Knowing the Bible


Spring 2021
Weekly Synchronous Time: Monday 3:00-5:00 PM

The Bible has permanently and irrevocably shaped human culture, so understanding the Bible is essential for understanding ourselves. 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. This course will survey the content of the Bible (key people, places, plot-lines, passages, etc.) and will discuss how this diverse content develops a number of key overarching themes.


  • 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.


  • Assume a receptive and diligent posture towards the Bible;
  • Become self-aware as a modern reader of the Bible, recognizing the antiquity of the texts;
  • 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.