. Verses 1, 3, and 4-5 allude to the fact of God speaking. How does the psalmist highlight the power of God’s voice?

Read the psalm aloud a second time. What words or images stand out to you? Pick one phrase, word, or image, and take a few moments to meditate on it.

Read it aloud a third time. Is there a prayer arising in you from this psalm? Take a moment to offer this prayer to God.

Read it aloud a fourth time. Spend some time in silence listening for God’s voice. Is God calling you to do or be something?

2 Corinthians 4:3-6

Paul uses light and darkness as metaphors for understanding and ignorance of the gospel of Christ. The image of a veil is also used, which Paul uses in the previous chapter, verses 12-18. A veil keeps someone both from seeing clearly and from being seen clearly. But when the veil is removed, the face is revealed. In the same way, when God turns on the lights of knowledge in the heart, God’s glory is revealed “in the face of Jesus Christ” (vs. 6).

  • What explanation does Paul give for why some people do not accept the gospel? What reactions do you have to his explanation?
  • In this passage, Paul connects light with knowledge (vs. 6). This is similar to the cartoon image of the light bulb turning on when someone has an idea. What do you think of this image? Is it helpful? Have you ever had a “light bulb” moment regarding Jesus?

Mark 9:2-9

Peter, James, and John witness Jesus transformed: his clothing becomes “dazzling white” (vs. 3) and he talks with two famous figures from Israelite history, Moses and Elijah. The Transfiguration is a well-known gospel story, one that Christians sometimes hear so often, it is easy to read through quickly with no new insights. Yet, after you read Mark 9:2-9, look back over the other Bible readings for today.

  • The 2 Kings passage describes Elijah’s ascension to heaven. What reasons can you think of for Elijah reappearing here?
  • Compare Mark 9:7 with Psalm 50:1-3. How is God’s glory revealed and described in the Psalm? What images are used? Are there any similar images and descriptions in Mark?
  • Paul compares the knowledge of God’s glory in Christ to light. How are the concepts of light and glory used in this Mark passage?
  • Take a moment to be silent in God’s presence. I invite you to offer to God your thoughts and feelings, and then spend a few moments listening to God or simply being in God’s presence.

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Christopher Sikkema

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This page is available in: Español