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Getting Started

What is Little Rock Scripture Study?

Little Rock Scripture Study provides materials with a solid balance of Catholic biblical scholarship, reflection, and life application. You will:

  • Better understand the Bible and the tools needed for study.
  • Build strong community life in neighborhoods and parishes.
  • Grow in your relationship with Christ.

This ministry is part of the Diocese of Little Rock in Arkansas, working in partnership with Liturgical Press in Minnesota. Founded in 1974, we have proven to be reliably Catholic in our approach to adult faith formation and are continually updating and creating new opportunities for adults to grow in love with God’s Word.

Benefits for Personal and Parish Life

  • Fuller understanding of the Bible’s message, characters, and environment
  • Richer appreciation of the faith tradition of the Church
  • Clearer insights into the connections between faith and daily life
  • Deeper, more personal relationship with God
  • Deeper prayer life for participants
  • Increased lay leadership and ministry within the parish
  • Wider social concern and a renewed commitment to Christian outreach
  • Fuller experience of discipleship and Christian community

How Does Little Rock Scripture Study Work?

Daily Personal Study

Participants spend time prayerfully reading and reflecting on an assigned section of the Scriptures. Each lesson includes prayer, the assigned Scripture text, solid biblical commentary, and questions for learning and reflection. Ideally, if you devote about 20 minutes a day to the process, you will find it manageable and allow time for the material to sink in. This time of personal study provides the foundation for each week’s small group discussion.

Weekly Small Group Sharing

Gather weekly (or on a regular schedule) with others who are studying the same material. Eight to ten people in each group is ideal. You will share the fruits of your personal study, and in the process, discover new insights. A facilitator will help to create an atmosphere of openness and trust in which God’s Word and its application to daily life can be discovered and discussed.

10 Guiding Principles for Small Group Discussion

Weekly Wrap-Up Lecture

A 15-20 minute lecture follows the small group discussion to develop and clarify the themes of the lesson. Qualified people from the local community may be invited to provide the lectures, or recorded lectures are available for purchase or online. The link to these free online lectures is found in each book at the bottom of the Table of Contents page. If you prefer to use a DVD version, these may be purchased.

Prayer

In addition to personal prayer during daily study time, the group is encouraged to pray together to begin and end each session. Options for group prayer are found in each book. A source of unity, support, and guidance, prayer is the key to the success of Little Rock Scripture Study at every stage.

Choosing What to Study

Little Rock Scripture Study offers a wide variety of courses (or studies), all listed in our catalog or at our website. Some of these courses cover one or more books of the Bible. Others take a more thematic approach and cover a given topic throughout a selection of Bible passages.

The length of each course varies, depending on the topic or book of the Bible being covered. The number of lessons for each course is listed in the catalog or online.

Materials for Each Study

Each study has a corresponding book that will be used by each person in your group(s). The book contains the Bible text being studied, commentary written by a Catholic scholar, occasional brief inserts highlighting the material being studied, questions for reflection and discussion, and opening and closing prayers for each lesson.

In addition, wrap-up lectures are available for each lesson. Your group may choose to use local presenters or make use of the recorded lectures from Little Rock Scripture Study. The recorded lectures are available free online (with a link provided in each book) or may be purchased on DVD for a minimal cost. Ideally, the lectures are viewed together as a group after the group discussion, but they may also be viewed by individuals after each lesson.

Each person will need a current translation of the Bible. We recommend the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible, which makes use of the New American Bible, Revised Edition translation. Other translations, such as the New Jerusalem Bible or the New Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition, would also work well.

Settings for Bible Study

The simple format of Little Rock Scripture Study makes it adaptable to a variety of parish needs. The structures and situations of parishes differ widely, but the central role of Scripture for Catholic life remains constant. Consider the possibilities described for the various settings below.

Parish Adult Faith Formation

Little Rock Scripture Study makes use of the most important ingredients for adult learning and formation, and as a result is most often used as a parish-wide program for adults. The setting involves a weekly meeting at the parish facility, with small groups meeting simultaneously in various locations on campus, coming together at the end of the session for the Wrap-Up Lecture. Small group facilitators may plan to come early each week to meet together for their own prayer and to review any potential challenges from the week’s lesson.

Meeting in Homes

Parishes may choose to have various small groups meet in homes instead of parish facilities. The four elements of the program remain the same though with one small group in a home, it will be a much more casual setting. If there are other Little Rock groups meeting in homes in your parish, it would be helpful to find an occasional time for small group facilitators from these various groups to come together for mutual support and encouragement.

Small Christian Communities

The growth of small faith communities in the Church demonstrates the essential need for smaller supportive communities in which faith can be shared and strengthened. Prayerful reflection and discussion of Scripture is the root of these groups throughout the world. Little Rock Scripture Study adapts naturally to this context with the pastoral facilitator of the group guiding the community through prayer and discussion of the lessons.

Follow-Up for Renewal Experiences

Scripture study is an ideal way to continue and strengthen such formative experiences as retreats, missions and revivals, seasonal education groups, Christian Initiation, and ministry training. On-going formation will help these experiences to take root in the lives of parishes and individuals. Much of the leadership and group structures formed through such experiences can be continued in Little Rock Scripture Study.

“The commentary, questions and callouts challenged me to go deeper and promoted a fuller understanding of Scripture. I loved it!”

— member of Catholic Campus Ministry
Conway, Arkansas