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Group Study of the Bible

One of my treasured opportunities in retirement was to provide leadership for several years for a weekly study group at Chedoke Church in Hamilton, Ontario. For about 30 weeks of the year an eager and inquisitive group of people gathered to spend an engaging hour and a half in study and conversation about the faith. Our discussions were often punctuated with laughter and sometimes with tears. We came together not to become a spiritual elite but simply as seekers desiring to deepen our understanding and commitment to Christ - whether we had been in Christian community all our days or have joined it much more recently.

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This page and the places to which it connects served as a practical resource library for this group. Others who were not able to be part of the group may find here some material that may help them in their personal self-directed study and reflection.

Proverbs - Wisdom for the World

In January 2012 the group undertook a four session series on the introduction of the Book of Proverbs. The studies included discussion material gathered from the Internet that served to illustrate the varied opinions in our world about wisdom. Each study covered a chapter in the text of Proverbs (The Contemporary English Version (CEV) text for the chapter is included within the study notes). The discussion material is accompanied by some questions but is provided without interpretive comment. The study notes are in full page format and are included here as PDF files which can be viewed or downloaded.
Proverbs, Chapter One
Proverbs, Chapter Two
Proverbs, Chapter Three
Proverbs, Chapter Four

Philippians for Today

This brief 4 session study series, originally presented in October 2011, will help you take a fresh look at Paul's letter to the Philippians. This series is based on the Contemporary English Version (CEV) text. The resources provided include access to the CEV text and the notes and discussion material prepared for distribution in the group sessions. The study materials are being made available here in two formats as indicated below.

The Contemporary English Version text of Philippians
You can access this material on-line at the Bible Gateway website. If you want it in a format that you can easily download to your computer or print out click on CEV text of Philippians.

"Philippians for Today" Study Notes
Each of the four segments is being made available here in two formats. The material being used in the group sessions is in a two-sided, three-column brochure format. This is convenient and attractive when printed out but it is not very handy to consult on your computer. Consequently, the identical material is being provided in a full page format which can be read on-line or downloaded and printed out. Both the brochure and the full page formats are being provided in PDF format and require Adobe Reader for access (fortunately Adobe Reader is available on most computers).

Philippians For Today, Session One. Choose either: Brochure Format or Full Page format.

Philippians For Today, Session Two. Choose either: Brochure Format or Full Page format.

Philippians For Today, Session Three. Choose either: Brochure Format or Full Page format.

Philippians For Today, Session Four. Choose either: Brochure Format or Full Page format.

Colossians for Today

This brief 4 session series, used in the Chedoke Study Group in November 2011, takes a fresh look at Paul's letter to the Colossians. This series is based on the Contemporary English Version (CEV) text. The resources provided include access to the CEV text and the notes and discussion material prepared for distribution in the group sessions. The study materials are being made available here in two formats as indicated below.

The Contemporary English Version text of Colossians
You can access this material on-line at the Bible Gateway website. If you want it in a format that you can easily download to your computer or print out click on CEV text of Colossians.

"Colossians for Today" Study Notes
Each of the four segments is being made available here in two formats. The material being used in the group sessions is in a two-sided, three-column brochure format. This is convenient and attractive when printed out but it is not very handy to consult on your computer. Consequently, the identical material is being provided in a full page format which can be read on-line or downloaded and printed out. Both the brochure and the full page formats are being provided here in PDF format.

Colossians For Today, Session One. Choose either: Brochure Format or Full Page format.

Colossians For Today, Session Two. Choose either: Brochure Format or Full Page format.

Colossians For Today, Session Three. Choose either: Brochure Format or Full Page format.

Colossians For Today, Session Four. Choose either: Brochure Format or Full Page format.


A Simplified Approach to Bible Study

During the fall of 2010 I introduced a Simplified Approach to Bible Study and we then applied it to four of the shortest books of prophecy in the Old Testament. The prophecies that we explored were those of Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai and Malachi.

Internet Resources for Bible Study

The Internet offers a constantly growing collection of resource material for those wishing to learn more about the message of the Bible. I hope to be able to offer some assistance to those seeking the best, from my perspective, of what is available online.

You have to understand that there are essentially two types of free material on the Internet. There are older books that are no longer protected by copyright (these are usually quite old) and then there are newer materials that have been prepared especially for distribution on the Internet. The challenges with much of the older material is that it is written in an older style, is usually tied to the King James Version English text and, of course, lacks the insight of recent biblical research. The best of it, however, seems to possess a spirituality which some rather sterile contemporary biblical material seems almost to lack altogether. The problem with the "made for the Internet" material is that it is often produced by unknown writers whose talents for writing and critical scholarship range all the way from wonderful and refreshing to abysmal. But, if you have the time to check it out, there is some very valuable material in this second category.

In my brief list below I have tried to include some of the best of both of these worlds. However, the Internet being the dynamic place that it is, if you find things here that do not seem to you to represent an orthodox viewpoint please draw them to my attention so that I can reassess their presence here. Also, in this list I have tried primarily to include things of general interest - material specific to a particular book of the Bible, passage or theme will be included on separate lists that may later appear at other places on this website.

General Bible Background

Easton's Bible Dictionary This dictionary has almost 4,000 entries on biblical topics.
Smith's Bible Dictionary
Web Bible Encyclopedia 4,000 articles relating to the people, places and customs of the Bible.
Biblical Words Pronunciation Guide Unsure how to pronounce a biblical name? Listen here.
Geneva Study Bible
Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Whole Bible

Introduction to the Old Testament and its History & Culture

"Concise Old Testament Survey" by: J. Hampton Keathley, III

Introduction to the New Testament and its History & Culture

Introduction to the New Testament by Louis Berkhof. An introduction to each book in the NT.
The Temple: Its Ministry and Services by Alfred Edersheim.
Sketches of Jewish Social Life by Alfred Edersheim

Resource material for Studying the Gospels

Harmony of the Gospels A chart in four columns indicating parallel passages in the Gospels.
The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889). Like all of Edersheim's work, this is an interesting and valuable storehouse of information on the NT era.

Peter, Paul and the Early Church

Map of Paul's Missionary Journeys
The Footsteps of Paul Part of the Sacred Destinations website designed for potential travelers. It is commended for its historical and archeological material and not for its biblical insights.