The Hein-Fry Book of Faith Challenge has existed since 2015. According to its website, its goal is “to enliven the biblical engagement of the whole church by encouraging the development of new examples of faithful, innovative, and effective ways of teaching and learning Scripture.” 2020’s seminary student presenters were Karl Anliker, Taylor Berdahl, Jennifer Garcia, and Christopher Shealy. Each student designed a three-week Bible study around a topic, responding to this year’s theme of “The Bible: Word, Not Weapon.”
Anliker, who is in his final year of an M.Div program at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, titled his Bible study “Look for the Women: A Virtual Bible Study in Search of Hope.” Drawing on Rachel Held Evans’ book Inspired, Anliker’s Bible study focuses on the wisdom and resilience of Miriam, Hagar, Sarah, Lot’s wife, and Rizpah, in an effort to empower people both to look at scripture differently and to confront evil systems and make the world a better place. See Anliker’s presentation, full webinar, and leader guide.
Berdahl, an M.Div candidate at United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, PA, created a Bible study called “Biblical Responses to COVID-19: Lament, Bodies, Breath.” Focusing on Psalm 80, the healing of the hemorrhaging woman in Mark 5:25-34, and the valley of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-14, this Bible study sought to reframe scripture while providing opportunities for connection and pastoral care. See Berdahl’s presentation, full webinar, and leader guide.
Garcia, a recent graduate of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA, titled her Bible study “Sharing Our Faith in a Time of Social Distancing.” This Bible study sought to apply insights about evangelism from Evangelical churches to an ELCA context without weaponizing faith, with the added challenges and opportunities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. See Garcia’s presentation, full webinar, and leader guide.
Shealy, an M.Div candidate at the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary of Lenoir-Rhyne University in Columbia, SC, created a Bible study called “How Scripture Is Weaponized, and What We Can Do about It.” The first session looked at the origins of scripture, the second session addressed ways the Bible has been used to hurt people, and the third session sought to de-weaponize scripture. See Shealy’s presentation, full webinar, and leader guide.
We are grateful to these seminarians for creating such thought-provoking Bible studies, and we hope that you will find these leader guides useful in your own contexts!