VERBUM TIP of the day: A minimal Passage Guide for daily sermons

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Aug 17 2015 7:00 PM

1. For traditions that include daily sermons or reflections at communal prayer, it is necessary for a presider to get ideas quickly that will connect with the worshippers and with their religious tradition. Generally the presiders have sufficient training that identification of persons, places etc. is a given. And on a daily basis, long exegesis of the original texts is not practical although a quick read-thru in the original language is desirable of the presider has the necessary competency. Based on these assumptions, I suggest a Passage Guide containing the following sections ... or use a full passage Guide and concentrate on these sections. If you have a large library you may wish to tweak the collections used in some sections.

2. Some basic functions that you need to know in order to access the information the guide puts at your fingertips:

  • the arrowhead in front of the resource title allows you to expand and collapse the preview.
  • drag-and-drop or clicking on a previewed result will open the resource and/or position you at the portion appearing in the preview.
  • clicking on the Search option will open a Search with the same argument as was used in the Guide. However, the Guide may be limited in the number of results returned while the Search will show all results.

Note this section provides results from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

3. The next section includes results from Church documents. Using the "more" option will provide additional results.

4. The final default Collection section provides results from the Church Fathers.

5. The Catholic Topical Index is a hand curated index into Scripture, Church Teaching and standard references, and Ecclesiastical Writers (a broader category than the Church Fathers group above). All functions described above function in the same manner in this section.

6. While it works in all sections, I've waited to show an example of the preview function available when hovering over a reference. The Ancient Literature section provides access to related materials from the Apostolic Fathers, Church Fathers, Dead Sea Scrolls Sectarian materials, Nag Hammadi Codicies, New Testament Apocrypha, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Josephus, Philo ...

7. Commentaries will open on the section of commentaries discussing your particular passage. It does not show all references to your passage.

8. For this particular passage, I do not own any relevant journals. However, I do have sermons on the passage by Augustine of Hippo,  John Henry Newman and Steven Scherrer.

9. In Systematic theologies, entries in your particular tradition may be of interest. Note that you can select the subject matter as well as the tradition.

10. For Bible references, I limit the Guide to parallel passages e.g. Harmonized Gospels. Clicking on a reference will open your highest priority Bible and/or position it at the designated passages. Again the hover provides a preview.

11. To view other translations, click on the parallel lines icon and select the Bible translation you wish to read next.

Obviously, the problem is that Verbum provides more information than one can review if you grow a large library. Begin with resources that you are familiar with, look at one you've heard of but aren't very familiar with and one that is foreign to you. This will allow you to slowly grow more familiar with the resources in your library and develop the judgment to know quickly which ones you wish to read and which are unlikely to be of help.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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