Courses required for the Certificate in Biblical Studies and the Bachelor of Religious Studies

Course Summary

A consideration of spirituality


Laid out as a journey, the course explores that inquisitive spirit that causes one to look beyond the physical universe and claim the blessing that spirituality makes available. Beginning with the reasonableness of spirituality, the journey considers the connection of spirituality with the sacred and its actualization. The course is organized in five modules: (1) The Concept of Spirituality, (2) A Sense of the Sacred, (3) Spirituality Actualized, (4) A Spiritual Community, and (5) The Spiritual Life. A Spiritual Inventory is required before beginning the course. 3 semester hours of undergraduate credit.

Objectives

•  Explain spirituality in terms of faith, reason, and emotion.

•  Analyze the life of the spiritual person within the spiritual community.

•  Evaluate how a spiritual person applies ethical principles to all aspects of his/her life.

Credit. Credit for the course requires a score of 70 percent or greater on each of three multiple choice examinations, an electronic notebook (Word document) containing all reflections, and one 2,500 word essay. Each of the five graded elements is valued at 20%. A sample exam problem is given below:

From a biblical point of view, to believe that God is a Spirit, and then use an image in worship (A) is acceptable, if the image is considered a "representation" of God and not God himself, (B) helps the worshiper focus on the true God, (C) is inconsistent with biblical teaching.

Resources

A Bible in any translation

The following resources may be read online, if desired:

The Confessions of Saint Augustine
Imitation of Christ

à Kempis, Thomas. Imitation of Christ. Dover Publications, 2003. 160 pages. $2.50. ISBN--978-0486431857

Augustine. The Confessions of Augustine. Dover Publications, 2002. 319 pages. $4. ISBN--978-0486424668

Augustine's Confessions are also available as an audio book. (Access through the syllabus.)

Lennox, John. Miracles: Is Belief in the Supernatural Irrational? VeriTalks, vol. 2. The Veritas Forum,   2013. 62 pages. $4.99

Course Summary

An introduction to the factual content of the Old Testament


The course introduces the people, places, and events found within the Old Testament, including a minimum of 100 personalities, major geographical sites, stories, events, and prophetic discourses. Moreover, an introduction to the different types of literary genres contained in the Old Testament will be given. Normally, this is the second course in an undergraduate certificate and/or degree program at NationsUniversity. The course is organized in five modules: (1) The Torah, (2) The Former Prophets, (3) The Latter Prophets, (4) The Writings: History, and (5) The Writings: Wisdom and Worship. 5 semester hours of undergraduate credit.

The course emphasizes self-discovery with a view toward achieving competency in biblical content. Until the student becomes acquainted with the content of the biblical text, there is little justification for moving forward with theology or application. Furthermore, critical thinking skills begin with an open mind, not with predetermined conclusions. Ignorance and hearsay only block the opportunity to draw sound conclusions. The study concentrates on primary sources, not secondary ones.  Consequently, course objectives point toward achieving a high level of literacy regarding the biblical text. Critical issues and background studies are reserved for later courses.

Objectives

1. Appraise relationships among the key people in the Old Testament.

2. Relate people to geographical locations, events, and institutions listed in the Old Testament.

3. Compare and contrast the different types of literary genre contained in the Old Testament.

4. Arrange important Old Testament events in chronological order
.

5. Synthesize information from multiple biblical text.


Credit

Credit for the course requires a score of 70 percent or greater on each of five multiple choice examinations. Each graded element is valued at 20 percent of the final grade.
A sample exam problem is given below:

A river flowed from the Garden of Eden and divided into this river: (A) Arnon, (B) Jordan, (C) Nile, (D) Tigris.

Forum Postings

Up to 20 forum postings of statements or responses are recommended. The postings will provide further opportunity to learn and will create interaction with other students around the world.

Resources

The primary resource you will need for this course is a Bible. You should read it several times during the course. The New International Version is recommended because of its readable translation and wide use. Exam questions will use the language and spellings found in this version. However, if the student has some other English version, this should do fine.

Secondary resources will provide background information for each of the biblical books. While resources that appear in the Extended Resources and in the Online Library will prove helpful, the central text that is required reading is the Bible itself.

