On Teaching the Bible

Quick note stolen away from dissertation time…

I had an epiphany on Sunday about teaching the Old Testament to lay people… I’m a big picture person. It bugs the crap out of me if I can’t see bits as part of a greater whole and have a sense of that whole. So, in adult ed, I gave them three “big picture” frames of reference for the OT to help make sense of the Naaman passage from 2 Kings:

  1. A quick drive through the canon using the Jewish structuring system (Law, Prophets, Writings with Prophets bifurcated into books by prophets and books about prophets—identifying 2 Kings as the latter).
  2. A basic geography sketch of Israel, Judah and Syria (including the Phoenicians, Philistines, Edomites, & Moabites for good measure)
  3. A basic timeline from 1000 to 0 BC using 772 (destruction of Samaria and the end of the Northern Kingdom), 587 (destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the 1st Temple period), and 515 (end of the Exile and start of the Second Temple period) as my main points of reference.

Once the time line was in place I located Elisha & the Naaman story for them.  They seemed to get a lot out of it—we’ll see how much sticks.

3 thoughts on “On Teaching the Bible

  1. lutherpunk

    Funny…we’ve done something similar the last few weeks, though we have also looked at redaction and editing as part of the process. We’ve moved on to the NT and are this week are talking about the variety of canons and THE canon.

  2. John-Julian, OJN

    Derek and lutherpunk: I have always quoted Bart Ehrman’s words (from “The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture”):

    “The (biblical) autographs may well have perished before the second century. In any event, none of them now survive. What do survive are copies made over the course of centuries, or more accurately, copies of the copies of the copies, some 5,366 of them in the Greek language alone, that date from the second century down to the sixteenth. Strikingly, with the exception of the smallest fragments, no two of these copies are exactly alike in all their particulars. No one knows how many differences, or variant readings, occur among the surviving witnesses, but they must number in the hundreds of thousands.”

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