Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Study of Genesis - The Creation Stories (1:1 - 2:25)

Below are the notes from the first session in "A Study of Genesis." This 16-session series considers the narrative found in the first book of The Bible. This week we discussed the two creation stories found in Genesis 1:1 - 2:25.  You may listen to a podcast of this session on the Cove Presbyterian PodBean page. 

If you found this study meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.


Background for the Study - In Genesis, there are three strains of writings in Genesis, written at different times by different people:

Jahwehist
  • Uses the name Yahweh for God
  • In the United Kingdom, around 950 B.C.
  • Exodus & conquest filfills the promise of God to Abraham, linked to the salvation of the world
  • God described in human terms
  • Most of Genesis
Elohimist
  • Uses the names Elohim or El for God
  • Written in the northern kingdom, 850 - 750 B.C.
  • God appears in visions, dreams, in the form of an angel
  • Sacrifice of Isaac
Priestly
  • After the Exile
  • Examples: Creation in 1:1 – 2:4a; elements of the flood, covenant chapters (9, 17), blessing of Jacob by Isaac, references to dates and vital statistics
  • Mechanical framework - 10 sections
Background for the Session:
  • In Genesis 1-2, we find two creation stories written at down at different times by different people facing different situations.
  • We will not approach this or any other passage in Genesis from a literal perspective. Instead, we’ll focus on the story and listen for God’s word.
Genesis 1:1 - 2:25


In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude.And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good; dellium and onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the  Euphrates. The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner.
So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.” Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.


Friday, March 25, 2016

The Stories of Easter - From John

Below are the notes from the first session of a Lenten study entitled "The Stories of Easter." This 3-session series considers resurrection accounts as written in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John. This week we discussed John 20:1-18.  You may listen to a podcast of this session on the Cove Presbyterian PodBean page. 

If you found this study meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

Characteristics of the Gospel of John
  • The author of John is unknown.
  • John follows this pattern: the word came down and became flesh in Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ revealed the word to humanity, the word returns by way of the cross.
  • John has a vertical view of time, as it relates to a relationship with God. John emphasizes the Christian life now. 
  • John seems to be drawing from his own sources.
  • John uses irony more than the other gospels. Often, he follows this pattern: Jesus make a statement, people misunderstand, Jesus explains.
  • There are fewer miracles and parables in John than in the other three gospels.
  • Jesus is in control, and he knows everything, including his own identity.
John 20:1-18

And on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalane came early in the morning, while it was still dark, to the tomb, and she saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Now she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and she said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they’ve laid him.” Now Peter and the other disciple went out and went to the tomb. And the two of them ran together and the other disciple ran ahead , overtaking Peter, and he came first to the tomb. And when he stooped and peered in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Now Simon Peter also came following him, and he went into the tomb, and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the sudarium, which was on his head, was not lying with the linen wrappings but had been rolled up in a place by itself. Now then the other disciple, the one who was first to the tomb, went in and he saw and he believed. For they did not yet know the scripture that he must rise from death. Now the disciples went back to themselves.

And Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping. Now as she weeping, she stooped and peered into the tomb, and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus was laid. And they said this to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They’ve take my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” After she’d said these things, she turned around, and she saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you seeking?” Because she thought he was a gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, then tell me where you laid him, and I myself will take him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” And after she’d turned around, she said to him in Hebrew, “Rabboni” (which means “teacher”). Jesus said to her, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. And go to my brothers [and sisters] and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father and my God and your God.” Mary Magadalane went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this he said to me.”

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Stories of Easter - From Matthew

Below are the notes from the first session of a Lenten study entitled "The Stories of Easter." This 3-session series considers resurrection accounts as written in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. This week we discussed Matthew 28:1-10  You may listen to a podcast of this session on the Cove Presbyterian PodBean page. 

If you found this study meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

Characteristics of the Gospel of Matthew
  • Matthew was probably written after Mark, because 95% of Mark is in Matthew. Luke and Matthew also shared some common teaching. Matthew follows Mark’s chronology.
  • Since the author is not mentioned in the text, the author is anonymous.
  • The audience would seem to be influenced by Judaism, but not educated Jews.
  • There’s a strong emphasis in Matthew on the Kingdom of Heaven and the dramatic.

Matthew 28:1-10:

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men, But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. he is not here; for he has been raised, as he said, Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘he has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.”

So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples, Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Stories of Easter - From Mark

Below are the notes from the first session of a Lenten study entitled "The Stories of Easter." This 3-session series considers resurrection accounts as written in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. This week we discussed Mark 16:1-8  You may listen to a podcast of this session on the Cove Presbyterian PodBean page. 

If you found this study meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

Characteristics of the Gospel of Mark:
  • Mark is probably the earliest gospel. Both Matthew and Luke have most of Mark in their gospels.
  • The focus of Mark is found in the 1:1. With the except on a brief prologue and epilogue, the gospel to 8:30 deals with Jesus as the Christ and from 8:30 deals with Jesus as the Son of God.
  • Compared to the other gospels, Mark devotes a lot more space to the crucifixion.
  • After Mark 16:8, there are two endings, neither written by Mark.
Mark 16:1-8:

And when the Sabbath had passed, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint his body. And very early on the first day after the Sabbath they went to the tomb just after sunrise. And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away for us the stone from the door of the tomb?” And when they looked up, they saw that the stone was rolled away, for it was very large. And when they went into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, and he was wearing a white robe. And they were utterly amazed. But he said to them, “Don't be amazed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the one who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. See the place where they lay him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, that he is going ahead to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And [the women] fled from the tomb, for they were seized with trembling and bewilderment. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.