Gather Bible studies
Always Being Made New
What's coming up in our 2016 Bible studies?
In the fall of 2015, Gather began offering Bible study in a different way, and we hope you like it. We now offer more Bible studies (winter, spring, summer, fall, and an Advent devotional), and the leader guide will be included in the magazine. With this new format, we can use a variety of new writers who might not have agreed to write a nine-month study and separate leader guide.
Here is the format:
Winter: Four sessions, probably a book of the Bible (January/February through April)
Spring: One session, an intergenerational lesson (May)
Fall: Three sessions (September through November)
Advent/Christmas: Short devotional (December)
This Advent, as we wait for Jesus' coming, we prepare our hearts and minds to see what God calls us to do. Download the Advent devotional in the December 2015 issue of Gather.
Christian Citizenship 101
For winter 2016, our four-session Bible study is an exploration of the book of Philippians, written by E. Louise Williams and the Rev. Phyllis N. Kersten, two regular contributors to Gather (and our former publication Lutheran Woman Today). Louise and Phyllis wrote the 1990 Women of the ELCA Bible study, “Companions on Your Journey.” Phyllis, a retired pastor, lives in a suburb of Chicago, and Louise, executive director emerita of the Lutheran Deaconess Association, lives in Valparaiso, Ind.
“Philippians is a wonderful book,” the authors write. “Paul had founded the Christian church in Philippi a number of years before and now writes to encourage them. Even though he is imprisoned, Paul does not seem downcast or discouraged. On the contrary, he thinks his suffering might have positive results for the gospel’s continued extension in the world.”
Session 1: Confidence in God’s beginnings and endings (Philippians 1:1-26)
Session 2: Servant-shaped soldiers (Philippians 1:27-2:18)
Session 3: Being of one mind (Philippians 2:19-4:3)
Session 4: Keep on keeping on (Philippians 4:4-23)
Mary and Elizabeth: Sisters across the generations
For May 2016, Norma Cook Everist, professor of Church and Ministry at Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, shares an intergenerational Bible study session on Mary and Elizabeth: Sisters across the generations. Norma is a deaconess and an ordained ELCA pastor. Her latest book is Seventy Images of Grace in the Epistles That Make all the Difference in the World.
"Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit," Norma Cook Everist writes. "Here is sister conversation across the generations. Elizabeth is the first to witness to the identity of 'my Lord' and his incarnation into the world. Indeed it is the first proclamation. Elizabeth exclaimed with a loud cry! No quiet whispering. No doubtful, 'Do you think, maybe?'
"Mary hears surety and feels security in the words and in the arms of her relative Elizabeth. Elizabeth is more than a 'mere' relative; she is a sister in faith."
The Heart of the Matter
For summer 2016, Angela Shannon, a pastor at King of Glory Lutheran Church in Dallas, Texas, will share “The Heart of the Matter,” a three-session Bible study on learning to deal with conflict through the ministry of reconciliation.
“Repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation are healing words,” Angela Shannon writes. “We hear these words spoken from our pulpits, in our hymns and various places throughout our churches. Yet we see conflict in our society and the ways in which we harm each other. We are about to enter an election year where the politics are as shrill and mean as ever.”
Although we look to the church for a safe haven from conflict, Shannon says, “life follows us through the doors, and there too we find conflict.”
“Conflicts are nothing new to the church,” Shannon says. “What’s miraculous is that God continues to create us anew. God insists on entrusting us with the ministry of reconciliation."
She continues: “In working with congregations, I have found that although people are familiar with the healing words of Christ’s church, we must continue to learn the practical application of these words.”
Session 1: Treasure in clay jars (2 Corinthians 4:7)
Session 2: Seeking God (Jeremiah 29:14)
Session 3: The ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)
So that's what we're doing. What do you think? Do you have any ideas for us? If so, please feel free to send us an email at email@example.com and put "new Bible study idea" in the subject line.