The Online Biblical Studies Program
Course Descriptions
 

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I. Historical & Cultural Studies

1. Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament
This course provides a general introduction to the Jewish backgrounds of the New Testament.  The following topics will be discussed during the semester: a survey of Jewish history from the Persian to the Roman period; an introduction to the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls and Rabbinic Literature; the various Jewish parties and sectarian groups, to include the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots, Herodians, Samaritans, proselytes and God-fearers; the temple and the priesthood; the Sanhedrin, rabbis and the synagogue; and Jewish festivals and holy days.  Extensive visual presentations are provided for each class session.

2. Biblical Backgrounds Series I

This Biblical Backgrounds Seminar explores the Jewish world of Jesus, the first three centuries of Christianity, the literature that enlightens the Bible and the formation of the Biblical Canon.  Class topics include:  Jesus in His Jewish Context, Messianic Thought, Jewish Religious Groups, The Synagogue and Church: the Parting of the Ways, Life and Literature in the Early Church, What Outsiders Said About the Early Christians, Spiritual Blindness, Discovering the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Importance of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, The Book of Revelation and Apocalyptic Literature, An Introduction to the Hebrew Canon, and An Introduction to the New Testament Canon.


3. Biblical Backgrounds Series II

This Biblical Backgrounds Seminar will explore the cultural background of the Bible, significant places of the Biblical World and vital issues facing the Early Christians.  Class topics include: The History of the English Bible, The Hard Sayings of Jesus, Idioms in the Bible, Manners and Customs of the Bible, Important Archaeological Discoveries, A Tour of the Biblical World, and Israel and The Land. [10 Sessions, approximately 1 hour, 20 min. each]


4. The Origins of Christianity

This seminar explores the major issues and events surrounding the establishment of the Christian Church.  Course discussions will highlight how Jewish beliefs, practices, and institutions influenced and shaped early Christianity. Class topics include: Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven; The Early Jerusalem Community, God’s Appointed Times: The Fall Feasts; Jesus the Messiah; The Mission to the Gentiles; Encounters with Paganism; Orthodoxy and Heresy; Elder and Younger Brothers: Early Debates; The Jesus Tradition: Origins of the Gospels; Conversion, Baptism, and New Life; The Eucharist and Agape Meal; The Didache: Handbook of the Early Church; and Christianity and Pagan Society. 



II. Studies in the Hebrew Bible

 

5. A Survey of the Hebrew Bible

This course provides a general survey of the 39 books of the Hebrew Bible, referred to in Hebrew as the Tanakh.  Each major division of the Hebrew Bible -- The Torah (Law), The Hebrew Prophets, and The Writings -- will be introduced and discussed.  This will allow the student to better understand the overall structure, major themes and central message of the text of the Hebrew Bible. [8 classes, approximately 45 minutes each]


6. The Torah Through The Ages

This Seminar provides a general introduction and overview of the first five books of the Biblical text, known in Hebrew as the Torah.  This course will explore the   foundational role of the Torah in Judaism, the life and ministry of Jesus, the early church and the ministry of the Apostle Paul.  Class discussions include: An Introduction to the Torah and the Hebrew Scriptures, An Overview of each individual Book of the Torah, An Examination of the 10 Commandments, The role of the Torah in the ministry of Jesus, The Early Church and the Torah, and the Apostle Paul and the Torah.


7. The Hebrew Prophets

This course provides a general introduction to the Prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures.  Class discussions will focus upon the individual prophet, the historical setting of each prophetic book, dominant themes, messianic prophecies, and references to the prophets in the New Testament writings.

8. The Jewish Writings: From Conquest to Exile
This course provides a thorough treatment of the biblical writings from the Jewish conquest of the Promised Land through the return of the Jewish exiles from Babylon. The following books will be discussed in this course: Joshua, Judges, I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, Ezra, and Nehemiah.


