Week 10

1 - 7 June:
Psalms 48 - 51, 1 Samuel, Mark 1.1 - 9.13, Proverbs 12

1 June
1 Samuel 1 - 4Mark 1
2 June
1 Samuel 5 - 10Mark 2.1 - 3.19
3 June
1 Samuel 11 - 14Mark 3.20 - 4.41
4 June
1 Samuel 15 - 18Mark 5.1 - 6.6
5 June
1 Samuel 19 - 23Mark 6.7 - end
6 June
Ps 51.1-101 Samuel 24 - 27Mark 7.1 - 8.21
7 June
1 Samuel 28 - endMark 8.22 - 9.13


Psalm 48 tells of God, sovereign over all the world, who reigns from his city, Zion. It was probably used by pilgrims in procession around the city.
Psalm 49 is the background to Jesus' teaching about losing and saving one's life, and the dangers of wealth when it assumes too great an importance.
Psalm 50 present the Lord as the judge of all his people, the one who will hold us accountable for how we worship and how we live our lives.
Psalm 51 is familiar from the liturgy for Ash Wednesday and during Lent. It expresses deep penitence for our short-comings, relying solely on God's grace and mercy to show us the way out of our sin and into life.

1 Samuel

The two books of Samuel take Israel from a tribal structure, governed by charismatic judges, who emerge from the people at times of need, to a centralised state with a king. This change in governance resulted from and in great social change for the people, from informal tribal order to an oppressive central regime. This occurred partly because of the on-going wars with the Philistines, partly from the growth of urban centres, and partly through some tribes becoming more powerful at the expense of others.
The major figure in all this is David. David first appears in chapter 16, but the previous 15 chapters are really preparation for this. The other two key figures are Samuel, the prophet, and Saul, the first king. The main player, however, is Yahweh, the Lord, who is Israel's real sovereign.
The story is not to be read through too pious a lens however! In these pages, we will find sex and violence, power plays, alliances made and broken, noble and ignoble motives - there is no white-washing.

Mark's Gospel

We have already read through Luke's Gospel earlier in the year. Now we come to a second gospel (meaning 'good news'). Mark's is actually thought to be the earliest to be written, and both Matthew and Luke use Mark as a source for their own gospels.
Mark has no birth stories. His Jesus arrives on the scene as an adult, introduced by John the Baptist, and then goes straight into his Galilean ministry. The main theme of the Galilean ministry is "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe the good news." (1.15). More than the other gospels, Mark emphasises Jesus' healing and the miracles.
A key characteristic of Mark's narrative is its immediacy, and the key question in the first half (1.16 - 8.21) is 'Who is this?' The pivotal point of the gospel is the Transfiguration in Chapter 9, where we end this week's reading. Here it becomes clear who this is - Jesus is the Messiah.

Proverbs 12

This contains sayings about the effects of speech.

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