Syllabus and Assignments

Thgis is the standard syllabus..Written by Laura Roberts, Greg Camp, Audrey Hindes,Sharon Stenger.  NOTE: We have made adjustments in the assignments and quiz terms.  See blog post for Week 1 here
BIB 446 Biblical Perspectives
¨ Student Guide

Table of Contents

Learning Outcomes _________________________________________________________________3

Goal ______________________________________________________________________________3

Assignments Due ___________________________________________________________________4

Course Requirements ________________________________________________________________8

Terms for Quiz _____________________________________________________________________9

Module Week 1

         Geography of the Ancient Near East and Israel _____________________________________11

         Worksheet Map of the Fertile Crescent ____________________________________________12

         Worksheet Map of Palestine _____________________________________________________13

         Excerpts from the Babylonian Creation Account ____________________________________14

Module Week 2

         The Literary World Worksheet: OT _______________________________________________16

         The Literary World Handout ____________________________________________________17

         Sermon on the Mount Outline ___________________________________________________19

Module Week 3

         One Great Person Worksheet ___________________________________________________21

         Matthew 18 Outline ___________________________________________________________22

Module Week 5

         The Historical World _________________________________________________________24

Module Week 6

         The Literary World and the Contemporary World __________________________________26

         Worth and Status Worksheet ___________________________________________________27

Biblical Perspectives Summary Paper ________________________________________________28



Chapman, Erie.  Radical Loving Care: Building the Healing Hospital in America.  Nashville: Baptist Healing Hospital Trust, 2007. 
Coogan, Michael D., ed. The New Oxford Annotated Bible (NOAB). New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Grimsrud, Ted.  God’s Healing Strategy.  Pennsylvania: Pandora Press, 2000.
Hauer, Christian E. and William A. Young.  An Introduction to the Bible: A Journey into Three Worlds, 6th ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005.

Written by Laura Schmidt Roberts, Greg A. Camp, Sharon Stenger, Audrey Hindes
Copyright © September 1997, August 1998, May 2003, February 2004, November 2004, February 2005,
Fresno Pacific University

As a result of this module, students will:

·         Utilize basic tools for reading and understanding Scripture.
·         Explore various kinds (genre) of writing in Scripture, and the appropriate ways to read and interpret them.
·         Gain experience in asking interpretive questions about the text from several different angles.
·         Experience the making, living and resourcing of community in the process of organizing and interpreting the texts of Scripture in class.
·         Apply scriptural truth to daily life and individual purpose.

This course is not intended to be evangelistic or conversion-oriented in its approach. Rather, it is intended to bring life to the following areas of the Fresno Pacific Idea Statement:

1.     The authority of the Bible over all matters of faith and life.
2.     The church as a community of redeemed people.
3.     A life of discipleship leading to holiness, witness and service.
4.     The call to serve Jesus by ministering to human need and alleviating suffering.
5.     The practice of reconciliation and love in settings of violence, oppression and injustice.
6.     The development of spiritual maturity through disciplines such as prayer, study and meditation.

These six items reflect the prominence given to the Bible, to the Church as community, and to the life of faith. This course is designed to foster growth in these areas.

            This course is a unique blend of study in the Bible with an eye toward key aspects in relation to being “the people of God.”  As such, it is neither strictly Bible survey nor merely a topics course.  Specific passages have been selected to promote improvement of skills for reading and understanding the Bible (the act of interpretation).  Choices have been made to cover a range of literature, styles and time periods, and are representative of other larger blocks of biblical material.  Texts have also been chosen to correspond to topics considered key, though not exhaustive, to understanding the dynamics of community living.  These include beginning, ordering, leadership, fragmentation, coherence and power.  Both textual and topical aspects need to be kept in creative tension.  Skills, creative thinking and application are all equally a goal.  This comes from the position of the university that we hold scripture as authoritative for life, hence on should not be diminished or promoted at the expense of the other.


