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7-9: Asking Questions about God

Identity formation takes place during these years as young people work out (sometimes struggle through) who they are, how/where they fit in, what their unique gifts and talents are and what they do/don’t want to believe.  As they question, challenge, and search ... Read More

Course Modules

What is the Bible all about?

Bible Overview

Learn the overarching storyline of the Bible, overall narrative: creation, fall, reconciliation, response, consummation, and how the 66 books of the Bible fit into this. Briefly look at the authority of the Bible and the concept of genres.
If we are to know about God, then God has to reveal himself to us. This is what the Bible is, God’s revelation of himself to us. However, this revelation has taken place in history and comes to us in the form of 66 books, 2 testaments, written over 1500 years and 40+ authors, and exhibiting a wide range of genres. Yet, tying it all together is an overarching narrative, making it one book, not many. To understand this revelation, students need to have a sense of the overall structure of the Bible and a clear grasp of the overarching narrative.

Why is Jesus so special?

Study the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John to do an in-depth Gospel study.
God’s ultimate revelation of himself is Jesus. In John 1:1-18 Jesus is called the Word of God, the one who was with God and is God, who has become flesh so that in him the Father might be revealed to us. To know God, we need to look at Jesus and it is in the Gospels that Jesus is set before us. So, a deep understanding of the Gospels, gained only by actually reading them, is mandatory to students coming to really see God. Jesus is the centre of the Bible. The Old Testament points to him and he both fulfills it and is the key to understanding it, and the New Testament flows from it, with the end of age being Jesus enthroned as the Lord of all.

Relevance of the Bible today

How can the Bible be my guide for living in this day and age?
In the beginning we were created to be like God, created in his image. This defines who we are and how we are meant to live. The Bible as a whole is a revelation of God and a revelation of his Will for our lives. It consists both of specific commandments and broader principles which both underlie the commandments and serve as guidelines for those things not specifically mentioned in the Bible

Biblical Themes

The Bible has many themes which reappear throughout the Bible. What are some of these themes and what do they have to tell us about God and ourselves?
The Bible has 66 books, 2 Testaments and a wide range of genres, yet there is a single overarching story line. The result is certain themes which appear throughout the Bible and in many genres. Thus God speaks to us a range of ways so that we might grasp better what he is trying to tell us. An examination of these themes throughout the Bible is a very useful way of gaining a deeper appreciation of God's revelation to us.

Who is God and who are His people?

Blessed are the poor in spirit

A study of the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12, also known as the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew 5 - 7. Each Beatitude contains a topic of a major Biblical theme.
In a manner reminiscent of Moses on Mount Sinai giving the Law and establishing what we now call the Old Testament, Jesus laid out in the Sermon on the Mount a deeper and hence new revelation of God. This is the beginning of what is now the New Testament. The Sermon on the Mount is fundamental to understanding Jesus and God’s relationship to us. It is a key which helps us to understand the rest of God’s revelation, and the Beatitudes are the key to the Sermon as a whole.

Paul the Unbeliever

The life and contribution of the Apostle Paul, his persecution of the Church, his radical conversion, his role as the Church’s greatest Apostle and his martyrdom for Jesus.  
Paul’s role in the establishment of the early Church is second only to Jesus himself. As the Apostle to the Gentiles he moved the early Church from being a sect of Judaism towards becoming a worldwide faith which encompasses all of humanity.

What happens when we die?

We all die. Whatever else happens, we are all going to die. So, what happens when we die is a matter of great importance to everyone. This is both a personal issue, what about me, and a wider issue, what about my family and friends and so on.
The ultimate destiny of everyone is both a matter of great importance and great neglect. Its importance lies in both its inescapability and its eternal duration. The issues of this life tend to take centre stage in the minds of most people and while they may from time to time reflect on death and after death, they are more concerned with immediate concerns of this life and its pleasures. The Bible, however, takes another view, for it regards these questions as being the most important questions.

History of Christianity

 A brief look at some of the key events/people who make up the History of Christianity.
The History of the Christianity is the story of the continuing work of Christ, through the Holy Spirit, through the Church, which is his Body in the earth, Acts 1. It is a huge topic, and the aim of this unit is to introduce students to a few of the key events and people, and perhaps to some who are not so key in world terms. More importantly it is our history, and it is the history which we are writing right now. So, unlike the history of Ancient Rome, it is a living history in which we all participate

What is wrong with the world?

Why should I care about others?

How is life to be lived? Is it about getting and being as much as you can? Or, is there something more? If so, then what and why? And, how should it be lived out?
For most people in the world, regardless of what they say, life is actually about getting as much as you can and doing or being as much as you can. Jesus, in Matthew 6, addresses this question and contrasts it with the way he has called us to live. Our society has been very heavily influenced by the Gospel, and so the “Christian" approach to life is seen even in those who are enemies of the Gospel. Yet, as our society rejects its Christian foundation, the rationale for this “Christian” behaviour is lost and with it the behaviour itself. 
For a Christian it reads this way: We were created to be like God, Gn 1:26,27, who loved us so much he gave his Son. This defines our purpose, what were created to be and how we are to live. Jesus said that there are two great commandments upon which all the rest depend.

Conflict

War! Why does it happen? Is religion the cause? Is it ever right? How should a Christian respond to war? Can Christians fight in a war or act as police officers? How can we be both peacemakers and call the world to repentance?
War is perhaps the final and greatest product of the entry of sin into the world. How Christians should respond to War has been a matter of debate throughout the centuries. Attitudes range from in the name of Jesus we fight, through to Christians should never fight in wars or even serve as police officers. The causes of conflict are many and complicated.....

Why does God allow suffering?

Why is there suffering if God is God? And, how should we respond? Explored by looking at poverty, its causes and resolutions.
Jesus said that there are two great commandments upon which all the rest depend. They are to love God with all your heart and to love others as you love yourself. Yet, when we look around the world, there is a great deal of suffering and pain. Where is God’s love in this? This problem could be looked at as a philosophical problem, but for most people it is actually a personal problem.

Making a difference in the world

Explore mission as being sent by Jesus as the Father sent him.
The Gospels, in various places speak of the mission Jesus had been given, his purpose for coming into the world.  In John 20:21-23, Jesus transfers this mission from the Father which had been given to him to the disciples, whereupon he breathed on them to receive the Holy Spirit. 
Now, however, is the Day of Salvation, Hebrews 4:1-13, and it is the day of the Mission of the Church, the day of making a difference in the world.

This making a difference may be broken into two parts, which are not really two parts and which cannot be separated. One is the proclamation of the good news in Jesus that through him there is forgiveness of sins. The other, is to reach out to a broken world in love, for God loves the world and Jesus died precisely to undo all the effects of sin. Jesus said that there are two great commandments upon which all the rest depend.