Monday, September 1, 2014

Bible Study Course - Lesson 1

Part One

We recently had the pleasure of receiving the first lesson of a correspondence course focused on studying the Bible. We know it seems crazy that we would actually be excited and want to complete one of these; however, we must share that we actually asked our old pastor several times over a three year period to sit down and do an actual in-depth study of the Bible with us. To no avail. For three years. So yes, we were excited to finally have the opportunity to complete one.

Unfortunately, we were also very disappointed.

In a series of posts we are going to address many of the concerns, questions, comments, and issues that we have already communicated to the editor of the correspondence course. In an effort to be polite, we have chosen to not share the name of the correspondence course or any of its affiliated organizations or communications. This is for two reasons: we do not want to endorse or discourage anyone at this time and, secondly, while a great disappointment to us in general, it did get us into the Word and using our plethora of Bible study tools - which we always love and look forward to using. Even a bad course of study can develop good habits and analytical or critical thinking skills.

If you happen to be curious about how we approach such things as a Bible study course - or how you can approach one - we highly recommend that you read our white paper or post titled An Open Letter to Pastors. Yes, we will endorse our own work on our own site. No, we still will not share the course we are reviewing.

But we digress. As we discussed in our Open Letter to Pastors we follow a very thorough and methodical review of the material that was provided. The lesson primarily consisted of a series of questions with recommended Scripture passages to find the answers to the questions followed by explanations or interpretations. Basically, they answered the questions presented with a bit of teaching, doctrine, and tradition thrown in.

Referencing is very important and cannot be stressed enough. One of the challenges that we faced while completing this correspondence course was the inability to confirm various statements printed. This was due in part to a failure to determine (on our part) which resources were used in the preparation (on the editor's part) of the lesson. We had no knowledge of what Bible version was used for the Scripture references quoted. And this became very important as our work through the lesson continued because our versions of the Scriptures - and we used more than twenty-four of them - did not always match what was included in the course materials.

We also did not know what external resources were used with the exception of a few Strong Hebrew and Greek reference numbers. We also do not know which lexicons, if any, were used. Any serious student of the Bible knows that this information is usually found on the cover page of the document and includes all the abbreviations and references. At other times the same information is provided in either footnotes or endnotes. We cannot emphasize enough how important this information truly is to the serious scholar.

We hope that you will stay tuned and follow along with us as we discretely review this first lesson in all its detail.

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