Module Six
Week 1:
The Cosmos,
(Introduction to tools and methods)
NOTE: If the text of the Bible is unfamiliar to you, look in the Table of Contents at the front of your Bible for book names and their page number. Assigned reading without a colon indicates chapters; with a colon indicates verses. For example, “Genesis 1-3” means the book of Genesis chapters 1-3. Exodus 1:1 – 7:7 means Exodus chapter 1 verse 1 through Exodus chapter 7 verse 7.

1.     Reading:
Hauer & Young chapter 1 “The Three Worlds of the Bible: An Orientation” (entire)
Hauer & Young chapter 2 “Preparing for the Journey: An Orientation to the Methods of Biblical Study” (entire, but skim)
Hauer & Young chapter 3 “Origins: The Book of Genesis” (entire)
Genesis 1-3, 12-50
“Excerpts from Babylonian Creation Story” (Student Guide p. 14)
Chapman, Part One: chapter 1 “Opening Challenge”
Chapman, Part One: chapter 2 “The Golden Thread”
Chapman, Part One: chapter 3 “Five Challenges to a Healing Hospital”
Grimsrud, chapter 1 “Introduction: A Biblical Way of Seeing”
Grimsrud, chapter 2 “ The Story Begins: God creates, then responds to Human Brokenness”

2.     Preparation Assignments:
a) Complete “Geography and History of Bible Lands” response questions & maps (Student Guide pp. 11-13)

b) Hauer & Young ch 1 Questions for Discussion and Reflection (pp.36): answer # 1, 2, and 7

c) Hauer & Young ch 2 Questions for Discussion and Reflection (p. 65): answer # 1, 5 and 7

Week 2:
Creating a Guideline: Law and Grace
1.     Reading:
Hauer & Young ch. 4 “Covenant: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy” (entire)
Exodus 18 – 34
Literary World Handout (Student Guide, p. 17)
Hauer & Young ch 12, [Literary World} “Matthew: A Higher Righteousness” (pp. 269-272 only)
Matthew 5 – 7, 12 – 13
Hauer & Young  ch 14, “The Literary World: Letters as Literature”  ( pp. 313-315 only)
Hauer & Young  ch 14, “The Historical World: The Letters of Paul in Context” (p. 316 only)
Romans (entire)
Chapman, Part One: ch. 4, “Sacred Encounters, Sacred Work”
Chapman, Part One: ch. 5, “The Servant’s Heart”
Chapman, Part One: ch. 6, “The Caring Community”
Grimsrud, ch. 3, “The Old Testament’s Salvation Story: Promise and Deliverance”

2.     Preparation Assignments:
a) Following the form outlined in Hauer & Young, pages 313-315, write a letter to your classmates. The content of the letter should focus on one of the following:
   i) Drawing from the study of Passover, relate family, class or other important traditions that draw from and help to pass on central stories;
  ii) Using material being studied for the following week, write about spoken and unspoken laws that govern group actions at home, work, school or another important setting.
Be prepared to share this letter with your classmates.

b) Hauer & Young ch 4 Questions for Discussion and Reflection (p. 107): answer # 1a, 1c, 2a, and 2b.

Week 3:

Living in Community: Leadership, Power & Authority
1.     Reading:
Hauer & Young chapter 5 “The Nation Israel: Joshua, Judges, First and Second Samuel, First and Second Kings (The Former Prophets)” (entire)
1 Samuel 8 - 18
Deuteronomy 17:14-20
2 Samuel 5 – 7, 11 – 12, 22
2 Kings 14 – 17
Hauer & Young  [Literary World ] “Mark: The Secret Revealed through Suffering” (pp. 265-269)
Hauer & Young [Historical World] “Mark” (p. 280-281 only)
Mark 9: 33 – 10:45
Matthew 18
Chapman, Part One: ch. 7, “The Layers of Meaning in Radical Loving Care”
Chapman, Part One: ch. 8, “Presence and Affirmation”
Chapman, Part One: ch. 9, “The Not-So-Surprising Outcomes of the Healing Hospital”
Grimsrud, ch. 4, “Kingship and the Need for Prophets”

