“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
What is BEREAN ?
BEREAN is an interdisciplinary geohistorical approach to understanding why the Bible was written as it was. This 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. A live and global online program to discover why the Bible was written as it is by learning the geographical and historical contexts of its many genres, intended messages, and applications for our lives today.
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, BEREAN is an initiative to inquire into the beliefs we have all inherited and boldly dare to ask – Is this true? It was inspired by the work of biblical scholars, Eugene Boring, Dennis Olson, Pat Miller, Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart. It will be taught by Dr Ron Choong in New York City with a recorded version available to Online students via youtube access.
What is BEREAN’s approach to the Bible?
Know the original message conveyed through the geohistorical and scientific contexts to avoid misinterpreting the Bible. Community: You will be studying archaeology, geohistory, theology and the Bible with fellow students from all over the world. Scholarship: You will be taught by a research interdisciplinary theologian who earned four degrees in theology from Princeton Seminary and Yale Divinity School, including a PhD in science and theology. The tutor is independent of institutionalized funding and is not affiliated with any specific denomination. He is interested in what happened and if it is true rather than beholden to any 16th century tradition of interpretation.
Who Should Join?
BEREAN is not for everyone. This is not a course to study the texts of the Bible but rather the broad themes with respect to their location and period (geohistory) of oral traditions and written composition. It is for anyone who seeks to teach or understand the Bible but have not had an opportunity to attend seminary – church leaders & teachers. Suitable for individual quiet time or cell group studies.
Questions about registration: email@example.com
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
The topics above will match the geohistory of seven civilizations: Mesopotamia, Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece and Rome.
- Mesopotamia: Abraham & the Enuma Elish & Gilgamesh accounts.
- Egypt: Moses & the Memphite theology of creation.
- Assyria: Ephraim’s Samaritans & the Lost Tribes of Israel.
- Babylonia: Judah’s Davidic promise & rabbinic Judaism.
- Persia: Cyrus as Isaiah’s messiah & the rise of Jewish monotheism.
- Greece: Paul’s philosophical training & rhetorical vision.
- Rome: John’s apocalyptic vision of Rome v Israel.
Click here four some of the 21 members of Berean 2017 Mosaic
Berean Class of 2016
GEOHISTORY of the BIble:
How did SEVEN Civilizations shaped the WRITING 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.
Thank you for your support of the ministry of ACT, as this is where your registration fee goes. ACT is a ministry that does 3 things: Research, Education and Publication – http://www.actministry.org
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. 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. Religions are dependent on and shape culture – Religion is part of culture.
WHEN: Saturdays – Feb 11 – May 13 Add to Calendar
TIME: 10.00am – Noon, Saturdays
WHERE: Financial District Manhattan – address will be sent to participants.
REGISTRATION: Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, email, phone number so we can confirm that this is the right course for you.
Live classes in NYC: $500.
Online course: $300 (Video & audio recordings on website)
Early Registration, by Jan 15: 20% discount ($400/$240)
Berean Alumni: 50% off ($250/$150)