The Kingdom, the Cross, and the Community: An Introduction to the New Testament
Instructor, Rev. Chip M. Anderson (203-451-6795; email@example.com)
Spring 2011, March 12-April 2, Saturdays, 9:00am-1:00pm
I. Description: This course surveys the historical background of the New Testament and its writings. It is a foundational course designed to give an overview of New Testament literature and its significance for the life of the church. Students who take this course will gain a framework for further study of individual New Testament Books. Special emphases will include the nature of the church community, Christian discipleship, and developing a biblical worldview.
II. Course Rationale: The Church and its leadership need to be more familiar with the life settings of the apostolic Church, namely the occasion and historical background that brought about the New Testament documents. Such knowledge helps those in the study of theology, Church and lay leadership, and cross-cultural ministries to gain an appreciation for the Church’s New Testament documents, thus, building a foundation for both further study and significant and relevant application of God’s Word in the world today.
III. Course Objectives:
A. To provide the student with the opportunity to learn, in a general way, the content of the New Testament and how it inter-relates and connects.
B. To help the student gain an understanding of the historical, cultural, and religious background of the New Testament as a foundation for continued study.
C. To help the student integrate the historical occasion of New Testament documents, their place in the Bible, and their purposes for faithful interpretation and significant application.
D. To help the student to understand how the New Testament plays a key role in discipleship and in the formation and edification of the Christian life and the life of the Church.
E. To help the student align his or her life into the on-going story that is presented in the pages of the New Testament.
IV. Course Text Book and Reading Material
Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) by Walter A. Elwell and Robert W. Yarbrough (2nd ed.: Baker Academic, 2005).
Redemptive History and the New Testament Scriptures (Biblical and Theological Studies) by Hermann N. Ridderbos (2nd revised ed.: P&R, 1988).
There will be selected readings from a number of resources that the instructor will provide to course students at the time of the course. Additionally, there is a collateral reading component to the course, where students make choose a number of various topics and/or areas of interest to support their learning experience in the course (see below)
V. Course Assignments and Determination of Grade
A. Readings in the Text Books (30%)
B. Collateral Reading (30%)
Reading must be done in at least 4 of the following areas:
- Pre-New Testament History
- The Geo-political situation of the New Testament era
- The New Testament Documents
- Christian Origins
- Gospel Literature
- Pauline Literature
- Johanine Literature
- Apocalyptic Literature
- The Kingdom of God
- New Testament Eschatology
- The Hellenistic World of the N.T.
- The Jewish World of the N.T.
- Intertestamental Jewish Primary Sources
- New Testament Era Primary Sources
Grade & Amount of Collateral Reading
50 pp = 75 points
75 pp = 79 points
100 pp = 80 points
150 pp = 85 points
200 pp = 89 points
250 pp = 90 points
300 pp = 94 points
350 pp = 100 points
Please keep a record of your reading. A simply yes or no will suffice for your text book assignments. As for the collateral readings, please list topic area, title of book or article, author, and pages read from the book or article. At the bottom of the list, please indicate the total number of pages read for collateral reading.
*All course reading is due one week after the last class.
*The student is encouraged to begin any and all the textbook and collateral reading before the course begins.
C. One Historical Occasion and Content Paper (30%)
The paper is to be no more than three pages, double spaced in length (12 pt). A bibliography of used and referred to resources needs to follow the paper. Footnotes should be in text following a basic MLA format: Author last name, year, page number(s). Pages need to be numbered. Due one week after course ends to the professor.
a) How does the pre-New Testament history help you to understand the arrival of Jesus and the nature of His ministry?
b) What role does the geo-political environment play in setting the stage for the arrival of Jesus and the spreading of the Gospel?
c) What are the dynamics of the Kingdom of God and how do they help to explain the nature of Jesus’ message, ministry, and person?
d) Who is Jesus Christ?
e) What is the nature of Paul’s Gospel?
f) What is the message of the synoptic Gospels?
g) What is the purpose of Luke-Acts?
h) How does the occasion and content of a New Testament book (pick one) help to explain a possible doctrinal or behavioral problem found in a congregation?
i) Explain how eschatology plays a part in understanding the message and content of the New Testament.
j) What is the nature of John’s message in the Revelation?
k) Student choice of topic/area, with prior approval from the instructor
D. Class participation and preparedness (10%).
VI. Course Content and Schedule
Saturday, March 12, 2011
- Introduction, Purpose, and Class Method (and expectations)
- Historical Background and General Occasion of the NT
- The Cultural Background of the NT
- Introduction to the Gospels
- The Kingdom of God and the Ministry of Jesus
Saturday, March 19, 2011
- The Gospels of Matthew & Mark
- Introduction to the Apostle Paul
Saturday, March 26, 2011
- I & II Corinthians
- Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, Philemon
- I & II Thessalonians
- I & II Timothy
Saturday, April 2, 2011
- James & I Peter
- The Gospel of John, I, II, and III John
- II Peter and Jude and The Revelation
- The Apostolic and Missionary Intention of the NT Canon (time permitting)