Approaching the Gospels Together is a process of reading and discussing the Gospels (the books in the Bible addressing the life and teachings of Jesus) in side-by-side format, in small groups, guided by the facilitator’s open-ended questions. This is a method full of discovery, connection and personal growth, bringing the Word to life in powerful and transforming ways.
Challenges to “re-discovering” the story of Jesus and his teachings are many:
One may wonder what can be said that hasn’t been heard before.
One may think everyone knows what they are said to have said.
One may come up blank against words that have faded in meaning over time.
One may wonder how anyone could truly understand 1st Century Palestine in our modern 21st century.
Working in community with the parallel texts of Matthew, Mark and Luke can be illuminating to those involved in the conversation. The answers that emerge will not be the same for everyone, nor even for the same person at different times. A balanced process takes place: on one hand, we come to see a variety of insights which the texts evoke, and on the other, we can come to a genuine respect for the many points of view which are legitimately and honestly seen.
An underlying assumption of this approach is the terms “student” and “teacher” are inadequate. All are seekers. Each enriches the other. By design, there is no homework or preparation. All text work is done together, during each session, with a facilitator. Reading with fresh eyes makes it possible for the group to engage the text fully.
“As a participant, and sometimes facilitator, I have found that, no matter how
many times I begin again the study, I always discovered something new and
exciting… The gospel narrators look at the same material in different ways, and
so do the group members as they read aloud, then listen to each other’s
questions and concerns that rise from comparing the texts. Everyone contributes
because there is no ‘teacher,’ no top-down lecturing, no ‘absolute answers.’
Different views may be vigorously discussed but we stay on the text; thus the
energy remains positive, spiritually and intellectually engaging, and, best of
all… it’s fun.” – Approaching the Gospels participant and facilitator,
St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Chestnut Hill, PA