This course is an introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures following the order set out in the Tanakh. The course focuses upon the Torah, the Former Prophets (historical books) and the Major Prophets (Isaiah–Ezekiel). Emphasis is upon the background, content, structure, geography, teachings, and basic meaning of each book as well as outstanding people and events. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the author, background, theme, and content of each book.


We are witnessing a resurgent interest in religion and prophecies about the future. Various reports from science and archeology claim to support or contradict the Bible. This course will give you an overview of the Old Testament that will cover important issues relating the Bible to history and showing the relationship of ancient Bible prophecies to world events making news today. The order of the books covered in this class will be that of the Hebrew Bible rather than the English ordering.

There are no Prerequisites or Corequisites for this course.

Nathan, Peter G.

Associate Professor of Theology
Full Time
B.A. (1972), Ambassador University; M.T.S. (1992), Southern Methodist University; M.St. (2012), University of Cambridge.
Subject Matter: 

Peter Nathan served as a faculty member in Theology for seven years at Ambassador College/University. As a faculty member in 1990. he led a group of students to participate in the Tel Mozan Expedition, Syria, which was directed by Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati. His studies at Southern Methodist University focused largely on Hebrew and Old Testament Exegesis. Most recently he has completed a Master’s program at University of Cambridge focusing on Jewish Christian relations, with an emphasis on early Church history and the “Parting of the Ways.” Subsequent to the time at Ambassador University, he focused on education of young adults within church communities, providing seminars in Biblical Studies to help lay a foundation for future roles in the ministry. In addition he has written and published numerous articles on the identity of the early church, which carefully examined and challenged many of the commonly held assumptions relating to that era of time. The place and use of the Dead Sea Scrolls in understanding the early church environment has been a special interest. Ordained to the ministry of the Church of God in 1973, he has pastored churches in diverse parts of the world and has been deeply involved in ministry to the developing world. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Schools of Oriental Research and the International Patristics Society. As well as serving on the Living University Administrative Council, Mr. Nathan serves as the University's Chair of the Theology Department, and Vice Chair of the Learning Resources Committee.

Course Credit: 
Three (3) semester hours.
Instructional Objectives: 

On successful completion of this course, a student should be able to:
1. Demonstrate knowledge of the author, background, theme and content of each book.
2. Discuss important concepts contained in each book that relate to understanding history and the development of human knowledge.
3. Identify and discuss key points of books that are subject criticism.

Required Texts: 

Textbooks for this course are:

Arnold, Bill T., and Bryan E. Beyer. Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2008. ISBN 978-0801031700.

The Bible – preferably the New King James version (also consult other translations)

Download from the Information Page for this class a PDF of the JPS 1917 English Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. The order of the books in this translation is the order that will be followed in this class.

NOTE: The textbooks used in this course are commercial publications. They represent the views and ideas of their authors, editors, and publishers. Living University does not endorse these texts nor vouch for their accuracy; we simply employ them in helping you master the content of the course.

Additional Readings: 

Recommended Reference Books
The following additional reference books may be helpful for this course:
Chronological and Background Charts of the Old Testament, John H. Walton
Holman Bible Handbook, David s. Dockery (general editor)
The New Unger’s Bible Handbook
Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
All the Men of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer
All the Women of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer
The Carta Bible Atlas, Fifth Edition Revised and Expanded, Yohanan Aharoni, Michael Avi-Yonah, et. al.

These may be ordered through the University Bookstore. Living University is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Recommended Booklets
The Real God: Proofs and Promises (LCG)
The Bible: Fact or Fiction (LCG)

Course Calendar: 

Overview of Lessons

Lesson 1 Genesis 1-11
Lesson 2 Genesis 12-50
Lesson 3 Exodus
Lesson 4 Leviticus
Lesson 5 Numbers
Lesson 6 Deuteronomy
  Exam 1
Lesson 7 Joshua
Lesson 8 Judges
Lesson 9 I & II Samuel
Lesson 10 I & II Kings
  Exam 2
Lesson 11 Isaiah 1-39
Lesson 12 Isaiah 40-66
Lesson 13 Jeremiah 1-20
Lesson 14 Jeremiah 21-52
Lesson 15 Ezekiel 1-24
Lesson 16 Ezekiel 25-48
  Exam 3 [Proctored]
Course Requirements: 

Icebreaker assignment
To begin this course, students must complete an icebreaker assignment to introduce themselves to their classmates through the posting of a short autobiography on the course Forum. The icebreaker assignment is due by the eighth day of the semester. Students post their biographies as a reply to the Icebreaker topic on the course forum. A student can earn 25 bonus points in this course by doing so “on time.” As there are people from all over the world enrolled in this course, each autobiography will help all know, understand and appreciate each other. Students are to read and comment on each other's bios throughout the first week of class.

