We are ending the longest period between classes – not three lessons to cover in three weeks, but two lessons and Unit One review to cover in six weeks. This makes the timing a bit less difficult, as Thanksgiving comes and goes during this time. But, of course, we all develop angst before our first test — dubbed an “Information Retrieval Exercise” – which will begin our next class on Saturday.
I remember feeling stressed last year at this time. It felt like “crunch time” fitting in study and review with Christmas shopping, shipping, and decorating. I’m a bit less stressed this year, being familiar with the test process. But suddenly I feel I’ve run out of time …
Even so, I appreciate how Catholic Biblical School employs different learning styles to engage us in Bible study. We hear excellent lectures preparing us for upcoming lessons. At home we read Scripture passages, refer to footnotes in the study Bible, read relevant sections of commentaries and the Bible dictionary, consult our Bible Lands map book, and study supplemental material in our workbook. Our written lessons involve analyzing the scriptures, looking for themes, and comparing similar passages in different gospels.
We sometimes are asked to write from the point of view of the evangelist or the Old Testament writer. Year 1 assignments I completed included writing a creation myth, imagining I was Eve after the fall, imagining I was an Egyptian reporter after the parting of the Red Sea, and imagining I was Rahab during and after the siege of Jericho. Putting myself at the scene like that really involved me with the storyline and presented insights I otherwise would have missed. Example: The blowing of the trumpets at Jericho and circling the town day after day without attack surely was a form of psychological warfare!
Finally, reviewing our material and taking tests serve to reinforce what we’ve learned, hopefully impressing it in long-term rather than short-term memory.
Overall, the experience gives me the confidence to pick up the Bible spontaneously, look up a passage, mull it over, and embrace its message. And for that, I am most grateful.