The sessions have now concluded. I realize that the uploaded videos and the audios are not perfect. My hope is to rerecord these videos and edit them better. These videos will take time. I hope to finish them by the end of the summer. My track record is not great. Please feel free to enjoy them and continue to watch them on your own time. Thank you for all your support.

If you enjoy what you see below, I am looking to start a new series in the fall and would like your input. What topics or ideas interest you? My current thought is a series called "Tough Questions" where we explore and discuss the more difficult social, moral, or theological questions. Please email any thoughts or ideas that you have to Thank you.


Bible Basics is a series designed to help you explore the Bible. The first session focuses on the basics of understanding the Bible, issues of translation and the different translations, and how to interpret the Bible. The following sessions systematically explore all 72 books of the Bible. Each session will focus 0n specific books, their themes, historical context, and some difficult passages held within each book. The goal of this series is for anyone to feel comfortable opening up the Bible and exploring its content.

Each week has two separate sessions that will cover the same material:

Wednesday at 7 pm at St. Albert the Great Parish in Alberton, Montana

Thursday at 7 pm at Christ the King Parish in Missoula,  Montana

One session each week will be recorded and posted on this page. If you have any questions while listening to the sessions, feel free to email me at and I will be happy to answer your questions.

Happy Reading!


The three main points of this session are:

  1. What are the main sections of the Bible and how do I find passages?

  2. What do we mean by translation, and what is a good translation to read?
  3. And,  how do I properly interpret the Bible and what are some methods of interpretation?

Notes for Session 1: Introduction

Comparison Sheet for Bible Translations

During this session we will explore:

  1. The main themes of Genesis: creation, covenant, and the patriarchs

  2. The main themes of Exodus: persecution, journey, law, and tabernacle.

Notes for Session 2: Genesis and Exodus

This session will explore:

  1. The legal codes and laws of the Israelites.

  2. Sacrifices, holiness code, and ideas of ritual purity.
  3. Basics of Israelite society.

Notes for Session 3: Leviticus and Deuteronomy

This session explores the crossing of the Jordan River, the formation of the land of Israel, and the beginnings of Israelite society. The main points of this session are:

  1. The crossing of the Jordan River and the formation of the Israelite nation

  2. The beginnings of the Israelite society
  3. The judges

Notes for Session 4: Out of the Desert

This session is a particularly important one since it contains the broad overview of the history of the Israelite people. The main points of this session are:

  1. The establishment of the monarchy

  2. Fidelity and infidelity
  3. The rise of the prophetic tradition
  4. The divided kingdom
  5. Exile

Notes for Session 5: Reign of Kings

This session returns to the historical time line of 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings from the perspective of the Chronicler (the person who wrote the book of Chronicles). The major theme of this session is exile. The main ideas of this session are:

  1. The differences in perspective between 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings as compared to 1 and 2 Chronicles
  2. Life in Exile
  3. The perspective of the exilic books: Ester, Ezra, and Nehemiah

Notes for Session 6: Into Exile: 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ester, Ezra, and Nehemiah

This session begins the overview of the prophetic texts. Since the prophetic texts fit into a very different genera and style than what we have previously studied, this session will focus on the differences in style and theme found in these texts. The follow are the primary focal points of this session:

  • What is a prophet and what do they do?
  • How does a prophet become a prophet?
  • What is a prophetic call?
  • What is a prophetic act?
  • What are oracles, visions, and locutions?

Notes for Session 7: Intro to the Prophets: Amos and Hosea

This session continues our discussion of the prophets looking specifically at some of the minor prophets. Session 9 will conclude the minor prophets.

Some of the new themes that emerge are:

  • The main focus of the prophet is to call out the sins and/or crimes of the people
  • The historical setting that caused the prophet to preach
  • Every prophet preaches the message of redemption and restoration
  • Apocalyptic literature as announcing the revelation of God to the world.

Notes for Session 8: Minor Prophets I: Jonah, Obadiah, Nahum, Daniel, Joel, and Baruch

This session concludes our discussion of the minor prophets by looking at the final six minor prophets of the Old Testament books. The same themes in Session 8 reoccur in many of the prophetic texts of this session.

Notes for Session 9: Minor Prophets II: Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Micah

This session explores the major prophets, namely, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah. The main points of this session are:

  • call narratives
  • prophetic acts
  • understanding the life of a prophet
  • the differences between these books and the nuances of these books.

