Many of the great joys I’ve had in the years I’ve been running this site are the ones experienced doing projects together. We’ve read a long selection of classic Christian books together, we’ve memorized Scripture, and a whole lot more. Today I’m wondering if you would like to take a course with me. A little while ago I approached Logos to ask if they would be willing to open up a course in their Mobile Ed platform. They said they’d be glad to do so, and after weighing the various options, I selected one that I thought would be interesting, helpful, and appropriately challenging to any Christian. It usually costs $229.99, but they are giving us access for free!
The course is titled Introducing the Gospels and Acts: Their Background, Nature, and Purpose and is taught by Dr. Darrell Bock, research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. Dr. Bock is the author of a number of important works, including highly-regarded commentaries on Luke and Acts. Here is the course’s description:
Study the key events of the Gospels and the book of Acts with prolific New Testament scholar Dr. Darrell L. Bock. Dr. Bock walks you through the pivotal events of history that shaped the social, religious, and political environment of Jesus and the early church. Find out why the religious leaders wanted Jesus crucified and how the resurrection demonstrated God’s approval of Jesus as Messiah. Discover how the early church remembered, shared, and recorded the events of Jesus’ life, and how those events became the catalyst for ministry in the book of Acts. Learn about the literary features of the gospel genre and why some “gospels” were not included in the New Testament. Dr. Bock—an internationally recognized authority on theology and culture—developed this course for the Mobile Education platform so that you can read the Gospels and Acts with fresh eyes.
Upon successful completion you should be able to:
- Understand the effect of Hellenism on Second Temple Judaism
- Discuss the significance of the temple in Second Temple Judaism
- Summarize the ways in which Jesus created conflict with the religious leaders
- Compare and contrast the canonical Gospels with the “missing gospels”
- Explain the issues of authorship and date associated with each Gospel
- Describe the concept of resurrection in Judaism and the Graeco-Roman world
- Discuss the significance of the resurrection in each Gospel account and to the gospel message
- Summarize the key events in the life of the early church
In other words, you will gain a lot of information about the background to the Gospels and the book of Acts that should, in turn, help you better understand, interpret, and apply them. Not only that, but if you decide to take more courses, this will earn you the first of five credits you need for the New Testament: Foundational Certificate Program.
I will be taking the course over a period of 8 weeks. Logos has already divided it into 8 roughly equal parts, setting a good pace for us. We will complete each week’s lesson by watching the videos and, optionally, completing the reading; I will post something about it on the blog each Thursday. We can also discuss what we are learning via the Faithlife group. The course is driven by videos but includes two kinds of option reading: “Suggested Reading” (which you have full access to) and “See Also” readings for which you may need to purchase supplementary materials. However, the course works just fine without those “See Also” readings. You will also see transcripts for all of the videos in case you prefer to read than watch or, even better, do both at once.
All you need to do is sign up, either by using your existing account or by creating a new one. If you own the Logos software, it will appear there. If not, you can take it entirely through the web. If you’ve been meaning to try Logos and haven’t ever gotten around to it, this may be a good time to download what they call the Core Engine. When you sign in, the course will appear there for you.
We will begin officially on May 2. That gives you a few days to sign up and get settled. Then, on May 2, check the curriculum and begin watching the videos for Unit 1. You will probably want to bookmark this page since that’s where most things will be happening.
If you would like to join the group, simply click the link “Follow” in the box below and you will be taken to a Faithlife group (Faithlife is the parent company of Logos). (Alternative: Click here.)
That’s all you need to do. Sign up and then, on Monday, begin to make your way through Unit 1.