THE BREAD OF LIFE CATHOLIC BIBLE STUDY
By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ EXODUS 17:8-13 FIRST READING
(“As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight.”)
1. What did Amalek do at Rephidim? Exodus 17:8
2. Who was Joshua and what tribe was he from? Numbers 13:8,16
3. What did Moses tell Joshua to do the following day? Exodus 17:9
4. What did Moses say he would be doing and what would he have in his hand? Exodus 17:9
5. What did Joshua do and who climbed to the top of the hill with Moses? Exodus 17:10
6. What happened when Moses had his hands raised up and what happened when he let his hands rest? Exodus 17:11
7. When Moses’ hands got tired, what two things did Hur and Aaron do for him? Exodus 17:12
8. How long did they do this? Exodus 17:12
9. What happened on another occasion when Moses extended his hands to the Lord? Exodus 9:29
10. What did Joshua do with Amalek? Exodus 17:13
Personal – In what way have you been fighting a spiritual battle and had a family member or a friend support you, or in what way have you supported or held their hands up to the Lord in their battle? Where have your hands been lifted during physical, spiritual, or emotional battles?
THIRD-DAY READ 2 TIMOTHY 3:14-4:2 SECOND READING
(“I charge you to preach the Word.”)
1. Who is speaking and to whom is he speaking in 2 Timothy 3:14? Timothy 1:1-2
2. What two things have we done that for our part we must remain faithful? 2 Timothy 3:14
3. Who is our teacher? Matthew 23:10
4. How does he teach us today? John 14:26
5. What did Timothy know since infancy and how was it passed on to him? 2 Timothy 3:15, 2 Timothy 1:5
6. Of what is the sacred Scripture the source, and what does it lead to through faith in Jesus Christ? 2 Timothy 3:15
7. What is all Scripture, and for what is it useful? 2 Timothy 3:16
8. What makes the man of God fully competent and equipped for every good work? 2 Timothy 3:16-17
9. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is coming to do what? What does he charge us to do? 2 Timothy 4:1-2
10. With what are we to stay whether convenient or inconvenient, what three things are we to do, and what are we to never lose? 2 Timothy 4:2
11. What are we to teach? Matthew 28:20
Personal – What have you been teaching your children, grandchildren, friends, co-workers, etc? Have you personally been called to teach? What do you see as the difference between worldly teaching and spiritual teaching? John 14:18-26
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 18:1-8 GOSPEL
(“Will not God then do justice to his chosen who call out to him day and night?”)
1. Of what did Jesus tell his disciples the necessity, how did he tell them, and what did he tell them not to lose? Luke 18:1
2. To what did his disciples, the women in their company, and Mary (the mother of Jesus) devote themselves? Acts 1:13-14
3. What did Jesus say about a judge? Luke 18:2
4. Who came to the judge, and what did she say? Luke 18:3
5. What was she doing to him, and why did he settle in her favor? Luke 18:5, Luke 11:8
6. What did the Lord say in Luke 18:6-7?
8. What did he say about justice and about delaying over them? Luke 18:7
9. What did Jesus say God would do? Luke 18:8
10. About what did Jesus ask his disciple when the Son of Man comes? Luke 18:8
11. When the Son of Man comes with what will he come, who will accompany him, and how will he repay each man? Matthew 16:27
Personal – How do you combat the evil that is around you? How is God speaking to you personally in this passage regarding your own prayer life?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 121:1-8
(“He is beside you at your right hand.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 121:1-8
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
This passage clearly shows how tenacity and steadfastness win the day for Israel. The Amalekites were descendants of Amalek, a grandson of Esau. They were a fierce nomadic nation or tribe who lived and controlled the caravan routes between Egypt and Arabia in the southeast desert region of the Dead Sea. They conducted frequent raids on other settlements and many times they killed simply for pleasure. No insult to an Israelite could be greater than calling him “a friend of Amalek.”
The Amalekites saw Moses and his rag-tag band of followers and thought this would be a chance for some fun and profit. They did not know that these people were being led by God, and the wrath of God was about to be spent upon them. Moses commissions Joshua to make the battle preparations and tells him that he, Aaron, and Hur will be positioned on top of a nearby hill. Joshua was the great leader who brought God’s people into the promised land after Moses died. He gained tremendous experience for future battles, especially against the Canaanites.
