Does knowing your Bible really matter? You bet it does. Recently, contestants on Jeopardy were asked, “What happened in the Upper Room according to the Book of Acts chapters 1-13?” The first contestant answered, “Pentecost.” He was right, but Jeopardy said, “You are incorrect.”
The next contestant answered, “The Last Supper.” Jeopardy said, “You are correct,” but Jeopardy was wrong! Yes, the Last Supper occurred in the Upper Room, but this story is told in the gospels and not in the Book of Acts.
Acts tells us that the disciples were gathered in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit fell upon them, and they began to speak in many different languages. The Pentecostal moment reversed the chaos that had occurred after the fall of the Tower of Babel.
The Day of Pentecost brought about a unity where from people from many different countries heard about God’s unconditional and powerful healing, love in their own language. Each person sensed an overwhelming experience of unity and oneness with God and humanity.
The contestant who answered correctly was denied $11,000 despite giving the correct answer. Fortunately, Jeopardy later awarded the correct person $11,000, but it just goes to show you that it pays to know your Bible.
So how do you go deeper in learning about God’s Word? Here are three fun ways:
On Sunday, June 24 from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. in Haas Hall, St. Thomas parishioners Katie Worrall and Ken Oliver will offer a short introduction to help you learn more about the Education for Ministry (EFM) Program. This is a GREAT program!
EFM is not a preparation for ordained ministry, but it is a way to ask and find answers to a lot of questions about the Bible. It will also help you to apply the Bible’s wisdom and theology and church history to your daily life as you seek to live out your baptism.
I believe that EFM is the single best course offered by the Episcopal Church. It is a four-year program, but participants commit to taking EFM one year at a time.
If they like it, they can sign up for the next year. Almost all of them do. By the end of the program, the most frequently asked question is, “Is there life after EFM?” That’s how powerful EFM has been for thousands of Episcopalians across the United States who have taken it.
I believe that it is the very best way to follow up The Bible Challenge. As one Bible Challenge participant told me, “I loved The Bible Challenge! I got a tremendous amount out of reading the Bible, but I now have more questions about the Bible than when I started.” That’s a great response.
It’s a perfect time to dive deeper and take the first year of EFM, where participants study the Old Testament. In the second year, they study the New Testament. In the third and fourth years, they study theology and church history.
Come and find out more about EFM this Sunday after worship. We are now enrolling new group members for the fall session. For more information, please contact Katie Worrall (215-233-1305) or Ken Oliver (215-646-1204).
This year’s EFM participants at St. Thomas’ have included: Alan Smith, Jim Rowan, Gretta Ward, Susan Hunsicker, Marj Daniels and Tricia and Charles Horter. Please feel free to ask them about their experience of participating in EFM.
There are no strings attached to attending the informational session. Several current EFM participants will share their experiences. If you know of someone else who may be interested (even if they are not a member of St. Thomas’), please invite them to attend. All are welcome.
Another option for diving deeper is to join parishioner and seasoned Bible study facilitator Sarah Elliot for a fresh look at the Gospels.
Friday, June 29
Take a fresh look at the Gospels and see what’s there.
Through group discussion to open up the meaning of the text, we start with Jesus’ baptism, reading Matthew, Mark and Luke side by side for easy comparison. All are welcome! Friday mornings, 7:30 to 8:30, June 29 through August 3 (no meeting on July 13), in Haas Hall. Contact Sarah Elliott to sign up or for more information.
A final option that is open to all men in or beyond our church to dive deeper is to attend the Men’s Beer, Burgers and the Bible!
Yes, Men in and outside St. Thomas’, BBB is back!
Due to our Capital Campaign, I have had limited time to organize our BBB for this summer, but we cannot go all summer without our beer, burgers and Bible. So, I invite you to join me for two evenings of good food, good company, a fine brew or two and a chance to look at how the Church began as we study the Book of Acts together.
The Book of Acts was written by the author of Luke’s Gospel as a sequel that tells how the disciples and especially how Peter and Paul left Jerusalem to share the Good News of Jesus to people far and wide.
I will draw on the recently published Jewish Annotated New Testament, which is a New Revised Standard Version of the Bible with footnotes written by rabbis and Jewish scholars explaining first and second century Jewish traditions and beliefs as well as what the rabbis have taught across the centuries and what passages have been misinterpreted for Anti-Semitic purposes.
We will look at the first disciples, how they lived, what risks they took, how they shared their faith, the challenges they faced and where they found their inspiration to create the largest and most powerful religion in history. We will seek wisdom to help us live as contagious Christians today.
Sign up for one or both nights. RSVPs are essential. We need to hear from you by July 9, if you can attend on Wednesday, July 11 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. or by July 16, if you can join us for Wednesday, July 18 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
We will gather out on the terrace behind Church Hill Hall, the St. Thomas’ Church Office. Dress is casual. Please call Anita Burke at 215-233-3970 ext. 121 to RSVP or email her at: email@example.com The cost is $15 per session. Dinner is catered. I will personally select great European beers.
Please start reading the Book of Acts in advance and bring your Bible. Feel free to sign up and bring a friend or two. Attendance is limited to the first 20 persons to register. No shows must pay so that we can reimburse our caterer.
With blessings as you continue to read your Bible and let the God’s Word interpret your life,