This course examines the work of a group of prophets who emerged during the days of Israel's decline, it's exile and it's return from exile. They are called the 'latter prophets' or the 'writing prophets' and are found in our Old Testament in a group of 17 books from Isaiah through to Malachi. A great difficulty in the new reader getting to know and understand these books is to work out how these books fit into the Old Testament history of Israel (covered in the previous three BibleLife courses). The aim of this course then is to 'plot' each of the prophetic books into the history already covered so that the reader has a greater sense of historical context and geography when reading each prophet. Completing the exercise will give the Bible reader a lifelong resource to consult when reading the Prophets.
1. Who were the latter prophets and what role did they play?
2. What was the message of the latter prophets?
3. A fun exercise in plotting each of the prophetic books into Israel's history
This, our final Old Testament course, covers Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. We find in these wonderful texts that God speaks to our minds through our hearts. He draws us to a deeper understanding of Himself and His ways. Amazingly, in much of it, He gives us a language to express ourselves to Him and a language to tell Him what we are experiening. This is essential reading for all God-followers! Yet in our modern culture we tend to marginalise poetry and see wisdom/philosophy writings as being read by only a few specialists. This thinking can impact Bible reading and cause us to devalue these books. We hope to combat this mindset and show how important, relevant, accessible and nourishing these books are.
1. Getting to grips with why OT poetry and wisdom literature is so important.
2. Tips to bear in mind when reading OT poetry and wisdom literature.
3. A brief working through of the message of each book
We start our journey through the New Testament in this course on the book of Acts. What Jesus began to do and to teach in the Gospels He now continues to do and teach in this book. He does this now as the resurrected, ascended, triumphant King expanding His kingdom on the earth through His apostles, empowered by the Spirit of God. The fruit of this expanding kingdom is seen in the formation of local Spirit-filled congregations of Jesus-followers who live lives that glorify God, love and serve each other, and point their surrounding world to Christ. What an incredible story to the start of the church. Get to know it! This course also gives us a timeline for the writing of the New Testament epistles which the rest of the BibleLife courses will follow.
1. Getting to know the importance, the broad story and actors of Acts
2. Working through the church being witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea & Samaria.
3. Working through the church being witnesses to the ends of the earth
The letters written by apostles now found in our Bibles are formally called 'epistles'. Through following the timeline we developed in the previous course, we start a series of courses tracking the writing of Paul's epistles. The first of these were written at the time of Paul's second journey as recorded in Acts; namely the epistles of Galatians and 1+2 Thessalonians. Paul's second journey took him from Syria through Galatia to the new regions Macedonia and Achaia. During this journey he encounters new peoples and new cultures and he experiences real danger from 'enemies within' seeking to corrupt the gospel and 'enemies without' seeking to persecute the newly planted churches. In confronting these real dangers and to support, encourage and to teach the church, Paul pens these three epistles.
1. A recap of Paul's second journey to get a better historical context to the epistles
2. What is important to know when reading Galatians?
3. What is important to know when reading 1+2 Thessalonians?
Paul spends much of his time on his third journey based in Ephesus and dealing with problems in the Corinthian church. In the midst of this very difficult time for Paul, he wrote the epistle to the Romans. In his epistles of 1+2 Corinthians, we can evidently see the great difficulty of applying the truth of Christ into Christian life while in Romans by contrast we see this calmly, clearly, systematically laid out gospel message. Yet both the Corinthian and the Roman epistles are firmly centred on the gospel. The gospel is Paul's message (think Romans) but it is also Paul's toolbox to work through the issues of life (think 1+2 Corinthians). All three epistles are so valuable for us to learn how to be set apart for the gospel, how to labour for it to be lived out and how to trust God to get it right to land His truth on the earth.
1. A recap of Paul's third journey to get a better historical context to the epistles
2. What's important to know when reading 1+2 Corinthians?
3. What's important to know when reading Romans?