Abraham

Father of All Believers

series: Ancient-Future Bible Study: Experience Scripture through Lectio Divina

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About

Ancient-Future Bible Study incorporates contemporary study of the Bible with an experience of the church's most ancient way of reading Scripture, lectio divina. This time-honored practice consists of five basic movements: biblical study (lectio), reflection (meditatio), prayer (oratio), discernment (contemplatio), and contemplative action (operatio). In six clearly written volumes, bestselling author Stephen Binz helps readers study the Bible in a way that leads to spiritual transformation and brings them closer to God.

Binz leads readers in a vivid study of key biblical characters, including Abraham, Paul, Peter, David, the women of the Torah, and the women of the Gospels. He shows all Christians who desire to have a transforming experience with the inspired Word of God how studying Scripture through lectio divina can enrich their discipleship. This ecumenical Bible study, designed for use by individuals or groups, includes questions for personal reflection and suggested action. Each volume includes leader's notes for guiding a study over the course of six sessions.
 
Contents
Welcome to Ancient-Future Bible Study
      The Movements of Lectio Divina
      The Essence of Lectio Divina
      Your Personal Practice of Ancient-Future Bible Study
      Collatio--The Communal Practice of Lectio Divina
      Further Help for Groups
Introduction to Abraham: Father of All Believers
1. Abram Goes Forth at the Call of God (Genesis 12:1-9)
2. Abram and Sarai in Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20)
3. The Families of Abram and Lot Separate (Genesis 13:1-18)
4. Abram Blessed by Melchizedek (Genesis 14:17-24)
5. God Seals the Covenant with Abram (Genesis 15:1-21)
6. Hagar Gives Birth to Ishmael (Genesis 16:1-16)
7. Ancestor of a Multitude of Nations (Genesis 17:1-14)
8. Falling Down Laughing (Genesis 17:15-27)
9. Abraham Hosts the Strangers (Genesis 18:1-15)
10. Abraham Intercedes for Sodom (Genesis 18:16-33)
11. Abraham and Sarah at Gerar (Genesis 20:1-18)
12. Laughing with Sarah at Isaac's Birth (Genesis 21:1-7)
13. Banishment of Hagar and Ishmael (Genesis 21:8-21)
14. Abraham's Well at Beer-sheba (Genesis 21:22-34)
15. Abraham's Supreme Test (Genesis 22:1-8)
16. The Binding of Isaac (Genesis 22:9-19)
17. Abraham Purchases the Burial Cave at Hebron (Genesis 23:1-16)
18. Burial of Sarah and Abraham (Genesis 23:17-20; 25:7-11)
19. The Promises God Made to Abraham (Exodus 3:1-6, 13-16; 6:2-9)
20. Song of Abraham's Offspring (Psalm 105:1-11)
21. The Rock from Which We Were Hewn (Isaiah 51:1-2; Sirach 44:19-21)
22. Descendants of Abraham through Faith (Galatians 3:6-9, 15-18)
23. Our Example of Faith (Romans 4:1-12)
24. God's Promises Inherited through Faith (Romans 4:13-25)
25. Remembering the Covenant of Old (Luke 1:57-75)
26. Father Abraham Have Mercy on Me (Luke 16:19-31)
27. Doing What Abraham Did (John 8:31-42)
28. Greater than Our Father Abraham (John 8:48-59)
29. The Line of Abraham's Descendants (Acts 7:1-8)
30. The Example of Abraham's Faith (Hebrews 11:8-19)
Ancient-Future Bible Study for Small Groups
Suggestions for Participating in the Group
Group Study in Six Sessions

Endorsements

Praise for Abraham

"A method of Bible study that has a long and celebrated history in the church is given renewed momentum with this book. Using the story of Abraham, as well as the New Testament writers' reinterpretation of elements of that story, Binz both introduces lay readers to this important biblical character and leads them through the five movements of lectio divina. The goal here is more than instruction. The method is an invitation to immerse oneself in the riches of our biblical tradition and to give flesh to that tradition in our daily lives. The book will be a wonderful aid for the development of one's spiritual life."--Dianne Bergant, CSA, professor of Old Testament studies, Catholic Theological Union

"I can think of few things that the contemporary church needs to recover as much as the ancient practice of lectio divina. In my view it is the primary mode by which we are to receive Scripture. Stephen Binz's Abraham is a welcome contribution in this direction. Abraham is central to the biblical narrative and it is good to see Binz drawing our attention not only to the Abrahamic narratives, but also to Abraham in other parts of the Old and New Testaments. The focus of this book is rightly on the biblical text itself, and the commentary and questions push us back to the text to listen for God's address. My hope is that this well written and accessible tool will assist readers in the practice of lectio divina."--Craig Bartholomew, H. Evan Runner Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Religion and Theology, Redeemer University College; coauthor, The Drama of Scripture

