Wednesday, 20 July 2011

My New Adventure, Part II

I was reading back over some old posts and I noticed this one, called "Shameless Brag". It mentions my last Trinity@Night lecturer commenting on my paper for his class, "Have you thought of doing something more challenging at TTC? Say Grad Dip units? Look into it!"

Well, as of last night I have begun my adventure, studying the Grad Dip unit Intro to Biblical Theology. So if anyone else out there is interested in studying at a Bible or Theological College, but thinks embarking on a Graduate Diploma or Bachelor is beyond them, why don't you see if they have a Certificate Level course that you could try to get your toes wet? You might find that an easy way of getting into deeper study. Also, I am already finding that for me, having done the Cert III in Christian Studies, the lecture content at Grad Dip level is not beyond my comprehension. Mind, that was just the first lecture! My BSF studies and the background reading I have done preparing to coach Sunday School teachers each week has helped hugely as well.

I finished reading God's Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts on Tuesday morning, with my first lecture that evening. Each of the chapters of this book had Bible study questions at the end, which were quite effective at driving home the message of the chapter from the basis of a passage from the section discussed in that chapter. I really appreciated, perhaps for the first time, just how completely the New Creation of the New Jerusalem will bring us back to the same state of sinless glory as Adam and Eve enjoyed for such a short time in Eden before the Fall. At last, all the effects of sin upon the world and upon us will be undone and we will be able to enjoy and glorify our Creator as He created us to do from the very beginning. That marvellous future is why one of my kids has Hope for their middle name.

Next step for class reading is According to Plan by Graeme Goldsworthy. I bought it this morning. I need to write a reading report on this in six week's time, just before I head off to Sydney for Oxygen 11. At which point I might note that I was very pleased to find out that my lecturer has moved our lecture-free week back a week, which makes it coincide with our trip for Oxygen. So I won't be missing any of my lectures for it after all!

So, from this week's lecture, how can I describe the Bible?

1. The Bible tells the story:

  • from the beginning, Creation to a renewed beginning, the New Creation;

  • of God at work, saving His people, establishing His kingdom, and making and keeping coventant (contractual promises);

  • that is all about Jesus Christ. In reading the Old Testament we are prepared for Jesus, and in reading the New Testament we are presented with Jesus.
2. The Bible can be split up into several sections. Let me show you this in the way my lecturer showed us:
  • Pick up your Bible and grab the two testaments in your left (Old Testament) and right (New Testament) hands. Leave out the editorial matter at either end. You will notice that the OT makes up about 75-80% and the NT about 20-25%. There has to be a reason such a big slab of the Bible is there, doesn't there? Given the relative sizes, it seems obvious that the NT will be difficult to understand without the OT.

  • Now put the NT down and take the OT and divide it in half (roughly) according to the number of pages. You will find that your left hand holds the books Genesis to Esther, and your right hand holds the books Job to Malachi. The first half of the OT reports the story of God at work, in chronological order with a few overlapping parts. The second half of the OT responds to the story of God at work that the first half told.

  • Now put the "reportage" pages down and divide the "response" pages not quite in half but more like 40% to your left hand (that's Job to Songs) and 60% to your right (that's Isaiah to Malachi). The books in your left hand, also called the Wisdom books, interact with the story of God at work; they examine different parts of individual human life (suffering, love, joy, etc) within the context of the story. The books in your right hand, also called the Prophets, interpret the story of God at work, giving commentary on the larger events that affect people on a communal scale.

  • Now put the "interacting" pages down and divide the "interpreting" pages into, at left, Isaiah to Daniel, and at right, Hosea to Malachi. Your left hand holds what is known as the works of the Major Prophets, and your right holds the works of the Minor Prophets. The key to these is to remember the Major Prophets are not more important or significant than the Minor Prophets, they just wrote more words.

We also did a lovely schematic of the Old Testament, but since I wrote in tiny writing, there isn't much point in reproducing it here. I was sooo thankful of my BSF and Sunday School studies during this half of the lecture because without them, much of this would be, if not new, at least unfamiliar. As it was, I felt like I was being shown a snapshot of a place that was already quite familiar to me. None of the names were unfamiliar (not even Jereboam and Rehoboam, thanks to the Lord's Learners' studies on the Kings of Israel and Judah last term) and although I might not have known the dates by heart already, they weren't a surprise.

I did appreciate my lecturer's comment on the two commonly held dates for the time of Moses: "the difference is in how you interpret the archaeology; neither date is heretical". He didn't go into the differences, just mentioned this in passing. Thanks to my study of the Life of Moses with BSF, and the extra research I did to satisfy my questions over that very issue, I know what he was talking about. *smile*

Grace and peace to you in Christ Jesus our Lord!


Meredith said...

Sounds like you have done lots of preparation - and like you are going to thrive doing this course. Praising God for that.

Sharon said...

Thx Meredith!