Author Archives: CraigT

MtE Update – June 17 2021

  1. Worship this Sunday June 20 will return to the church, although we’re back to masks on for the duration of the service (and arrival/departure), and so also won’t be serving morning tea again until further notice. Sigh…
  2. The Hotham Mission End of Financial Year Appeal has now been launched. If you can support HM in this way, this is possible via the HM website.
  3. From June 20 the focus texts for Sunday worship will be taken from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. For more details, see this dedicated post. We begin this week with Ephesians 1.1-14.
  4. Hotham Mission in the news!

Old News

  1. Please consider supporting the Friends of Vellore fundraiser to support the hospital’s COVID-19 response in India; UPDATED (June 17) donation details are here.

Advance Dates

  1. Our congregational meeting to consider further our congregation’s future accommodation will be on Sunday July 18, commencing after worship and continuing to mid-afternoon; more details to come!!

Lectionary Commentary – Sunday/Ordinary 12B; Proper 7B (Sunday between June 19 and June 25; if after Trinity Sunday)

The following links are to the Revised Common Lectionary commentary pages of Howard Wallace and Bill Loader, and are suggested as preparation for hearing the readings in worship for the Sunday indicated above.

Series I:  1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-49 and Psalm 9:9-20

Series II:

2 Corinthians 6:1-13

Mark 4:35-41

MtE Update – June 11 2021

  1. Worship this Sunday June 13 will be a pre-recorded service (no gathered congregation). While some congregations will gather, the decision to pre-record was taken to simplify preparation in view of the uncertainty prior to the government announcement of the relaxation of C19 constraints. Check-in for the service from 10am via the MtE website homepage or direct from our YouTube channel from 10am on Sunday. At this stage, worship for June 20 can be expected to be back in the church.
  2. News from the Justice and International Mission Cluster (June 10)
  3. The Hotham Mission End of Financial Year Appeal has now been launched. If you can support HM in this way, this is possible via the HM website.
  4. From June 20 the focus texts for Sunday worship will be taken from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. For more details, see this dedicated post
  5. The most recent Synod eNews (June 10)
  6. This coming Sunday June 13 worship will be led by Robert Gribben and Peter Blackwood; some textual and podcast commentary on the readings are here.

Old News

  1. Please consider supporting the Friends of Vellore fundraiser to support the hospital’s COVID-19 response in India; donation details are here.

Advance Dates

  1. Our congregational meeting to consider further our congregation’s future accommodation has been shifted to Sunday July 18, commencing after worship and continuing to mid-afternoon; more details to come!!

Ephesians – Sermons in 2021

Over the months of June-September (more or less!) we’ll be taking a lead from the Revised Standard Lectionary (RCL) and looking at Paul’s letter to the Ephesians on those Sundays when Craig is preaching, although taking more time than the RCL allots to the letter.

To make the most of the sermon series, you might consider the following:

  • Read the letter. It’s not long, and reading it through a few times over the course of the series will help you in hearing the sermons each week
  • Have a look also at the letter Colossians, which has a lot in common with Ephesians
  • Look at the Bible Project’s short introduction to Ephesians on YouTube (~9mins)
  • Look at Dale Martin’s more extensive overview (considers also the letter to the Colossians ~ 50mins)
  • For those who would like something a little more substantial, Tom Wright’s ‘Prison Letters’ volume in his ‘Paul for Everyone’ series is a good introduction and exposition of the letter at a popular level (the book also includes sections on Colossians, Philippians and Philemon): Koorong, Amazon and Book Depository

Once the series has stared, the sermons to date from Ephesians can be found in the annual listing

MtE Update – June 6 2021

  1. Worship this Sunday June 6 will be a live-streamed service without a gathered congregation [that is, we cannot gather as a congregation at the church this week!]. You can access this from the green ‘Live Stream Sunday Service’ image-link at the top of our home page, or direct from our YouTube channel from 10am on Sunday.
  2. For those interested in exploring Taize’s style of worship, Northcote UCA is conducting a monthly service: info.  
  3. An online event which may interest some: Imagining a better world
  4. The following was mentioned in a recent congregational conversation and may be of interest to some members ‘You might have seen the Morrison Government wants to hand $50 million in public money over to gas corporations to frack the Northern Territory. But Traditional Owners have been saying no for over a decade, and have written a letter to Parliament demanding they put an end to fracking once and for all. [There’s a online petition you can contribute to:] http://getup.to/pKrqVhB7ehn9jux
  5. This coming Sunday June 6 our guest preacher is Rob Gallacher; some textual and podcast commentary on the readings are here.

