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Skills for Knowing and Communicating the Bible Better

A contemplative young woman studies her Bible while taking notes.Do you want to know your Bible better? Maybe you are a teacher in a Christian school and are occasionally stumped when asked specific Bible questions. Perhaps you are involved in a public school with a Bible club and have been asked to sponsor the group. Or, maybe you simply thirst to go deeper into the Bible but need some basic training on how the Bible is put together and its main purposes.

You may be looking for ways to earn continuing education credits but also learn about this age-old, ever-popular book at the same time. If any of these motivations apply to you, Fresno Pacific’s Bible and Christian life courses offered by the Office of Continuing Education are perfect options.

The Problem of Shrinking Bible Knowledge

According to Kenneth Berding of Talbot School of Theology, Bible literacy is at an all-time low. In a recent article, he reports, "Christians used to be known as 'people of the book.' They memorized it, meditated on it, talked about it and taught it to others. We don't do that anymore, and in a very real sense, we're starving ourselves to death."

Whereas in times past, most people generally knew key verses like John 3:16 and the 23rd Psalm, now the average person would not only have difficulty quoting them but would often not have even heard of these once-familiar passages. In the 21st century, the Bible, which once was the underpinning of Western culture and its educational system, is now largely forgotten by the general public.

Such questions as: What is the difference between the Old and New Testaments? What are the four Gospels? Or even who Moses, David or Paul were are often not easily answered even by churchgoers, much less by the general public.

Getting a Firm Grasp on the Bible

A report in the journal of the Illinois Family Institute summarized several bodies of research revealing that, while many Americans still read and study the Bible, their overall understanding of its contents and teaching is often shallow and disjointed.

Even people in various levels of leadership in churches and other Christian institutions often find themselves ill-prepared for communicating biblical principles in our confusing times. While the goal of solid Bible knowledge may be daunting to some, perhaps the best approach is to start with the basics. Fresno Pacific University Office of Continuing Education offers several Bible and Christian life courses.

Overview of the Bible

For instance, BIB-902: Overview of the Bible is designed to give a “bird’s eye view” of the themes and flow of the Bible’s contents. This eight-module course divides the scriptures into sections and looks at ways of understanding and communicating its overall message.

Module 1 focuses on the Bible as a document: the origins of its books and schools of thought about its interpretation.

Modules 2-7 look at the basic divisions of Scripture and their main ideas and goals.

Module 8 provides tools for teaching and explaining the Bible accurately and clearly. The objective of the course is not only to understand the Bible as a book but to come closer to the God who inspired its message and learn to live more fully in his loving plan for your own life.

How to Interact with 21st Century Skeptics

A thorough working knowledge of the Bible is only one part of the problem. How to speak about it in the public sphere is another issue that many Christians are unprepared for. According to Competing Worldviews Influence Today’s Christians by Barna Research, the increasing influence of secularism, other religious systems and Postmodernism have many people baffled as to how to speak biblical truth in dialog with neighbors, work associates and others in the public space.

Apologetics for the 21st Century

Another Bible and Christian life course offered by Fresno Pacific is BIB-903: Apologetics for the 21st Century. This online course aims to equip people from all walks of life to respond compassionately and effectively to people in our secular and pluralistic culture.

This eight-module course provides reasonable arguments and lines of defense that help make sense of Christian faith in our confusing times and positively point people toward new life in Jesus Christ.

The course outlines a basic introduction to answering people's classic objections to Christian faith over time. Combined with this background is an emphasis on the particular issues that 21st-century people tend to be concerned about.

Some of the issues we will discuss are: Is the Bible reliable? Why do evil and suffering exist? Who is Jesus, really? Does science conflict with the Bible? Does archaeology support or disprove the biblical record? Should Christian hypocrisy overshadow God’s grace? How do Christians understand and interact with Postmodernism? The goal will be to help you represent Jesus well in your circle in these troubled and skeptical times.

So, to know God and his ways better and earn the continuing education credits to help your career, consider signing up for these or any of Fresno Pacific’s continuing education Bible courses.