This course deals with the Minor Prophets and The Writings. Emphasis is upon the background, content, structure, geography, teachings and basic meaning of each book and outstanding people and events as background and foundation for understanding the New Testament. 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.

THL 211 or consent of instructor.

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: 
3 semester hours
Instructional Objectives: 

On completion of the 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: 


  • Arnold, Bill T., and Bryan E. Beyer. Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2015. 
  • The Bible – preferably the New King James version (also consult other translations)

Download from the course Info webpage 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.

Additional Readings: 

These are suggested/optional selections:

  • Holman Bible Handbook, David S. Dockery (general editor)
  • 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
  • Chronological and Background Charts of the Old Testament, John H. Walton
  • The Carta Bible Atlas, Aharoni, Avi-Yonah, Rainey, Safrai & Notley

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

Course Calendar: 

Course Details

Lesson 1 Hosea
Lesson 2 Joel & Amos
Lesson 3 Obadiah, Jonah & Micah
Lesson 4 Nahum, Habakkuk & Zephaniah
  Exam 1 - closed book
Lesson 5 Haggai, Zechariah & Malachi
Lesson 6 Psalms
Lesson 7 Proverbs
Lesson 8 Job
Lesson 9 Festival Scroll: Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther
  Exam 2 - closed book
Lesson 10 Daniel 1-6
Lesson 11 Daniel 7-12
Lesson 12 Ezra & Nehemiah
Lesson 13 1 & 2 Chronicles
  Exam 3 - closed book, PROCTORED
Course Requirements: 

Due dates and extensions
Submit all 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. No late or make-up assignments will be allowed except for extreme circumstances; permission of instructor is necessary.

Your very first assignment is a bonus assignment (an autobiography) by which you can introduce yourself to your professor and classmates using the bulletin board. By doing so “on time” you can earn 25 bonus points in this course. Simply tell the class about yourself and your goals (1-2 paragraphs). 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.

Reading assignments
Reading assignments are integrated into the lessons. For lessons and topics, see Course Calendar.

Writing Assignments
All writing assignments in this course should follow the MLA style as set forth in Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide (14th edition) by Lester & Lester. Please cite your sources and use quotation marks where needed.  To submit your work, select the appropriate assignment from the Assignments tab to go to the Assignment Submission webpage. 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, pertaining to the assignment.

Research Paper
This is a three to five-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. A rubric will be provided setting out the requirements for this paper. This paper is due by the end of the semester and is worth 75 points.

Discussion Forums
For each lesson there is a discussion forum where we ask you to post your thoughts and insights on the discussion topic. You must comment on the postings of two other students. This is your opportunity to participate in interactive dialog.

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 60-minute time limit. A quiz should help you master the material in the assignment. It also provides you with practice in test taking. The three exams discussed below 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 to be taken online. One of the three exams must be proctored. As Living University students do not cheat, steal or lie, we rely on our students’ integrity during these examinations.

Course Evaluation
A student can earn 10 bonus points toward their grade for completing this evaluation.

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

  • Quizzes ( 13 quizzes, totaling 300 points)
  • Writing Assignments (26 each worth 10 points, totaling 260 points)
  • Forum Questions (13 each worth 5 points, totaling 65 points)
  • Research Paper (75 points)
  • Exam 1 (100 points) [online, closed book]
  • Exam 2 (100 points) [online, closed book]
  • Exam 3 (100 points) [online, closed book, proctored]
  • Total 1,000 points

By getting your Icebreaker autobiography posted on time you can earn 25 bonus points, and by turning in 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 get 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

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.