Course Description and Purpose
A study of the nature, origin, inspiration, development, literary characteristics, and ethical content of the Bible.
The course will show the value of understanding the Bible in its historical, geographical, linguistic, and literary setting. Students will be able to explain ways in which God intervenes in time and space, and how this worldview is supported by the inspired Scriptures. Students will be able to tell the meta-story of the Bible to non-believers. Students will apply underlying biblical principles of holy love in their lives as a godly example to others.
Many people have not read the whole Bible or been exposed to the wide range of stories found in it. This survey course introduces outlines that will help student grasp the flow of the story through Scripture and give them a basic launching point for further study. It also emphasizes devotional methods so that Scripture is not just an object of study but an interaction with the loving God who created them. Students will identify ways that God intervenes in time and space to reveal Himself to build faith and provide assurance. Prayer and answered prayer are key elements in that experience. The same types of experiences build a connecting bridge between the people of God today and those in the biblical stories.
CN-1 Ability to describe the basic story of the Bible.
CN-2 Ability to describe the content, genre, major characters, historical context, main events, and theological themes of the Old Testament.
CN-3 Ability to describe the basic content and theological themes of the New Testament, identify the principal people and events and their roles in New Testament history.
CP-13 Ability to interpret and apply Scripture to personal and congregational life.
CH-1 Ability to find, understand and utilize resources for one’s own spiritual growth in prayer, Bible study, and personal devotion with the goal of becoming like Christ.
CX-6 Ability to compare between worldviews and values from the Bible, contemporary cultures, and the local context.
ACC-1 Demonstrate a Christ-like character of submission, integrity and love in all relationships.
ACC-7 Explain how the difference between Biblical understanding of forgiveness, restitution, and trust compare and contrast with local cultural understandings and the impact on the accountability relationship.
DIS-2 Testify each week to love by putting the needs of someone else ahead of their own.
DIS-3 Model spiritual disciplines to individuals and small groups including: prayer, devotional reading, fasting, solitude, and public worship.
DIS-4 Use the reading of God’s Word to foster spiritual growth and for personal devotions.
ICO-4 Tell several Biblical stories where the people of God made a positive or negative impact in the community. Identify vocational training opportunities the church can initiate in a given context in partnership with the community leaders. Explain the process and steps of organizing a culturally appropriate evangelistic outreach.
LEA-1 Be able to clearly demonstrate the role of the team in leadership development and how to develop trust between the team members using personal integrity. Understand and articulate the importance of demonstrating the worth of each individual within the team.
PRA-1 Model the prayers of Christ and His relationship to the Father through a strong passion for a life of prayer shown by devoting time to prayer and keeping a prayer journal, including a list of lost people for whom God has made them responsible.
PRE-3 Tell the story of the Bible including important dates, people, and events, in order to show the human problem and God’s answer in Jesus Christ.
PRE-5 Describe the key themes and methods of Jesus’ teaching, how this affected people, how they responded to his ministry, and how this can be applied to preaching today.
PRE-6 Describe how the early church grew, the key themes of early Christian preaching, the methods used to spread the gospel, and how these are relevant today.
PRE-13 Explain how God communicated his word to humanity as recorded in the Bible and the place of preaching in this.
Branson, Branson, Timothy M. Green, Jim Edlin, Alex Varughese. Discovering the Old Testament: Story and Faith. Nazarene Publishing House, 2003.
Varughese, Alex, Roger Hahn, David Neale, Jeanne Orjala Serrao, Dan Spross, Jirair Tashjian. Discovering the New Testament: Community and Faith. Nazarene Publishing House, 2004.
Telling the New Testament Story of God. RIIE Course Module. Kansas City: Clergy Services, 2005.
Telling the Old Testament Story of God. RIIE Course Module. Kansas City: Clergy Services, 2002.
Tracing the Story of the Bible. RIIE Course Module. Kansas City: Clergy Services, 2005.
These resources are available at the Wesleyan Holiness Digital Library (www.whdl.org):
McCumber, William E. The Bible Speaks to Me About My Beliefs
Earle, Ralph. How We Got Our Bible
Earle, Ralph. The Story of the New Testament
Winchester, Olive. Story of the Old Testament
Other suggested resources:
Alexander, Pat. The Lion Handbook of the Bible, 2009.
Anderson, Bernard W. Out of the Depths: The Psalms Speak for Us Today. Third ed. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000.
Bruce, F.F. Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free. Grand Rapids : Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977.
Bruce, F.F. Paul. The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? Paperback. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, April 2, 2003
Drane, John. Introducing the New Testament. New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, San Francisco, 1986.
Holladay, William L. Long Ago God Spoke: How Christians May Hear the Old Testament Today. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995.
Mears, Henrietta. What the Bible Is All About: NIV Edition. Regal Books, 1998.
Mears, Henrietta. What the Bible Is All about for Young Explorers. Edited by Frances Blankenbaker. Regal Books, 1986.
Reed, Gerald. The Liberating Law: 10 Steps to Freedom. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1996.
