In Psalm 119, Verse 105, the author proclaims “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  The Little Rock Scripture Study Ministry at Saint John Bosco Church strives to bring the light of God’s word to believers through thoughtful reflection, inspired prayer, and lively discussion.  Four dedicated SJB parishioners exemplify their faith as they lead this Ministry.   

Background of the Little Rock Scripture Study

The Little Rock Scripture Study (LRSS) was created by the Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas in 1974.  At SJB, the program was initiated through the encouragement of Fr. Dave Liberatore in 1991.  Jan Bacher, currently head of our Parish Pastoral Council and co-chair of the Spiritual Development Committee, has served as one of the leaders of the LRSS program since its inception.  Parishioners Lucy Evans, Cindy Fraser, and Gina Hopkins also lead an LRSS group at SJB. 

Left to right: Lucy Evans, Gina Hopkins, Cindy Fraser, and Jan Bacher

The goal of the LRSS Ministry is to promote deeper understanding of the Bible and to provide tools for Catholics to strengthen their relationships with Christ.  Lay Catholics developed the resources and study guides that are used in this program.  Biblical scholars provide commentary to assist group leaders.  The sessions are based on solid Catholic teachings and tradition.  Each six-to-eight-week course of study is devoted to a particular book or topic in the Bible.  Past studies pertained to Genesis, Exodus, the Gospel according to St. Matthew, St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews, the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ for a Lenten theme and the Birth of Christ as an Advent theme.  Earlier this year, the group participated in the first phase of the LRSS study of Psalms, including Psalms of Descriptive Praise, Trust, and Wisdom. This Fall begins the second phase of the Psalms study which will relate to Declarative Praise, Lament, and the Royalty of God.  “The Psalms are very prayerful and they cover every type of emotion,” notes Jan Bacher.  Adds Cindy Fraser, “God’s word is powerful and may be applied to your life in so many ways.”

Format of the Little Rock Scripture Study

Each week of the program, participants are asked to conduct an at-home study of particular scripture passages and answer related questions.  To prepare for the next week’s meeting, they are asked to reflect on four questions: “What does this scripture passage say?”  “What does it mean?”  “What does it mean to me?” and “What am I going to do about it?”  LRSS group study sessions typically begin with prayers and intentions.  The leaders next review the Bible passages under consideration for that week.  The participant’s answers to the four questions serve as the outline for their group discussion.

According to Lucy Evans, “The discussion is open to everybody.  You can answer questions by drawing upon your own life experiences.”  Bearing in mind that the concept of Bible study might be intimidating to some, she says about LRSS, “You don’t have to have any experience with reading scripture.  A new person can join in and participate right away.”  As Jan Bacher states, “We are all peers.”  Gina Hopkins remembers, “Before the Little Rock Scripture Study, I found it difficult and sometimes even boring to read the Bible.  Now with this program, I’m learning more and more about my faith all the time!” 

Cultural Tools

One appealing aspect of the LRSS program is that it provides cultural tools that help participants better understand salvation history.  These tools put biblical characters and events into perspective.  For example, you might wonder why neither Mary nor Joseph could find Jesus in the temple.  LRSS explains that in biblical times, women and men traveled separately in a caravan.  Children usually walked with their female relatives, but young men traveled with male relatives.  Given that Jesus was 12 years of age at that time, it’s not surprising that there was some confusion as to who would have accompanied Him on His journey from the temple.   Another example of a cultural tool may be found in LRSS’ examination of the book of Exodus, which traces the origins of the modern-day tabernacle back to the Ark of the Covenant. 

For Further Study

Participants who bring different translations of the Bible add to the richness of the group discussions as different footnotes or references may be found in their texts.  The LRSS group leaders feel that they have learned a great deal about scripture from their participants as well as each other.  To further appreciate scripture, LRSS makes many additional resources available on their website, such as “Ponder” which provides meditations for the A, B, and C cycle Sunday readings, as well as online lectures. 

Please Join Us!

As Cindy Fraser puts it, “The Bible is God’s love letter to us.  It provides a spiritual 2 x 4 to help us build a foundation of faith.”  SJB’s Fall 2022 Little Rock Scripture Study will commence during the week of October 3, with sessions being held on Wednesday mornings from 9:30 to 11:30 AM in the Activities Center or Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at the Bell Tower.   To register for this program, please contact the Parish Office at or call (440) 885-3500.

Submitted by Christine and Bob Martuch