Due dates and extensions
Submit assignments on or before the due date. Students must complete the course by the last official day of instruction as set forth in the academic calendar.

Reading Assignments
Reading assignments are integrated into the lesson pages at the course website and notes below under the Course details section of this document.

Discussion Forums
Each lesson will have an associated discussion question posed by the instructor. Students will be required to post on-line comments to the discussion thread and interact with fellow classmates.

Writing Assignments
All writing assignments in this course should follow the MLA style as set forth in Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide by Lester & Lester. Assignments include outlining each book of the Bible covered in this course, and typing out selected assigned scriptures. The Files feature on the Assignment Submission page lets you submit your work so your instructor can have it handy for download, review and grading.

Quizzes and examinations
Each lesson has an associated online Quiz. These range from 10-20 questions. They are open book quizzes and there is a one hour time limit. A quiz should help you master the material in the lesson. It also provides you with practice in test taking. The three exams will draw multiple questions from quizzes; therefore, it is important for you to understand and commit the quiz material to memory.

On the other hand, examinations are timed, closed book tests. Only Exam 3 is proctored.

Research Paper
Students will write a 3-5 page research paper on a subject of your choice in the Old Testament, citing at least six references from various sources. It should be in the MLA style and your sources should be properly credited, both within the paper and in your bibliography. This paper is due at the end of the semester and is worth 90 points.

Course Evaluation
Please take the time to complete the Course Evaluation. We appreciate your feedback.

Your course grade will be determined based on the number of points you have earned over the semester as follows:

  •  Lesson Quizzes (15, each worth 20 points, total of 300 points)
  •  Writing Assignments (15 two part assignments at 10 pts for each part, 20 pts per lesson, totaling 300 points)
  •  Forums (15, each worth 4 pts, total of 60 points)
  •  Research Paper (90 points)
  •  Exam 1 (75 points) [online, closed book]
  •  Exam 2 (75 points) [online, closed book]
  •  Exam 3 (100 points) [online, closed book, proctored]
  •  Total 1,000 points

By getting your autobiography posted on time you can earn 25 bonus points, and by completing the course evaluation, you can earn 10 bonus points. These points could make the difference between an A or a B, or passing or not passing. Grades are assigned in the traditional American style of A, B, C, D, or F. In distance learning we believe that mastery of the subject is achieved when a student can demonstrate that they have achieved 80% of the objectives for a course. That means that we want you to earn at least 800 points in this course. If you do not do so then you have not developed the mastery we would like you to have. We want this course to be competency-based and so it is possible for the entire class to receive an A or B. There is no artificial curving of scores in the assignment of grades. If you receive a D or below, you might want to take the course again. Mastery of the material is what your goal should be.

Grades are assigned as follows:

A = 900 – 1000 points
B = 800 – 900 points
C = 700 – 800 points
D = 600 – 700 points
F = below 600 points

Proctored exams
Three online exams (Exam 3 is proctored) are required in this course. 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 an exam. The proctor ensures the security and integrity of the exam process. The proctoring process helps assure that the student who takes a proctored examination in a course is the same person who enrolled in the course and that examination results reflect the student’s own knowledge and competency.

Students should present valid government-issued photo identification to their proctor before taking an exam to confirm their identity unless the proctor presonally knows the student being tested. In order for a proctored exam grade to be recorded, a signed Proctor's Signature Form (PSF) must be sent to LU. The form is unnecessary in the case of ProctorU.

