WORLDVIEW & ORIGINS
We begin by introducing the most common type of literature OT: prose and the historical narratives. We focus on the creation account in Genesis and compare the Biblical story with other ancient creation accounts and study it in light of recent scientific discoveries and modern theories. We explain what a worldview is, how it affects the person and explore some of the major worldviews and compare them with a Biblical worldview. We talk about early civilizations and how they have been affected by the fall of man. We also introduce God’s Redemptive Plan which begins in Genesis, continues in Exodus and is woven throughout the Scriptures. Along with this we will explain the covenants that God made with Adam, Abraham and his sons and how this is a precursor to the New Covenant Jesus will bring. We will look at the philosophical problem of evil in Job and give a brief study on God’s character.
We pick up the story of Exodus from the previous week and cover the life of Moses, the ten plagues, the tabernacle and the covenants. We will talk about how God began to reveal himself and what He desires from people, both individually and in society (the Ten Commandments). We have a look at Israel in Egypt and her journey to the Promised Land. We introduce a new type of literature: the laws in the OT, and we address the difference between absolute law, casuistic law and ritualistic law. We show the students how to discover the principles in these laws which can be universally applied (Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers). We talk about what it means to live a holy life and the fear of the Lord (Leviticus). We cover how the festivals, the laws and the rituals are fulfilled in Jesus. We discuss faith and address the dangers of unbelief and murmuring (Numbers). We also talk about Israel and God’s plan for a godly society (Deuteronomy).
We continue the journey with Israel now conquering the Promised Land and living in it. From the physical warfare and challenges Israel faced, lessons can be derived about spiritual warfare and living life in victory rather than defeat. We carefully study the life of Joshua and then ask some difficult questions. Why is there genocide in the Book of Joshua? Is war ever justified today and if so when? What kind of government did God desire Israel to have (since Joshua did not appoint a new leader before he died)? What is a charismatic leader (Judges)? The consequence of the society that lives in disobedience (Judges) contrasted with the faithfulness of the individual (Ruth).
We pick up where we left off in the tribal week and explain the important transitional figure Samuel who led the nation from a tribal federation to a monarchy under the leadership of King Saul and King David. We focus especially on the life of David: his character, his ups and downs, his sins, his achievements; his view on leadership, his relationship with Jonathan and his relationship with God. We contrast godly leadership (David) with ungodly leadership (Saul). What were the keys that led to David defeating Goliath? We also introduce another type of literature: Hebrew poetry, the various forms of parallelism and give a brief introduction to the five books which make up the psalms. We briefly look at the Messianic psalms and explain what precatory prayers are.
We continue on the theme of leadership and discuss the lives of the kings in Israel and Judah (1,2 Kings, 2Chron). We give a brief history of the first three empires (Assyria, Babylon and Persia). Cover some archaeology. Briefly mention the dynasties of Israel and then focus on Judah and its kings. Our teacher will highlight some of the more important kings that are covered in the Bible and cover in each case the political, religious and social situation. We discuss the lives of Elijah and Elisha, in affect introducing the prophetic ministry and its development, why God raised them up, what their roles were, etc. We discuss revival in the Bible (2Chron) and how to apply this to see revival happen today. Whereas poetry was already introduced in the previous week this time we are going to address a very specific kind of poetry: Wisdom literature. With that we will also cover three of the four books of the Bible classified as wisdom: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Songs.
EARLY PROPHETS WEEK
The books of Kings gave us the historical background for the Prophetic Books found in our Bible. Having discovered last week the political, religious and social conditions in Israel you will now be rewarded as this information opens up the messages of the Prophets. However, you now need to learn how to read another type of literature! The prophetic books are mostly poetic, and use a lot of figurative language. We will show how the prophets look back to the covenants and warn the people of judgment if they continue to disobey. We will also let you see how they bring messages of restoration and hope—some of which point to the coming of a Messiah. We will explore Amos with his focus on social justice, Hosea and God’s father heart for his people, Micah with a call to justice and mercy, Joel and the coming of the Spirit, and Isaiah the prince of prophets—the prophet that launched the ministry of Jesus. Finally, the book of Jonah will provide you with the opportunity to learn how to teach from the biblical text.
LATE PROPHETS WEEK
We continue to cover the prophets, addressing the theme of each book, its context in the history of the Kings, the reason it was written and its main idea. We see Israel before the deportations and while it is in exile. The lives of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel are highlighted. With Jeremiah we think of his suffering and his prayers. With both Jeremiah and Ezekiel we think of the cost of the call of God on one’s life. With Daniel we speak of the sovereignty of God, being a witness for God in pagan government. We will also consider the importance of his prophecies and when they were fulfilled. There are “major prophets” and “minor prophets” so also the smaller books such as Joel, Zephaniah, Obadiah, Habakkuk and Esther will be briefly introduced.
POST EXILIC & INTER- TESTAMENT WEEK
Our instructor will wrap up the OT and will share about the return from exile and the rebuilding of Jerusalem. We cover the historical background of the post-exilic period (rebuilding of temple and walls, etc.). We will consider the restoration that God brings (Ezra), principles for pioneering and leadership (Nehemiah), realigning ourselves with God’s will (Haggai), and fasting and tithing (Zechariah and Malachi). We will bridge the gap between the OT and the NT and cover some of the history between the testaments. We also begin looking at how OT prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus (Matthew) and what was happening politically in the Roman world at the time of the first coming of Jesus. (The influences of the Greek and Latin languages, the Roman roads, Pax Romana, etc.).
We pick up from where we left off at the end of last week and continue to talk about Jesus in the Synoptic gospels, and how He send out his disciples throughout the world in the Book of Acts. We compare the gospel accounts and discuss the different audiences, themes, reasons they were written and the main ideas of each of these gospels. We explain how to interpret the Parables and how they explain the kingdom of God that is to come. We look at the birth of the church (Acts) and see how the Holy Spirit spurred the growth of the Church.
We introduce another type of literature: the epistles. We study the life of Paul (Acts, Gal, 2Tim, etc.) and his missionary journeys. We discover how Paul’s letters fit in the story of Acts and address them chronologically when he wrote them during his first, second and third missionary journeys. We look at the overall theme of each book, its main idea, the reason it was written, the specific problems each church faced. We cover discipleship topics: Justification and grace (Galatians), humility and joy (Philippians), the need to live a godly life while expecting the Lord’s return (1, 2 Thessalonians), unconditional love, Holy Spirit, the power of God (1, 2 Corinthians), condemnation, salvation, sanctification and relationships (Romans), unity, identity and spiritual warfare (Ephesians) and pastoral care (1Tim, Titus).
We pick up where we left of last week on Paul’s epistles and continue with covering all the other epistles in the NT except John’s. In Hebrews we learn of the ways the New Covenant is much better than the old and how to run the race with perseverance. In James we learn how to walk out our faith in practical ways; in 1&2 Peter and Jude we learn how to endure suffering by keeping our hope set fully on the “grace to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” and how to avoid false teachers.
We look at the life of John and introduce his writings, perspective, style, and concerns. We look at the overall themes of each book, the reason it was written and its main idea. We trace the “I am” – statements John makes. While Gnosticism only began to flourish in the second century John must have anticipated this trend and thus felt the need to write a fourth gospel, also his first epistle seems to have a new generation of thinkers in mind. We connect this historical development with the New Age movement of today and teach the students on evangelism (John), we talk about what it means to abide in Christ (John 15, 1 John) and introduce another type of literature: apocalyptic literature (Revelation). Four views of Revelation will be introduced. The Second Coming will be discussed.