2.     Preparation Assignments:
a) One Great Person worksheet and response essay (Student Guide p. 21)

b) Hauer & Young chapter 5 Questions for Discussion and Reflection (p. 135): answer #3a-d

Week 4:
Living in Many Communities: Prophecy and Wisdom
1.     Reading:
Hauer & Young chapter 6: “Covenant Advocates: The Prophets of Ancient Israel (The Latter Prophets)” (entire)
Amos (entire)
Hauer & Young chapter 8: “The Way of Wisdom: Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes (The Writings II)” (entire)
Proverbs 10 – 15
Ecclesiastes 1-6
Job 1-5, 38-42
Hauer & Young  “Galatians: ‘The Gospel which was Preached by Me’” (pp. 320-321 only)
Galatians (entire)
Finish Radical Loving Care: Part Two (all chapters)
Grimsrud, ch. 5, “Prophetic Existence: Covenant and Conversion”
Grimsrud, ch. 6, “God Remains Committed to Healing”
Grimsrud, ch. 7, “The Message of the Old Testament”

2.     Preparation Assignments:
a) Radical Loving Care Study Questions:
     Part One: Chapter 1, “Opening Challenge,” pg. 193
     Part One, Chapter Four, “Sacred Encounters, Sacred Work,” p. 194
     Part One, Chapter 9, “The Not-So-Surprising Outcomes of the Healing Hospital,” p. 195
     Part Two, Chapter 4, “The Sacred Encounter in Practice,” p. 197

b) Hauer & Young chapter 6 Questions for Discussion and Reflection (p. 160): answer #1a-c

c) Hauer & Young chapter 8 Questions for Discussion and Reflection (p. 196): answer #3a-c

Week 5:
Worshipping in Community
1.     Reading:
Reread Hauer & Young chapter 5 (pp. 119-135 only)
1 Kings 5 – 8
Reread Hauer & Young chapter 6 “Ezekiel” (pp. 153-154 only)
Ezekiel 8 – 10
Hauer & Young chapter 7, “A People’s Poetry: The Book of Psalms” (pp. 164-172 only)
Psalms 18, 30, 32, 33, 51, 80, 104, 113, 117, 118
Exodus 25 – 31, 35 – 40
Matthew 21:12 – 17
Luke 1: 45 - 55
Hauer & Young chapter 12, “John” [Historical World] (pp. 282-284 only)
John 1 – 4
Hauer & Young chapter 14, “Philemon” (p. 324 only)
Philemon (entire)
Grimsrud, ch. 8, “Jesus and the Liberating Kingdom of God”
Grimsrud, ch. 9, “The Cost of Faithfulness to God”
Grimsrud, ch. 10, “The Church Expands”

2.     Preparation Assignments:
a) Complete “The Historical World” worksheet (Student Guide, p. 24)
Week 6:
Living in Community: Individual Worth, Status & Relationships
1.     Reading:
Reread Genesis 25:19 – 34; 27:1 – 28:5; 37; 41
Hauer & Young chapter 13 “The Birth of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles” (entire)
Reread Acts 2
Reread 1 Corinthians 12 – 13
Hauer & Young chapter 14, “Ephesians: He is Our Peace” ( pp. 325-326 only)
Ephesians 5:21 – 6:9
Hauer & Young chapter 15, “First Timothy” (p. 335 only)
1 Timothy 2:8 – 15; 5:3 – 16; 6:1 – 5
Reread Philemon
Grimsrud, ch. 11, “Paul, Missionary to the Gentiles:
Grimsrud, ch. 12, “The Book of Revelation – Christianity Under Fire”
Grimsrud, ch. 13, “Reflections on God’s Healing Strategy”

2.     Preparation Assignments:
a) Complete “The Literary World & the Contemporary World” worksheet (Student Guide, p.26) This worksheet and the worksheet from Week  of this module form the basis for the Summary Paper.


