Archdiocese Local

Bible study series offers online flexibility

The latest in Ascension’s 19-installment series is “Hebrews: The New and Eternal Covenant,” a study of the New Testament Letter to the Hebrews, authored by Andrew Swafford, associate professor of theology at Benedictine College in Atchison.

by Joe Bollig
joe.bollig@theleaven.org

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — What’s the next best thing to going to a Bible study at your parish?

It’s having your Bible study come to you.

Ascension (formerly known as Ascension Press), has adapted its “The Great Adventure” Catholic Bible studies series so it can be done by individuals or groups, in-person or online, or even through a combination of in-person and online.

It has the flexibility individuals and parishes need during this uncertain time when there is a need to get creative to work around pandemic restrictions.

The latest in Ascension’s 19-installment series is “Hebrews: The New and Eternal Covenant,” a study of the New Testament Letter to the Hebrews, authored by Andrew Swafford, associate professor of theology at Benedictine College in Atchison.

The goal is not just learning, but falling in love with Jesus, being formed and becoming a disciple.

“[Its purpose] is to inform, inspire and challenge,” said Swafford. “Yes, we want to get into the text and learn, but it’s not just school. It’s also about transformation.”

The “Hebrews” study program, which has a video component that can be viewed in-person with DVDs or online, features Swafford and Jeff Cavins, a Catholic evangelist, author, biblical scholar and creator of “The Bible Timeline.”

“Hebrews” offers an eight-week program that takes students through a guided tour of the epistle. Students — individually or as a group — read and fill out the workbook, view the videos (on DVD or online) and hold group discussions.

The Ascension Bible study programs are designed to be flexible, said Lauren Joyce, communications                          specialist for Ascension.

With the “digital option,” each participant buys the workbook for $26.99 and receives free, one-year access to the online streaming study videos. (After the first year, individuals can purchase another year of online video access for $10.) Group discussions can be done via videoconferencing like Zoom. Ascension’s partner platform for video streaming is “Thinkific,” an online class portal.

Some parishes may begin by using the more “traditional” in-person, classroom approach, said Joyce. In this case, a parish will purchase the “Hebrews” DVDs for $99.95 and show them in an in-person class, with discussion. If, for some reason, the in-person Bible study can’t continue, the teacher can shift the class to the “digital option” without interruption.

Swafford is excited about this Bible study.

“In a powerful way, the [Letter to the] Hebrews gives us the Catholic faith in its very beginnings,” said Swafford. “It helps us to see that the new covenant is not just a text, it’s living covenant family reality — especially a liturgical reality. With Hebrews, we get to go back in time, and we get to talk with and be with the first generation of Christians. We get to hear their struggles and hear their living faith.”

 Ascension has several other online, digital study programs. For information about the Bible studies and more, visit the Ascension website at: ascensionpress.com.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

Leave a Comment