This course looks at how the 66 books that make up our Bible came to be the accepted canon of Scripture. Not only will you discover the beginnings of our Bible, but you’ll see how we’ve come to use the current English versions that we now rely on.
Click on the order button below to download this 6-session Christian History Study as a PDF file. You will receive 6 Bible based guides and 17 articles to aid your study and discussion.
You do not have to be a historian or seminary graduate to teach this course successfully. Concepts and events are explained fully, and as a leader you get helpful background material. Plus, each session gives you everything you need—activities, teaching points, and discussion starters.
Session 1 - Discerning What is Scripture
Christians say the only religious writing fully inspired by God is the Bible. But how can we know that the Bible contains only inspired books? To answer this question, we need to understand the selection process that produced the Christian Bible. In this process, humans were clearly involved but sovereignly directed by God. This study begins with the most fundamental question of all: Many religious writings were in use by Jews and Christians; how, when, and why were certain ones included in the Bible we use today?
Session 2 - Jerome and the Latin Vulgate
We may think Bible knowledge is in decline during our lifetime, but this is not new—the end of the Middle Ages saw the same thing happen. But surprisingly, during the high Middle Ages (1100 to 1300), Bible knowledge was on the rise. Many devout Christians, especially monks, memorized large portions of Scripture. This devotion to Scripture occurred because Christianity permeated every facet of life, and because there was a readable Bible translation available in Europe’s common tongue: the Latin Vulgate. This translation was the product of a man named Jerome, and this study discusses him and the impact his translation had on medieval Europe. It also explores ways Christians can immerse themselves in Scripture.
Session 3 - The Bible and the Middle Ages
In the Middle Ages, the arts brought the truths of Scripture to a non-reading public. Today, many believe we are returning to a visually oriented culture; video and computers have largely replaced print as the media through which people form their ideas and values. This look at how the arts were used to teach the Bible in the Middle Ages can give us clues for communicating Christian truths in our day.
Session 4 - John Wycliffe
Before the Reformation, the church feared that if everyone could read the Bible, people would misinterpret it. Therefore, the church resisted attempts to translate the Bible into the language of the people. Many church leaders felt only those who had been instructed in the church’s official interpretations should be allowed to read the Bible. In the 1300s, John Wycliffe claimed that every believer was a priest under Christ and that every believer had the right to read the Bible in his or her own language. The questions he raised were ones the Reformation would grapple with a century later. This study looks at the life and legacy of John Wycliffe and at the question he raised: What is the proper relationship between the church and the Scriptures?
Session 5 - William Tyndale
While English speakers have the luxury of choosing among translations, bindings, study notes, and colors of Bibles, some people don’t have even one book of the Bible in their language. Five or six hundred years ago, people who spoke English were in much the same situation. William Tyndale translated the Bible into English in the 1500s so that it would be in the hands of every English-speaking person. The life and work of Tyndale can help us appreciate what a luxury—and responsibility—we have with our abundance of English translations. He wanted to put the English Bible into the hands of every plowboy, and that goal cost him his life. As we consider Tyndale’s example, we’ll ask what obstacles we need to overcome to communicate the Bible’s message today.
Session 6 - The King James Bible and Modern Translations
“Which Bible should I get?” Few Christians in history would even be able to understand our dilemma. In just a 40-year time span, there have been 27 complete new English Bible translations. We are rich as Christians in having so many varied translations, yet that very abundance can cause questions: Why are there so many translations? Why are translations sometimes so different? How do we know which ones are most reliable? This study looks at modern translations and the formative influence of the King James Version before them.
Most sessions use articles from the award-winning Christian History magazine--and they're included FREE with your lesson. Other sessions provide a short reading or handouts you can photocopy for the group.
- Total number of pages for all 6 sessions - 94
You have permission to make up to 1,000 copies for use in your local church.
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