Author: Jim F.

Jim Faulconer blogged at Times and Seasons from 2004 to 2007. He currently blogs at Feast Upon the Word and cross-posts lesson material to T&S.

Jim is a professor of philosophy at Brigham Young University, where he holds the Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding. He is the husband of Janice Allen, the father of four and grandfather of
eleven. His academic specialty is 20th-century European philosophy, particulary the philosophy of Martin Heidegger and some of his French acolytes. Jim’s hobbies are playing with grandchildren, cooking (and, therefore, also eating), travel, and New Testament studies, and for none of them is there sufficient time.

Sunday School Lesson 35: Amos 3, 7-9; Joel 2-3

Note to newcomers: These are not lesson notes. They are notes–and questions–to help people study the lesson material. Of course, as such they may also be helpful for preparing lessons, but that isn’t their primary purpose. Amos Though Amos is…

Sunday School Lesson 34: Hosea 1-3; 11; 13-14

The book of Hosea is an excellent example of a book that we often find difficult because we don’t understand “the manner of prophesying among the Jews” (2 Nephi 25.1). One of the most important of those ways of prophesying…

Sunday School Lesson 33: Jonah 1-4: Micah 2, 4-7

This is another long set of study notes. I have adapted parts of them from a set of notes that Arthur Bassett made several years ago—but don’t hold Art responsible for any mistakes you see here. They are probably mine.…

Sunday School Lesson 32: Job

Word Biblical Commentary quotes this very nice poem from W. H. Auden, “Thomas Epilogises”:   Where Job squats awkwardly upon his ashpit, Alone on his denuded battlefield, Scraping himself with blunted Occam Razors He sharpened once to shave the Absolute…

Sunday School Lesson 31: Proverbs and Ecclesiastes

I laughed when I saw what this lesson covers, “only” slightly less than 16,000 words in Proverbs and slightly more than 23,000 words in Ecclesiastes. If we have the full 40 minutes, that means we should try to cover the…

Sunday School Lesson 30: 2 Chronicles 29-30; 32; 34

As the Old Testament tells the history, Hezekiah was the 13th king after David and the 11th king of Judah: David, then Solomon, then Rehoboam (who was king at the time of the split between Judah and Israel, and became…

Sunday School Lesson 29: 2 Kngs 2, 5-6

A reminder: these are not notes for preparing a Sunday School lesson—though they may help a person do that. They are notes for studying the chapters assigned for reading. Arthur Bassett has pointed out these parallels between Elisha, on the…

Sunday School Lesson 28:1 Kings 17-19

Elijah We know from passages in the New Testament and, especially, from Latter-day revelation, that Elijah is one of the most important prophets to have lived. (In the Jewish tradition, he is second only to Moses.) Yet we know almost…

Sunday School Lesson 27: 1 Kings 12-14; 2 Chronicles 17, 20

The material of this lesson, especially that of chapters 12-13, is important to understanding the rest of Old Testament, for the eighty years that it covers details the split that occurred between the ten tribes of Israel in the north…

Sunday School Lesson 26: 1 Kings 3; 5-11

The Story This week’s lesson focuses on the construction of the first temple. Previously there had been many places for offering sacrifices and several buildings that we would call temples. But this is the first one built on the site…

Sunday School Lesson 25: Psalms

I’m going to skip my usual whine about how much material is covered in the reading for this lesson (unless announcing that I won’t whine counts as a whine). Overview One traditional division of the book of Psalms—often called “the…

Sunday School Lesson 24: 2 Samuel 11-12; Psalm 51

2 Samuel 11 Verse 1: What do you make of the fact that the story is set at the time of the year when “kings go forth to battle,” but David sent his army to battle and stayed behind himself?…

Old Testament Lesson 23 Study Notes: 1 Samuel 18-20, 23-24

I apologize for the rough status of these study notes. They are not yet finished, but they are as good as they are going to get this week. As you read these chapters, ask yourself why they are included in…

Though the lesson doesn’t include chapters 12 and 14, the manual recommends them as supplemental reading and I agree. We need to read them to see the full story. There is quite a bit in this section, from the choice…

Old Testament Lesson 21 Study Notes: 1 Samuel 2-3; 8

One can reasonably argue that the book of Judges shows us the decline of Israel to a situation in which they have to have a king to lead them, and that the treatment of women that we see in Judges…

The story of Ruth occurs “in the days when the judges ruled” (Ruth 1:1). It is not, strictly speaking, in chronological order. Indeed, from here on out, you may wish to consult the Old Testament chronology in the Bible Dictionary…

OT Lesson 19 Study Notes: Judges 2; 4; 6-7; 13-16

The notes this time are shorter than usual, for which you may well be grateful. I’ve had much more difficulty thinking of verse-by-verse study questions for these chapters. Judges The translation “judge” is misleading, for it suggests that the person…

OT Lesson 18 Study Notes: Joshua 1-6, 23-24

Joshua 1 Verse 1: Why is Moses referred to as the Lord’s servant, but Joshua as Moses’ minister, official, or aide? Why not call Joshua Moses’ servant or, even better, the Lord’s servant? Compare Exodus 24:13 and 33:11, as well…

OT Lesson 16 Study Notes: Numbers 22-24, 31

Who is Balaam? All of a sudden a non-Israelite prophet appears. Who is he? Based on Numbers 23:7, Word Biblical Commentary: Numbers, page 263) suggests that he is a Syrian. Is he really a prophet? If no, why not? If…

OT Lesson 15 Study Notes: Numbers 11-14, 21:1-9

Besides the chapters of Numbers assigned for this lesson, I also recommend chapters 16, 17, and 20. It is unfortunate that we have no lessons from Leviticus. Though it is not immediately obvious how we should understand those scriptures and…

OT Lesson 14 Study Notes: Exodus 15-20, 32-34

As ever, there is a great deal of material in this reading. Perhaps the overviews I provide of each chapter (including some material on chapters 21-21) will help put matters in context. As you read the chapters ask yourselves what…

OT Lesson 13 Study Notes: Exodus 1-3, 5-6, 11-14

Before looking in detail at the scriptures for this week, consider the following possible chiastic parallels between the story of Moses’s life and the story of Israel’s experience. Of course parallels are what we make of them. Some may see…

OT Lesson 12 Study Notes: Genesis 40-45

Genesis 40 Verse 1: How long do you think “after these things” might represent, a long time or a short time? Why do you think we hear nothing further about Potiphar’s wife and what became of her? Verse 2: Note…

OT Lesson 11 Study Notes: Genesis 34 and 37-39

Genesis 34 What was the sin of Dinah’s brothers? Was it that they took vengeance? Reread the Abrahamic covenant to see what it promises, and think about that covenant as it relates to this event. Did they violate that covenant?…

OT Lesson 10 Study Notes: Genesis 24-29

I will concentrate my questions on Genesis 25:19-34 and 27:1-45, and I will add Genesis 33:1-20 to the reading because I think it rounds out the story of Genesis 27. Chapter 25 Verse 19: We expect a genealogy to follow…

OT Lesson 9 Study Notes: Abraham 1; Genesis 15-17, 21-22

I repeat the reminder: these are notes for study rather than notes for a lesson. Of course study notes can help one prepare a lesson, but my intention is less to help teachers prepare lessons (though I have no objection…

OT Lesson 8 Study Notes: Genesis 13-14, 18-19

Chapter 13 Verses 1-2: Are there elements in Abram’s journey to Canaan that typify Israel’s later exodus from Egypt? If there are, what would be the point of that parallel? Verse 1: Notice the difference in the way the families…