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Tradition and Change through the Bible

Everyone is welcome to these sessions, which will be held on the fourth Sunday of March, May and June. The Bible study will be accompanied by a light meal and will begin at 10:30 a.m. The three sessions will address tradition and change through these topics.

March 27th, Session 1: Traditional marriage in the Old Testament: cousins and concubines.  Which patriarch married his sister? Why did Jacob need to marry a cousin? What was the point of all those concubines?

Online materials

For those who want to read passages  before the session


Handout for the session (posted March 27th)


Background resources for further reading


No session on April 24th. (Easter)


May 22nd, Session 2: Tradition and change case studies: The council of Jerusalem and abolishing slavery. How did the early church decide to give up circumcision and the kosher laws, despite the requirements of the Old Testament? What difference did that make for the early church? What bible passages support slavery? How did Christians come to see that slavery is unacceptable?

Online materials

For those who want to read passages before the session


Handout for the session (posted May 22nd)


Background resources for further reading



June 26th, Session 3: What the Bible says (and doesn't say) about homosexuality.The passages that are often taken to refer to homosexuality will be looked at and set in the context of other passages. In one case an original Greek word will be analyzed for clarity. Other Bible passages that address the larger context will be discussed for whether and how they may override those passages.

Online materials

For those who want to read passages before the session


Handout for the session (posted June 26th)


Background resources for further reading



The series will be led by the Rev. Dr. Alice Haugen, a companion priest to St. Paul and a professor emerita of the department of Biochemistry at the University of Iowa. The reading list will be available online and at St. Paul's before each session. All are welcome to participate in any of the sessions, which are free. Please take time to mention our bible study during your weekly announcements for those who may be interested in attending.
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