The Big Picture Bible Course – Session 6

The Big Picture Bible Course – Session 6 “Incarnation”

Opening Prayer

  1. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
  2. And kindle in them the fire of your love.
  3. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created
  4. And you will renew the face of the earth.


Let us pray

   A prayer of Julian of Norwich  (1342 to c1416)

In you, Father all-mighty, we have our preservation and our bliss.

In you, Christ, we have our restoring and our saving.

You are our mother, brother, and Saviour. In you, our Lord the Holy Spirit, is marvellous and plenteous grace.

You are our clothing; for love you wrap us and embrace us.

You are our maker, our lover, our keeper.

Teach us to believe that by your grace all shall be well, and all shall be well,

and all manner of things shall be well. Amen


Sharing of the previous weeks studies “People”

Extract from Eucharistic Prayer III –

You are indeed Holy, O lord and all you have created rightly gives you praise,  for through your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, by the power and working of the Holy Spirit you give life to all things and make them holy, and you never cease to gather a people to yourself, so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name.


They shall be my people and I will be their God.  Jeremiah 32: 38


The Big Read for last week was Hebrews ch 11

This contains a number of   “by faith”  statements centred on particular people who then did something.   At a later date you might want to revisit this chapter and then find out more about these people.  This table might help.

“by faith” Bible reference Action
Abel Gen 4:4
Enoch Gen 5:24
Noah Gen 6:8-22
Abraham Gen 12:1 to Gen 25:11 leaves his home
Sarah Gen 17:19 & 18:9-15 & 21:1-7
Isaac Gen 27:27-40
Jacob Gen 48:1-20
Joseph Gen 50:24-25
Moses Ex 2:2 to 14:31
Rahab Joshua 2:1-24 & 6:17-25 hides the spies
Gideon Judges 6:1 to 8:32
Barak Judges 4:4-16
Samson Judges 13:1 to 16:31
Jephthah Judges 11:1 to 12:7
Samuel 1 Sam 3:1 to 4:1
David 1 Sam 16:1-23 & 2 Sam 7:8-16


Catechism of the Catholic Church – 64

Through the prophets God forms his people in the hope of salvation, in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all, to be written on their hearts.  The prophets proclaim a radical redemption of the People of God, purification from all their infidelities, a salvation which will include all the nations.  Above all, the poor and humble of the Lord will bear this hope. Such holy women as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Judith, and Esther kept alive the hope of Israel’s salvation.  The purest figure among them is Mary.



Person Bible Reference What they did
Sarah Gen 12:5 & 17:19 & 18:9-15 & 21:1-7 & 23:1-2
Rebecca Gen ch 24-27
Rachel Gen ch 29-30:24 & 35:16-20
Miriam Ex 15:19-21
Deborah Judges ch 4 to 5:22
Hannah 1 Sam ch 1 to 2:11
Judith Judith ch 10 to 13:26
Esther Esther ch 4 to 7:10
Mary Luke 1:26-56 & 2:1-52


Recurrent theme

When the people follow the Lord and serve him faithfully things go well for them.  When they fall away things go badly for them.  The Israelites go through a cycle of coming to the Lord and falling away again.  Through all this the Lord doesn’t give up on them.


“by your grace all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well”

DVD  The Incarnation

Marking out next weeks scriptures


Some of my own musings on the fall


Your tube hymn

There is a Fountain filled with Blood –William Cowper (1731-1800)


The Fall – Genesis 3

There are times when we can read the bible with imagination; we may even try to put ourselves there as we strive to understand what happened.  If we go beyond the scripture we would have to own up to that and say:

But that is more than the Scripture says.


That is going way beyond the scripture.


But that is just speculation.


When we consider Adam and Eve and the fall we have to remember that it is not a story for children, it is a story for adults.  A child would say, “That’s a rubbish story because my dad wouldn’t throw me out of the garden for taking an apple!” as an RE teacher once told me.

Even if we speak of it as being in “figurative language” it is still important to examine the details in the way they are presented to extract as much as we can from it.

So here goes

Satan comes to Eve, in the form of a serpent.  Gen 3:1   This would seem to be an example of divide and conquer.

Eve doesn’t seem to find a talking serpent odd and finds herself answering its questions, even though she has authority, along with Adam, over all the animals.  Gen 1: 28

The question asked is actually a false one, “Did God say you were not to eat of any of the trees in the garden?”  Gen 3: 1

Eve answers with a statement which is also wrong, “We may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden.  But of the tree in the middle of the garden God said, “You must not eat it, nor touch it, under pain of death”.”  Gen 3: 2-3. Look at Gen 2: 16-17 for what God actually said.

So an incorrect detail has crept into Eve’s recollection of what God actually said.  How might this have come about?  Here’s where a bit of imagination comes in.

Scenario 1 – God told Adam but not Eve.  Adam told Eve and told her wrong, or got exasperated with “why?” questions and said, “Just don’t touch it, Ok!”

Scenario 2 – God told Adam and Eve, but somehow, maybe in their conversations with each other, this business of “Don’t even touch it” has crept in.

Whatever happened this gives Satan an opening, like a Radio 4 Today programme interviewer leading an interviewee down the garden path.  If he can get her to touch it, and plainly not die, this would cast doubt on the prohibition not to eat it.  Here comes the temptation, and a bigger lie, the devil says “No! You will not die!  God knows in fact that on that day you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil.”  Gen 3: 4-5

Instead of rebuking the serpent, she does what it says, then gives some of the fruit to Adam, and the rest, as it were, is our sad history.

Do they actually acquire the knowledge of good and evil or just the ability to decide for themselves what is good and evil?  They seem to decide wrong and the way they look at themselves and each other is forever changed.  They try to make a rather inadequate cover for their nakedness.  Gen 3: 7

When they hear God walking in the garden they hide from him.  Why do they even think this is possible?  Could it be that the voice of God within then has been silenced as part of their spiritual death?  Gen 3: 8

When God questions them about what happened he comes to Adam first, as if to say – “I put you in charge, what happened?”  Then Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent and the serpent didn’t have a leg to stand on.

I wonder, if Adam hadn’t eaten the fruit could he have interceded for Eve?  Still, that speculation is futile as that is not what happened.

They have to leave that close proximity with God in the garden of Eden and go out into a world changed by their sin.  Gen 3: 17-19.  Their relationship with each other is also changed.  Gen 3: 16.

-But they do have a world to live in.

-God promises them a Saviour, the offspring of the woman.  Gen 3: 15.

-He provides a more adequate covering for their nakedness, for their sin.  This is the first recorded sacrifice in the bible and prefigures all the old testament sacrifices and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  Gen 3: 21

Hebrews 9: 22 – without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Mark 10: 45  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Hebrews 9: 26   But now, at the end of the ages, he has appeared once for all to remove sin by his sacrifice.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

When I survey the wondrous cross – Isaac Watts (1674-1748)


Notes on imagery – The Blood of Christ

Why have I chosen an extreme Protestant Hymn with some rather graphic imagery?

To remind us how much our free gift of salvation cost Jesus as we come into Easter time to commemorate His passion and celebrate his resurrection.

There are many hymns with this imagery;

Take our bread – “Your holy people standing washed in your                                                                                             blood”

To God be the Glory – “O perfect redemption the purchase of                                                                                        blood.”

Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine – “Born of His Spirit, washed in                                                                           his blood”

Soul of my Saviour – “Wash me with water, flowing from thy side”