Biblical Perspectives summary paper due (assignment description in Student Guide, p. 28)

Skills in reading the Bible are only developed by constant practice. The text chosen to correspond to these various aspects of community represents different reading challenges. Weekly assignments provide the student with an opportunity to use a variety of skills for reading and understanding various genres (kinds) of biblical text.

1.     As with all courses in the program, punctual attendance and active participation are required. It is imperative that students come to class well prepared, having read all assignments and completed other written assignments. (10% = 60 points = 5 points/night attendance + 5 points/night participation)
2.     Completion of preparation assignments. (55% = 330 points)
3.     Quiz (5% = 30 points)
4.     Summary Paper due week after module ends. (30% 180 points)

Responses to all questions, both in the text book and those provided in the syllabus, should be typed in paragraph form on a separate sheet of paper.

Point Summary

Attendance and Participation

60 points
Preparation Assignments

330 points
Week 1:     Geography of the Ancient Near East and Israel                                          
                        Maps (5 points each)
                        Response questions (10 points)
                  Hauer & Young
                        Chapter 1 (20 points)
                        Chapter 2 (20 points)

Week 2:     Letter (30 points)
                 Hauer & Young
                         Chapter 4 (30 points)

Week 3:     One Great Person Worksheet (10 points)
                  One Great Person response essay (25 points)
                 Hauer & Young
                          Chapter 5 (25 points)

Week 4:     Hauer & Young
                          Chapter 6 (20 points)
                          Chapter 8 (20 points)
                  Radical Loving Care study questions
                          (20 points)

Week 5:   Historical World response questions (30 points)

Week 6:     Literary World response questions (30 points)
                  Contemporary World response questions (30)

Quiz (week 5)

30 points
Summary Paper

180 points

600 points

Terms for Quiz

Multiple choice quiz, week 5 of the module

The definitions to the following terms may be found in the glossary in the back of your Hauer & Young book, starting at page 345.  There will only be 15 terms on the quiz, taken from this list.  You will be provided with a list of terms, and a list of definitions.  You will be asked to match the definitions with the terms.  Each one is worth 2 points.

Second temple
Yahweh (YHWH)


BIB 446 Week 1

From: Hauer & Young, pp.21-26

Directions:  On a separate piece of paper, type responses to the following questions.  Use your own words.

  1. What are the three names used to refer to the geographical region show in the map on p.23?
  2. What are the four geographical features of Palestine? Include a brief description of each. 
  3. What were the three main empires of the Mesopotamian region? 
  4. Compare and contrast Egyptian and Mesopotamian kings, their relationships to their respective deities, and concepts of the afterlife.
  5. Using the maps on pages 22 & 23, draw in and label the following terms on the maps which follow:

Map of The Fertile Crescent
Map of Palestine
Mediterranean Sea
Persian Gulf
Jordan River
Red Sea
Dead Sea
Tigris River
Sea of Galilee
Euphrates River

