2017 starts with Bible Study

Learning different methods of studying the bible based on jewish wisdom

Classes with Sr. Ivete

From January 2-5 and 9-11, we had an opportunity to study with Sr. Ivete. The Junior sisters, Cida Duca, Joselia, Leah, Wafaa and Victoria, who are currently part of Ecce Homo community did also join us. Sr. Ivete discussed on the different ways of understanding the Bible from different and particular texts of the Scriptures in which we were always invited to relate to the Jewish Bible, the Torah.

For examples, our discussion on particular topic on John 1: 1-18, the text gave us a deeper understanding of what is the meaning of “adultery” which is normally related to infidelity to the Covenant. The act of writing with finger on the sand could be regarded as a symbolic act related to the text of Exodus 31:19 where the first set of tablets were inscribed by the finger of God. The first time Jesus stooped to write, it is specifically mentioned that he wrote with his finger (8:6), he writes with the same authority as God, because He is God. Another example is from Luke 10:25-37, the parable of the Good Samaritan. The context of the historical background brought us a broad perspective of the text. The question of the “neighbor”, how the Scripture enlarges the concept of neighbor in Leviticus 19:18. Then we were encouraged to study more and make our own chronological timeline of the historical background from Abraham to Jesus.

On the second week of our study, we also have a short session about the discipleship of Paul on Acts of the Apostles and from the gospel of John.

With some other texts we have had discussed, we learnt particular method, as Sr. Ivete call it PaRDeS (Jewish exegesis), Peshat: “surface” (“straight”) or the literal (direct) meaning. Remez: “hints” or the deep (allegoric: hidden or symbolic) meaning beyond the literal sense. Derash: from Hebrew darash: “inquire” (“seek”), the comparative (midrashic) meaning. And Sod: “secret” (“mystery”) or the esoteric/mystical meaning, as given through inspiration or revelation. We learned about midrash on how Luke used this method in the story of Nativity (Luke 1-2).

We were grateful for this opportunity to have class with Sr. Ivette as we continue doing our search and study on our Bible timeline.

Maria O. Malau, Novice NDS