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. 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 and develop preliminary understandings 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 locations, characters, and events;
- 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.
- Have the ability to quickly locate specific books in the Bible along with key passages within them;
- Have the ability to answer questions about the content of the Bible, such as might be asked during an ordination exam;
- Have the ability to draw together the entire canon when exploring matters of theological interest.