Nile River


Worksheet Map of the Fertile Crescent

In the following translation, parentheses enclose words that have no equivalent in the original but have been added for fluency or intelligibility. Words in brackets are restorations. (?) is added to words of uncertain meaning. Ellipses due to breaks in the original or due to the unintelligibility of the text are marked.... Words that are underlined are transliterations from the original language.
Reading 1
When above the heaven had not (yet) been named, (and) below the earth had not (yet) been called by a name; (when) Apsu primeval, their begetter, Mununu, (and) Tiamat, she who gave birth to them all, (still) mingled their waters together, And no pasture land had been formed (and) not (even) a reed marsh was to be seen; When none of the (other) gods had been brought into being, (When) they had not (yet) been
called by (their) name(s, and their) destinies had not (yet) been fixed, (At that time) were gods create within them.
Reading 2
Marduk, thou art (the most) important among the great gods,
Thy destiny is unequaled, thy command is (like that of) Anu.
From this day onward thy command shall not be changed.
To exalt and to abase -- this shall be thy power!
Dependable shall be the utterance of thy mouth, thy command shall not prove vain.
Reading 3
They gave him an irresistible weapon smiting the enemy, (saying:)
"Go and cut off the life of Tiamat. May the winds carry her blood to the out-of-the-way places.”
After the gods his fathers determined the destiny of Bel,
They set him on the road -- the way to success and attainment.
He made a bow and decreed (it) as his weapon;
An arrowhead he put (on the arrow and) fastened the bowstring to it.
He took up the club and grasped (it) in his right hand;
The bow and the quiver he hung at his side.
The lightning he set before him;
With a blazing flame he filled his body.
He made a net to enclose Tiamat within (it),
(And) had the four winds take hold that nothing of her might escape;
The south wind, the north wind, the east wind, (and) the west wind,
The gift of his (grand)father, Anu, he caused to draw high to the border(s) of the net.
He created imhullu: the evil wind, the cyclone, the hurricane,
The fourfold wind, the sevenfold wind, the whirlwind, the wind incomparable.
He sent forth the winds which he had created, the seven of them;
To trouble Tiamat within, they arose behind him.
Reading 4
and then he returned to Tiamat, whom he had subdued.
The Lord trod upon the hinder part of Tiamat.
And with his unsparing club he split (her) skull.
He cut the arteries of her blood
And caused the north wind to carry (it) to out-of-the-way places.
When his fathers saw (this), they were glad and rejoiced
(And) sent him dues (and) greeting gifts.
The Lord rested, examining her dead body,
To divide the abortion (and) to create ingenious things (therewith).
He split her open like a mussel (?) into two (parts);
Half of her set in place and formed the sky (therewith) as a roof.
He fixed the crossbar (and) posted guards;
He commanded them not to let her waters escape....

Translation from Alexander Heidel, The Babylonian Genesis, University of Chicago Press, 2nd ed., 1951, as quoted in Norman K. Gottwald, A Light to the Nations. Harper and Row Publishers, 1959.

BIB 446 Week 2

(Exodus 33)
The basic principle of looking at “the Literary World” is that while stories may describe historical events, they also are able to create their own worlds of meaning. There are four facets of studying the world in the text.
1.     Texts are to be read from beginning to end, trying to figure out how all parts relate to the work as a whole.
2.     Readers know certain things, (e.g. in Exodus 33:1 – 34:9 who Moses is, how the people came out of Egypt, who God is.)
3.     There is an implicit contract by which the reader agrees to accept the dynamics of the world of the text that are established by the author, (e.g. if God speaks to Moses who then speaks for God, the reader initially accepts that this is the way the world works and does not question that God talks to people.)
4.     Texts are interpreted from the perspective of readers who may be assumed to accept the value system that under girds the stories they read (e.g. God has the right to punish or give mercy.)
Studying the Literary World seeks to understand the narrative as much on it own terms as possible. It provides a basis on which the reader (you) can begin to listen to the author’s version of the way the world works. This needs to be supplemented with a critical dialogue about how the reader (you) accepts or challenges how the text is trying to shape you.
The text chosen for this assignment is Exodus 33:1 – 34:9. You are breaking into the middle of a story. Familiarize yourself with the events leading up to this point by reading chapters 19, 24 and 32.
1.     Using the example given below as a guide, provide an outline of Exodus 33:1 – 34:9 based on who speaks and what is significant.
33:1 – 3                  God to Moses
33:4                         Narrator (person telling the story)
33:5                         God to Moses
33:6                         Narrator
33:7 – 11                Narrator
2.     Using the example given below as a guide (your task is to ask and answer similar types of questions for Exodus 33:1 – 34:9), begin to ask why the narrative is put together in the manner that it is. “The World in the Text” sheet which follows may give some additional food for thought.
33:1 – 3                  What information is being given? How does it shift the story?
33:4                         What information is given? How does it fit with 33:1 – 3?
33:5                         Why are people called stubborn? How does taking off their jewelry help the situation?
33:6                         Why does the narrator tell you all this information? Could it have been omitted?
33:7 – 11                How does the narrator know that all these things happened? Does it seem that the narrator was present or is the information being presented second hand at from a much later time? What is the effect of this passage just after 33:1 – 6?
3.     If Exodus 19 is the beginning of the covenant ceremony, where does the ceremony end? Does it end in Chapter 24 or 34 or elsewhere? What is the rationale for your judgment?
4.     What is the impact of God revealing the divine name in Exodus 34:6 - 7?  What difference does 33:18-19 and 34:6-9 make in light of 19:3-8 and chapter 32?