III. New Testament Studies

 

9. A Survey of the New Testament
This course provides a general survey of the 27 books of the New Testament.  Each major division of the New Testament will be introduced and discussed, to include: The Gospels, The Book of Acts, The Letters of Paul, The General Epistles, and the Book of  Revelation. This will allow the student to better understand the overall structure, major themes and central message of the New Testament text.  [9 classes, approximately 45 minutes each] 


10. Synoptic Gospels I

Part one of a three-part series.  This course will provide an introduction to the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.  While gospel studies can often be aimed at harmonizing these gospel accounts, this course will focus on highlighting the uniqueness of each synoptic gospel.  This approach will allow the individual theological interests of each author to be realized and appreciated.  The student will have the opportunity to highlight and analyze the synoptic accounts in the required textbook through a special color-coding system. 

Required Text:
Gospel Parallels: A Comparison of the Synoptic Gospels, by Burton H. Throckmorton, Jr.


11. Synoptic Gospels II

This course provides an in-depth study in The Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, focusing primarily on Jesus’ Ministry in the Galilee.  While Gospel studies can often be aimed at harmonizing the Gospel accounts, this course will focus on the uniqueness of each of the Synoptics.  This approach will allow the individual theological interests of each author to be realized and appreciated.  The student will have the opportunity to highlight and analyze the Synoptic Gospels in the required textbook using a special color-coding method.


12. Synoptic Gospels III

This course provides an in-depth study in The Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, focusing primarily on synoptic accounts regarding Jesus' Final Journey to Jerusalem and His Passion, Death and Resurrection.  While Gospel studies can often be aimed at harmonizing the Gospel accounts, this course will focus on the uniqueness of each of the Synoptics.  This approach will allow the individual theological interests of each author to be realized and appreciated.  The student will have the opportunity to highlight and analyze the Synoptic Gospels in the required textbook using a special color-coding method.


13. The Gospel of John

This course explores the Fourth Gospel in its historical, cultural, and religious setting.  Special emphasis will be given to the unique purpose of John and its distinctive literary style.  The deity of Jesus, His relationship with the Father, His signs, His atoning work, resurrection, eternal life, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and other dominant themes and nuances will be highlighted.    Extensive visual presentations from the Land of Israel will also be provided throughout this course.


14. The Book of Acts

This seminar explores the life and growth of the Early Church and the most crucial issues facing the early Jewish believers as they carried out Jesus' Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. Special emphasis will be placed on the Jewish roots of the Christian church throughout this seminar. This course will provide extensive visual presentations from throughout the land of Israel and the ancient Roman world, allowing the student to rediscover the Mediterranean world of the first century A.D.  

       

15. Paul and His Letters I
This course examines the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul and his earliest New Testament letters. In addition to a detailed treatment of each selected letter, class discussions will also emphasize the language, style and form of Paul’s letters, the cultural and religious make-up of each congregation, and the influence of Paul’s Jewish training on his letters. The following Pauline epistles will be examined in this course: Galatians, I & II Thessalonians and I Corinthians.

16. Paul and His Letters II

This course will examine the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul and his New Testament letters written during the middle years of his ministry. In addition to a detailed treatment of each selected letter, class discussions will also emphasize the style of Paul’s letters, the cultural and religious make-up of each congregation, and the influence of Paul’s Jewish training on his letters.  The following Pauline epistles will be examined in this course: II Corinthians, Philippians, Ephesians, Philemon and Colossians.


17. Paul and His Letters III

This course will examine the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul and his New Testament letters written during the later years of his ministry. In addition to a detailed treatment of each selected letter, class discussions will also emphasize the style of Paul’s letters, the cultural and religious make-up of each congregation, and the influence of Paul’s Jewish training on his letters.  The following Pauline epistles will be examined in this course: Romans and the Pastoral Epistles of I Timothy, II Timothy and Titus.


18. The General Epistles

This course explores what are known as the General Epistles of the New Testament. These works include: The Book of Hebrews, James, I Peter, II Peter, I John, II John, III John, Jude and Revelation. Each of these epistles will be examined from a historical, cultural, and textual standpoint. [14 classes, approximately 65 minutes each]


19. The Book of Hebrews

This course provides a verse-by-verse study on the New Testament Book of Hebrews. Students will be   introduced to the historical, cultural and linguistic background of this unique New Testament book. Class  discussions include: Jesus as God’s eternal Son, His role as the great High Priest in the order of Melchizedek, the nature and essence of the New Covenant; Jesus’ role as initiator and mediator of the New Covenant, the nature and necessity of Jesus’ self-sacrifice on the cross, Jesus’ ministry in the Heavenly sanctuary, the believer’s call to worship and faithfully endure, lessons from the Biblical heroes of faith, and more.


