Post by Tom Fuerst, CUMC Teaching Pastor, on the first of two summer intensives offered through Christ CollegeChristCollege Summer 2015 intensives

If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.

So, too, if you interpret the Bible for someone, you’ve fed him spiritually for a moment. But if you teach people to read the Bible, you feed them for their entire lives.

The purpose of our newest Christ College offering, Sermon on the Mount: Reading the Bible More Deeply, is to teach you to interpret the Bible more deeply and, thereby, provide you with spiritual food that will stay with you the rest of your life. We want to teach you to fish.

When I first started reading the Bible, my pastor gave me a good bit of advice:

“Always make sure you read each verse within its context.” The problem was, however, I didn’t know how to read the Bible in its context. What counts as context? How do I know what is important within a context? And how should the context inform my understanding of a particular verse?

With these questions in mind, I’ve designed this inductive Bible study course to help us navigate the context of one of our most beloved scripture passages, the Sermon on the Mount. We will use the Sermon on the Mount to learn to observe, interpret and apply God’s Word to our lives. We will learn not only that we should read each verse within its context, but also how context matters and why. 

For example, why is it that Jesus tells us to “let our lights shine before others” in Matthew 5:16, but less than a chapter later He tells us to be sure that our “acts of righteousness” aren’t done before others to be seen by them? Or how does the Sermon on the Mount fit with the Ten Commandments? What is a beatitude, and why does it matter? And what is Jesus’ problem with the Law, anyway?

These are all questions we ask simply by reading the Sermon on the Mount. Our intention in this class is to not only engage such questions, but also, along the way, to give us the skills necessary to read and understand other books of the Bible. 

In short, this course is designed not merely to give us a more thorough knowledge of the Sermon on the Mount, but to help us be better Bible readers.

To register, click here ($10 cost for materials).

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