Brisco, Thomas V. Holman Bible Atlas: A Complete Guide to the Expansive Geography of Biblical History. Broadman and Holman Reference, 1999. 298 pages. $18.14 ISBN: 978-1558197091

Course Summary

Factual content of the Old Testament


The course introduces the people, places, and events found within the Old Testament, including a minimum of 100 personalities, major geographical sites, stories, events, and prophetic discourses. Moreover, an introduction to the different types of literary genres contained in the Old Testament will be given. Normally, this is the second course in an undergraduate certificate and/or degree program at NationsUniversity. The course is organized in five modules: (1) The Torah, (2) The Former Prophets, (3) The Latter Prophets, (4) The Writings: History, and (5) The Writings: Wisdom and Worship. 3 semester hours of undergraduate credit.  No credit allowed with former BRS 1. 

The course emphasizes self-discovery with a view toward achieving competency in biblical content. Until the student becomes acquainted with the content of the biblical text, there is little justification for moving forward with theology or application. Furthermore, critical thinking skills begin with an open mind, not with predetermined conclusions. Ignorance and hearsay only block the opportunity to draw sound conclusions. The study concentrates on primary sources, not secondary ones.  Consequently, course objectives point toward achieving a high level of literacy regarding the biblical text. Critical issues and background studies are reserved for later courses.

Objectives

1. Relate people to geographical locations, events, and institutions listed in the Old Testament

2. Compare and contrast the different types of literary genre contained in the Old Testament

3. Arrange important Old Testament events in chronological order

Credit

Credit for the course requires a score of 70 percent or greater on each of five multiple choice examinations. Each graded element is valued at 20 percent of the final grade.
A sample exam problem is given below:

A river flowed from the Garden of Eden and divided into this river: (A) Arnon, (B) Jordan, (C) Nile, (D) Tigris.

Resources

The primary resource you will need for this course is a Bible. You should read it several times during the course. The New International Version is recommended because of its readable translation and wide use. Exam questions will use the language and spellings found in this version. However, if the student has some other English version, this should do fine.

Secondary resources can supplement your study, but this is a study in primary source material, not in secondary sources.  You may consider the Extended Resources and the Online Library for secondary sources that will introduce the biblical books.  A Bible atlas, like the one listed below, is a handy tool for capturing a glimpse of the geography and general setting of the biblical world.

Brisco, Thomas V. Holman Bible Atlas: A Complete Guide to the Expansive Geography of Biblical History. Broadman and Holman Reference, 2014. 256 pages. $25.37 ISBN: 978-0805497601

See Electronic Collection on the Course Menu for a secondary source available without cost to the student. 

Course Summary

An introduction to the factual content of the New Testament

The course includes the people, places, and events found in the New Testament, including a minimum of 75 personalities, major geographical sites, stories, events, and discourses.  Normally, this is the third course in an undergraduate certificate and/or degree program at NationsUniversity. The course is organized in four modules: (1) The Gospels, (2) Acts of Apostles, (3) The Pauline Epistles, and (4) General Epistles and the Apocalypse. BRS 121 is recommended as a prerequisite. If the student chooses to take BRS 122 before BRS 121, the obvious handicap will be a lack of Old Testament background to the New Testament.  3 semester hours of undergraduate credit.

Objectives

1.  Relate people to geographical locations, events, and institutions found in the New Testament


2.  Recognize the unique qualities and roles of Jesus Christ

3.  Synthesize the content of the New Testament compositions

Credit

Credit for the course requires a score of 70% or greater on each of four multiple choice examinations and an essay. Each graded element is valued at 20% of the final grade. A sample exam problem is given below:

The teaching of Jesus had its greatest appeal to the (A) Essenes, (B) general public, (C) Pharisees, (D) scribes.

Resources

This course is primarily a study of original source material (i.e., the biblical text), with minimal attention given to secondary sources.  A Bible is required. The New International Version is recommended because of its readable translation and wide use. Exam questions will use the language and spellings found in this version. However, if the student has some other English version, this should do fine.  The student will read the New Testament a minimum of five times and the syllabus at least twice. This amounts to the equivalent of 1500 pages of reading.


Useful secondary sources (optional):

Carson, D. A.; Douglas J. Moo; and Andrew David Naselli. Introducing the New Testament: A Short Guide to Its History and Message. Abbr. ed. Zondervan, 2010.176 pages.$10.92. ISBN: 978-0310291497

A substitute for the above hardcopy can be accessed without cost from the Course Menu through the Electronic Collection. 


A Bible atlas 

An extensive list of resources can be found under Extended Resources and the online library, including a variety of English and other language translations and an audio Bible.

