February 11 - May 13
This is an interdisciplinary geohistorical approach to understanding the Bible. It is ACT’s signature training program for Bible teachers and fellowship group leaders, either taking it live in New York or in a recorded format accessible through youtube.
“And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” (Acts 17:11, NLT).
Just like its namesake, the Bereans (Acts 17:11), whom the apostle Paul described as noble because they tested to see if what he taught them was true, the Berean Study of the Bible (BSB) is an initiative to inquire into the beliefs we have all inherited and boldly dare to ask – Is this true? BSB was inspired by the work of biblical scholars, Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart. It will be taught by Dr Ron Choong in New York City with a recorded version available via youtube access.
Feb 11: Geohistory –7 civilizations that shaped the emergence of the Bible
Feb 18: Archaeology – Discoveries that shaped our understanding of the Bible
Mar 04: Instructions: Torah-Pentateuch
Mar 11: Prophets: Announcements for a New Paradigm
Apr 08: Writings: Explanations & Narratives
Apr 15: Paul’s Gentile Mission
May 06: John, Peter & James in the Formation of Christianity
May 13: Jesus’ Compassion for the World
A geohistorical perspective of religion: Religions are dynamic: They adapt and evolve both geographically and historically resulting in internal diversity – no uniformity in any religion. Religious expressions are interpreted and re-interpreted: These interpretations are always embedded in cultures, engaging moral, economic and political norms, e.g. the evolving religious interpretations of slavery, sexuality and violence. Recent examples: The Pope’s call to welcome the gay community into the Church, the Dalai Lama’s call to dismantle the institution of Dalai Lama, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s attempt to fix the date of Easter, etc. Religions are dependent of culture: Religion defines culture. Religions are not uniform – Every religion is internally diverse, because as a religion ages, the religious communities function in different economic, social and political contexts. Religions evolve – All religions are human expressions of devotion so they exist in time and space. Within shifting norms, religious teachings (doctrines) are constantly interpreted and reinterpreted by believers. Religions are dependent on and shape culture – Religion is part of culture. All cultures and religions mutually influence each other. There are no religions detached from culture and no culture without religious consciousness. Formal atheism is itself a cultural religious expression.
WHEN: Saturdays, Feb 11 – May 13, 2017 – Add to Calendar
TIME: 10.00am – Noon, Saturdays
WHERE: Financial District Manhattan – address will be sent to participants.
Live classes in NYC: $500.
Online course: $300 (Video & audio recordings on website)
Early Registration, by Jan 31: 20% discount ($400/$240)
Berean Alumni: 50% off ($250/$150)
Names of graduates will be posted on our website to affirm their accomplishment. It will serve as a useful trans-denominational seal of academic approval for anyone wishing to step up their commitment to understanding the history, philosophy and textual understanding of the Bible in 8 weeks.
GEOHISTORY of the BIble: Each of the 66 books of the Protestant Bible were written during one for the 7 civilizations. The biblical writers adopted & adapted the vocabularies of the civilizations in their writings. Hence the flood accounts and creation stories reflect the Mesopotamian and Egyptian cultures of the pre-exilic periods, with names of Egyptian gods such a Moses and Seth incorporated in to the Torah. Assyrian and Babylonian worship of multiple gods were challenged by the Genesis identification of a single creator God who created all the other gods. The language of ‘satan’ arose during the post exilic Persian period which brought Zoroastrian ideas of ‘paradise’ and ‘Satan’ into the Hebrew vocabulary. The ‘Devil’ which does not exist in the OT reflected the Greek culture of the NT, as does Hades (3rd brother of Zeus and Poseidon). Finally, the Roman occupation of Palestine prompted the expectation of a military messiah and the stunning reply of Jesus and his kingdom is not of this world.
ARCHAEOLOGY of the Bible: One of the marks of a good archaeological investigator is to discover evidence and then ask: What is inscribed on the artifact? How do I know if it is true? How can I best make sense of it? It involves holding on to provisional explanations while seeking better ones. This is “Faith Seeking Understanding.”
INTERDISCIPLINARY Study of the Bible: This has indeed been the story of biblical interpretation. In the past 2500 years, the faithful have always interpreted the scripture shaped by their knowledge of everything else. Every Christian is under a good-faith duty to do the due diligence (just as when we buy a house, a car or when we select colleges to send our kids) so that we may think, teach and talk about God with confidence.