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 want students to become better readers of God’s Word by recognizing that the Bible is a collection of books of which each is written by a certain author to an original audience in a certain historical background and for a specific purpose.
Week 1: Worldview & Origins Week (Genesis, Exodus & Job)
In the first we week of the school we follow the journey of the Israel from Egypt to Mt Sinai including the giving of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20. We introduce the most common type of literature in the Old Testament (OT): Prose and the historical narratives. 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 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 might 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 want students to be able to identify God’s character and nature and His original intention for Creation and begin to understand God’s Redemptive Plan for humanity. Special attention will be on Abraham and the Abrahamaic Covenant; on Moses and the story of the Exodus and the important of the Feast of the Passover. At the end of the week we will have a brief look at the philosophical problem of evil in Job.
Week 2: Pentateuch Week (Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy)
We pick up the story of Israel’s time at Mt Sinai and their journey to the borders of the Promised Land. We will discuss the tabernacle, the Mosaic covenant and may already explain all the covenants that God made with people in the Bible and how these are a precursor to the New Covenant Jesus will bring. We want students to understand their covenant (commitment) to Jesus. We will continue with showing how God began to reveal himself and what He desires from people, both individually and in society. We talk about what it means to live a holy life and about the fear of the Lord (Leviticus). Some schools will read Hebrews immediately following Leviticus and if that is the case the teacher might explain how the festivals, the laws and the rituals are fulfilled in Jesus (Hebrews). 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 Biblical Principles in these laws and how to apply them in their lives (Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers). We discuss faith and address the dangers of rebellion and unbelief (Numbers).
Week 3: Tribal Week (Joshua, Judges, Ruth & Psalms)
We continue the journey with Israel conquering the Promised Land and living in it. 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. From the physical warfare and challenges Israel faced, lessons can be derived about spiritual warfare and living life in victory rather than in defeat (Joshua). 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. We want students to recognize God’s plan for their lives and choose to lay hold of their destiny in God. Students begin to identify their specific contribution or role within the community. We want students to begin meditating 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 (1,2Sam, 1Chron). We address a very specific genre that uses poetry: Wisdom literature. With this we will cover three of the four books of the Bible classified as wisdom: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. We want students to understand how to read the wisdom literature in our Bible and desire for godly wisdom. We want our students to learn how to lead an inductive Bible study. We want students to reflect godly leadership principles in their leadership of their small group as well as in the personal lifestyle.
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. We give some background information about the first three empires (Assyria, Babylon and Persia) with some archaeology and an overview of the kings of Israel and Judah. Highlighted will be the more important kings, good and bad, explaining the political, religious and social situation during their reign. 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. Through reflection on the legacies of the kings students will consider the events of their own lives, analyzing whether their personal values are consistent with biblical values. We want the students to be able to think through the implications of their life choices as a result of this week’s study.
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 begin the week with Book of Zephaniah and the Day of the Lord, then continue with Habakkuk and discuss his intercession. 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 promise 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).
Week 8: Post Exilic & Inter-Testament Week (Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Malachi & 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. Messianic prophecies in the OT has come to fulfillment. God’s Redemptive Plan is now activated! The Kingdom of God is now here in part and will come fully when He returns. So we begin looking at how OT prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus (Matthew), then we will compare the synoptic gospel accounts with each other. Inside these gospels are parables and they are again another type of literature to be addressed. We want our students to understand how to read the gospels, how to interpret the parables and discover how OT prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus. We want them to be challenged by Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and His predictions about the destruction of the Temple and His second Coming.
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 and not to backslide. 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 how to discern false teachers that are threatening the Church.
Week 11: Paul Week (Php, 1,2Thess, 1,2Cor, Rom, Gal, Eph, Col, Phl, 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 of Johannine works, touching on the prevalent ones such as the Holy Spirit: We want our students to have a greater awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence and role in their everyday lives. While Gnosticism only began to flourish in the second century we discuss early Gnosticism John came against by writing his 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 30-45 minute presentation of God’s Story bringing together what 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), show they have 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.