Course Summary

The story of the Old Testament in view of the activity of God

The study deals with core Old Testament concepts, where God is the central figure. Assuming a unified view of God, the course considers the function of Scripture, ways God works, and how God’s activity interfaces with culture. Included is the faith of Israel, essential elements of Old Testament theology, the theological relationship of the Old and New Testaments, and the relevance of the Old Testament to modern life. The three modules of the course are designed to increase the student's knowledge of the basic elements of Old Testament theology and build on the student's general acquaintance with the Scriptures. Moreover, the course further develops the student's critical thinking and writing skills. The study is organized in three modules: (1) Discovery, (2) Themes in Old Testament Theology, and (3) Messianic Themes. 3 semester hours of undergraduate credit. BRS 121 and 122 are recommended prerequisites.

Objectives

1. Formulate conclusions about the theological content of specific biblical texts

2. Appraise the theological relationship of the Old and New Testaments

3. Determine the application of Old Testament theology for Christians

Credit

Credit for the course requires a score of 70% or greater on each of three multiple choice examinations, an essay, and an activity summary.  The exams and writing assignments are valued at 20 percent each toward the final grade. A sample multiple-choice exam problem is given below:

A unique characteristic of the God who reveals himself in the Old Testament is his (A) benevolence,
(B) identification with prayer, (C) demand for sacrifice, (D) association with a specific place.

Resources.  The course syllabus and a Bible.  An online discussion of Old Testament Theology by Paul House presented by BibleTraining.org is highly recommended.

Course Summary

The story of the New Testament in view of the activity of God

The study deals with core New Testament concepts, where God is the initiator of spiritual blessings which he brings to the world in Jesus Christ. 3 semester hours of undergraduate credit. BRS 121, 122, and 123 are recommended prerequisites.  Credit may not be earned with credit for BRS 4.

While BRS 122 deals with the people, places, and events of the Greek Scriptures, BRS 124 carries the student beyond the particulars of the text and searches for meaning. The course is organized in three modules: (1) The Greek Scriptures and Theology, (2) Core Content, (3) God and Man.

Objectives

1. Formulate conclusions about the theological content of specific biblical texts

2. Appraise the theological relationship of the Old and New Testaments

3.  Determine the acts of God and man's expected response

Credit.  Credit for the course requires a score of 70% or greater on each of the three multiple choice examinations and two essays. Each graded element counts 20 percent of the final grade.  A sample multiple choice problem is given below:

A unique characteristic of the God who reveals himself in the New Testament is (A) his exclusiveness, (B) his identification with sacrifice, (C) his association with a specific place,
(D) his revelation in Jesus.

Resources

The course may be completed with the use of the syllabus, a Bible, and the following textbook:

Marshall, I. Howard. New Testament Theology: Many Witnesses, One Gospel. IVP Academic, 2004. 765 pages. $27.80 ISBN: 978-0830827954

A substitute e-book may be accessed from the Course Menu under Electronic Collection at no cost.

Course Summary

The principles required for responsible interpretation of the Old Testament


The primary task of the course is to determine how select texts of scripture should be studied in order to understand the author’s original intent. BRS 19 assumes the student has a working knowledge of the nature and content of the Old Testament. The course is organized in five modules. These modules are designed to help the student develop a framework for his/her own investigation of various parts of the Old Testament. The modules are (1) Interpreting Old Testament Literature, (2) Narrative and History, (3) Law, (4) Prophetic Announcements, and (5) Lament, Praise, and Wisdom. 5 semester hours of undergraduate credit. Recommended prerequisites: BRS 1 and 3. A Bible post-test will be required at the end of BRS 19.

Objectives

• Formulate the mechanics of biblical interpretation.

• Apply rules of interpretation to biblical narrative.

• Evaluate rules of interpretation for legal material.

• Apply the rules of interpretation to prophetic announcements.

• Recognize, evaluate, and use rules of interpretation in the genre of lament, praise, and wisdom.

Credit. Credit for the course requires a 70 percent or greater on four multiple choice examinations and an exegetical assignment. Each element is valued at 20 percent of the course grade.  A sample multiple-choice problem is given below.

Given the entire text of a lament, which of the following phrases expresses the ultimate objective of the lament? (A) "I trust in your unfailing love," (B) "Please, O God, avenge my enemies," (C) "You, God, will not allow me to suffer loss," (D) "Why have you forsaken me?"

