This two semester course serves an introduction to the Bible, its message, and its implication for successful Christian living. First semester topics focus on the Scriptures, the nature of God, biblical prophecy and God's plan for humankind. Second semester topics focus on practical Christian living and the building of living faith. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of biblical concepts regarding history, theology, prophecy and Christian life.
Many people ask: Who wrote the Bible? Why was it written? How should we read the Bible? Is the Bible true? Is the Bible an instruction book for human life? What does it say about our future? Does the Bible explain the purpose of human life? Is there life after death or is our physical life all there is? The purpose of this course is to give you tools and experiences to answer these questions and to allow you to explore the word of God through detailed study of the biblical text within its historic contexts and its use in modern worldwide contexts.
The word of God, the Hebrew Scriptures and its apostolic complement known as the New Testament, is the foundation of knowledge. God's Word, the Holy Bible, is the account of God's action in the world and his purpose with all creation. The Bible, composed of the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament in seven distinct parts, provides examples, admonitions and instructions that reveal a way of life for modern humankind. The writing of the Bible took place over sixteen centuries and is the work of over forty divinely inspired human authors. The Bible is the source of truth, the standard for meaningful life, the revelation of Jesus Christ, and the key to true values, freedom, and liberty.
Wyatt Ciesielka received his B.A. from Ambassador College in Big Sandy, TX and his M.A. in Theological Studies from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. At Ambassador, his main areas of academic focus were Theology and English, and he served in numerous student government positions including as president of the Outreach program. At Liberty, his areas of concentration included systematic theology, comparative religion and the Old Testament text. After graduation from Ambassador, he worked in the corporate world where he held various executive positions and had the opportunity to extensively travel. In 2008 he was hired as a full-time pastor in the Living Church of God, and has served congregations in Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Florida. In addition to serving as a Living University lecturer, he is currently the director of the Church’s Internet Department, serves on the Church's Council of Elders, and is a regular contributor to the Living Church of God publications.
On successful completion of this course, a student should be able to:
- Demonstrate that the Word of God is the foundation of knowledge;
- Identify the characteristics of the end-time as described in the Bible and demonstrate how those characteristics apply to the times in which we live;
- Demonstrate the significance of biblical prophecy and generate an outline of the pattern of end-time events as reported in the Bible;
- Discriminate between the physical and spiritual promises made to Abraham’s descendants in both nature and scope and state the literal and prophetic identity of the recipients of those promises;
- Demonstrate a general understanding of who and what God is as revealed in the Bible employing both the Old and New Testament scriptures;
- State what the Bible reveals about man’s design and creation, his ultimate destiny as it relates to God’s master plan, and the reward of the saved;
- Generate an explanation of humanity’s rejection of the instruction of God, how it influenced the direction of human civilization and the ultimate consequences;
- Demonstrate from the Bible the nature of the Kingdom of God, how human beings can enter into it and their role in its administration;
- Identify in the Bible the gospel that Jesus Christ preached during His earthly ministry and demonstrate where and when it originated and what it emphasized;
- Demonstrate a basic understanding of the teaching of Jesus Christ regarding the relationship between commandment-keeping and inheriting eternal life through salvation;
- Identify and state the basic elements of the biblical doctrine of conversion and generate an explanation of the doctrine; and
- State the defining characteristics of the Church of God in the twenty-first century as a direct continuation of original Apostolic Christianity as revealed in the Scriptures and demonstrate the modern-day identity of that church.
In this course there are no required textbooks but students must have access to a Bible. In the lessons we have provided you with links to electronic copies of various booklets and articles that are either required or optional reading. There is no cost for the electronic copies of the booklets and articles.
The theology faculty recommends a New King James edition of the Bible (NKJ). There are many editions available, but for student use we suggest the NKJV Study Bible: Second Edition in either the regular or large print editions.
- The regular edition is available in Bonded Black leather (ISBN 9780718020804) at Amazon through the University Bookstore for about $50 plus sales tax and shipping charges.
- The large print edition NKJV Study Bible: Large Print Edition, in Bonded Black leather (ISBN 9781418542108) sells for about $52 plus sales tax at Amazon through the University Bookstore.
