This is the second course focusing on the Apostle Paul’s life and writings. Emphasis is on the final five of his letters to the seven churches (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and 1 & 2 Thessalonians), his letter to the church at-large (Hebrews) and his letters addressed to individuals (1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon). Stress is upon the use of critical, historical, archaeological and cultural analysis. Upon completion, students should be able to use analysis tools to read, understand, and explain these biblical writings.
Welcome to the “Epistles of Paul". Those who elect to walk the seldom traveled path of the Christianity of Jesus of Nazareth and the apostles Peter, Paul, John, and James, seek to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. The Apostle Paul said to follow him as he followed Christ and to emulate his example of obedience to God. To do so requires an understanding of apostolic teachings and the will to live by the apostles’ doctrine. Our collective task is the examination of the history, traditions, and myths surrounding the early church to arrive at a fuller understanding of the period and “for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). This course focuses on the teachings, message, background, purposes, and themes of the Captivity Epistles, Hebrews and the Pastoral Epistles with special emphasis on the understanding of core doctrines. Students encounter leading issues and engage in assigned readings, conceptualization activities, and vocabulary building.
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.
On completion of this course, a student should be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge of the author, background, theme and content of each book;
- Discuss important concepts contained in each book that relate to understanding the history and development of the New Testament Church and its doctrines;
- Identify and discuss key points of books that are subject to criticism;
- State and demonstrate the Apostle Paul's teaching on various doctrines and themes throughout all of his epistles and in particular his views on Christian living; and
- State the definition of basic terms.
Required textbooks for this course are:
- Elwell, Walter A., and Robert W. Yarbrough. Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013. ISBN 9780801039645.
- White, Jefferson. Evidence and Paul's Journeys: An Historical Investigation into the Travels of the Apostle Paul. Hilliard, OH: Parsagard Press, 2001. ISBN 9780970569509.
- Elwell, Walter A., and Robert W. Yarbrough, eds. Readings from the First-Century World: Primary Sources for New Testament Study. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998. ISBN 9780801021572.
- The Bible ‐ preferably a New King James version (also consult other translations)
Recommended supplementary references are:
- St. Paul the Traveler and Roman Citizen, William M. Ramsay and Mark Wilson
- Halley’s Bible Handbook, Henry H. Halley
- Holman Bible Handbook, David S. Dockery (general editor)
- Unger’s Bible Handbook
- Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
- All the Men of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer
- All the Women of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer
- Archaeology and the New Testament, John McRay
- New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, Carson, Motyer, France (eds.)
This is a team taught course with lectures by Drs. Douglas S. Winnail and Michael P. Germano, and Mr. Peter G. Nathan. A featured guest lecturer in this course is Mr. Gerald E. Weston. This semester the formal instructor of record is Mr. Kenneth L. Frank, Jr. To contact them on course details and issues please use the email feature within the e-learning system (Populi). If you have a personal message for any of them please use their personal email addresses:
Mr. Kenneth L. Frank, Jr. - [email protected]
Dr. Douglas S. Winnail - [email protected]
Dr. Michael P. Germano - [email protected]
Mr. Peter G. Nathan - [email protected]
Mr. Gerald E. Weston - [email protected]
|Lesson 1 Introduction||Topic 1: Introduction
Topic 2: What is Exegesis?
Topic 3: What is a Word Study?
Topic 4: What is Proof of Evidence?
|Lesson 2 Ephesians||Topic 1: Background
Topic 2: Epistle to the Ephesians
|Lesson 3 Philippians||Topic 1: Background
Topic 2: Epistle to the Philippians
|Lesson 4 Colossians||Topic 1: Background
Topic 2: The Colossian Heresy
Topic 3: Epistle to the Colossians
|Lesson 5 I & II Thessalonians||Topic 1: Background
Topic 2: The Rapture
Topic 3: First Epistle to the Thessalonians
Topic 3: Second Epistle to the Thessalonians
|Lesson 6 Hebrews||Topic 1: Background
Topic 2: Epistle to the Hebrews
|Lesson 7 I Timothy||Topic 1: Background
Topic 2: Epistle of First Timothy
Topic 3: The Western View of Paul
|Lesson 8 II Timothy||Topic 1: Background
Topic 2: Epistle of Second Timothy
|Lesson 9 Titus||Topic 1: Background
Topic 2: Epistle to Titus
|Lesson 10 Philemon||Topic 1: Background
Topic 2: Epistle to Philemon
Final reading assignments are located on the lesson pages at the course website.
This course includes lectures by faculty and guests. Links to lectures will be placed on the lesson webpages of the course.
Each student will have the opportunity to post online comments to a Forum question for each lesson. This will enable students to interact with each other and with the instructor.
Quizzes and examinations
Each assignment has an associated online Quiz consisting of 20 questions. They are closed book quizzes and there is a 1 hour 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 draw heavily but not exclusively from the quizzes. Therefore, it is important for you to understand and commit the quiz material to memory. On the other hand, exams have a 1 hour time limit, and are closed book tests to be taken online. As Living University students do not cheat, steal or lie, we rely on our students’ integrity during these examinations. Only the last exam must be proctored.
Each lesson on a book by the Apostle Paul will include Writing Assignments that will involve outlining each book chapter. There is also one Exegesis and one Word Study due in this course, as well as a Final Essay. The Attach a File feature on the associated Assignment Submission page lets you submit your work so your instructor can have it handy for download, review, and grading.
Always keep a copy of your work for this course.
Your course grade will be determined based on the number of points you have earned over the semester as follows:
- Icebreaker (30 points)
- Discussion Forums (10 worth 5 points each, 50 points)
- Exegesis Paper (100 points)
- Word Study (65 points)
- Topical Outlines (9 worth 10 points, 90 points)
- Quizzes (10 worth 30 points each, 300 points)
- Exam 1 (100 points - closed book)
- Exam 2 (100 points - closed book)
- Exam 3 (100 points - closed book, proctored)
- Final Essay (35 points)
- Course Evaluation (30 points)
- Total 1,000 points
By getting your autobiography posted on time you can earn 30 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 an A, B, C, D, or F. In distance learning we believe that mastery of the subject matter 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 a B. There is no artificial curving of scores in the assignment of grades. Also, don’t go on a guilt trip if you get a C. That is an honorable grade, but if you receive a D or below, then you might want to retake the course. Mastery of the material is what your goal should be.
Grades are assigned by points as follows:
A - 900‐1000 points
B - 800‐899 points
C - 700‐799 points
D - 600‐699 points
F - Below 600 points