Resources

A Bible in its original language or any translation and the following textbook

Broyles, Craig C. (ed.). Interpreting the Old Testament: A Guide for Exegesis. Baker Academic, 2001. 272 pages. $25.63 ISBN: 978-0801022715

Course Summary

Principles for responsible interpretation of the Old Testament

The primary task of the course is to determine how select texts of scripture should be studied in order to understand the author’s original intent. BRS 125 assumes the student has a working knowledge of the nature and content of the Old Testament. The course is organized in five modules. These modules are designed to help the student develop a framework for his/her own investigation of various parts of the Old Testament. The modules are (1) Interpreting Old Testament Literature, (2) Narrative and History, (3) Law, (4) Prophetic Announcements, and (5) Lament, Praise, and Wisdom. 3 semester hours of undergraduate credit. Recommended prerequisites: BRS 121 and 123.

Objectives

• Formulate the mechanics of biblical interpretation.

• Apply rules of interpretation to biblical literature.

• Recognize, evaluate, and use rules of interpretation in various literary genre.

Credit. Credit for the course requires a 70 percent or greater on four multiple choice examinations and an exegetical assignment. Each element is valued at 20 percent of the course grade.  A sample multiple-choice problem is given below.

Given the entire text of a lament, which of the following phrases expresses the ultimate objective of the lament? (A) "I trust in your unfailing love," (B) "Please, O God, avenge my enemies," (C) "You, God, will not allow me to suffer loss," (D) "Why have you forsaken me?"

Resource

A Bible

Course Summary

The principles required for responsible interpretation of the New Testament

BRS 2 deals with the people, places, and events of the Greek Scriptures and BRS 4 asked, "What do these things mean?" This course in exegesis is concerned with the student's own ability to interpret New Testament texts. The need to do personal interpretation presupposes that spiritual maturity rests upon good interpretation. In turn, the course contributes to a goal of the B.R.S. program by preparing the student to handle the biblical text responsibly. The course moves beyond theory to the techniques of independent study. 5 semester hours of undergraduate credit.

BRS 21 assumes the student has a good understanding of the nature and content of the New Testament. The task here is to select a sample of biblical texts and consider how they should be studied and what application can be made for the present day. The course is organized in five modules: (1) Interpreting the New Testament, (2) Acts 1:1-9:31, (3) Acts 9:32-18:22, (4) Acts 18:23-28:31, and (5) Acts and the Modern Church.

Objectives

• 
Recognize the principles that govern the application of New Testament compositions.

• Identify rules, vocabulary, and principles of interpretation of New Testament genres.

• Apply hermeneutical guidelines to passages in Acts of Apostles.

• Apply New Testament texts to contemporary situations.

Credit. Credit for the course requires a score of 70% or greater on four multiple choice examinations and an exegetical assignment. A sample exam problem is given below:

The science of interpreting a text is known as (A) hermeneutics, (B) homiletics, (C) literary criticism, (D) textual criticism.

Resources

The course syllabus, a Bible, and the following textbook

Blomberg, Craig L. and Jennifer Foutz Markley. A Handbook of New Testament Exegesis. Baker Academic, 2010. 320 pages. $16.82 ISBN: 978-0801031779

Course Summary

The principles required for responsible interpretation of the New Testament

BRS 122 deals with the people, places, and events of the Greek Scriptures and BRS 124 asked, "What do these things mean?" This course in exegesis is concerned with the student's own ability to interpret New Testament texts. The need to do personal interpretation presupposes that spiritual maturity rests upon good interpretation. In turn, the course contributes to a goal of the B.R.S. program by preparing the student to handle the biblical text responsibly. The course moves beyond theory to the techniques of independent study. 3 semester hours of undergraduate credit.  May not be taken if student has credit for BRS 21.

BRS 126 assumes the student has a good understanding of the nature and content of the New Testament. The task here is to select samples of biblical texts and consider how they should be studied and what application can be made for the present day. The course is organized in four modules: (1) Interpreting the New Testament, (2) Matthew and Mark, (3) Acts and the Modern Church, and (4) The Book of Revelation.

Objectives

• 
Recognize the nature of New Testament compositions

• Identify rules, vocabulary, and principles for interpreting New Testament genres

• Apply New Testament texts to contemporary situations

Credit. Credit for the course requires a score of 70% or greater on four multiple choice examinations and an exegetical assignment. A sample exam problem is given below:

The science of interpreting and applying a biblical text is known as (A) hermeneutics, (B) homiletics, (C) literary criticism, (D) textual criticism.

Resources: The course syllabus, a Bible, and three e-books accessed from the Special Electronic Collection.