by Peggy Pandaleon (From Word On Fire Blog)
Over the last ten years, there has been a major explosion of Bible studies in parishes across the country. Long gone are the days when Catholics did not open their Bibles – thank God!
As St. Catherine of Siena said, “You can’t love what you don’t know” and many of us have strengthened our relationship with Christ by digging into his word. Traditional Bible studies transformed my own faith, increased my love for Christ, and actually led to my work here at Word on Fire.
While Word on Fire study programs are not traditional Bible studies, meaning a deep chapter-and-verse dive into one book of Scripture, each one of them is filled with the word of God interwoven with Bishop Barron’s marvelous, theological insights. However, our newest study, David the King, can proudly stand among (and probably tower above) other traditional Bible studies as a staunchly legitimate alternative since it is drawn from a careful reading of 1 and 2 Samuel.
And oh what a reading it is! We get so much more from David the King than from a typical study of a random book of the Bible. In his unique way, Bishop Barron weaves together salvation history by linking King David back to Adam, the first king, and forward to Jesus Christ, the eternal King of kings. Just as he did in the CATHOLICISM series when he summarized Israel’s entire messianic expectation by outlining the four tasks of the Messiah, he links the beginning, middle and end of the Bible here under the rubric of “kingship.” Seemingly disjointed and unrelated people and circumstances are shown to have clear, interrelated purposes in Bishop Barron’s telling of the story of David, the unlikely successor to Saul and a “man after God’s own heart.”
What makes a good Bible Study is how well it puts a part of God’s word into the context of the entire Faith, and into our own walk with the Lord. Delving into Scripture is never just a history lesson. If we’re paying attention, we see the same patterns of human dysfunction repeated throughout history, up to the present day and in our own lives. Bishop Barron shows us how David was the prototypical king — the good king and unique in the lineage of Israelite leaders. Even though David was a serious sinner, he is still called the “good king” because he ordered his kingdom to God’s purposes and sincerely repented when he fell short. Beyond explaining the qualities of good kingship, Bishop Barron challenges us to apply those qualities to ourselves and to search our own hearts to determine how well we order our own “kingdom” or environment to God’s purposes. We learn that we are called to be kings once we’re baptized in Christ, called to effect Christ’s kingship in our own sphere of influence.