Theological Foundations - Course Introduction
Hi everyone, and welcome to the Theological Foundations course. The official description of this course is: An introduction to theology to provide students with a starting point and system for discovering and discerning theology. Students will learn a rationale for developing theologically, skills for articulating doctrine, and a framework for systematic theology. Along the way, students will choose an area of interest in theology and go through the process in order to learn about sources, practice the skills, and intentionally deepen their understanding of God and His ways with man.
I have taught this material at the college level for years. And I'm now making this material available for schools, churches, small groups, and individuals who would like to know God's Word better. I'm fortunate to be able to offer this material without charge, but please don't assume that it is low quality because it is free. This course has been proven in many educational settings, and I have worked hard to make this material beneficial at many levels. Feel free to use this material in any way that honors Christ and advances His kingdom.
What You'll Accomplish
Click the icon to watch a brief video, which introduces the nature of this course, and what you will accomplish through this course.
Who should take this course?
This course is aimed to be useful for a broad spectrum of students. This course is an introductory survey of the Teaching of the Bible and how to learn the Bible's teaching for yourself. Therefore, it is aimed for people with little or no previous knowledge of Theology. However, this course can also be beneficial to those with significant previous exposure.
This course is primarily designed to help Christians grow in their faith. But it will also be informative for any person who would like to be better informed about the what Christians believe and how they come to this understanding. This course will give a systematic survey of the main ideas taught in the Christian Bible.
This material was originally taught at the college level, but it is accessible to almost any level, because it is a beginner level course.
And this course has been designed to be used by either an individual, or by a group. Therefore, it is appropriate for churches, colleges, schools, small groups, or any group or individual who wishes to understand the Bible's teaching better.
Course Objectives (Cognitive):
Upon successful completion of this course, each student should be able to:
- Describe the nature, necessity, means and goals of Christian theology.
- Follow a systematic procedure for investigation and application of theological issues.
- Articulate an organized framework for theological truth that is faithful to Biblical organization.
- Formulate a survey understanding of the Biblical teaching of the nature of God, the nature of the universe, the nature of humanity, and the nature of God's revelation to humanity.
- Formulate a survey understanding of the Biblical teaching on the nature of Jesus and His work, Christian salvation and life, the Holy Spirit, the nature and mission of the church and the final consummation of God's work in this world.
Course Goals (Mindset):
Upon successful completion of this course, each student should have opportunity to:
- Demonstrate a commitment to the priority application of Biblical truth to all areas of life and ministry.
- Demonstrate a commitment to the primary functional authority of Scripture in all theological work.
- Demonstrate how their personal theology is an outworking of the Gospel of Christ crucified, raised, and reigning as Lord.
- Demonstrate a commitment to reject false worldviews and to conform their thoughts, affections and actions to the true nature of all reality.
- Demonstrate a commitment to reject false lifestyles and to conform their thoughts, affections and actions to God's unique design for them as individuals and God's corporate design for all of human society.
How This Course Works
Click the icon to watch a brief video, which describes the course resources and the student activities which make up this course.
The following resources are made available to the student as part of this course:
- Holy Bible in a literal [formal equivalent] or dynamic equivalent [functional equivalent] translation (a paraphrase, such as The Message or The Voice is not appropriate for this course).
- Grudem, Wayne, Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1999. ISBN:978-0310222330
- Jamieson, Bobby, Sound Doctrine, Wheaton, Crossway, 2013. ISBN:978-1433535895
- Kapic, Kelly M., A Little Book for New Theologians, Downers Grove, InterVarsity, 2012. ISBN:978-0830839759
Recommended Supplemental Resources
- Sproul, R. C., Everyone's a Theologian, Orlando, Reformation Trust, 2014. ISBN:978-1567693652
- Grudem, Wayne, C. John Collins, & Thomas R. Schreiner, eds., Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible, Wheaton, Crossway, 2012. ISBN:978-1433531620
Textbook Reading Schedules/Study Guides
For each module, there is a document which specifies which portions of the course textbooks should be read for the module. It also lists supplemental readings which would be very beneficial if the student would wish to dig deeper into the material. And these documents contain a study guide to help the student get the most understanding and retention out of their textbook reading.
Each module contains a number of lectures on video. These videos cover a portion of the course material. And they also include reviews at the end to summarize the teaching of each section. It is recommended that the student not just passively watch the videos, but actively interact with the course material. Blank lecture notes are included in each module for your benefit. These can all be watched from the course website or, if you prefer, there are links to the each video in the YouTube interface.
Each module contains links to documents which contain detailed instructions for all the module's activities. There are two documents in each module. One is for a person who is working through this course on their own, with instructions for individual activities. The other instruction document is for people working through this course in a group setting. And it contains instructions for group activities.
Some modules contain links to documents which contain supplemental information, which may be helpful for the module's activities, but which are not absolutely necessary to understand and profit from the course material. Feel free to peruse these documents and use them if you find they are helpful.