While you will encounter a number of lecturers in this course, the instructor of record is W. Wyatt Ciesielka, assisted by Michelle R. Broussard (LU’s Assistant Registrar) who serves as an instructional associate. To contact them on course details and issues please use the email feature in the E-Learning system (Populi).
|Lesson||Readings and viewing assignments are integrated in the lessons|
|Lesson 1 - The Bible: A Book for Today!||Topic 1 The Bible: A Book for Today!
Topic 2 The Bible: Man's Search for God or God's Revelation to Man?
Topic 3 Is the Old Testament Relevant for Today?
Topic 4 The Information Book
|Lesson 2 - Why Keep the Ten Commandments?||Topic 1 What Did Jesus Christ Teach About Law and Grace?
Topic 2 Did James, Peter and John Teach the Necessity of Obedience?
Topic 3 Paul's Teaching About the Law
Topic 4 The Ten Commandments in the New Testament
|Lesson 3 - Can You Understand Bible Prophecy?||Topic 1 You Can Understand Prophecy
Topic 2 Keys to Understanding Prophecy
Topic 3 The Book of Revelation Unveiled
Topic 4 Revelation Unveils the Future
|Lesson 4 - Revealed: The Master Key to Bible Prophecy!||Topic 1 The Calling of Abraham
Topic 2 Physical and Spiritual Promises
Topic 3 The Birthright Blessings and the Scepter Promise
Topic 4 What's Ahead for the Modern House of Israel?
|EXAM 1 Covering Lessons 1-4 (100 points).||Time for completion: 1.0 hours (60 minutes) [PROCTORED]|
|Lesson 5 - What Is God Really Like?||Topic 1 The Bible Reveals the Nature of God
Topic 2 Holy Spirit "Third Person" of a "Trinity"?
Topic 3 The Pre-Existence of Jesus Christ
Topic 4 Attributes of God
|Lesson 6 - Why Were You Born?||Topic 1 Are You an Immortal Soul?
Topic 2 Heaven, Hell and What Happens After Death
Topic 3 What Happened to Elijah and the Thief on the Cross?
Topic 4 What is Man's Destiny?
|Lesson 7 - The Real Origin of Civilization||Topic 1 A Choice Sets the Stage for Mankind's Future
Topic 2 God's Judgment on the Pre-Flood World
Topic 3 Nimrod and the Tower of Babel
Topic 4 Man Develops Religious Customs
|Lesson 8 - What is the Kingdom of God?||Topic 1 Will Christ Set Up a Literal Kingdom?
Topic 2 Entering the Kingdom of God
Topic 3 Characteristics of the Kingdom
Topic 4 How Will the Kingdom of God Function?
|EXAM 2 Covering Lessons 5-8 (100 points)||Time for completion: 1.0 hours (60 minutes)|
|Lesson 9 - What is the True Gospel?||Topic 1 The Gospel Jesus Christ Preached
Topic 2 The Gospel in the Old Testament
Topic 3 The Gospel Paul Preached
Topic 4 What Does the Gospel Include?
|Lesson 10 - What is Real Conversion?||Topic 1 Faith for Salvation
Topic 2 What is Real Repentance
Topic 3 Water Baptism
Topic 4 Conversion and Salvation
|Lesson 11 - Are We Living in the Last Days?||Topic 1 Is the 21st Century Unique?
Topic 2 God's 7,000-Year Plan
Topic 3 Jerusalem: Focal Point of God's Attention
Topic 4 Jerusalem: End-Time Flashpoint
|Lesson 12 - Where Is the Church Jesus Built?||Topic 1 The Origin of the Church
Topic 2 The Purpose of the Church
Topic 3 Is the Church Supposed to be Organized?
Topic 4 Identifying the True Church
|EXAM 3 Covering Lessons 9-12 (100 points)||Time for completion: 1.0 hours (60 minutes)|
Due dates and extensions - Submit all assignments on or before the due dates. Students must complete the course by the last official day of instruction as set forth in the academic calendar.
Icebreaker assignment - To officially begin this course you must complete an Icebreaker assignment by which you introduce yourself to your classmates through posting a short autobiography on the course discussion thread titled Icebreaker. A student can earn 30 points by posting the Icebreaker assignment on time. These points could make the difference between an A or a B, or passing or not passing this course. Do NOT create a NEW discussion. Simply tell the class about yourself and your goals. This is not the place for a profession of faith, or the details of your conversion experience, or problems you have had with previous fellowships, as that information is more of a private nature. Here you inform your classmates what you would like them to know about you. As we have people from all over the world enrolled in this course each autobiography will help us know, understand and appreciate each other.
