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In The Bible and the Church Fathers you will discover how the Bible originally came together to form the volumes that we know today, while learning efficient tools for reading it. Along the way you will begin to understand Scripture’s relationship to Tradition and, in particular, to the Sacraments.
What’s more, you’ll recognize the powerful effect of Scripture on the Church Fathers. For them, this was no academic pursuit. Their love of God’s Word transformed their lives—just as it has the power to transform ours today.
In our first lesson, we’ll discuss the role of the Fathers in Sacred Scripture and identify the four classic criteria needed to earn the title “Father of the Church.” We’ll also see that the Church Fathers provide a link back to the teachings of Christ and are vital witnesses to Tradition.
In lesson two, we’ll focus on the relationship of the Fathers to both Scripture and Tradition. We’ll also lay out the four periods of the Patristic Era, which will give us some historical context for the rest of the study. Next, we’ll survey the difficulties the early Church faced when trying to spread the Gospel.
In lesson three, we’ll look more closely at how the Fathers had an impact on the development of Sacred Scripture and our understanding of what it teaches. In particular, we’ll see the story of our salvation in Christ as one of promise and fulfillment based on God’s covenant with us, His people.
In lesson four, we’ll discuss the role of typology and how the Fathers used it to demonstrate the unity of the Old and New Testaments. We’ll also look at the role of the Fathers in the formation of the canon of Sacred Scripture and its interpretation. Finally, we’ll unpack the four different senses of Scripture.
In lesson five, we’ll talk about how the idea of covenant is specifically related to what we call the Old and New Testaments. We’ll also talk about how what we call the New Testament is far different than what the early Church Fathers meant by the term.
In lesson six, we’ll expand our understanding of the “new testament” or “new covenant,” which we understand to be the Eucharist.
In lesson seven, we’ll see how the Fathers understood that the proclamation of that New Testament didn’t require a scribe. It required a priest. Christ didn’t commission a biography, He founded a Church. And He ordained the Apostles as priests in order to bring the world back into His family through the Eucharist.
In lesson eight we’ll see why the Fathers of the Church repeatedly rejected disunity as anti-Christian. Then, we’ll discuss how the Fathers explicitly recognized that the authority Christ gave to Peter and the Apostles has been handed on through the centuries.
In lesson nine, we’ll move more deeply into the Fathers’ view and usage of the sacraments. In particular, we’re going to examine the explosion of something we call mystagogy: the doctrine of the mysteries.
In lesson ten, we’ll dive into the incredible teaching of the two of the most famous Fathers in the history of our faith: St. John Chrysostom and St. Augustine of Hippo.
In lesson eleven, we’ll look at how the Fathers show us what it means to live in the mystery of Christ and ask, what does it ultimately mean to be incorporated into Christ through the sacraments? How should that reality impact the way we live on a day-to-day basis?
In lesson twelve, we’ll see how the Apostles and countless other men and women, Fathers of the Church like Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin, and others have willingly offered themselves up as a sacrifice to God. Then, we’ll explore how the Eucharistic imagery of their martyrdoms is echoed in the future writings and histories of other martyrs.
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