Biblical Foundations 1

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The Bible has permanently and irrevocably shaped human culture. Thus whatever one thinks about the role that the Bible has played and continues to play in human history—and opinions on this are quite varied—the Bible cannot be safely ignored. Understanding the Bible is essential for understanding who we are and how we got here. And for Christians, understanding the Bible is also essential for figuring out who God is and who we ought to be.

Unfortunately, biblical illiteracy has become the norm even within the church. All too often, neither the Bible’s opponents nor its defenders seem to have a clue what they are talking about. In this first Biblical Foundations course, we will explore the Bible in order to develop a preliminary understanding of what it looks like and what it says. This will then allow us to explore, in the second course, where the Bible came from and how people read it.



  • Know the names of the books of the Bible
  • Know the various canonical orderings and their communal significance
  • Know the overall shape of key biblical narratives (i.e. history of Israel; life of Jesus; emergence of early church), including major characters, places, and plot points
  • Know the general shape of each biblical book, including overall structure and major themes


  • Become self-aware as a reader of the Bible
  • Assume a receptive and diligent posture towards the Bible
  • Dispense with over-confidence (or lack of confidence) concerning knowledge of the Bible, adopting instead an attitude of life-long learning
  • Confess the ongoing usefulness of both Old and New Testaments as Christian scripture


  • Read through the entire Bible
  • List the books of the Bible in canonical order with correctly spelled titles
  • Memorize basic Bible knowledge, such as would be required for an ordination exam
  • Trace the development of a theological theme across both Old and New Testaments