Believing and Belonging


Behold our shield, O God;

look on the face of your anointed. 

For a day in your courts is better

than a thousand elsewhere.

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God 

than live in the tents of wickedness. 

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;     

he bestows favor and honor. 

No good thing does the Lord withhold

from those who walk uprightly. 

O Lord of hosts, 

happy is everyone who trusts in you.

(Psalm 84:9-12)


In this Summer School program, our three presenters cast a wide net in their presentations and examine a variety of different biblical texts that each contribute to the Bible's perspective of humanity as the "people of faith." Firstly, Jessie looks at the people of God throughout the Hebrew scriptures and how there are various "models" presented by different biblical books. Secondly, Seán looks at the experience of Church as understood by the evangelists Mark and John, as well as in the First Letter to Peter. Finally, Kieran looks at the people of faith in the Pauline communities, dipping into several letters and exploring the dynamics at play in each.

Biblical Models of the People of God

"You Will Be My People, and
I Will Be Your God"

Session One – The People of God: A Pilgrim People
In this first presentation, Jessie explores the story of Abraham (Genesis 12-36) and how he can be seen as a model of what it means to be a "pilgrim people" and, more broadly, what it means to be "the People of God"

"You Shall Be for Me a Priestly Kingdom
and a Holy Nation"

Session Two – An Alternative Community
In this presentation, Jessie continues to explore what it means to be "the People of God," looking here at the Exodus story and, in particular, the covenant at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19-24).

"You May Indeed Set Over You a King Whom
the LORD Your God Shall Choose"

Session Three – Establishment
In this presentation, Jessie looks at the image of the Jerusalem establishment and how "the People of God" was institutionally powerful and politically central, no longer an alternative community but one at the centre. Texts engaged with: Deuteronomy 16:14-20; Jeremiah 22:13-17; Psalm 2.

"We Alone Will Build to the LORD,
the God of Israel"

Session FourIntentional Community
In this presentation, Jessie looks at how to understand "the People of God" as an intentional community by looking at texts from Ezra & Nehemiah, where the question "who are part of this people" comes to the fore. 

"If Anyone is in Chirst,
There is a New Creation"

Session Five – First Fruits of the New Creation
In this final presentation, Jessie explores the New Testament communities of faith and how they relate and differ to the four models looked at in the previous sessions, dipping into numerous texts such as Matthew 5:13-16, Ephesians 2:12-18, Philippians 3:20-21, Colossians 1:15-20, 1 Peter 2:10-11, Titus 2:11-14, and Revelations 21:1-7.

Experience of Church in Mark, John, & 1 Peter

"The Time is Fulfilled and the
Kingdom of God Has Come Near"

Session One – The Church in Mark, Part 1
In this presentation, Seán introduces Mark and the concept of church, and while the word is not present in the gospel, the evangelist is writing to a community.

"Whoever Welcomes Me Welcomes Not Me
but the One who Sent Me"

Session Two – The Church in Mark, Part 2
In this presentation,  Seán continues to explore the idea of the church in Mark by focusing on the role played by the disciples or apostles in the Gospel.

"Write in a Book What You See and
Send it to the Seven Churches"

Session Three – The Church in Revelations, Part 1
In this presentation,  Seán introduces the genre of Revelations and what the interpretive keys are, looking particularly at chapters 2-3 but also the introduction (1:1-16).

"Let Anyone who has an Ear Listen to what
the Spirit is Saying to the Churches"

Session Four – The Church in Revelations, Part 2
In this presentation, Seán looks at the seven Letters to the Churches, exploring the structure and function of two letters in particular: the letter to Pergamum (2:12-17) and the letter to Laodicea (3:14-22).

"God Opposes the Proud, but
Gives Grace to the Humble"

Session Five – The Chruch in the First Letter of Peter
In this final presentation, Seán introduces the context and structure of 1 Peter, before exploring how it understands the church.

The Pauline Assemblies: Rows, Reconciliation, Renewal

"Assemble the People to Me and
Let them Hear my Words"

Session One – The Evolution of Church
In this first presentation, Kieran explores how the church came to be, and the three stages of evolution it underwent in early history between 30-120 CE.

"You Became Imitators of Us and the Lord"

Session Two – Relationships
In this presentation, Kieran looks at church in the Thessolonika and Philippi and Paul's relationship to each.

"When You Come Together as Church,
I Hear there are Divisions Among You"

Session Three – Rows & Reconciliations
In this presentation, Kieran explores Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, a letter that is sent to a community in which the members are frequently disagreeing over a variety of different practices.

"I am Astonished that You are so Quickly Deserting the One who Called You"

Session FourBattle for the Truth
In this presentation, Kieran moves to the Letter to the Galatians, a community where Paul's teaching has become distorted due to other Jewish preachers who maintain the importance of following Torah, Jewish Law.

"Therefore Love is the Fulfilment of the Law"

Session Five – Living Tolerantly
In this final presentation, Kieran looks at the Letter of Paul to the Romans. Similarly to Galatians, Paul once again is faced with writing to communities that have been influenced by the context in Rome and at odds over the importance of following Torah.

Webinar Recordings

Webinar One – Welcome & Meditation

Webinar Two – Q&A Session