Old News

  1. Please consider supporting the Friends of Vellore fundraiser to support the hospital’s COVID-19 response in India; donation details are here.

Advance Dates

  1. Our congregational meeting to consider further our congregation’s future accommodation has been shifted to Sunday July 18, commencing after worship and continuing to mid-afternoon; more details to come!!

MtE Update – May 28 2021

  1. Worship this Sunday May 30 will be a pre-recorded service available from our YouTube channel around 10am. We’ve had some website issues lately so go to the YouTube channel directly if the website is not operating.
  2. The planned ecumenical Service of Christian Unity for this Sunday May 30 is postponed on account of the C-19 restrictions presently in place — to be held sometime soon!
  3. For those interested in exploring Taize’s style of worship, Northcote UCA is conducting a monthly service: info.  
  4. The most recent Synod eNews (May 27)
  5. The most recent Presbytery News is here (May 26)
  6. This coming Sunday May 30 is Trinity Sunday; some textual and podcast commentary on the readings are here.

Old News

  1. Please consider supporting the Friends of Vellore fundraiser to support the hospital’s COVID-19 response in India; donation details are here.

Advance Dates

  1. Our congregational meeting to consider further our congregation’s future accommodation has been shifted to Sunday July 18, commencing after worship and continuing to mid-afternoon; more details to come!!

MtE Update – May 21 2021

  1. There will be an ecumenical Service of Christian Unity on Sunday May 30, 6pm at St Mary’s Anglican Church, 430 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne, incorporating at least the congregations of St Mary’s, Mark the Evangelist and the West Melbourne Baptist Church. You are most welcome – encouraged! – to attend!
  2. News from the Justice and International Mission Cluster (May 18)
  3. Please consider supporting the Friends of Vellore fundraiser to support the hospital’s COVID-19 response in India; donation details are here.
  4. This coming Sunday May 23 is Pentecost; some commentary on the readings are here.

Advance Dates

  1. Earlier advice of a congregational meeting on June 27 is now awaiting confirmation — the date may need to be delayed a few weeks. This meeting will be to consider further our congregational, and will commence after worship and continue to mid-afternoon; more details to come!!

MtE Update – May 13 2021

  1. The most recent Synod eNews (May 13)
  2. Please consider supporting the Friends of Vellore fundraiser to support the hospital’s COVID-19 response in India; donation details are here.
  3. This coming Sunday May 16 we will pick up the celebration of Ascension (today, May 13); the readings are here.

Other things of interest

  1. New Testament STUDY GROUPS have begun — Wednesday evenings and Friday afternoons. This is a great course on the New Testament from a contemporary scholarly perspective, using online video (lectures), complemented by printed transcripts. Details of the discussion groups and how to register can be found here (registration helps!). Join with members from 5 or 6 other congregations for great conversation and learning together — late starters most welcome!

Advance Dates

ADVANCE notice of a congregational meeting June 27 to consider further our buildings and futures project

Illuminating Faith – Introduction to the New Testament

Introduction

This is a ‘value-added’ study series based on an excellent online resource on the New Testament from Professor Dale Martin at Yale University, and complements a similar Yale course on the Old Testament also adapted for IF.

This undergraduate course outlines many important considerations scholars bring to reading the New Testament, as well as covering providing an introduction to the content of the New Testament. The course should be particularly useful for introducing lay people to modern historical critical methods developed over the last two centuries for interpreting these texts.

The whole series and its associated resources can be found in its original form on the Yale site. The ‘Sessions’ tab on that page brings up the full list of lectures, and clicking on each brings up the video, an audio-only version, transcription text, and any other resources (occasional handouts, etc.) relating to that session.

This IF version uses the Yale videos and a version of the Yale transcript reformatted into an easily printable PDF with paragraph numbering for easy reference in conversation groups. The main supplementary material is gathered together on one web page for each part, and a few other resources are also provided to build on the Yale material.

For an introduction to the series and presenting it in your local context, download our introductory document:

The studies can be done in one continuous series. It is, however, quite long, and so a break-up of the material into four parts is suggested below (the break-up is not part of the original series)

Preparing for the discussions

Prior to each session, watch the lecture via the links below, or read the transcript. There is also an audio-only version of the lectures available on the course homepage under the ‘sessions’ tab — click on the session you want and the audio can be downloaded at the bottom of the session page.