- The Icebreaker assignment must be submitted not later than the eighth day of class.
- Post your biography as a reply to the "Icebreaker" topic on the lesson "Welcome and Overview" discussion thread.
- Please read and comment on at least two other bios by the due date in order to get credit.
- Full credit for this assignment will only be given if all three of the above requirements are met.
Reading assignments - Reading assignments are integrated into the twelve (12) lessons. For lessons and topics, see Course Calendar.
Topic study and practice exercises - There are are four (4) Topic Study and Practice Exercises for each lesson. These are simple homework-type assignments which will help you prepare for the lesson quiz. Each contains typically between 10-12 multiple choice, multiple answer, true and false, or matching questions. You can repeat an exercise as often as you like, until you feel comfortable with the material; however, we simply request that you complete each exercise once. Your highest grade will be recorded. These exercises are located on the Tests webpage. Remember to do all FOUR exercises in each lesson BEFORE you take the lesson quiz.
Discussion forum - For each lesson there is a discussion question posed by the instructor which requires your response. Each student’s original post should utilize at least ONE citation from course material (required or supplemental) to support their response. These initial posts should be a minimum of 250 words, not to exceed 500 words. In addition, students are required to submit a minimum of one reply post to a fellow student’s original post on each discussion thread. This is your opportunity to participate in interactive dialog. While there is no minimum word requirement for reply posts, reply content should be substantive. Please do limit the number of your reply posts to two per forum. These assignments will be graded according to a grading rubric. Be sure to download the rubric when the course begins, as this will help you to understand the standards expected and measured in grading these assignments.
Writing assignments - There is only one (1) writing assignment in this course: the “What I Learned Essay." This writing assignment should follow the MLA style as set forth in Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide by Lester and Lester. Please cite your sources and use quotation marks where needed. To submit your essay, select the appropriate assignment from the Assignments tab to go to the Assignment Submission page. Use the Attach a File feature below the textbox to upload your WORD document. Please do not use the textbox to “post” your assignment: the textbox is used for student/instructor communication only.
Quizzes and examinations - Each of the twelve (12) lessons has an associated online quiz of not more than 20 questions. They are open book quizzes, but under no circumstances are students to print the quiz. An open book quiz is not a workbook exercise. It is a test where the student can consult his or her notes and books. Students have sixty (60) minutes to complete each quiz. Quizzes are multiple-choice questions covering lectures, readings, vocabulary words, and geographical terms and places.
There are three (3) closed book exams in this course of not more than 40 questions to be taken online, and you will need a proctor for one of them. A proctored exam is one that is overseen by an impartial individual (called a proctor) who monitors or supervises a student while he or she is taking the exam. The proctor ensured the security and integrity of the exam process of all involve. More information on your proctoring options is available in the course syllabus. Be sure to download the syllabus from the course Info webpage when the semester begins.
A course grade will be determined based on the number of points a student has earned over the semester as follows:
Icebreaker Assignment (30 points)
Exams (three, each worth 100 points, for a total of 300 points; online, closed book and closed-notes; ONE exam will require a proctor)
Quizzes (twelve, each worth 25 points, for a total of 300 points; online, open book)
Discussion Forums (twelve, each worth 25 points, for a total of 300 points)
“What I Learned” Essay (one, worth 40 points)
Course Evaluation (30 points)
TOTAL 1,000 points
Grades are in the traditional American style of an A, B, C, D, or F. In distance learning, we believe that the measure of mastery of course subject matter is completion of 80% of the objectives for a course. That means that we want students to earn at least 800 points in this course. If they do not do so then they have not achieved the level of the mastery we would like them to have. We want this course to be competency-based and so it is possible for the entire class to receive an A or a B. There is no artificial curving of scores in the assignment of grades (if you do not know what that means, do not worry about it). Mastery of the material is what one’s goal should be.
Grades, assigned by points, are as follows:
A - 900 and over
B - 800-899 points
C - 700-799 points
D - 600-699 points
F - Below 600 points