Adapted from Mark Allan Powell, “Narrative Criticism” in Hearing the New Testament ed. by Joel B. Green (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), pp. 244-247.)

In practice, studying the world in the text is a complex process that calls for attention to numerous dynamics. We will list a few of the most significant matters. A "narrative" is the form of literature that we are reading in Exodus 33:1-34:9. It has characters and a story line. These create the world in the text.

1. Ordering of Events
The order in which a narrative relates events is important because readers are expected to consider each new episode in light of what has gone before. Some narratives report events "out of order" by presenting flashbacks concerning what happened earlier (33:5) or by including predictions or allusions that foreshadow what is still to come (33:2).

2. Duration and Frequency of Events
Readers' perceptions concerning the events of a narrative may be influenced by the amount of space given to reporting individual episodes or by the number of times that a particular event is referenced in the narrative. A narrative may pass quickly over events that transpire over several years and then relate in some detail matters that take only a few minutes or hours (33:7 - 11 appears to last for a long time but receives less space than Moses' conversation with God in 33:12 - 23.). Similarly, a narrative may tell us with a single reference that something happens repeatedly (33:7 - 11) or make several references to something that happens only once (33:2 is a phrase that appears repeatedly in the books of Exodus, Deuteronomy and Joshua).

3. Causal Links
In making sense of a narrative, readers are especially attentive to links that are established between the events that are related. Typical links include explicit or implicit indications that one event causes another to happen or at least makes the occurrence of the subsequent event possible or likely. (33:3, 4, 6, 17 are examples.)

4. Conflict
Practically all narratives contain elements of conflict that drive the plot and involve the readers in adjudication of opposing tendencies. The manner in which these conflicts are developed and resolved has a significant effect on the readers' experience of the story. To cite but one example, conflict that is left unresolved tends to impinge directly on the readers so that they are left to decide what they would do if the matter were left to them. Readers of Exodus 33 see that God is angry with Israel. How would the reader react? How does God react and why?

5. Characters
The manner in which characters are presented in a narrative is especially significant for determining the effect that the narrative is expected to have on its readers. Characters may be flat and predictable like the people of Israel in Exodus, or they may exhibit a wide variety of traits, such as Moses. Characters may remain much the same throughout the narrative, or they may develop and change in response to what transpires as the story progresses. How does Moses change throughout the book of Exodus so that he acts how he does in 33:12 - 17?

6. Characterization
Narrative critics are interested not only in what we know about the characters in the story but also in how we know this. Readers' perceptions concerning characters may be shaped by comments from the narrator (33:4), by reports of the characters' own words, deeds, or perceptions (33:17), or by reports of the words, deeds, or perceptions of others.

7.  Empathy
The effects that a narrative has on its readers are often determined by the empathy that these readers feel with particular characters in the narrative. Empathy may be realistic in that the readers believe they really are like these characters, or idealistic in that the characters have qualities or experiences the readers wish to emulate. The actual empathy of real readers with characters is impossible to predict, but literary cues sometimes indicate the characters with which readers are expected to empathize. In Exodus 33, is the reader expected to have empathy with Moses, the people, or God? Who would you like to be? Who do you see yourself as?

