Following is a brief description of lecture content for each week of the DBS. Please note that the actual lecture content varies from school to school due to the diversity of knowledge and experience different teachers bring to the school as well as external factors such as schedules, time restrictions, etc. that may affect the school. With each week’s title is also listed the books read in the small groups following a chronological reading of the whole Bible.
Opening Day: Introduction to Bible Study
We introduce the school and give the students a quick overview of the Bible, how the books are organized and the different genres of literature in the Bible. We introduce the students to the inductive process to improve one’s reading skill and explain the importance of knowing the author, the original recipients, the historical background and themes (main ideas and reasons written) (Philemon).
Week 1: Worldview & Origins Week (Genesis, Exodus & Job)
We begin by introducing the most common type of literature in the Old Testament (OT): Prose and the historical narratives. We have a look at Israel in Egypt and her journey to the Promised Land. Students will begin to place themselves in the narrative of Scripture. We focus on the creation account in Genesis and compare the Biblical story with other ancient creation accounts and study it in light of recent scientific discoveries and modern theories. We want students to be able to identify God’s character and nature and His original intention for Creation and begin to understand His plan of Redemption for humanity. We want students to be able to learn how to ask relevant questions of the text and understand that they are influenced by worldviews and society. We explain what a worldview is, how it affects the person and explore some of the major worldviews and compare them with a Biblical worldview. We talk about early civilizations and how they have been affected by the fall of man. We also introduce God’s Redemptive Plan which begins in Genesis, continues in Exodus and is woven throughout the Scriptures. We will look at the philosophical problem of evil in Job and give a brief study on God’s character.
Week 2: Pentateuch Week (Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy)
We pick up the story of Exodus from the previous week and cover the life of Moses, the ten plagues, the tabernacle and the covenants. Along with this we will explain the covenants that God made with people in the Bible and how this is a precursor to the New Covenant Jesus will bring. We want students to understand the importance of covenants and their covenant (commitment) to Jesus renewed and strengthened (Deuteronomy). We will talk about how God began to reveal himself and what He desires from people, both individually and in society (the Ten Commandments) (Deuteronomy). We talk about what it means to live a holy life and about the fear of the Lord (Leviticus). We introduce a new type of literature: the laws in the OT, and we address the difference between absolute law, casuistic law and ceremonial law. We show the students how to find the underlying principles in these laws and how to apply them in their lives (Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers). We cover how the festivals, the laws and the rituals are fulfilled in Jesus (Hebrews). We discuss faith and address the dangers of unbelief and murmuring (Numbers).
Week 3: Tribal Week (Joshua, Judges, Ruth & Psalms)
We continue the journey with Israel now conquering the Promised Land and living in it. Students continue to place themselves in the narrative of Scripture. From the physical warfare and challenges Israel faced, lessons can be derived about spiritual warfare and living life in victory rather than defeat (Joshua). We want students to live in victory by overcoming their private battles so that they can go on and fight the battles that advance the Kingdom of God. They begin to recognize God’s plan for their lives and choose to lay hold of their destiny in God. The consequence of the society that lives in disobedience (Judges) is contrasted with the faithfulness of the individual (Ruth). We introduce another type of literature: Hebrew poetry, the various forms of parallelism and give a brief introduction to the five books that make up the Psalms. Students begin to meditate on God’s Word.
Week 4: David Week (1,2Sam, 1Chron, Prov, Eccl & Songs)
We pick up where we left off in the tribal week and explain the important transitional figure Samuel who led the nation from a tribal federation to a monarchy under the leadership of King Saul and King David. We focus especially on the life of David: his character, his ups and downs, his sins, his achievements; his view on leadership, his relationship with Jonathan and his relationship with God (1,2 Sam, 1Chron). Godly leadership (David) is contrasted with ungodly leadership (Saul) with the aim that students begin to adopt more godly principles into their personal lifestyles. Whereas Hebrew poetry was already introduced in the previous week with the Psalms this week we are going to address a very specific kind of poetry: Wisdom literature. The Book of Job is already done in the first week so now we cover the remaining three books of the Bible classified as wisdom (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Songs).
Week 5: Kings Week (1,2Kings & 2Chronicles)
We continue on the theme of leadership beginning with the life of King Solomon, then explain how the kingdom split into Israel in the north and Judah in the south (1,2 Kings, 2Chron). We give a brief history of the first three empires (Assyria, Babylon and Persia), cover some archaeology, mention the dynasties of Israel and then focus on Judah and its kings. Our teacher will highlight some of the more important kings that are covered in the Bible and cover in each case the political, religious and social situation. We discuss the lives of Elijah and Elisha, in affect introducing the prophetic ministry and its development, why God raised them up, what their roles were, etc. We explain the different emphasis found in Chronicles compared to Kings and with it discuss reformations that happened in the history of Israel and how to apply lessons from it to see reformation (revival) happen also in our generation.
Week 6: Early Prophets (Amos, Hosea, Micah, Joel, Isaiah, Jonah & Nahum)
The books of Kings gave us the historical background for the Prophetic Books found in our Bible. Having discovered last week the political, religious and social conditions in Israel you will now be rewarded as this information opens up the messages of the Prophets. However, you now need to learn how to read another type of literature! The prophetic books are mostly poetic, and use a lot of figurative language. We want students to be able to read prophetic literature and find security in knowing that God keeps His word, is engaged in history, fulfills prophecies and is sovereign over future events. While prophets sometimes look back to the covenants and warn the people of judgment the student will also discover that they looked forward too and brought a message of restoration and hope—some of which point to the coming of the Messiah. We will explore Amos with his focus on social justice, Hosea and God’s father heart for his people, Micah with a call to justice and mercy, Joel and the coming of the Spirit, Jonah, and his mission to the Gentiles and Isaiah the prince of prophets—the prophet that launched the ministry of Jesus.
Week 7: Late Prophets (Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel & Obadiah)
We continue to cover the prophets in light of Israel’s history as discovered from the Book of Kings again addressing the main themes found in these books. We will see Israel before the deportations and while it is in exile; and the prophets who spoke into that. What happened when God removes His protection from Jerusalem and the temple (Ezekiel); and what promised He will do in the future: The New Covenant (Jeremiah). We want students to reflect on how the prophets counted the cost of the call of God in their lives and then reflect on their own callings (Jeremiah). And yet when disaster strikes, God is still sovereign showing students that even when our surroundings has become totally pagan we can continue to be His witnesses (Daniel). Other themes are prayer (Habakkuk) and the day of the Lord (Zephaniah).
Week 8: Post Exilic & Inter-Testament Week (Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai & Zechariah)
This week will wrap up the Old Testament with the return from exile and the rebuilding of Jerusalem. We will also bridge the gap between the OT and the NT covering some of the history between the testaments that transits from a Persian to a Greek to a Roman world. This will assist the students in understanding the context to which Jesus was born into. Themes that will be considered this week are: Restoration that God brings (Ezra), principles for pioneering and leadership (Nehemiah), realigning ourselves with God’s will (Haggai), and fasting and tithing (Zechariah and Malachi).
Week 9: Jesus Week (Matthew, Mark & Luke)
After eight weeks we finally have arrived at the life and ministry of Jesus! The death and resurrection of Jesus has changed the course of history. Finally the New Covenant has come to replace the Old Covenant. God’s Redemptive Plan is now activated! This week we will compare the synoptic gospel accounts with each other. Inside these gospels are parables and they are again another type of literature. Students will learn how Jesus used parables as a tool to teach the Kingdom of God (Luke), they will have another look at the Roman world (Mark) and discover how OT prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus (Matthew).
Week 10: Church Week (Acts, James, 1,2Peter, Jude & Hebrews)
Jesus sent out His disciples throughout the world. We look at the birth of the church and see how the Holy Spirit spurred the growth of the Church (Acts). The history of the early Church is now read about and students by the end of the week will be able to recall the significant events: Pentecost, conversion of Paul, the Jerusalem Council and the journeys of Paul. This week also brings a new type of literature: The epistles. Students will learn how to place each of the epistles in historical context discovered in the Book of Acts. In Hebrews they will learn of the ways the New Covenant is so much better than the Old and be encouraged to continue run the race with perseverance. In James they will learn how to walk out their faith in practical ways; in 1Peter how to endure in difficult circumstances; 2Peter and Jude is about how to avoid false teachers.
Week 11: Paul Week (Php, 1,2Thess, 1,2Cor, Rom, Gal, Eph, Col, 1,2 Tim & Titus)
Having read about Paul’s conversion and missionary journeys in the Book of Acts we are now ready for his epistles. Students will begin to appreciate Paul and his influence on the early Church. We have another look at Paul’s missionary journey in Acts as he traveled from city to city and then read his epistles addressed to Churches in the order Paul planted them in these cities. We look at some of the themes in each letter, its main idea, the reason it was written, the specific problems each church faced, etc. We cover discipleship topics: Justification and grace (Galatians), humility and joy (Philippians), the need to live a godly life while expecting the Lord’s return (1, 2 Thessalonians), unconditional love, Holy Spirit, the power of God (1, 2 Corinthians), condemnation, salvation, sanctification and relationships (Romans), unity, identity and spiritual warfare (Ephesians) and pastoral care (1Tim, Titus).
Week 12: John Week (1,2,3John, John & Revelation)
We look at the life of John and introduce his writings, perspective, style, and concerns. We look at the overall themes touching on the prevalent ones. While Gnosticism only began to flourish in the second century we discuss early Gnosticism as presented in the fourth Gospel. We connect how the ideas of Gnosticism influenced modern thinking today. In this final week of the school we introduce one more type of literature: Apocalyptic literature so that students get a better grasp on what Revelation is all about. Four schools of interpretation of the Book of Revelation will be introduced. The Second Coming will be discussed.
On the last day of school the students will make a 30-minte presentation of God’s Story bringing together was has been learned over the course of these twelve weeks. We want students to be able to re-tell the story of the Bible (major events), having received new revelation about who God is (God’s character and nature) and be able to explain the gospel, the Good News that has come to man thru the Scriptures (God’s Redemptive Plan). They will use their own timeline made over the course of 12 weeks as a visual aid with their presentation. We wrap up the school with instructions on how to continue to grow in Spiritual hunger so that the Word of God does not become dry or just an obligation to be fulfilled. The whole school placed emphasis on how to practically live out what is being learned, this will be stressed once more on the last day of your school.