GW 101: The Bible—The Rule of Faith and Life

About this Course
The foundation of a Christian’s knowledge and understanding of the faith comes directly from the Bible—God’s spoken word to humanity.

Course Objectives
In this course you will discover how God worked through means to bring about the Bible, why we have a rational basis for believing the Bible can be trusted, why Christians accept the Bible as the final authority in all matters of faith and practice, and, practically speaking, understand the necessity of cultivating a thoroughly biblical worldview and to foster that biblical worldview that will guide you in your every-day life experiences.

Key Verses
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV)

Prerequisites
None

Duration
6 lessons, 9 hours

Syllabus
Print file or download and save in order to track your progress.

Coursework

Lesson 1: Basic Terms and Definitions (1.5 hours)

1.1 Read the article “The Doctrine of Scripture: Defining our Terms” and familiarize yourself with some key terms and definitions that relate to the doctrine of Scripture. Once you have done that, write out the 13 terms with definitions.
1.2 Read chapter 1 of the Westminster Confession of Faith, “Of the Holy Scripture” and then answer the following questions.

1.3 In paragraphs 9 and 10 of The Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 1, “Of the Holy Scripture,” the confession says, “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself,” and it also teaches that the Bible is the “supreme judge” of all controversies. Do you agree? Why or why not? After thinking through your answer, read “The Rule of Faith and Practice” that will explain these two teaching points in detail.

Lesson 2: How We Got the Bible (1 hour)

2.1 Read the article “History: How We Got the Bible in Six Minutes or Less” and answer the following questions.

2.2 Read the section “The Meaning and Origin of the Canon” from Essential Church History and answer the following questions.

2.3 Read the section “Determining the Canon” from Essential Church History.
2.4 Watch the short video “Were Some Books Left Out of the Bible?”
2.5 Read the section “The Emergence of the New Testament” from Essential Church History and answer the following questions.

Lesson 3: Understanding Orthodoxy and the Bible (1.5 hours)

3.1 Read the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (Background, Preface, & Short Statement) and then answer the following questions.

3.2 Read the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (Articles & Exposition) and then answer the following questions.

3.3 How would you explain to someone why affirming the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture is essential to the Christian faith? Write or type your answer in a one-page paper (approx. 250 words).

Lesson 4: Can We Trust the Bible? An Introduction to Textual Criticism (2 hours)

4.1 Before watching the presentation, write down several questions you currently have (or had) or issues you struggle with regarding the reliability of the Bible. (Some examples might include: [1] The earliest NT manuscripts only go back to the fourth century. How do we really know the Bible was not changed or altered? [2] There have been thousands of changes, errors, and variants in the manuscripts we possess. So why would I trust the Bible we have today? [3] Constantine selected what books were included in the New Testament and disposed of books he didn’t like. Why should I trust that process?
4.2 Once you have written down several questions, watch the presentation The Reliability of the New Testament Text that addresses the question, “Can we trust the New Testament documents?”
4.3 Go back and provide answers to your own questions.

Lesson 5: Addressing Common Objections to the Bible (1.75 hours)

5.1 Some have argued that the Bible cannot authenticate itself (i.e., prove itself to be the word of God), while others go even further and say that believing the Bible can authenticate itself is circular reasoning. Instead, these folks argue, we need an external authority such as an infallible church to tell us which books are truly Scripture. Do you believe the Bible can authenticate itself, or do we need an external authority to tell us which books are of Scripture? Think about your answer and then read the chapter “My Sheep Hear My Voice: Canon as Self-Authenticating” from Canon Revisited.
5.2 Read the article, “Does the Bible Contain Contradictions?”.
5.3 Read the article, “Isn’t the Bible Full of Contradictions?”.
5.4 Watch the video “Does the Bible Contradict Itself?” to learn how you can reconcile an apparent contradiction.
5.5 It’s your turn to demonstrate what you have learned about reading the Bible correctly. Some say the “biggest contradiction” in the Bible is found in Romans 3:20285:1 and James 2:24-25. One passage says we are justified by faith alone; the other says we are not justified by faith alone. What say you? When you have thought through how you would respond, read this article. (Here is a bonus article addressing the same issue for a more in-depth study on the passage in James 2).

Lesson 6: Importance of Developing a Biblical Worldview (1.25 hours)

6.1 Read the chapter “8 Questions Every Worldview Must Answer” and then write down your thoughts as to how you would answer these questions if a non-Christian were to ask you how the Bible and the Christian religion best provides responses to each question. (Add to or reword the example answers given in your own response. The sum total of your responses should amount to no less than one page.)
6.2 Read A Biblical Worldview in Today’s Culture.”
6.3 Browse the Christian news aggregator website Disrn and select 3 different stories to read. After reading each news story, ask yourself the following questions: “What does the Bible say about this issues?” and “How should I, as a Christian, respond?” Think through your answers.
6.4 Write a 200-word essay on the importance of having a biblical worldview as it relates to your everyday life.


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