The collection of lecture transcripts can be downloaded individually from the session details below, or as a zipped file here:

There is often a section of biblical text which it would be helpful to read in conjunction with Martin’s lectures. This is indicated in the session details below, along with other reading or video resources which might complement the material.

The Yale material is reproduced here according to the associated terms of use.

Other resources

Bible
  • Prof Martin suggests the New Revised Standard Bible (NRSV) as the version of the Bible for the course. There is no need to purchase this version; the text of the NRSV is available online at, for example, the Oremus Bible Broswer, should you need it.
  • The edition of the NRSV Martin refers to in the first lecture is the latest (5th) edition of the New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocryhpa, which is probably most accessible to Australians via Angus and Robertson (Ebay) – about $AU61 (April 2021). This has extensive interpretative footnotes to the biblical text and a number of essays on themes of NT interpretation. It is a similar price on Book Depository, and bit cheaper there for the paperback version. (Take care not to purchase the much cheaper Apocrypha-only version!). The Kindle version of the full Bible is about $22.
Commentary
  • Prof Martin has turned his lectures into a book, available here in paperback and Kindle versions. The text, however, does not extend greatly beyond the online lectures/transcripts. 
  • If you would like more reading to complement what we hear in the lectures, perhaps better (at least, with a different voice) might be Pheme Perkin’s Reading the New Testament (Kindle, paperback, $15-35 plus postage); probably cheaper at Book Depository.
  • For the intrepid, Tom Wright’s New Testament in its World is a massive book covering similar ground in much greater than a single lecture series could. This is available on Amazon (international stock) here but the best source for Australians might be Koorong (about $70 posted). Take care not to order the much cheaper ‘Workbook’ companion volume by mistake!

The Study Materials

[Part 1 – Introduction to the Study of the NT]

  • Session 1 – Introduction: Why Study the New Testament? Video 1; lecture transcript
  • Session 2 – From Stories to Canon Video 2; lecture transcript
    • Some might be interested in some extensive YouTube/video material from Robert Jenson on the theme of the canon and its relationship to the creeds: Illuminating Faith – Scripture, Canon, Creed
    • Prof Martin makes passing reference to the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) in this lecture. The Septuagint (meaning ‘70’ and abbreviated with the Roman numerals LXX), is important for the interpretation of the New Testament because it is the text (rather than the Hebrew) which NT authors cite. A quick (2.5 min) video overview can be found in the Museum of the Bible introduction; Andrew Perrin’s longer (15min) intro is here. A brief text overview of the LXX can be found in this Encyclopedia Britannica article; the Wikipedia page is more extensive. And you can read the LXX (in English!) here.

[Part 2 – Jesus and the Gospels]

  • Session 7  – The Gospel of Matthew Video 7; lecture transcript
    • Bible: Gospel according to Matthew
    • The Bible Project’s summary of Matthew’s Gospel: Part 1 and Part 2
    • Gospel Parallels: A useful resource for the study of the four Gospels is a gospel parallel. This sets corresponding passages from the various canonical Gospels next to each other for comparison of the passages in each. A gospel parallel is probably best presented as a printed hardcopy document. An online version that does some of the work can be found here. This particular resource lists the parallel passages by chapter and verse in the columns. The actual text(s) for these references are found by clicking/tapping on the numbered link in the leftmost column, which jumps to the parallel texts at the Bible Gateway site. These passages can be read not next to each other (which printed book versions enable) but above/below each other, which is less satisfactory than a book version but saves trying to hold 3 or 4 bookmarks in place in your home Bible and then flipping back and forth between them! You will also see that it is possible to change the Bible version for the passages via the drop-down menu at the top of the passage; changing one changes them all for that parallel selection.

[Part 3 – Paul and Friends]

[Part 4 – Apocalypse and Interpretation]

Session 26 – The “Afterlife” of the New Testament and Postmodern Interpretation Video 26; lecture transcript

Illuminating Faith – Jewish history in the intertestamental period

This page is supplementary to the Illuminating Faith Introduction to the New Testament studies.

The following YouTube videos by Sam Aronow are a great introduction to Jewish history from the beginning of the Hellenistic period to the beginnings of Christianity. The videos are each quite short but contain lots of detail. Other videos by Aronow cover earlier and later periods in Jewish history.

The Interdynastic Period (Early Second Temple)

The Hasmonean Period (Mid-Second Temple)

The Herodian Period (Late Second Temple)

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