20. The Book of Revelation and Apocalyptic Literature

This course examines the Book of Revelation in its historical, cultural, and literary context as a late first century apocalypse.  The purposes and general characteristics of apocalyptic literature will be discussed in this course, to include: the presence of heavenly messengers, heavenly journeys, the use of symbolic language, the extensive use of numbers, the appearance of strange creatures, end time battles, the New Heavens and New Earth, and more.  This in-depth verse-by-verse treatment on Revelation will assist the student to better understand the historic and prophetic message of this complex New Testament apocalypse.  [20 classes, approximately 65 minutes each]    


IV. Electives


1. Living Discipleship

This course examines what it really means to be a faithful disciple of Jesus.  Whether you are a new disciple of Jesus or have been following the Lord for many years, this course is for you.  The most vital issues pertaining to a life of discipleship are addressed throughout this unique course.  We’ll take a close look at how to pray according to Jesus’ instructions as found in The Lord’s Prayer, examining each of the seven requests contained within this prayer. We’ll also emphasize the importance of the Bible and explore practical ways to be a faithful student of God’s Word.  The  purpose of the Church, life within the community of faith, and finding one’s place within the body of Christ will also be discussed.  This course requires students to submit answers to study questions via an online form.  [10 classes, approximately 30 minutes each] 

2. Understanding the Parables of Jesus
This course in ANBSC’s Life of Jesus Series provides an in-depth look at each of the parables taught by Jesus. The class will examine issues of interpretation with this popular first century teaching style, and will explore what a parable is, why Jesus taught in parables, the various categories of parables, and rules for interpreting parables. The historical and theological context and Jewish societal customs will be drawn upon in seeking to understand the message of each parable.

3. Exploring the Sermon on the Mount
This course from ANBSC explores Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew 5-7.  These chapters from the Gospel of Matthew contain the core of Jesus’ message. In this Sermon on the Mount, Jesus provides his disciples instruction regarding the most important aspects of daily life in the Kingdom of God. Special emphasis is placed upon interpreting these teachings in their historical, cultural and linguistic setting.  [12 classes, approximately 1 hour each] 

4. Jesus and His Miracles
This seminar examines each of Jesus’ miracles as recorded in the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Throughout the course, the historical, cultural and theological significance of each miracle is highlighted.  Special emphasis is placed upon the uniqueness of Jesus’ miracles and their importance in revealing His identity as the Jewish  messiah. The purpose each miracle serves in revealing key aspects of God’s nature is also discussed.

5. Jesus the Teacher: Studies in Matthew

This course in ANBSC’s Life of Jesus Series will focus on the 5 main teachings of Jesus recorded in The Gospel of Matthew, namely, The Ideals of the Kingdom, True Discipleship, The Mystery of the Kingdom, The Community of Believers, and Jesus’ Apocalyptic Discourse.  Topics such as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ view of discipleship, His unique perspectives on the Kingdom, living as a community of faith, the coming of the Son of Man, and more will be discussed in class.  This course will explore the heart of Jesus’ message, highlighting its purpose and relevance for both the original audience as well as readers today.


6. A Journey Through John: Chapters 1-4
This ongoing series provides a detailed verse-by-verse treatment on the Fourth Gospel.  Throughout this series, we explore the historical, cultural and religious setting of the Gospel of John.  We will also highlight the many unique features of John’s Gospel.  [17 sessions, approximately 28 minutes each] 


7. A Journey Through John: Chapters 5-9
This ongoing series provides a detailed verse-by-verse treatment on the Fourth Gospel.  Throughout this series, we explore the historical, cultural and religious setting of the Gospel of John.  We will also highlight the many unique features of John’s Gospel.  [Sessions are approximately 28 minutes each]  


Courses generally consist of 10-13 class sessions.  Most individual class sessions run approximately 1 hour, 15 minutes.  A few vary in length and those particular courses have a notation after their description on this page.


Click here to Register for the Online Biblical Studies Program