Friday, July 31, 2015

End of another Bible class

1. I noticed that Nijay Gupta was talking about teaching Scripture at seminary. I'm just finishing up today teaching the one week "Bible as Scripture" intensive at Wesley Seminary. I second guess myself a lot when it comes to these sorts of things, but am pretty happy with the formula I've been using:
  • I start each day with a quasi-devotional that illustrates the learning of the previous day.
  • After the devotional and prayer, we discuss the reading of the previous night. I have them read and evaluate Green before they come, then Fee and Stuart during the week. This gives them two evangelical poles to situate themselves between. I've recorded videos to give a little exposure to critical issues and have a little book to fill in some other gaps. 
  • After a morning break, I introduce an interpretive tool, which they apply in the early afternoon in groups in relation to a particular passage I have chosen.
  • In late afternoon we regroup and the groups present their initial findings, which they finish up in the evening and submit by the next morning.
2. The flow of the week goes as follows:
  • Monday and Tuesday work on the skills of observation. This is a focus on the literary context. This is a focus on the "world within the text."
  • Monday is on the immediate literary context and they do a "train of thought" assignment. Tuesday is broader literary context and they do a "survey."
  • Wednesday transitions to interpretation, the "world behind the text," and historical-cultural context. In particular, Wednesday is word study day.
  • Thursday then digs deeper into historical-cultural context and answering other kinds of interpretive questions. This is the first day that we go to the library and engage secondary literature.
  • Finally on Friday, we address directly what we have been doing all along in the devotionals and reading discussions--how to discern a biblical theology and appropriate biblical texts.
3. Although I hope eventually to find a better integrating theme, the passages on which the groups work all week (and present on all week) have to do with the Devil (or do they):
  • Genesis 3
  • Job 2
  • Isaiah 14 
  • Matthew 4
  • Luke 10
  • Revelation 12
The reason why these are good passages because they bring out issues like pre-understandings of meaning and sensus plenior. We are, in effect, working toward a biblical theology of the Devil all week, while forcing distinctions between the meanings of each text.

4. I think this works pretty well when I keep on task and have enough caffeine. I do continue to second guess myself.

Is teaching how to do inductive Bible study a little like requiring Greek--just not something everyone is going to be able to do? Would it be better as a capstone after several courses that have more or less modeled the interpretation of biblical texts rather than expected students to do it themselves?

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