This week we started with term 3 (out of 6 total). I would like to share with you about the fourteen modules we had during the first two terms. That may sound like a lot, but remember that most took about ten class-hours (which is then more or less doubled by the amount of assignment hours). Also remember that, at any given point, there would be three modules taught alongside each other.
I will give you a one-sentence description of each module. But rather than loading you up with dry facts, I’ll also try and tell you what they meant to me personally. Ready? All right, here we go:
The study of the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. This was one of the first modules, and I found it really good that we were able to lay down a solid foundation as to why we can fully trust the Bible. Scripture truly is God-breathed, and every word therein has been given for our benefit. I often think back to this class when studying difficult passages.
A survey of the first five books of the Bible. A very logical place to start the year with, if you ask me. Going through Genesis step by step, we see so much about God’s character. We see so much about human nature. And we see so much building up to the eventual coming of Christ. We spent a bit less time in the other four books, but there also is so much we can learn from them. Yes, even Leviticus, with all its laws concerning the Levitical priesthood. For instance, it really showed me about God’s holiness.
Bible Study Methods
A simple introductory toolkit to studying the Bible. We mostly dealt with the well known Observation-Interpretation-Application method. But I found it really funny that we spend the first nine hours on observation, and then only one hour on interpretation and application. But it makes sense: if you make the wrong observations, you will also make the wrong interpretations and applications. Moreover, there was another module coming about interpretation specifically, and if you really struggle with thinking of applications to a passage, you can always check a few commentaries.
An examination of our interpretation of the Bible, and some of the challenges therein. “The literal interpretation method. Or, the historical, grammatical, literary, rhetorical interpretation.” – I don’t think I will ever forget that sentence again, as we rhythmically repeated it out loud every class-hour during this module. I also really liked the following quote:
â€œWhen the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passaged and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.â€David Cooper
Old Testament History
A survey of Joshua to Esther, to develop a historical timeline of the Old Testament. With only 28 hours, we sometimes had to go through the books really quickly. But it was a very good class. So much of the history of the Bible gives us very solid principles that can be applied today. Most notably: forget about God and everything goes downhill, honour the Lord and He will deliver you from your enemies.
Theology, Christology, and Pneumatology
Three ten-hour modules, each teaching the doctrine of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. These were honestly some of the harder modules for me. Not because the concepts are more difficult than explaining a historic timeline (in fact, puzzling together the timeline is quite complex at times). But because I really felt the pressure of getting every little detail exactly right. I am happy to have learned a lot about the characteristics of God, but also humbly admit that there is still a lot more for me that can be understood from Scripture.
A look at God’s perspective on evangelism. I really enjoyed this class. While doctrine classes and history classes can be really good, it was nice to have a class that was all about personal application. We asked really challenging questions during class. Are the heathen really lost? Do we really need to go to the ends of the earth? Should we also go to our home towns? These may seem like basic questions for a missions-focussed student at a missions-focussed Bible college; but try and write down a paragraph or two, with Scriptural evidence, and it becomes a lot trickier. I would encourage anyone to have a few good discussions about this topic.
Inter Testament History
A short study on the 400 silent years in between the Old and New Testament. There really isn’t much I can say about this class. It was good to have some historical background information. But with only three hours, it was also really short.
A survey of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. This module was really enjoyable, but also really challenging. Prior to this, I had never really done any sort of study on any of the major prophets (except maybe Daniel, but he will come later). The two assignments considered 1) the prophesies considering Christ’s two comings in Isaiah, and 2) the new covenant. The first one I had only heard of before, and the second I had never studied before. Needless to say, I really learned a lot during this module – and there is still a lot more I could learn too!
An introduction to the Minor Prophets, and a survey of each book. The Minor Prophets are often overlooked, but they make up quite a significant part of Scripture. Just over 50 pages in a ~1000 page Bible. And that is not even mentioning the content they contain. We spend a few hours introducing prophets in general, and then one hour on each of the Minor Prophets. I really wish we could spend more time on them, but there is only so much time in a year and choices need to be made.
An overview of the different views on the end times. Many people wonder what the point is to studying end time prophecy; won’t it just all pan out in the end? Yet over half of what is written in the Bible considers prophecy. I found that studying what the end times will bring gives great comfort for believers – and great encouragement to go and share the Gospel with unbelievers. This module gave me some good insight into other views, and a good refreshing of the view that I hold to.
Life of Christ
A thematic (and hence complementary) study of the Gospels. Going through the Gospels in this way really helped to see how everything fits together – not just the four Gospel accounts, but also Christ & the Old Testament and Christ & the New Testament. It was truly an encouraging module to go through.
All together I feel incredibly blessed to have so much time to study God’s Word. I really look forward to the coming few months. Please also pray that I will find the right balance for spending my time. It is difficult to put a hold on the amount of time spend on assignments, and I often find myself spending all my energy from rising to sleeping on them. My new-term resolution is therefore to handle this in a healthier way; and also thereby free up more time for other things that need to be done.