"Lectio divina is the perfect practice for studying the life, struggles, and hopes of Abraham and his dynamic significance for the faith and outreach of each one of us! Stephen Binz has done a splendid job of introducing his readers to this practice and immersing them in it. I eagerly suggest this volume--and the entire series--as the basis for your next personal or group study. Your faith will be deeply revitalized."--Marva J. Dawn, teaching fellow in Spiritual Theology, Regent College

"I heartily recommend Stephen J. Binz's book, Abraham, as it allows us to engage the story of the great patriarch through the extraordinary--and simple--means of lectio divina. It allows us to put down the commentaries and word studies and let the beautiful poignancy of the text seep into our souls, all with the aid of the Holy Spirit."--Tony Jones, theologian-in-residence, Solomon's Porch, Minneapolis; author, The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier

"The helpful introduction to this book acquaints readers with the ancient practice of lectio divina, the regular meditative reading of Holy Scripture in the context of personal prayer. This discipline, despite its centuries-long use, is still little known outside of monastic and academic settings. Ancient-Future Bible Study, a project that does great credit to Brazos Press, has in mind to correct that historical defect in Christian piety. The quality of Stephen Binz's Abraham: Father of All Believers, the first volume in this new series, bodes well for the whole project."--Patrick Henry Reardon, author, Creation and the Patriarchal Histories

Praise for Ancient-Future Bible Study

"A method of Bible study that has a long and celebrated history in the church is given renewed momentum with this series. The goal here is more than instruction. The five movements of lectio divina are an invitation to immerse oneself in the riches of our biblical tradition and to give flesh to that tradition in our daily lives. This series will be a wonderful aid for the development of one's spiritual life."--Dianne Bergant, CSA, professor of Old Testament studies, Catholic Theological Union

"I can think of few things that the contemporary church needs to recover as much as the ancient practice of lectio divina. In my view it is the primary mode by which we are to receive Scripture. The focus of this series is rightly on the biblical text itself, and the commentary and questions push us back to the text to listen for God's address. My hope is that this well-written and accessible tool will assist readers in the practice of lectio divina."--Craig Bartholomew, H. Evan Runner Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Religion and Theology, Redeemer University College; coauthor, The Drama of Scripture

"Stephen Binz has done an admirable job of introducing his readers to the process of lectio divina and immersing them in it. Through teaching the practice of this ancient way of studying the Bible, this series of Scripture studies will recharge and deepen the faith and lives of many, who thereafter will use the art for private devotions and/or in small groups. I heartily recommend this series to individuals and churches who want to join in the spirited revival of Christianity in our time!"--Marva J. Dawn, teaching fellow in Spiritual Theology, Regent College

"In the Ancient-Future Bible Study series, Stephen J. Binz opens our minds, imaginations, and hearts to the experience of Scripture that God intends. In each book he leads us through the movements of lectio divina so that by understanding the Word and meditating on it we are drawn closer to the Lord in prayer and prompted to act on it. I believe that users of this series will encounter the Holy Spirit and find themselves enfolded in God's love."--Bert Ghezzi, author, Adventures in Daily Prayer

"Stephen Binz has a knack for popularizing the Bible. His latest series, Ancient-Future Bible Study, demonstrates once more his ability to give people sound guidance as they read the Bible. I am happy to warmly recommend this modern application of the ancient method of lectio divina--the once and future way to read the Bible prayerfully--centered on fascinating characters from the Old and New Testaments."--Fr. Ronald D. Witherup, author, The Bible Companion

"At their recent Synod the world's Catholic bishops recommended lectio divina to all Christ's disciples, for prayerfully reading and making God's Word one's spiritual nourishment follows well-trod paths in the Christian tradition. Stephen Binz guides us on these paths in his Ancient-Future Bible Study series. I am pleased to recommend this project with enthusiasm."--Terrence Prendergast, SJ, Archbishop of Ottawa

"Stephen J. Binz has bridged the gap between contemplative biblical study and practical application. This is a rare achievement that many readers of Scripture will find profound and spiritually formative."--Thomas C. Oden, Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Theology and Ethics, Drew University; general editor, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture

"Stephen Binz, a responsible biblical scholar and experienced pastor, has undertaken the important project of leading non-professional but committed readers of the Bible into a spiritually enlivening encounter with the biblical text through engagement with some of the fascinating characters who people its pages. The author guides the reader into the ancient spiritual practice of lectio divina or 'sacred reading' by helping the reader to understand the passage in its own context through a commentary that avoids both literalism and overly specialized academic exegesis. He then invites the reader to meditate on how this passage reveals God's ways with humans and what this might mean in our own lives today. He encourages the reader to pray with the biblical text, not avoiding its puzzling or challenging aspects but not allowing those challenges to divert the reader from God's self-gift in the text or God's insistent invitation to respond. Anyone yearning to pray the biblical text will find this series a useful companion on the journey."--Sandra M. Schneiders, professor of New Testament and spirituality, Jesuit School of Theology

