Understanding Biblical Theology
About this Class
As opposed the Systematic Theology, Biblical Theology asks the question of what a particular book, or group of books, teach on different topics, showing emphases of the different parts of Scripture.
Please click on the Charts link under Downloads to access the chart that Dr. Van Pelt refers to in his lectures.
How to think about and interpret the Old Testament
How to explain in 30 seconds the contents and message of the Bible in a way that is meaningful and informative.
The order of the books in Hebrew Bibles is different from the English Old Testament because of the criteria used when putting them together.
The order of the books in the Hebrew Bible helps us understand God's covenant.
The twelve books in the Writings are divided into two groups of six. The first six books are about covenant life. The latter six books are about life in exile.
When the books of the Old Testament are ordered according to canon and covenant, they also correspond to the order of the books in the New Testament.
There is thematic organization through the Old Testament canon and massive correspondence to the arrangement of the books in the New Testament.
Common themes in the synoptic Gospels are the "kingdom of God," and a shift from the "old covenant" to the "new covenant." The ultimate question Jesus asks is will we choose to be a part of his kingdom?
A description of the teachings of Jesus, showing they were in contrast to what was promoted in the culture, as well as how there was continuity to the teachings of the Torah.
Jesus claimed to be God by the titles he used to refer to himself, by what he said and did, and by dying and then coming back to life. The Gospels record that the evidence for the divinity of Jesus was so overwhelming, that even Jews who had a strong tradition in worshiping one God who is a spirit, were compelled to worship Jesus as God, even though he was a man.
The Gospel of Mark focuses on Jesus as miracle worker, prophet and suffering servant. Matthew focuses on Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. The Gospel of Matthew includes much of Mark's material as well as some accounts that are unique to Matthew.
The Gospel of Luke has much in common with the Gospels of Mark and Matthew. Luke emphasizes Jesus' compassion for people who were outcasts and writes as a historian, with attention to detail.
John is the most unique of the four Gospels. He emphasizes that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. "Belief" is a key word for John because it means more to him than just mental assent.
Two of the themes Paul emphasizes throughout his epistles are the glory of God in Christ and God being magnified in Christ. Paul preaches to both Jews and Gentiles and emphasizes these truths in a way that each group can understand. He also explains God's call on his life and the authority God has given him to preach the gospel.
The core idea of sin is refusing to honor and praise God. This is in contrast to the central theme in Paul's theology, which is knowing God in Christ. Jesus calls us to acknowledge him as Lord by our words and actions.
The resurrection and ascension of Jesus demonstrated that Jesus is Lord. Philippians 2:6-11 and Colossians 1:15-20 are passages that teach that Jesus is both fully man and fully God. Justification means that God declares the wicked to be righteous. God provides salvation as a free gift so He is exalted because of what He has done.
Election excludes works as a reason for God choosing you. God's calling always results in salvation. God's calling is a tremendous example of his love for you. Paul encourages people to live the Christian life by being filled with the Holy Spirit and to act out of a motivation of love. He addresses baptism, the Lord's Supper, leaders in the church, church discipline and the resurrection. He also emphasizes the importance of persevering to the end.
Paul's letters describe how God desires people in the Church to function in unity and diversity and how the Holy Spirit gives them the power to do it. Paul exhorts people to live their lives in a way that glorifies God.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the programs intended for?
The Foundations program is intended for everyone, regardless of biblical knowledge. The Academy program is intended for those who would like more advanced studies. And the Institute program is intended for those who want to study seminary-level classes.
Do I need to take the classes in a specific order?
In the Foundations and Academy programs, we recommend taking the classes in the order presented, as each subsequent class will build on material from previous classes. In the Institute program, the first 11 classes are foundational. Beginning with Psalms, the classes are on specific books of the Bible or various topics.
Do you offer transfer credit for completing a certificate program?
At this time, we offer certificates only for the classes on the Certificates page. While we do not offer transfer credit for completing a certificate program, you will be better equipped to study the Bible and apply its teachings to your life.