At LU students have several choices for completing proctored exams:

  • A student can come to campus for an exam. The instructor will establish a specific campus classroom, date and time for the student to come to LU and complete the exam with the instructor or his or her representative.
  • A student can utilize a Living Church of God church officer (i.e. elder, deacon or deaconess), or an appointed, minister-approved church leader. In the case of the latter, the minister should provide an email endorsing the appointed proctor.
  • A student can use ProctorU online. ProctorU is a service that LU faculty may utilize for proctoring online exams. ProctorU allows students to conveniently and securely complete assigned exams using almost any webcam. With a computer and approved webcam, a student can take online exams at home, at work, or almost anywhere they have Internet access. ProctorU connects students directly to their proctor via webcam so they both see and talk to one another. ProctorU can also monitor a student's computer while the student completes the exam. Students pay ProctorU directly for this service. LU does not reimburse students for proctoring fees incurred. To view a demo video on how this service works, or to sign up and schedule testing appointments, the Living University portal is located at For ProctorU no Proctor's Signature Form (PSF) is needed.
  • A student can use a college or university testing center. There is usually a fee for this service. LU does not reimburse students for proctoring fees incurred.
  • A student can have an approved proctor. This may be a school offical, such as a teacher or registrar, or a librarian who is not related to the student.
  • In a case of unusual hardship a student may request an alternate arrangement. To do so please contact Mrs. Michelle Broussard at 704-708-2294.

    Academic Irregularity
    Students have the responsibility for conducting themselves in such a manner as to avoid any suspicion that they are improperly giving or receiving aid on any assignment or examination. An academic irregularity not only includes cheating but also includes plagiarism (taking another's ideas and/or words and presenting them as if they were the writer's own) and the submitting of the same paper in separate courses without prior consent from the faculty members concerned. In cases of suspected academic irregularity, faculty members may refuse to grade such papers or examinations, completely or in part, and to record each of them as a failure. If an academic irregularity is sufficiently serious, the University may take one or more of, but not limited to, the following actions:

    1. Drop the student from the course with a grade of F
    2. Place the student on academic probation
    3. Dismiss the student from the University

    Getting Started
    At a minimum you need a Bible that you can read and mark. Also, make sure you are familiar with navigating through the online Learning Management System (Populi).

    Your very first assignment is the Icebreaker bonus assignment (an autobiography) by which you can introduce yourself to your professor and classmates using the course forum. By doing so “on time” you can earn 25 points in this course. Simply tell the class about yourself and your goals (in about 1 page). This is not a place for a profession of faith, or the details of your conversion experience of problems you have had in various churches or stages of life, 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 and appreciate each other.

    Students With Disabilities
    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities have a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. Students having a disability requiring an accommodation should inform the instructor by email (on the “Course Info” page click on the instructor’s name and then select “Send Email”).

    Technology Access
    This course requires web access and the student has to have an established e-mail account. The Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary to view documents that are PDF files. One can download the reader free at

    Course Evaluation
    Student input is welcome for improving this course. Making suggestions by e-mail is helpful. Our goal in this course is to facilitate the successful achievement of all instructional objectives by all students. At the end of the course students have the opportunity of assessing the course. We want to make e-learning courses as effective as we can. We may also ask some other questions concerning a student’s experience in distance learning to help us improve our program. We appreciate students letting us know how we can improve our products and services for them and other distance learners.

    Withdrawing From or Dropping This Course
    It is the responsibility of a student to drop a course if he or she cannot meet the requirements of the course. Any student who stops attending a course without officially withdrawing from it risks receiving a punitive grade for that course. Withdrawal requests may be conveyed in any manner to the course professor, Registrar, or Vice President of Academic Affairs. This action is sufficient for ensuring any refund owed you. Please note the following: If a student drops a course on or before the “Last day to withdraw from a course without a grade penalty” as published in the University Academic Calendar, even if his or her work is not of a passing grade, then a “W” is recorded. If a course is dropped after that date, but before the last 21 calendar days of the semester, then the instructor determines the grade. The faculty member will at this time record a grade of “W” if passing (not computed in GPA) or “WF” if failing (computed in GPA). Students who drop a course, yet remain in one or more other courses during the last 18 calendar days of the semester, will receive a grade of “WF.” Students who completely withdraw from the University at any time during the semester may be given a grade of “W” on all courses. If students do not initiate the withdrawal process, the instructor is required to initiate the administrative process and to record a grade of “W” or “WF” for the course depending on the date the faculty member drops the student from the course. Students who register for a course as an audit, but then withdraw will be assigned a grade of “W” for the course.