Taught by Pastors Ben Devoid and Peggy Finch

The idea of a congregation coming together to study a gospel meets up with our pastoral sensibilities. It puts us on the proverbial same page. We take the journey with one another, reading the same chapter and verses day to day, and discerning what the Holy Spirit has to say to us in our time and place.

Each week’s daily readings will be printed in the Sunday morning bulletin and online through our church website. The readings will come from the Gospel of Matthew, with some supporting passages from the Old Testament and Paul’s letters.  The assignments will not be lengthy, so our hope is that you will take your time, reading slowly and intentionally. Meditate over the scripture and ask, “What word, passage or image has caught my attention?” Then, as you go about your day consider the question, “What is this passage teaching me about Jesus?”

From time to time, we will supplement the weekly readings with information that will delve a little deeper into the history and background of the gospel. We will pull resources and secondary readings from our personal study and make them available in the church library. In addition, the Sunday sermons will be drawn from one of the daily readings, reinforcing the idea that we are making this journey as a congregation.

The Wednesday evening studies will begin with the customary dinner at 5:30 and the study itself beginning just after 6:00. We will remain in the fellowship hall, and it will last about 50 minutes. Bring your Bible, a notepad, and something to write with. We will provide copies of the study guide. The cost of the meal is $8 for adults. There’s no meal charge for a child dining with an adult, and and each family pays no more than $20.

Our curriculum is from The Efird Bible Study Series.  The author is Dr. Efird, professor emeritus of New Testament and Greek at the Duke Divinity School. The curriculum was developed out of studies Dr. Efird has held in congregations through the region. On Wednesday December 12, he will be our visiting teacher, giving us his thoughts on how to read and interpret the Bible, as well an introduction to Matthew’s gospel.

Matthew is the only Gospel to use the word church, so perhaps it is fitting that we read it together. In its context, Jesus is well into his ministry when he asks his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They answer, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” When Jesus asks more directly, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answers correctly, “You are the Messiah, the son of the living God. And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”  (Matthew 16:13-20)

“On this rock, I will build my church….” Jesus continues to build his church wherever his disciples gather to worship, pray, and study the scriptures. Our hope is that, as we gain knowledge of his teachings, our foundation will be rock-solid and “the gates of hades will not prevail against us.”

We look forward to making this journey with you from Advent to Easter.