The incredible stamina and persistence displayed by Moses in keeping his hands raised, with the support of Aaron and Hur, resulted in turning the tide of the battle. It is the courage and example of this one man that inspired a tired band of followers in the hot barren desert to turn a certain defeat into a stunning upset of a victory. We need to look at our spiritual leaders in our churches and help them by supporting them too. We can be like Aaron and Hur and hold them up as they lead us in battle. We can really be warriors of the Lord by taking on some of the responsibilities of the parish community.
We can become strong, committed prayer warriors; and finally, we can offer some life-giving words of encouragement when the battle seems to rage in full fury. Our spiritual leaders need us to be like Aaron and Hur and in faith, we need to call forth the spiritual giants like Moses from among our midst. The God of Moses is also our God, too. Let us persevere in battle and, like Moses, we too shall be lifted up in victory.
2 TIMOTHY 3:14-4:2
Timothy was faced with “watering” down his doctrine of faith. False teachers were trying to put pressure on him and the pressures of a growing ministry were heavy upon his spirit. Timothy’s hometown of Lystra was where Paul was stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19). Timothy was undergoing pressure, not only for being young and inexperienced but also because Paul was his principal teacher.
Paul exhorts him to hold on, look to his past and hold to the basic teaching about Jesus that are eternally true. Today we are caught up with many false teachers who are trying to “waterdown” the Gospel and many of us are so busy, we don’t even protest. We need to spend time every day thinking about the foundations of our faith and the great truths on which we build our lives.
Timothy was a second-generation Christian and it was not because an evangelist preached a great sermon; it was because he was taught the holy scriptures when he was a child. The parents’ work to teach the child should never be replaced by an evangelist or religious teacher. The teaching of the child by the parent is a sacred duty and we, as parents, should look to the church to help us fulfill this tremendous privilege.
We need to realize the Bible is not a collection of stories, fables, myths, or merely human ideas about God. It is not just a human book. God revealed his plan to godly men through the power of the Holy Spirit–men who then wrote down his message for his people (2 Peter 1:20,21). We believe that even though they used their own minds, talents, language, and style, they wrote what God inspired them to write.
Scripture is God’s inspired Word, and we should read it and apply it to our lives. We can clearly see God speaking to us through his church which speaks in accordance with his holy Scripture. Jesus told us when he was tempted in the desert that he began his defense with “Scripture.” God’s Word will set us free today as it did yesterday and will forever and ever.
Jesus began this passage by telling his disciples a story to bring home the power of persevering in their prayer life. He really wanted them to realize that all prayer is answered and they must not get discouraged and quit. The judge in this story was not a Jewish judge. Most ordinary Jewish problems were taken before the elders, not into public courts unless a special situation arose. A Jewish court had three judges, one for the defendant, one for the court, and one that was neutral. The judge in this story was probably appointed by Herod or the Romans, and they were well known as the “Robber Judges.” He kept this woman coming back so many times because he expected her to pay a bribe. A widow symbolized the poor and defenseless, and the only weapon she had was persistence. In the end, fearing his loss of reputation, the judge was worn down; and the persistent widow won her case.
To be persistent in prayer does not mean endless repetition of long prayer sessions. Constant prayer means keeping our requests before him as we live for him day by day, always believing he will answer us. God may delay, but he always has a reason for his delay; we must not confuse delay with neglect. As we, like the widow, persist in our prayer we grow in faith and hope. Our character and our faith are direct indications of the intensity of our prayer life.
We need to reflect on today’s story and realize that if an evil judge can be worn down by the persistence of a defenseless widow, how much more will a person who persists in prayer be heard and rewarded by such a loving God as ours? We are told in scripture to call out to Jesus and he will never turn us away (John 6:37). The prayers of a righteous man have great power (James 5:16). Praying is talking to God, and meditating is listening to God, so be persistent in your praying and be persistent in your listening and you will grow tremendously in faith, hope, and love.
In the first reading, we see the courage of Moses to change defeat into victory over the Amalekites. Then we hear Timothy being challenged to draw on his childhood family training and Scripture when a crisis threatens. In the Gospel, we see the widow persevere and finally wear the judge down and win.
This week, let us read God’s Word to someone who cannot read. This could be a small child, a handicapped person, or an elderly person in a rest home. Share with that person how God has protected you when you thought the battle was lost; and because of God, you also won.