The Course Aim
The Bible is not a simple book, as many people can confirm. Students attend theological colleges and study for a number of years, so of what worth can a simple Bible Study course be?
It depends a lot on what you want to achieve in a course of Bible study. If you wish to learn about the history of Christianity, or what opinion the Church fathers had concerning New Testament writers, then a Bible College is most likely the place to go. But if you want to know what the Bible has to say about your life today, and your life in the future, then you will find that you have very much to gain in working through this course in your own home.
The aim of the course is to introduce you to the message of the Bible, clear of traditions and myths drawn from outside sources. The Bible can speak for itself, provided we allow it to speak freely. At times the message will make you think critically about yourself — at other times the message will amaze you, and excite you. The Bible is such a book. But, above all this, the Bible will tell you how you can go about obtaining a life that will continue forever in a world that will be simply paradise to you. Do you need anything more!
The Course Requirements
The course is divided into sixteen lessons (including this one), and each is of about the same length. There will generally be a number of questions to be answered with each lesson, so that in answering the questions you will better your understanding of the course material. The courses are all online, and you will be required to complete and submit the questions after each lesson, so that any difficulties you might have can be explained to you in greater detail, or your own questions arising from the lesson may be answered.
One course requirement is access to a Bible that contains both the Old Testament and the New Testament — the New Testament alone is insufficient. There are a number of different translations available, with the King James Version (sometimes called ‘The Authorised Version’) being the most common. If you are familiar with the language of that time, then that version would be suitable for this study. However, if you would prefer to have a modern translation to take advantage of language changes since that time, then the New International version (NIV) would probably be more suited to your needs. The version you use is your own choice, and it will not affect the course material or the value of your answers in any way. Where Bible quotes are used in these lessons, they will be taken mostly from the New International version, as our experience has shown that these are often clearer in meaning and easier to understand.
There are various websites containing electronic versions of the Bible – a good example of this is http://www.biblegateway.com.
Understanding a Quote
There may be times when you come across a quote that you can’t grasp at first. If this happens, then read the quote again, taking in a few verses either side of it. Once a passage is understood, then it is possible to explain the message that the writer is shaping. The next step is to see how the message can be applied to our own lives today, so that we can personally benefit from the lesson. This cycle is shown below:
The Bible is Relevant
To appreciate the lessons from the Bible, we must understand that its primary purpose is to be a practical guide to living in the world in such a way that it will bring a rewarding way of life to the reader, and will ensure an eternal life in the future. Since God himself does not change, the truths of the Bible do not change either, and are as relevant today as they were when they were written. So it is that events from the distant past ‘happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us’ (1 Corinthians 10:11) ‘For everthing that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.’ (Romans 15:4)
The course consists of sixteen online lessons,and the password to each will be sent to you after you complete the previous lesson’s questions.
Finding a quote
You may not find it easy to find a quote when you first set out to learn about the Bible. Don’t be worried if this is the case, because many are in the same position.
Let us take an example: suppose the quote has been listed as “John 9:5” and we wish to find it in the Bible.
- The first part of the quote is the book — “John”. The Contents page in the front of your Bible will list a page number for where this book starts. It may be called “St John” or “The Gospel of John”, or something similar. [ It should not be confused with “1 John”, “2 John”, or “3 John”, which are letters John wrote.]
- The first number after the book name, is the chapter number — 9. Having located the start of the book, turn the pages over until you come to chapter 9.
- Now check the last number, which is the verse number — 5. Look through Chapter 9 until you come across the number 5, which is the quote we were after. Read the verse, and this will be the quote. If it was an NIV Bible, the quote will read:
“While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
This procedure is illustrated below:
Try out the following quotes:
There are no questions for lesson 1 – feel free to fill out the form below to participate remaining 15 lessons of the course.