Marley Parish Ecumenical Bible Study Group started in 2010. We meet on Wednesdays at 10.30AM (after 10AM Mass ) in the Founders room in the Church.
It’s a relaxed and informal setting and materials are provided. At the moment 2015 we have commenced a study of St. Mark’s Gospel. All are welcome.
Bible Study in Divine Word Parish, Marley Grange, Rathfarnham; article published in the Irish Catholic March 2019
One of the best things I ever did was to join a Bible Study Group. For years I promised myself that I would read the Bible regularly but I rarely did. One day, about fourteen years ago, I got an invite to visit a Bible study in the neighbouring parish. The group met once a week in a parishioner’s home. I felt as if I had found what I had been searching for a long time.
I attended that group each week for about six years and made many friends during that time.
In the summer of 2008 I decided to do a short study in my own parish. When we finished our
six-week study the group wanted to continue, and we have been going ever since.
Our Parish is Divine Word, Marley Grange, Rathfarnham. We are very fortunate to have the Servite Fathers serving our community for the past twenty years. We are a very strong and united Parish and we have about thirty long-established groups ministering to the Parish.
How we started
When our Bible study group started in 2008, Els who has many years’ experience in leading a group joined our group for a few weeks. We are also blessed in that, Robert, a local lay Presbyterian man well versed in the Bible, was part our group from the very start. Our local Curate Fr. Camillus attended each week without fail until his recent retirement.
To advertise our first meeting and with the blessing of our Parish Priest we put a notice in our weekly missalette to invite everyone to our first Bible Study. We were surprised and delighted at the response to our initial information meeting as more than 20 people showed up.
How it works
We meet in the Parish Centre every Wednesday after 10.00am Mass. The centre is warm and inviting; we have tea, biscuits and a chat before we get started on the study. At the moment we have eight people in the group, the number varies slightly from year to year.
We use materials from a longstanding worldwide non-denominational organisation called Community Bible Study International. We download and print the papers for each person in the group, binding them together in a booklet of 6 to 10 lessons. The materials provide homework on the section of Scripture that we are currently reading. The homework takes about one hour to do. We bring our homework to the meeting and go through the answers together in our class. At the meeting, one person is assigned the role of facilitator, reading out the questions and giving everyone a chance to participate.
One of the reasons the group has been meeting for more than ten years is that it is very enjoyable. It can be serious as we discuss serious topics, but it is also good fun and not a week goes by that we don’t have a laugh.
The Living Word
The goal is not to acquire academic knowledge, but to encourage Scripture reading. God lives in His Word, and as we read Scripture, God speaks to us individually. As we work through the questions and answers we share our insights and learn from each other. We often share about our faith and struggles. There is great respect within the group and an unwritten code of confidentiality. We also discuss concerns we may have as Christians living in our World today. The facilitator may need to bring us back to the Scripture if we get carried away on a tangent! People participate as much or as little as they wish.
In January we finished a thirty-week study of St Pauls Letter to the Romans. It took us twelve months to complete the study; it was difficult study at times but very inspiring with lots of practical advice for living a Christian Life. We were struck by St Paul’s unselfishness in his ministry, echoing the ministry of Jesus. We have just started a thirty-week study of St John’s Gospel. We believe that by reading this Gospel over the next twelve months we will grow closer to God and His Beloved Son Jesus.
The reason I attend the class every week is that it improves my relationship and communication with God. I want to read His word to know more about Him, His wisdom, teachings and promises. “Your words are a lamp for my feet and light for my path” Psalm 115. It’s essential food for the journey. I feel very privileged to be part of our Parish Bible Study.
Start your own Bible study?
If you want advice or help with setting up a Bible Study group at home or in your parish, you may email Anne McGrath or Els Fletcher at Community Bible Study Ireland at biblestudyireland.org.