Objective: To see what light the Bible can shine on questions that are vital to anyone living in today's world and are of special concern to Christians.

What does it mean to live as a disciple of Jesus in modern society? What kinds of things should we do? More important, what kind of people should we be? Familiar terms such as euthanasia and AIDS obviously do not appear in the Bible, but is there guidance there for understanding these and other contemporary issues? What does our history tell us? Scripture scholars and professional ethicists help us to apply biblical principles to current circumstances.

A four-week course would include:

Respect Life: The Bible and the Death Penalty Today By Kenneth R. Overberg, S.J. N1000

One of the most divisive ethical issues in contemporary American society is capital punishment. In his opening remarks Overberg states, "This issue of Scripture from Scratch offers an invitation to move beyond divisions by providing the opportunity for thoughtful and prayerful reflection....First, review some key facts about capital punishment in our world. Then...turn to our Scriptures for guidance on this issue. close attention both to Church teaching and to frequently raised questions about the death penalty."

Outside the Camp? Leprosy, AIDS and the Bible By Kenneth R. Overberg, S.J. N1098

The term HIV/AIDS can obviously not be found in the Bible, but we can look to Scripture for sound guidance concerning the Christian response. Reflecting on Jesus' teaching and actions, Overberg demonstrates that AIDS is not a punishment from God and that Christians are called not only to care but to change societal structures that are oppressive.

Choosing Life: The Bible and Euthanasia By Kenneth R. Overberg, S.J. N1094

Examining the challenge that euthanasia, assisted suicide and the withdrawal of life support systems present today, Overberg shows how foundational biblical morality and ethics can help enlighten the difficult choices which often must be made.

Do We Love Our Enemies? The Bible and the Just War Tradition By Lisa Sowle Cahill. N0996

As a professor of Christian ethics, Cahill examines the Bible's teachings on war and nonviolence, then traces the Church's traditional "just war" teaching. She also explores the Sermon on the Mount, early Christianity in the Roman Empire, Augustine's ideas and today's Church teaching.

For a six-week course, add:

Marriage and Family Life in the Bible By Carolyn Osiek, R.S.C.J. N0998

The words family and home have specific meanings for people living in the United States in the early 21st century. In the first-Century biblical world, those terms carried quite different connotations. What are family values anyway? This issue of Scripture from Scratch looks at how these cultural differences influence our interpretation of biblical accounts. Osiek helps to understand these concepts from the historical and cultural context of the ancient Mediterranean world.

Jesus' 'Plain' Sermon on the Mount By Virginia Smith. N0199

As the core ethical and moral statement of the Christian Scriptures, the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew (or on the plain in Luke) can be mined endlessly without exhausting its resources. This issue provides a way to begin.

For an eight-week course, add:

Job's Story: Being Honest With God By Leslie J. Hoppe, O.F.M. N0596

Matters of morality, ethics and justice often involve an element of suffering. Job was certainly the expert on that, entering into a classic debate with God. So often we find ourselves asking why. So did Job. What he learned is still profitable today.

From Mount Sinai to the Sermon on the Mount: The Laws of Moses and Jesus By Alfred McBride, O.Praem. N1194

"Biblical morality glows from two mountaintops, Mount Sinai and the Mount of the Beatitudes. These peak experiences of scriptural morality are sounds of divine love that flow into laws that show us how to love," McBride writes.

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Scripture from Scratch Mini-Courses

Catholic Approach to Scripture
Hebrew Scriptures
Morality and Justice
Nature of God