As mentioned earlier, each video lecture contains summary reviews. The review material for each module is gathered into a slideshow, so that the student can view all the review material for each module in a convenient format.
Quizzes & Discussions
Each module has a review quiz to review and test the student's understanding and retention of the course material. The questions come from the video lectures and from the required reading for the module. The questions are objective type questions and are automatically graded. The quiz questions are randomly generated from a large bank of questions, so that the quiz will be different each time. Therefore, the student may profitably take the quiz more than once to see different questions.
And each module has a list of discussion/essay type questions which concentrate on thematic issues and application of course material. If the student is working through the course as an individual, these questions can be used for personal reflection and meditation. If the course is taken in a group setting, these questions are appropriate for group discussion, or possibly for essay questions on an exam, at the course leader's discretion.
There are three basic groups of student activities for each module: intake activities, interaction activities, and application activities. In each of the activities, the student should concentrate on gaining knowledge, but also focus on conforming their attitudes and lifestyle to the course material, as they use this course to know and serve Christ more wisely, intentionally, and intelligently.
Intake of course information -
The intake activities are designed for the student to gain access to and receive relevant information about the course topics. Because of the nature of Christian theology being response to God's revelation, it is important that the student start with a humble listening posture, to receive information and insight in the faith delivered once and for all to the saints. There is certainly a time for the student to contribute their insights (in the next two types of activities), but it is important to start with receiving the information. This does not mean the student should be passive in these activities. Rather the student should actively engage with the course material, with a goal to listen and learn.
Interaction with course information -
The interaction activities are designed for the student to thoughtfully process and mull over the information until they thoroughly understand it and have it committed to memory. The student will rehearse the information in a variety of ways and assess how well they have understood and retained the course content.
Application of course information -
And finally, the application activities are designed for the student to solidify their understanding by working through the ways that the course information connects with their own life and ministry in current society. The process of learning is not complete until the information is put into practice.
Detailed activity instructions -
Detailed instructions for all course activities are included in each module in slightly different forms for either individual or group study. See the Student Guide or Group Guide in each module for a description of this module's activities.
This course is divided into five modules based on the content. Therefore, each module has a different amount of material, and will take a different amount of time. The course is designed so that an individual student can go at their own pace.
In the past, this course has been taught in a 5 week intensive format where each module was covered in one week. Below, I have included this schedule as well as an extended section by section schedule as a possible guideline for groups.
Whether you are working through this course as an individual or as a group, I recommend finding whatever schedule works best for you. And I encourage you to remain faithful to completing this course and growing in your theological knowledge and practice.
Example Module Content
In the following sections, you will find the layout of a typical course module. Also in these sections, you will find (in the appropriate section) all of the introductory material and explanations for all the assignments as described above.
In this section, you will find a brief introduction to each individual module. This section includes the objectives for each module.
In this section, you will find documents for each course module. These will include instructions for all activities, reading schedules and study guides, and any supplementary material for the module.
Below, you will find links to documents which cover the course as a whole.
In this section, you will find the video lectures on all the course material. They are designed to be watched in order, but each video should make sense on its own. Each thumbnail will open a standard embedded web video when clicked. These can be expanded to full screen, or there is a link if you prefer to watch them in the YouTube interface.
Below you will find the two introduction videos for the entire course (which are also available above).
In This section, you will find the summary reviews from each video lecture in a convenient format for review and study. Click the thumbnail to begin the slideshow. Then use the arrows to navigate through the review.
Below, you will find a brief review from the course introductory material.
Click the "prev." and "next" buttons (bottom right of the slide) to move through the slides.
Module Review Quiz
This section is a link to a separate page which contains a sample quiz to test your understanding of the objective material for this introduction. By clicking the link, you will be taken to a series of questions, in random order. Answer each question and then push the
Submit button to check your answers. Every question must be answered before you can submit the quiz. At the end, you will be shown your score for the entire quiz. The quiz will be different each time, so feel free to take it more than once.
Below you will find the link to a brief example quiz reviewing this introductory material. Click the Thumbnail picture to begin the quiz.
Module Discussion/Reflection/Essay Questions
This section contains questions for further though and discussion. These questions can also be used as essay questions in a classroom setting exam. It is recommended that you take time to think through these issues in order to thoroughly grasp the significance and explore the application of the material you are learning.
Below you will find some example questions from this introductory material. Click the Thumbnail to view the questions.
The following questions are for your thoughtful consideration and discussion:
- What would you like to get out of learning more about theology? How do you wish your life to be impacted?
- What are the three types of activities in this course? What do expect to accomplish through each of these types of activities?
At any time, you can click the menu at the top to jump to any module in this course. Or you can click the button below to begin Module 1. I hope you enjoy, and I pray that you grow in understanding of Christian Theology and in devotion to Jesus Christ, Who is the center and Lord of all Christian theology.