Sample Outline of a Bible Study Series
Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz-Duremdes
Part I: The Bent Over Woman*
Beginning the Lesson
1. Learning Task
1.1 The participants shall do some bending exercises trying to reach their toes without bending their knees.
1.2 At one point, when the participants are bending, the facilitator shall ask them to hold the position as the Bible text (Luke 13:10-17) is being read.
1.3 Slowly they are to straighten up and stretch to "reach the sky."
Introducing the Lesson
1. Text Recall
1.1 When did the story happen?
1.2 Where did it happen?
1.3 Who were the main characters of the story?
2. Describing the Woman
2.1 She was seriously handicapped; bent over but we do not know for sure exactly, what her illness was.
2.2 She was a religious woman because we see her at the synagogue on the Sabbath.
This is the first part of a series of three studies on women prepared by Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz-Duremdes. The series builds up into an act of empowerment at the third part.
2.3 She was a woman of some intelligence because she had come to listen to Jesus. This means she could understand and was interested in what a renowned speaker had to say.
3. Reviewing the story sequence
3.1 Jesus teaching and healing; woman immobile.
3.2 Jesus heals her after spotting her out
3.3 Woman praises God (not Jesus)
3.4 Synagogue leader gets angry
3.5 Jesus confronts the synagogue leader
Exploring the Lesson
1. Why do you think the woman was handicapped?
1.2 too poor to get medical help
1.3 no doctors in the village
1.4 psychological effects - unable to cope with the pressures of life
2. What effects does the handicap have on a person?
2.1 vision is narrowed
2.2 possibilities of life seem to be no longer offered
2.3 dreams and aspirations are trapped in that lowly position
2.4 lack of self-confidence
2.5 anger and bitterness
3. Think of women who are bent over. Who are these? What are their handicaps? (Allow spontaneous sharing)
4.1 Why didn't the woman move to be healed?
4.2 What does Jesus act of taking the initiative of healing the woman mean?
4.3 What are the implications of the woman's act of praising God when she was healed?
4.4 Why was the synagogue leader upset?
4.5 Why did Jesus confront the synagogue leader? (it was an act of justice.)
5. Applying the account to our lives
5.1 When you were bending over during the exercise, how did you feel?
5.2 What did you want to do? (Watch for statements of wanting to change their positions. If they felt like they wanted to straighten up, why did not they?)
5.3 Think of yourself as the woman. At what stage are you? Bent over? In the process of being healed? Standing up straight and praising God? (Allow spontaneous sharing.)
Part II: The Midwives
Step One: Reading of Exodus 1:8-22
Step Two: Telescoping
[Divide into buzz groups for 15 minutes and then talk back]
1. Who are the characters? Describe them.
2. Where does the action take place? What is significant about the location?
3. When does the action happen? (What point of the Israelites' history?) What is significant about the time?
4. What is the central action of the story? Why does it take place?
5. What are the results of the action for the characters?
Step Three: Dissecting the Passage
a.1 He knew nothing of Joseph – unaware of Israel's glorious past or history. When we forget history or when we do not learn from the past, we flounder. History puts events in the proper perspective.
Query: What does that say to women?
a.2 Cowardly tyrant – devised a scheme to impress people
with his economic resources and make people forget their power (show of force as in the Philippines where military hardware is paraded publicly during Independence Day; the US policy of posting nuclear weapons in Europe to restrain the enemies)
a.3 Chauvinist – thought that only males were capable of fighting in the army; the girls would only sit down and keep the home fires burning.
a.4 He used people to advance his personal interests. He co-opted his supposed enemies. It could very well be that the midwives were Hebrews and when the king approached them to implement his family planning scheme; he could have promised that they would be spared from the forced labor imposed on the Hebrews or other forms of rewards.
Query: Could it be that men co-opt some women to perpetuate the latter's subjugation? How?
b) Shiphrah and Puah, the midwives
b.1 God-fearing – they had a deep and profound understanding of the sense of God. They knew that God is pro-life and it was only right for them to let the baby boys live.
b.2 they took their work seriously. They never compromised their profession for the King's favor. They understood that their job was to usher in life; they would not do it any other way.
b.3 Fearless – because they listened to their own sense of what is right.
b.4 Gutsy and Creative – they were able to come up with a "convincing" reason for their disobedience and they faced the King. In essence, they were saying: "We will obey God rather than kings." That was, then, a subversive statement.
2. Motivation for Actions
a) What motivated the king to make this family planning
policy? Why did he choose this particular form of repression as opposed to some other forms?
1. Stated reason – to perpetuate himself in power; he did not wish to be overcome by his enemies.
2. Killing the boys upon birth spared them from experiencing the oppression of their people. If he allowed them to grow, they would have seen the situation of their people and they would have been conscientized into rising up against the Egyptians, which they did years later under Moses' leadership.
Query: What does that say about the dynamics of liberation? Who are the bearers of liberation? What does that say about women? (Those who are closest to the fire can feel its heat the most.)
b) What motivated Shiphrah and Puah to disobey the king?
1. Stated reason: They were God-fearing.
2. They were loyal to their people.
3. They participated in the historical movement of their people; they did not allow themselves to be used by the enemy.
Step Four: Personalizing the Passage
1. In what ways are we sometimes like the king.
2. In what concrete ways can we be like Shiphrah and Puah?
Step Five: Summing Up – Drawing Nuggets of Truth from the Account
1. Women can be and must be involved in national events. We must realize that our agenda, albeit small, have national consequences. Therefore, our life issues should not be petty nor peripheral. We belong to the mainstream of socio-economic and political movements.
2. Women are threatening to men because if the former only exer-
cise their womanhood, they will necessarily be engaged in "subversive" activities. The midwives, just by doing their job, frustrated the king's plan. This does not mean our task is made easy.
3. There are many ways of reversing the system and women do not always have to engage in confrontational battles with the male-dominated society. We do not have to be obnoxiously aggressive and loud all the time.
4. In a situation of repression/oppression, the harder the oppressed pushes, the more repressive the oppressor becomes. When the king realized that the midwives had disobeyed him, his family planning method became crueler: throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. This should remind us, women, that we must always be ready for higher forms of struggle.
Step Six: Creative Response
You are to give a plaque of recognition to Shiphrah and Puah. What will it say? In your buzz groups, formulate one. Hang it on the wall for everyone to see.
Part III: Taking It from Us
Before the Bible study, the participants are to gather in the dining room. Some chosen helpers are asked to make a barricade using chairs, tables, dividers, etc., to block off the entrance into the session hall. Only these helpers know about the barricade. The participants are then told to try to enter the room for the Bible study. They naturally have to strategize on how to break down and clear away the barricade.
1. How did you feel on seeing the barricade?
2. What was your first reaction?
3. What did you set out to do?
4. How did the others help or hinder you in your undertaking?
1. What are the barricades in our lives as women?
2. Who put those barricades there?
3. What effects do those barricades have upon us?
1. What is the biggest barricade in my life as a woman now?
2. What am I doing about that barricade?
3. Where do I perceive God in this situation?
4. How can you, my sisters, help me dismantle this barricade?
1. Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 1:7
2. Breaking the Shackles – each one is given a strip of crepe paper and asked to bind the wrists of the person sitting next to her. The facilitator says, "This is the situation of women today: bound and therefore unable to release the potentials within them. But God empowers us for God loves us and has given us special tasks to do. My sisters, in the spirit of this power, let us break our shackles." Each one tears loose the shackle that bound her.