Student Notebook- Includes student notes that follow the presentation slides, along with syllabus, case studies, scripture memorization sheets, and bibliography.
Class PowerPoint- Available for purchase and immediate download. The Bibliology and Hermeneutics course PowerPoint contains over 600 slides with extensive teacher's notes including session objectives, explanation of the slides, suggested illustrations, and in depth information concerning the subjects. The PowerPoint?s are primarily created for teachers, but can benefit the student as well. Learn more...
Vocabulary Quizzes- There are two vocabulary quizzes. Quiz 1 is to be taken at the end of session 6 and quiz 2 at the end of session 10. These are to be graded by teachers of The Theology Program in their home church setting. Self-study students may also take the quizzes on their own for personal enrichment.
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Watch classroom video lessons online...click on class session titles below for streaming video
Whom do we trust for authority? Should we trust an institutionalized Church? Is there any validity in the tradition? Or should we rely upon the Scriptures alone as the Reformers insisted? This lesson should provide the student with a better understanding of the various views of Christian authority that have been held throughout history. The student should have a basic overview of the beliefs concerning authority of the three major traditions (Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholicism). The student should also have a better understanding of the significance of Martin Luther’s famous (infamous) “Here I stand” speech at the Diet of Worms. As well, the student should understand the extremes that some modern Protestant denomination have gone in neglecting the authority of tradition all together, misunderstanding and misrepresenting the Reformation doctrine of sola Scriptura.
What is Tradition? Why does the Roman Catholic Church reject Sola Scriptura? Why did the Reformers reject the absolute authority of Tradition? Is Sola Scriptura to be blamed for all the separation in the Protestant Church? Can’t I just study the Bible on my own and let the Holy Spirit guide me to all truth? This lesson will center on the doctrine of Christian authority.
What is Tradition? Why does the Roman Catholic Church reject Sola Scriptura? Why did the Reformers reject the absolute authority of Tradition? Is Sola Scriptura to be blamed for all the separation in the Protestant Church? Can’t I just study the Bible on my own and let the Holy Spirit guide me to all truth? This lesson will center on the doctrine of Christian authority. Here, focus will be on the Protestant doctrine of sola Scriptura as compared to the Roman Catholic doctrine of dual-source authority. The student should become aware of the arguments put forth by both Roman Catholics and Protestants with regard to ultimate authority. While this lesson should provide the student with a solid defense and a greater appreciation for the doctrine of sola Scripture, it should also give the student a greater appreciation for the role that tradition has to play as an authority (albeit a fallible authority) in the Christian life. In the end, the student should understand that that Protestantism rests on the bedrock of the doctrine of sola Scripture, that the Scriptures are our final and only infallible authority in matters of faith and practice.
How do we know that the Bible that we have is the same as when it was originally written? Did the scribes ever make mistakes in copying the text? If so, can we really trust the Bible? Upon completion of this lesson, the student should have a better understanding of the process and history of biblical transmission. The introduction to textual criticism provided in this session will give the student a firm grasp of the challenges that the scribes faced when copying the Scriptures from generation to generation. This challenge will be illustrated and demonstrated in many different ways. The student should leave with greater confidence that the Bible that they hold in their hand accurately represents the original.
How do Christians know what books belong in the Bible? Who determined what books were inspired? What about the Deuterocanonical books (Apocrypha)? Should they be included? Upon completion of this session the student should have a better understanding of process of the canonization of Scripture. During this session the different criteria that people have proposed for determining the canon will be examined. The student should struggle with the traditional understanding that the closed is canon. As well, the student will learn the Roman Catholic arguments put forth for the inclusion of the Old Testament Deuterocanonical/Apocryphal books and the Protestant response. The student should leave trusting in God, understanding that He, ultimately, is in providential control of the canon of Scripture.
How did the Church decide which books belonged in the New Testament? Were any other writings like the Gospel of Thomas ever seriously considered for the New Testament canon? What role did the church councils play in the canonization process? Upon completion of this session the student should have a better understanding of the complexities of the canonization process with regards to the New Testament. Regarding this, the student will come to understand that the canonization process of the New Testament began with the apostles’ immediate recognition of each others writings, then moved to the early churches’ acceptance of the majority of the New Testament books, and finally ended when some local church councils made “official” declarations of what books were already generally recognized as the authoritative word of God. Finally, there will be brief discussion concerning translation theories. The student should leave with a basic understanding of why various Bible translations differ, and better equipped to answer the commonly asked question, Which version of the Bible is the best?
