OLD TESTAMENT SURVEY
Instructors: Joseph Harris & Douglas Jacoby
“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”
1 Corinthians 10:11-12 NIV
Fewer than 10% of Christians have read the entire Old Testament. This is due largely to
unfamiliarity with the O.T. world and lack of training. This survey course introduces the world of the Old Testament, from the historical and geographical background to the formation of the Old Testament itself. Learn the Law, Prophets, Wisdom Literature, Psalms, Historical Books, Chronology, Apocrypha, and more. Learn the story of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In addition to the required reading, the student will have read the entire O.T. by the time he or she graduates from AIM—as well as the location of 100 useful passages. Field trip: synagogue visit / lecture by a Rabbi.
"Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." 1 Timothy 4:16, NIV
Paul instructs his protégé Timothy to watch and persevere in his life and doctrine (i.e., teaching, what we believe ourselves and teach to others) and in so doing to save himself and those he instructs. Historically, believers have often struggled with this dynamic tension of orthodoxy (i.e., right belief, or right teaching) and orthopraxy (i.e., right practice or behavior). Biblically, we are to have both. While the AIM Spiritual Life course focuses more on orthopraxy, AIM Healthy Doctrine highlights orthodoxy, or sound biblical doctrines and beliefs by giving an overview of major doctrinal belief systems and worldview within Christianity and showing where they are biblical and where they might be unbiblical or erroneous.
A major component of this course is pneumatology, the study of doctrines related to the Holy Spirit. [Note: this course may be taken as an equivalent to the AIM Holy Spirit course]. In addition overviews of the basic beliefs and worldview of pentecostalism, Calvinism and Arminianism, Mormonism, Catholicism and Protestantism, Sabbatarianism, Messianic and Judaic Christianity, New Age Movements, postmodernism, liberal theology, fundamentalism, prosperity theology, the megachurch movement, and several influential doctrinal systems developed in America will all be covered in this course.
The Bible places far more emphasis on who we are inside than on how we behave or appear to others. We have all seen too many comrades-in-arms fall, not rebounding but remaining fallen, due to a weak walk with the Lord--while others continue to go forward to do great things despite formidable obstacles. The course covers character, sexual issues, financial responsibility (guest speaker), and so much more. The secret of God's preacher: the inner spiritual life.
New Testament Interpretation
What many of us were never taught… Exegesis and hermeneutics—interpreting what a N.T. passage meant to those to whom it was written, and making a proper application to our situation today—are vital areas of theological training. There are units on exegesis of the Synoptic Gospels, Parables, Acts, Epistles, Revelation, and more. 20 useful passages and several books will be studied, including Gordon Fee’s How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth.
GOAL OF THE COURSE
To learn how to explore the scriptures more deeply by paying attention to context and to learn how to read the NT genre by genre.
OVERVIEW OF THE SUBJECTS IN THIS COURSE
The Need for Interpretation, The Nature of Interpretation, Parables, Letters, Acts, Synoptic Gospels, Gospel of John, Revelation
New Testament Survey
NEW TESTAMENT SURVEY
Bible study— with an emphasis on careful teaching (2 Timothy 2:15)— constitutes nearly 40% of the course. This survey course introduces the student to the world of the New Testament, from the historical and geographical background to the culture of the first century to the formation of the New Testament itself. This course will use a variety of resources including the text of the New Testament, a textbook, multimedia online resources from the Bible Project, various resources on the Internet and live lectures.
Units: Synoptic Gospels, John, Acts, the Letters of Paul, the General Epistles, Revelation, and N.T. chronology.
We will learn about the ancient Greek manuscripts in a special workshop, learning about the complex world of manuscript copying. A powerpoint presentation colorfully illustrates the amazing history of the transmission of the N.T. through the ages. In addition to studying a conservative N.T. textbook, the student will read the entire N.T. We will also learn how to deploy 100 useful N.T. passages.
Preaching is far, far more than constructing a three-point message, and a sermon is so much more than anecdotes, stories, and personal sharing. Expository sermons have punch and the full authority of the word of God. Without careful exposition, sermons are easily forgotten by the congregation; the preacher does not cause the word of Christ to dwell richly in the congregation (Colossians 3:16). Jesus and Paul, as well as Robinson and Keller (through their books) will be some of our instructors. Indeed, biblical preaching has a powerful impact (Matthew 7:28-29)!
Introduction to the major world religions: Islam (900 million adherents), Hinduism (800 million adherents), Buddhism (300 million adherents) [Note: Judaism is covered in AIM Old Testament Survey] A serious look at the major religions of the world, including their scriptures. 40 useful passages will be learned. Field trip: visit to a Mosque or Hindu/Buddhist Temple. Goal: To learn the importance of worldview apologetics in “pre-evangelism,” and begin to implement new strategies for connecting with outsiders.