The effort to understand an ancient text for what it is saying and to apply its teachings in a very different time and culture is a difficult challenge. When that text is a translation of an original written in a different language it is an even bigger challenge. This course is designed as a hands-on exercise aimed at enhancing the student’s ability to understand, interpret, and apply the text of Scripture. Students will be introduced to expositional skills that will help them identify what the text is saying, interpret its message accurately, and apply it to their lives consistently with its intent.
The stories of the Bible are often epic and inspiring. They provide windows into the nature of God and people, good and evil, and the raw dynamics of humanity as it engages with a broken world. The focus of this course is to find in biblical narrative a deep sense of who God is, what is the condition of fallen humanity, and what it looks like when broken people pursue or resist the God who made them. It will explore persons, personalities, cultures, and contexts to find real and legitimate application to life and godliness in this present time and place.
Prescriptive texts, and particularly those epistles that make up a large share of the New Testament are those from which we find the most specific instructions on how a Christian is to live and serve. Yet these texts tend to be those most widely interpreted and debated. The purpose of this course of study is to help students apply solid hermeneutic principles so as to grasp the intent of a Scriptural letter, to explore how that intent applied in the particular setting to which it was initially sent, and to apply its intent to a current setting. While it is a worthy exercise to arrive at answers to theological questions by extracting statements lifted from various biblical texts, the purpose of this course is to make sure that we understand what this text is overtly saying rather than to focus on implications that are not the primary purpose of the author.