8. Point of View
Narratives typically present diverse perspectives concerning what is transpiring in the story, and the readers are expected to regard some of these as more reliable than others. The narrator tells you in 33:4 that the people are sad. What does he show you that makes you believe this? What does Moses ask God to do in 34:8 - 9 to show that what God has said about forgiving the people is true?

9. Settings
The spatial, temporal, and social locations of events may be significant for how readers construe what is reported in a narrative. Readers may respond differently to the story if an event occurs on a mountain, in a tent, or someplace unknown. Where do the actions of 33:1-34:9 take place? Are these places you could ever be?

A.            Proem (beatitudes)                                                                    5: 3 –16
B.            Proposition (thesis)                                                                   5: 17 – 20
1.         Law to be observed in all its details in audience’s future actions
2.         Righteousness of “normative group” to be exceeded
C.            Headings (proof)                                                                       5: 21 – 7: 23
1.         Amplification of Law – relationships with others                 5: 21 – 48
1.             You must not kill                                               5: 21 – 26
2.             You must not commit adultery                           5: 27 – 32
3.             You must not break your oath                            5: 33 – 37
4.             Retaliation                                                         5: 38 – 42
5.             Love your neighbor (and hate your enemy)         5: 43 – 48
2.         Amplification of Righteousness – relationship with God     6: 1 – 18
1.             Alms (when you – do not)                                  6: 1 – 4
2.             Prayer (when you – do not) (amplify forgiving)    6: 5 – 15
3.             Fasting (when you – do not)                               6: 16 – 18
4.             Securities (do not)                                             6: 19 – 34
5.             Judging (do not)                                               7: 1 – 5
6.             Summary (pearls not to swine)                           7: 6
3.         Promises and Warnings                                                    7: 7 – 23
1.             Asking and receiving                                         7: 7 – 12
2.             Narrow gate                                                      7: 13 – 14
3.             Against false prophets                                      7: 15 – 23
D.            Epilogue                                                                                   7: 24 – 27

BIB 446 Week 3

Use this sheet to record ten people’s responses to the request “Name one Great (important, significant, successful) person and tell why they are great.”

NAME (Initials)
AGE GROUP (Approximate)







6.     1.

7.     2.

8.     3.

9.     4.

10.  5.

Write a one page response essay, analyzing the responses you received, i.e., what is society saying that greatness is?  What does it take to be successful?  Etc.

1             Question #1: Who is Greatest?

2-17         Responses (each are counter proposals)
2-10         Response #1: Children
2-4           Counter Proposal: Accept children
5-9           Threat: If cause scandal
10            Show of force: Angels protect

12-14       Response #2: Sheep
12-14       Counter Proposal: Search for the 1 of 100 who is lost

15-17       Response #3: Brother who sins (counter proposal)
15a          Hypothetical situation: If sin
15-17       Answer: Attempt to get brother to be reconciled
17b          If fail: Put him out and start over

18-20       Statement: What you bind or loose

21-22       Question #2: How far do we go in forgiveness?

23-35         Response #2: Parable of the forgiving king/unforgiving servant

BIB 446 Week 5



The principle of looking at the Historical World is that all texts are written in specific social, economic, cultural, political and religious settings. While not all texts accurately mirror a “real” world (e.g. science fiction), many texts can be understood better if the reader knows more about the world behind the text. The purpose of this assignment is to focus on data that can help reconstruct this world. This data includes people, places, things, dates, events, and processes.


This assignment will focus on the New Testament book of Philemon. Combined with the assignment for Week 6 of this module, it is the foundation for the Summary Paper for the course. The main concern in this week’s assignment is to ask what some of the social and historical realities are in Paul’s day that would help us understand the letter to Philemon better. The historical world will be combined with the literary world to help understand better what is happening in the contemporary world.

The following are questions that might be helpful in dealing with Philemon. They are suggestive. Feel free to write about additional matters that you see as important socially, economically, politically and historically as they pertain to this letter.


