We have created four ways to study the Book of Exodus, as an individual, in meetings of parish and diocese, in adult forums, and at Diocesan-wide events such as conferences and convocations. Studying Exodus for fifteen minutes at the start of staff, vestry, committee, and commission meetings will focus our work and help us see how the stories of our Christian communities reflect the larger story of God’s people. It’s easy to get lost in the minutiae of church work, and to forget that we are replacing windows and balancing budgets because we’re stewards of God’s promise. There’s no expectation that any given committee will be able to study the entire Book of Exodus before April, and we hope you’ll choose the part of the scripture that are most salient to the work of your meeting. The Bible Study format given below should help you lead these short Bible studies. For your convenience, you’ll also find a link to .pdf worksheets that you can simply print and bring to your meetings. Finally, we know that the discussion questions we’re suggesting aren’t the only questions, and may not even be the best. Therefore, we’re providing a form you can use to submit your own questions for the good of the whole diocese.
Choose a portion of Exodus to read. Each worksheet linked to from this page contains several sections of scripture. Choose one of them, or choose part of the Book of Exodus that specifically pertains to the work that your meeting is hoping to accomplish (for instance, the last few chapters of Exodus have to do with constructing the Tabernacle – these might be perfect for a buildings and grounds committee).
Choose one or more question to guide your group discussion. Keep in mind that the more questions you use, the longer the discussion will take. Questions are grouped into four categories that allow us to consider the moral, literal, allegorical, and eschatological sense of the scripture. On the worksheets, questions that help us think about the moral sense of the scripture are prioritized. Here are the questions:
Questions for exploring the moral sense of scripture (having to do with how we live our Christian lives):
Questions for exploring the literal sense of scripture (having to do with the grand, sweeping story that’s told in scripture):
A question for exploring the allegorical sense of scripture (having to do with symbol and metaphor):
A question for exploring the eschatological sense of scripture (having to do with God’s plan for salvation):
Have someone in your group read the scripture out loud. Then have some else read the question. Invite each member of the group to spend a minute or two answering the question.
End with prayer. Here’s a prayer you can use, or you can provide your own prayer:
God who brought humanity out of bondage and into freedom, help us to always remember that our welfare and continued freedom depends on our willingness to imitate your actions in the world – to bring others to freedom, to treat others with love, to seek justice and practice mercy, and to come to know more of ourselves by looking into the mirror that you hold up to us. For you are the God who always provides for us and calls us into relationship with you and with each other again and again.
This worksheet will be especially useful in the weeks before Easter: