Biblical Theology Course Descriptions
Framework of Protology and Eschatology
When Jesus spoke of his second coming, he described the time as being like the days of Noah. That is, he spoke of the end as being after the pattern of the beginning (Matt 24:37). Likewise, Revelation seems to be describing the end of history as a return to its earliest beginnings. As we read forward in the Apocalypse, we are actually retracing time to the beginning. We see the great city of the harlot fall at the sounding of seven trumpets (Rev 11:15, 14:8) like Jericho in the Book of Joshua. Then we see the redeemed delivered from the beast of the sea, standing on the crystal waters, and singing the Song of Moses (Rev 15:2-3) like Israel after the crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus. At last, we come to the garden of God, with the river of crystal waters and the tree of life (Rev 22:1-2), just like the garden in the beginning of Genesis. This course considers the ways in which the ending of the Bible is patterned after its beginning, that is, how protology foretells eschatology. With this pattern in mind, we will also consider the biblical theme of the temple, one of the largest themes connecting the Old and New Testaments, as well as the message of the covenants, the means of the outworking through time of all redemptive history.
A Luke 24:27 Reading of the Old Testament
Jesus claimed that the theme of the Hebrew Bible was the suffering of the Messiah (the cross) and the glory (resurrection and ascension) that would follow (Luke 24:26-27). Furthermore, every time Jesus spoke about all that was to happen to him in Jerusalem, he mentioned that he would be raised on the third day. Paul likewise asserts that the Old Testament teaches the third day resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor 15:3-4). This course examines the nearly forty references to the “third day” or “three days” we find in the Old Testament, each embedded within a narrative template of suffering and glory. The “third-day” pattern opens our eyes to see what Jesus would have taught his Emmaus disciples. Like them, we learn to see how the Hebrew Scriptures confirm Jesus as the Christ of God (Luke 24:31-32). In addition, we will also examine a number of metaphors for resurrection used by the apostles, which, when applied to a reading of the Old Testament, enable us to see foreshadowings of the resurrection. These include the raising of a fallen tabernacle or temple, birth from barrenness, awakening from sleep, passing through baptismal waters, return from exile, and a release from prison.
What is the “story” of the Bible? What “tale” is large enough to fill its wide horizons? Genesis begins with a bride and groom in a garden with the tree of life (Gen 3:24). Revelation ends with a bride (the Church) and Groom (Christ) in a garden with the tree of life (Rev 21:2, 22:2). Genesis tells us of a hero, the Son of woman, who will come to destroy the great serpent (Gen 3:15). Revelation describes the great battle to destroy the serpent (Rev 12: 9), when the Son of the woman (Rev 12:1-2) comes to slay the great, red dragon in order to rescue his beloved and take her to the palace of his Father, the King. The Song of Solomon likewise sings about the romantic heart of the King, and the Book of Hosea shows his abiding love that hopes all things. Jesus himself said that the kingdom of heaven was like a King who prepared a banquet to celebrate the marriage of his Son (Matt 22:2). This course explores the nuptial destiny of the Church—your hope as the beloved of Jesus, your privilege as a bride of the house of David, and your destiny to reflect the redemptive light of your Beloved for all eternity.
This course teaches us to see Christ as the center and summation of all creation. It challenges us to see the Savior as the one who connects all the cosmic binaries, bringing opposites such as God and man, heaven and earth, beginning and ending, life and death, and Jew and Gentile together in unity. We begin with an exposition of Revelation 1, comparing John’s vision of the earthly Jesus with his vision of the heavenly Jesus in Revelation 19. Then, through a literary reading of a select array of biblical passages related to our theme, we continue to develop an awareness of the iconic word and a sense of symbol. We conclude the course by giving careful attention to the depiction of Christ’s glory in the great Christological portraits found in the opening chapter of Ephesians, Colossians, and Hebrews.
This course is a structured approach to theology as an organic study. We begin with a study of the canon and of its extent. We also address questions of biblical authority. We then progress to a study of theology proper (the doctrine of God), the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Church, the sacraments, and the doctrine of last things. (The Alexandrian Academy will offer this course online; however, due to the fact that we serve an ecumenical audience, this course will optimally be taught by the local pastor or by one of the assistant ministers at our host churches.)
Jesus very clearly maintained that the Hebrew Scriptures spoke of him (John 5:39, 46). This course demonstrates the truth of Jesus’ claim, teaching the student how to see the gospel, i.e. Christ’s death and resurrection, as the very rhythm and heartbeat of the Bible in both the Old and the New Testaments. When we read the Bible as Jesus directs, all of its stories and wisdom point us toward him, showing us the meaning of his suffering and death as well as the magnificence of his glorious resurrection. Through this process, we learn to turn every teaching or preaching opportunity into a presentation of the gospel of Christ.