- The local school’s attendance policy should be placed here.
- Bible Reading and Prayer Journal: Students should read through the Bible as designated in the Master Plan for Bible Reading in the Course of Study. For this course, students will read Genesis 1-39 and Matthew 1 – 13. As part of the Scripture reading for each week, students will keep a journal. In this journal, answer these personal questions, “How does God speak to me or my family today through His word? How does this reading help me to love others?” Entries should be made at least weekly for semester courses or daily for intensives. Each entry should be at least one paragraph of 200 words.
(Outcomes CH-1, CN-1, ACC-1, DIS-2, DIS-3, DIS-4, PRA-1)
- Worksheets: There will be eight worksheets that allow students to grow in their knowledge and interpretation of the Bible. Some worksheets can be done in small groups during class time. Some worksheets may need to be completed outside of class time.
Topics of worksheets:
- Worksheet 1: Creation and Fall (small groups)
- Worksheet 2: The Patriarchs (individual study)
- Worksheet 3: Covenant Made and Lost (small groups)
- Worksheet 4: The Hope for New Covenant (small groups)
- Worksheet 5: The Gospels (individual study)
- Worksheet 6: Acts and Paul’s Letters (individual study)
- Worksheet 7: General Epistles (individual study)
- Worksheet 8: Book of Revelation (small group)
(Outcomes CN-2, CN-3, CN-3, CP-13, ICO-4, LEA-1, PRE-3, PRE-5, PRE-6, PRE-13)
- Bible Studymap: Students will use the Studymap of the whole Bible to teach someone in the community the basic story line and outline of the Bible. The student must ask the community person if he or she understood the story of the Bible and ask to repeat it. The student will write a one page reflection on this exercise or give an oral class report.
(Outcomes CN-1, CN-3, ICO-4, PRE-3)
- Class Devotion on selected passages: Each student will lead the class in a 10-minute devotion on selected passages from the Bible. This devotion should apply the passage to the student’s life in a personal way. Students are encouraged to find a song or hymn related to the topic of the devotion and lead the class in singing.
(Outcomes CP-13, LEA-1, DIS-2, DIS-4 PRE-13)
- Accountability and Prayer Partner: You will be assigned a small group of 2-3 other students for prayer and accountability during the course. Time will be devoted at the beginning of each class after the devotion for a time of reflection on the passage for the day.
(Outcomes ACC-7, PRA-1)
- Bible History and Culture Presentation: Each student will choose a historical or cultural issue related to studying the Bible and give a presentation on this topic during the course. You do not need to submit this report in writing but you may want to prepare a summary or outline for other students. In your presentation, you can ask and answer questions like: Who, what, when, where, how, and why. Help the class understand the world behind the Bible. Choose a topic that is especially relevant to your cultural context. Suggested topics include:
- Political strife in Palestine
- Various Religions of Ancient Canaan
- The Intertestamental Period
- Ancient Egypt during the time of Moses
- The Babylonian Empire
- The Assyrian Empire
- The Romans Empire during the First Century
- Nomadic life of the Patriarchs
- Various Jewish Parties during Jesus’ Day
- Life in the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Region
- Honor and shame in the Ancient World
(Outcomes CN-2, CN-3, CP-13, CX-6, ICO-4, PRE-13)
- Quizzes: There will be two quizzes. One will be over the Old Testament and the other will be over the New Testament. These will offer students opportunity to demonstrate their growing knowledge of the Bible. The quizzes will be based on course lectures and the contents of the Bible.
(Outcomes CN-1, CN-2, CN-3, PRE-3, PRE-5, PRE-6)
Journal 8 %
Daily Worksheets (8x 4%) 32 %
Studymap Sharing 20 %
Daily Devotion 5 %
Bible History and Cultural Presentation 15 %
Quizzes (2 x 10% each) 20 %
45-59% (Passable for the certificate level and toward the requirements for being ordained in the Church of the Nazarene)
If a student marks a final grade lower than 45% he or she must take the course again for credit at the diploma level
- Session 1: One Story, Many Books
- Session 2: Principles for Understanding the Bible
- Session 3: Pentateuch—The Origins and the Torah
- Session 4: Salvation History—The Mighty Acts of God
- Session 5: Historical Books—God’s People and their Kings
- Session 6: Call and Character—Abraham, David, and Jeremiah
- Session 7: The Writings—Psalms, Poetry, and Wisdom
- Session 8: Sacrifices and Feasts of Israel
- Session 9: The Major Prophets
- Session 10: The Minor Prophets
- Session 11: The Relationship Between the Hebrew and Greek Worlds
- Session 12: The World of the First Advent
- Session 13: The Gospels
- Session 14: The Life and Ministry of Jesus
- Session 15: The Acts of the Apostles
- Session 16: The Expansion of the Church
- Session 17: The Letters of Paul
- Session 18: Qualifications for Being an Elder or Deacon According to Paul
- Session 19: The General Letters
- Session 20: Revelations