The Participant Workbook for The Bible and the Church Fathers study program.
Learn the 'Family Tree' of the Catholic faith in The Bible and the Church Fathers, by exploring the teachings of the Early Church Fathers in twelve thought-provoking lessons.
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
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
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