What is inspiration? Did God inspire the mind of the author, or the text of Scripture, or both? How does one's view of inspiration effect his or her interpretation? Upon completion of this session, the student should have come to an understanding of the doctrine of inspiration, able to define what it means and how it is to be distinguished from revelation and illumination. The student will learn the different theories of inspiration that are held by theologians today. The student should understand that how one defines inspiration will determine how they interpret Scripture. Much time will be spent on the commonly held view of inspiration called “Mechanical Dictation.” It will be argued that this view evidences a neglect of the human element of Scripture, what we call “biblical Docetism, and is the primary hindrance to proper interpretation in many evangelical communities today. Most basically stated: without a proper view of inspiration, one cannot have a proper hermeneutic. The goal of this lesson is to provide a detailed defense of what is often called the “Verbal Plenary” doctrine of inspiration.
Session 7 - Proving Inspiration: An Apologetic Defense of Scripture
How can we know that the Scriptures alone are inspired? What about other religions? Don't they have books that claim to be inspired? Is there any way to verify that God wrote the Bible? Important questions that most Christians are not prepared to answer. Most would just give an honest but insufficient answer, I believe because the Holy Spirit convicts me to believe. Upon completion of this session, the student will have been exposed to a strong logical defense for the evangelical understanding that the Christian Scriptures alone are the word of God. The student should become more confident in his or her claim that the Scriptures are indeed inspired through discussion about the various tests that the Scriptures must pass before a claim to inspiration can be trusted. Much attention will be given to a defense of the historicity of Scripture, using the resurrection of Christ as a test case. As well, students should become aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the subjective arguments for inspiration such as “the testimony of the Holy Spirit,” since all religions can and do claim these for their writings.
Session Reading (for self-study students)
“Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy” (Appendix 1 in the Student notes)
Do the Scriptures contain errors? If so, can they still be said to be inspired? How do we harmonize the difficult portions of Scripture that seem to disagree? This session will familiarize the student with the often misunderstood and abused doctrine of inerrancy. Evangelicals have in many respects been defined by this doctrine. The student should learn to distinguish between the doctrines of inerrancy and infallibility, understanding that they are no longer synonymous as is often supposed. During this session, the student will struggle with many of the various passages of Scripture that seem to disagree with one another, learning that these “discrepancies” usually are supposed because of faulty assumptions pertaining to one’s hermeneutic. The student will also struggle with the difference in saying that the doctrine of inerrancy demands that the Scripture contain the exact words of its subjects and saying the doctrine of inerrancy allows for summaries and paraphrases of its subjects.
Why are there so many different interpretations of Scripture? How did the apostles interpret Scripture? Are they to be our model? What about the early Church? Should we look for a hidden meaning in Scripture? During this session, the student should come to a basic understanding of what is involved in the hermeneutical processes, by looking at biblical hermeneutics as practiced through the centuries. The primary goal of this session is to introduce the students to the most common mistakes that people make in their hermeneutic—devaluing the human element of Scripture. The concept of biblical docetism will be further explained and illustrated. By the time this lesson is complete, the student should be convinced that a proper understanding of the authorial intent with regards to the Scriptures is just as basic as a proper belief in the inspiration of the Scriptures. The history of interpretation will be briefly covered in order to learn from both the successes and failures of the past so that we might approach interpretation with more integrity and a healthy fear. In the end students should understand that true application cannot be taken from the Scriptures unless we use a historical-grammatical hermeneutic.
Session Reading (for self-study students)
“Chicago Statement of Biblical Hermeneutics” (Appendix 2 in the Student Notebook)
How should we interpret Scripture? What is the correct method? Are there common mistakes that we should avoid? During this session we will complete the history of interpretation, bringing the student to a better understanding of the evangelical method of hermeneutics. The student should leave with a firm conviction that the best way to interpret Scripture is allowing the text to speak for itself, not reading into the text what we want it to say or think it ought to say. The student will learn nine basic principles for interpretation and six common interpretive fallacies that people often commit. By the end of the lesson, the student should appreciate the foundation that the Reformers laid with regards to how the Bible is to be read and understood.