1.     What are the assumptions being made about slavery?
2.     What are the assumptions being made about the nature of the church?
3.     What are the assumptions being made about power and authority?
4.     What are the relationships of Paul to Philemon? Paul to Onesimus? Philemon to Onesimus?
5.       What has Onesimus done wrong, if anything? (Read carefully and check your own assumptions.)

BIB 446 Week 6



The principle of the Literary World is that while stories may describe historical events, they also are able to create their own worlds of meaning. Studying the Literary World seeks to understand the narrative as much on its own terms as possible. It provides a basis on which the reader (you) can begin to listen to the author’s version of the way the world works. This needs to be supplemented with a critical dialogue about how the reader (you) accepts or challenges how the text is trying to shape you.

The principle of the contemporary world is that texts are part of communication processes that are trying to do something. First, one may focus on the internal structure, argument cohesion, and themes of the text. Second, one may focus on the relationship between the addresser (Paul) and addressee (Philemon). It is appropriate to analyze what presuppositions are shared (both stated and implied) by the addresser and addressee, i.e. what do they both believe about the world and their relationship?


This assignment will focus on the New Testament book of Philemon. Combined with the assignment for Week 5 of this module,  it is the foundation for the Summary Paper for the course. The main concern in the first set of questions (literary world) is to assess what is actually being written rather than what you think might be implied. The main concern in the second set of questions (the contemporary world) is asking what Paul is trying to do by writing this letter to Philemon.

STUDY QUESTIONS FOR The Literary World: A description of the argument used by Paul
1.     How does Paul open and close the letter?
2.     What does he “remember” first?
3.     What is the basis for the “for this reason” at the beginning of verse 8?
4.     Why does Paul introduce a hypothetical reason in verse 15 (using “perhaps”)?
5.     What is the “so” in verse 17 there for?
STUDY QUESTIONS FOR The Contemporary World
1.     How does Paul describe himself? Philemon? Onesimus?
2.     Who else is involved in hearing this letter? How does this put pressure on Philemon?
3.     How are statuses described, reinforced and used to influence (verses 1, 9, 10, 17, 19 and 20)?
4.     What is Paul trying to get Philemon to do? Is Paul’s focus on a larger group than just Philemon, if so, how does this change what you think Paul’s purpose is?
5.     What does the book of Philemon have to say about the use of power?

Worth & Status Worksheet (for use in class, not a preparation assignment)

Matthew 12: 46 – 50
Matthew 13: 53 – 58
Mark 9:33 – 37
Luke 6:27 – 38
Luke 10:38 – 42
Luke 14:12 – 14
Luke 16:1 – 9
Luke 22:24 – 30
Romans 8:12 – 16
I Corinthians 11:17 – 22
Ephesians 5:21 – 33
I Timothy 2:8 – 15
I Timothy 3:8 – 13
I Timothy 5:1 –16

Due: week following this module


The summary paper for Biblical Perspectives is to be a 5-7 page paper that addresses the meaning of the New Testament book of Philemon. Using the skills developed in the course, develop a paper that combines an understanding of the historical, literary and contemporary worlds.


The paper is meant to demonstrate the student’s own analysis and ability to work with a biblical text and as such need not to utilize other resources as in a traditional research paper.

Thesis:           The paper should include a clear thesis statement in the form of “the book of Philemon is about…”
Body:            The body of the paper should demonstrate a recognizable structure that articulates why the thesis is viable. The body of the paper may take the form of a verse by verse analysis, follow the categories of historical/literary/contemporary worlds, or use any thematic analysis that is most useful.
Conclusion:    The conclusion should restate the thesis and the support in summary fashion. The conclusion is also a place for reflection on the implications of Philemon for your life and work.
Symbol:         Throughout this course we have been using one guiding symbol for each night, corresponding to the theme of the evening.  Based on your study of the book of Philemon, develop your own symbol that you feel adequately conveys the message of the book and explain it in a paragraph.

Grading is based upon how well the thesis is stated and supported, by the clarity of the structure, by the depth of thought and by the quality of mechanics (spelling, grammar).