Sunday School Book Review
This Sunday begins our new Adult Sunday School series. We will be working our way through the books of Ephesians-Philemon.
The study text that we will be using is The Prison Epistles by Fr. Lawrence Farley.
This book is just one book in the Orthodox Bible Study Companion series. I spoke with Fr. Lawrence and he said that he has completed books for the entire NT, but that Conciliar Press is releasing them one per season. I think currently Romans, Mark, & 1 & 2 Corinthians have been released.
I have worked my way through about a quarter of the book and it is excellent. It is simple to read and follow. Fr. Lawrence using his own working translation rather than a currently available modern text. The benefit here is that it allows him to discuss the Greek wording and bring out nuances that many translations may miss.
I only have one complaint, but I do understand the shortcoming. I wish he had used more quotes from the Fathers and connected the significant passages with the Liturgy. This is something that I will attempt to do in class and my notes on the site. For example, the famous "kenosis" passage in Phil. 2 is used in many of the feasts of the Theotokos as the epistle reading. Why would the Church do this? What does it teach us? We will address these topics in class.
This is not to say that he does not use the Fathers, because upon reading Chrysostom it is evident that Fr. Lawrence has drunk deeply of the mind of the Fathers. I think for simplicity sake he attempted to distill it all into a readible commentary without turning it into an academic text. Well done, Fr. Lawrence.
The church bookstore will have copies available in the next couple of weeks. Or you can click on the book above or on the following link to purchase through Amazon: Prison Epistles
See you on Sunday.