Introduction to the Gospels and beginning of Gospel of Mark
We will begin with a brief introduction to the New Testament: what it consists of, the type of writing it contains, and who the writers were. In order to do this, we will need to set the New Testament in the context of history and we will need to explore the sources the writers used. This first session will help with an understanding of why there are some differences and also many similarities between the gospels. We will also discuss the Christian communities who received these writings in order to understand what the writers intended to convey. Finally we will look at the first few chapters of the Gospel of Mark to get a sense of the outline he used, his themes, and how he seemed to understand the mission of Jesus and our role as disciples.
The Gospel of Mark
We will delve into the first written gospel, the Gospel of Mark. This
gospel is the shortest of the four, but Mark says quite a lot in his seemingly
concise style. Mark used many interesting techniques in his writing, all of
which had great meaning to him and to the community to whom he addressed his
gospel. We will also look at three prominent themes in Mark’s gospel, focusing
on discipleship and what it means to be a follower of Jesus, as well as a brief
look at the issue of suffering, and why Jesus told people not to tell others
when He performed miracles.
The Gospel of Matthew
This week we will discuss the Gospel of
Matthew. Matthew’s gospel is brilliantly laid out in order to make the reader
understand that God has a wonderful plan in all He does. We will look into the
way Matthew shows us that Jesus fulfilled prophecies, since he wrote this for an
audience of Jewish converts. We will also take a close look at the five major
discourses of Jesus in this Gospel and discover how they contain the heart of
Jesus’ teaching. Our main emphasis will be the Sermon on the Mount and the Last
Judgment parables in Matthew 25.
The Gospel of Luke
This week we will discuss the Gospel of Luke.
Luke’s Gospel gives us insight into the Virgin Mary and her role in salvation
history. We will see how Luke emphasizes that the salvation Jesus brings is for
everyone, not just for the Jewish people. We will also look into Luke’s
emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit, as well as Jesus’ explanation of who the
Spirit is in relation to the Father and the Son. In addition we will look into
what is unique to this gospel, especially the parables and the post
The Gospel of John
This week we will discuss the Gospel of John. We
will see how the author used a different outline for his gospel than the
synoptic writers used, and that most of what appears in his gospel is
unique. We will see how John was more
interested in the meaning of who Jesus is as well as the meaning behind His
ministry. We will explore the differences between this gospel and the other
three, as well as the themes John established as he wrote the last of the four
gospels contained in the Bible.
The Acts of the Apostles
We will focus this week on the
early Church as it grew after the death and resurrection of Jesus. We will see
what events caused the faith to spread, the effect of martyrdom on the church,
and the new ministries that emerged. We will closely follow the ministry of St.
Peter and have an introduction to St. Paul. Given that presently we are in the
time of conclave and new leadership in the Church, we will talk about the
process of the early Church in decision making and how they followed the lead
of the Holy Spirit no differently than we do today. St. Peter was the first
bishop of Rome, so we will see the effects of his leadership, especially.
St. Paul and the Letters
We will continue to discuss the early Church as it grew after the death and resurrection of Jesus. We will discuss St. Paul and how he obtained the designation of an apostle. In a short period we cannot discuss all his writing, so we will explore some excerpts of his letters, particularly 1 Thessalonians, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, and Romans. Additionally we will look at the Catholic Letters, which are letters written by authors other than Paul.
The Book of Revelation
We will discuss the Book of Revelation and the code in which it is written. It is a fascinating book, but there is so much misinterpretation and misinformation about it that for many it is difficult to understand. We will explore the true meaning of this book, the message it contained for the early Church, and what it means for us today. Once you know the code, it is not difficult at all! It is our last session, but all are welcome to join us as we unlock the “secrets” of this book.