In Person and Online Bible Study
Tuesdays at 6:30 pm
Bible Study at Bolton UMC (1042 Boston Turnpike Road, Bolton Ct) at 6:30. No preparation needed, come as you are to discuss lectionary selections. Or, if you would prefer, you can join us via zoom with the link below. It is a persistent link, so you can reuse it every week.
or paste https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89268730478 into a browser
or call 1(929)205-6099 and enter the meeting ID 892 6873 0478
1 Kings Bible Study Syllabus
Week 1: Ch. 1 & 2. Adonijah angles to become the king of Israel by self-declaration. Nathan and Bathsheba lobby David to have Solomon anointed the successor. This week reflect on how power politics have negatively affected society and church.
Week 2: Ch. 2 &3. Solomon prays for wisdom, and his governance. Reflect on wisdom as a guiding principle of leadership. Wisdom in government, business, and church can be transformative, and a lack of organizational administration can be disastrous.
Week 3: Ch. 5 & 6. Solomon makes preparations to build the Temple, gathering materials and 73,300 people for the labor. Work commences and the furnishings are elaborate and costly. Reflect on how much (or how little) preparation, planning and resources do we put into the worship and honoring of God in our church.
Week 4: Ch. 7 & 8. Solomon dedicates the Temple with an elaborate public prayer and promises to God. At the same time, Solomon was also building an elaborate palace and other buildings, securing Jerusalem as a governmental center and institution. Enormous wealth was poured into these structures that did not benefit everyday Israelites. Reflect on how wealth and material goods can corrupt intentions.
Week 5: Ch. 9 & 10. God speaks to Solomon in Ch. 9 and introduces wiggle room in the Davidic covenant. Reflect on promises you have made to God, others, and yourself. Also think about the promises of God; have they been certain for you?
Week 6: Ch. 11 & 12. Solomon becomes politically very powerful, and respected by other leaders. The Queen of Sheba brings him gifts (as do others). These so-called gifts are monetary appeasements. Suzerain treaties required some sort of “tax” paid by weaker nations to stronger nations for the promise of protection and peace. The Northern tribes formally secede because the “wise” king Solomon acts without compassion or humility (he was unwise). The narrative here transitions to reveal the errors of Solomon. How did power and wealth contribute to his errors? Reflect on the role of “politics” in Solomon’s errors.
Week 7: Ch. 13 & 14. Dark days, and retribution for disobedience. Jeroboam worshiped idols and power. Even the “men of God” from Israel could not find the integrity to be obedient to the simple commands of YHWH. Judah, under Rehoboam also did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They adopted Canaanite religious customs, and religious prostitution. The lives of both Kings appear in the Book of Chronicles. Reflect on how quickly powerful people can rise and fall. Have you ever felt like you had the “tiger by the tale” one minute, and been dinner for the tiger the next?
Week 8: Ch. 15 & 16. Israel and Judah are at war. It is a long and bloody struggle. Both nations are corrupt, their kings no longer serve YHWH exclusively. There comes a series of terrible kings, unworthy of much comment. Until… Ahab one of the most evil kings marries Jezebel. Hudah has sunk to unimaginable depths of depravity, and God raises an extraordinary man of God to become a prophet, Elijh. Reflect on God’s providence and promises. Even though Israel and Judah have given the Lord just cause, he persists in calling them back to faithfulness.
Week 9: Ch. 17 & 18. Elijah battles the secular forces of evil. His is a singular voice crying out for an end to the faithlessness of Judah. Reflect on this. How many times in history have solitary figures or a a small powerless group proclaimed an inconvenient truth.
Week 10: Ch. 19 & 20. The narrative of Elijah’s battle against evil is interrupted by the narrative of Ahab’s wars. Ahab was at war for most of his reign. He was crafty, and not a half bad tactician. Benhadad was supposed to be destroyed, but Ahab let him go free, once again disobeying God. As punishment he would receive the fate Benhadad should have received. The children of Israel have a bloody and turbulent history, reflect on whether these passages are glorifying victories in war, or condemning them.
Week 11: Ch. 21 & 22. The end of this book brings an end to the power and rule of Ahab. He sold his integrity for power and wealth. In the end he is remembered with disdain by his people and their descendants. A new king, one who is faithful restores stability in Judah. Israel (Samaria) sinks further into depravity. Reflect on new starts.