"The Ancient-Future Bible Study series revives a simple, time-honored framework for listening to God's voice known as lectio divina. This framework does not so much constrain as bring liberty--liberty to explore, to listen, and to grow. Stephen Binz's work is carefully considered, richly textured, and solidly grounded. His seed thoughts will help you dwell richly in the Word."--David Neff, editor in chief, Christianity Today

"Stephen J. Binz's new series allows us to put down the commentaries and word studies and let the beautiful poignancy of the text seep into our souls, all with the aid of the Holy Spirit. I heartily recommend it."--Tony Jones, theologian-in-residence, Solomon's Porch, Minneapolis; author, The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier

"This new series is a wonderful gift for the church in late modernity. In an era of twittered attention, we have inculcated all sorts of bad reading habits that we then bring to Scripture. The Ancient-Future Bible Study prescribes a counter-formative regimen: the personal and communal practice of lectio divina or 'sacred reading'--a spiritual discipline that slows us down and makes us attentive and submissive to the formative power of the Word of God. For some this will be a strange, new practice; but it will quickly feel as natural as breathing. So find some friends, take up this series, and read anew!"--James K. A. Smith, Calvin College; author, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation

"Lectio divina, despite its centuries-long use, is still little known outside of monastic and academic settings. Ancient-Future Bible Study, a project that does great credit to Brazos Press, has in mind to correct that historical defect in Christian piety."--Patrick Henry Reardon, author, Creation and the Patriarchal Histories

"As its name suggests, the Ancient-Future Bible Study series brings a centuries-old approach to Scripture and prayer into the twenty-first century, providing sound commentary, thoughtful insights, and meaningful suggestions for personal reflection and meditation. Stephen J. Binz invites us to open our minds and hearts to the transforming power of God's Word. Under his guidance, the wisdom of the Bible comes vividly to life."--Carl McColman, author, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism


The Author

  1. Stephen J. Binz

    Stephen J. Binz

    Stephen J. Binz (SSL, Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome) is a popular speaker and the highly regarded author of over two dozen books. He is the former director of Little Rock Scripture Study, used in churches throughout the world, and founder and author of...

    Continue reading about Stephen J. Binz

Reviews

"Binz . . . explains this contemplative practice [lectio divina] and its steps, including meditation, prayer, contemplation, and action, and then shows its use. Threading the Hebrew scripture narrative of Abraham with places where it is picked up and interpreted in the New Testament, the writer offers many places for the reader to rest and reflect. The format of the book is designed to be used in multiple settings, from group studies to individual ones. This volume, and upcoming ones in the series, may appeal to Protestant readers who might never have been exposed to lectio divina--and it brings a laudable focus to some biblical figures who may otherwise only pop up on Sunday mornings."--Publishers Weekly

"Binz's gifted writing makes every person come to love Scripture and to read it with both insight and spiritual profit."--James Chukwuma Okoye, CSSp, The Bible Today

"Beautifully written, insightful, and empowering. . . . Whether you're meeting with a group of conservative evangelicals or feisty, progressive women (or a mix!), this study will work for anyone engaging with an open heart and mind. It's not cheesy, and it's not patronizing. I promise."--Rachel Held Evans, blog (rachelheldevans.com)

"Each book includes 30 lessons with an excellent introduction, guidelines for Bible study, and a very clear explanation of the movements of lectio divina."--Dan Pierson, Catechetical Leader

"Binz is a Bible scholar who bridges the Evangelical-Catholic divide. In his Ancient-Future Bible Study Series he gives us a series of great Bible studies on various characters in the Bible. . . . These studies for either individuals or groups highlight several principles that are vital for dynamic Bible study. First of all, what I like about them is that they focus on individuals. . . . The Bible is best understood as God's encounter with individuals down through history, and that encounter has changed the course of history. Secondly, I like these studies because they are based in the Catholic tradition of lectio divina or 'holy reading.'. . . Lectio divina allows for the work of the Spirit in the individual heart. . . . At the same time Binz's Bible study guides are scholarly works. They are well researched, carefully balanced, and open to modern critical methods while not allowing them to become reductionist, destructive, or critical for their own sake. His studies are prepared to help Christians in both Evangelical and Catholic traditions to read our shared Scriptures with insight, intelligence, and inspiration."--Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Standing on My Head blog (patheos.com)