Why do we spend so much time simply walking from Genesis to Revelation rather than teaching Systematic and Historical Theology?
- Study Scripture before Theological Convictions. We want to approach the text as unbiasedly as possible. By walking through Scripture passage by passage, it allows us to focus on the context and message of each book to its original audience. Our theology, philosophy, and application are then derived and developed from the text as we study.
- Know Scripture Rather than just the Right 'Answers'. Our prayer is that as we study the Scriptures, God will produce humility as we realize we don't have all the answers. Yet through thorough study, we will grow in knowledge and have confidence to rightly divide the Word.
- Emphasize what God Emphasizes in His Story Rather than Categories of Theology. The systematic study of the Bible is valuable but it also has its drawbacks. Rather than looking at verses in their context, there is a tendency to isolate verses to support systematic doctrines. When one studies doctrine in the context of God's story, we spend time emphasizing what God emphasized to particular authors who were addressing real life situations.
- Lead by Teaching and Applying Scripture, not Giving Commands. The more we study how to lead and pastor people, the more we see that as pastors, our goal is not to enforce what we think is good upon people, but to teach them from God's Word and allow His Spirit to transform. So rather than understanding a system of doctrine, it is our job as pastors to know how individual passages of Scripture apply to people's priorities and values so that their thinking, hearts, and lives will be transformed by the Word.
- Classroom Discussion - Each week there will be around nine hours of core classroom time where we walk through the Bible, passage by passage. There will be a mix of monologue and dialogue in the class. The teacher will guide discussion, teach, and sometimes preach as the group thinks through the meaning of each passage in its context, what principles we learn from that message, and how it applies in our lives.
- Personal Study of the Word - Before every class period students will read through the passage to be covered in class multiple times, and go through a series of study questions that are designed to guide the student into making good observations of the text. The goal is that the students will come prepared to class to discuss, ask good questions, make insightful contributions, and learn how to exegete Scripture on their own.
- Flow of Thought of each Book - Students will also create analytical outlines of every book of the Bible, showing the flow of thought of the book and how individual passages fit into the message of the book as a whole. These outlines force students to understand both the big picture of each book of the Bible, as well as how the details fit into that big picture.
- Other Assignments - Other assignments such as Scripture memory, paper writing, meditation, and interacting with unbelievers on various passages are assigned that are designed to help students think through and apply Scripture to their lives and to learn how to communicate it clearly to others.