Notes for Session 10: The Major Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Ezekiel

This session begins our exploration of the Wisdom Books:

The main points of this session are:

  1. The challenge to the Deuteronomic Philosophy and the beginning of the new philosophy: God is God and I am not.
  2. Exploring Hebrew Poetry
  3. Wisdom literature in the life of the people

Notes for Session 11: Wisdom Books Part I: Psalms, Proverbs, Wisdom, and Sirach

This session is a continuation of Session 11. Unlike Session 11, this session will not return to the conversation of poetry and the saying prevalent in the other books. Instead the focus of this session in on the narrative wisdom books. The narrative wisdom books take the themes of the other wisdom books and relays the same message in a story. Now we are invited to explore the theme of "God is God and I am not" in the context of a story.

Notes for Session 12: Wisdom Books Part II: Ecclesiastes, Job, and Song of Songs

This session finishes both the historical books and the Old Testament. The books of Tobit and Judith follow the journeys of the main protagonists, Tobiah and Judith respectively, as they encounter God in the events of their lives. The books of Maccabees ends the saga of the Jewish people and leads into the New Testament. The themes throughout these books are:

  1. God has a plan and helps those who follow it
  2. God chooses unlikely people to aid in understanding his will
  3. The books of Maccabees are revolutionary in their concept of the afterlife. 

Notes from Session 13: Historical Books Part III: Tobit, Judith, and 1 and 2 Maccabees

The New Testament. Much of the history from Session 13 carries over into understanding the New Testament. The New Testament contains three genera of writings: Gospels, letters, and Revelation. In this session we will explore:

  1. the historical and social setting of the New Testament
  2. the timeline for the writing of the books
  3. the Gospel of Mark and its structure

Notes for Session 14: Introduction to the New Testament and the Gospel of Mark

This session explores the genera of the Gospels in more depth specifically examining the Gospel of Matthew. Some of the content includes:

  1. What is the main point of the Gospels?
  2. What is different about the Gospel of Matthew and what are some of the key points?
  3. How do the different genera of the Gospels help us to understand it better?
  4. What are some of the key differences between the Gospels?

Notes for Session 15: The Gospel of Matthew and the Synoptics


This session focuses on the characteristics of Luke's Gospel and then the stories from the Book of Acts

  1. Luke wrote a Gospel in a different style than the other three - a "scientific" approach
  2. Luke wrote to the Gentiles: those who were unfamiliar with Jewish law, society, and prophesy.
  3. Acts is a continuation of the Gospel of Luke
  4. Acts is primarily about the life of the Early Church and St. Paul.

Notes for Session 16: The Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts

The Gospel of John is a rather peculiar Gospel compared to the other three. John is aptly named, the theologian, because his text attempt to explain the life of Jesus from an almost lofty theological vantage point. The themes of this session include:

  1. The characteristics of John's Gospel that separates it from the other Gospels
  2. The themes common to John's Gospel
  3. The passages particular to the Gospel
  4. an exploration of some of the passages of John's Gospel


The writings and person of St. Paul cannot be overestimated. This session explores both the person of St. Paul as well as his letters. The session includes:

  1. An introduction to the genera of letters
  2. An introduction to the person of St. Paul
  3. An overview of the Letters to the Roman, 1 and 2 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, Philippians, and Philemon

Notes for Session 18: The Letters of Paul

Map of Paul's Journey

This session continues the discussion of Paul's letters examining the one's that are controversially his.

  1. Why are these letters considered not Paul's letters?
  2. What kinds of letters are these?
  3. What is the dominant theme of these letters and some of the difficulties in these letters?

Notes from Session 19: The Other Letters

This session explores the Letter to the Hebrews and the Catholic Letters. The following are some of the themes found in this section:

  1. The Letter to the Hebrews: its complexity, purpose, and importance.
  2. Catholic Letters: what are they?
  3. The structure and themes of the Letters of Peter, John, James, and Jude
  4. Some of the historical and theological issues that arose from these texts.

Notes from Session 20: Hebrews and the Catholic Letters

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The Book of Revelation is one of the more complicated and misunderstood of the books of the Bible. Therefore, this session will slowly and carefully read through large chunks of the Book of Revelation while looking at major themes. These themes include:

  1. Apocalyptic Literature: its focus, style, and themes
  2. Themes of the Book of Revelation: liturgy, God's revelation, numerology, etc.

Notes from Session 21: The Book of Revelation

This final session focuses on the types of resources and information you will need to feel confident and excited about continuing to study the Bible. My hope is that these introductory sessions will give you the confidence to continue to reflect on Scripture. This session will discuss:

  1. Principles for reading Scripture.
  2. Biblical study online resources
  3. Commentaries and lexicons

Notes for Session 22: The End: Where do we go from here?