• Thanks to everyone who participated in Summer Session! We are shipping our New Testament Cornerstone Certificates today!  It's not too late to submit your essays to receive your certificate! Email your essays to programsofstudy@faithlife.com.
  • How To Apply For New Testament Cornerstone Certificate:  If you have worked your way through all of the video segments for each Summer Session course, it is time to write your reflection paper and to apply for your New Testament Cornerstone Certificate!  Please write a one page (750 word max) reflection paper about each Summer Session course. The paper may be the genre of your choosing (e.g., opinion, response, summary, critique, application, review, etc.). After you have completed the one paper for each Summer Session course, apply for your New Testament Cornerstone Certificate by emailing programsofstudy@faithlife.com. The email should include: -Your Full name  -Your Mailing address -Attach all 3 essays (750 word max) in a PDF or Word Document  We will review the essays and mail New Testament Cornerstone Certificates of Completion within 7-10 business days.
    1. Quick note from Dr. Brueggemann: I noticed that quite a few people joined NT211 sometime after the start of the moderated summer sessions. If you did that, or if you fell off the schedule and continue at your own pace, I would encourage you to post to the discussions page for this course. I'll continue to moderate and interact with those postings, and maybe some of your fellow scholars will continue contributing and following the discussions.
      1. As I consider the content of this course, I think that what really stuck out to me was the highlighting of the larger world at the time of Jesus. I certainly enjoyed the study of the canonic, and consideration of the non-canonic, gospels; I found the examination of thoughts on resurrection among the peoples of Jesus’ time helpful; the consideration of the early church was delightfully refreshing. What really stuck out to me was the highlighting of the larger world at the time of Jesus. The reason for this is probably multi-faceted. A number of years ago I did take a course that studied the literature from the period between the testaments. My memories of it are somewhat vague, and centre around the particular happenings within the actual geographical area of Judea, and how that specific history related to the literature produced. So on the one hand, I found this course to refresh some of those memories. More than that, however, I would say that the historical view taken here was of a somewhat wider-angle – and so expanded upon that to some degree. Further to these, I think that this kind of background information is incredibly valuable for people who seek to understand, to interpret, and/or to communicate the Gospel to others. And so this section really stuck out to me. I found Dr. Bock’s piecing together of the different gospel-traditions around the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to be encouraging. I suppose that I’ve always kept, just in my mind, a vague chronology of how the different resurrection appearances and ascension stories all fit together. I’ve generally just allowed whichever particular story/account I am working with to speak for itself (to say what it means to say). I appreciate the effort he made to bring these together. I would certainly recommend this course to others. It speaks to the context of the New Testament in very helpful ways.
        1. Thanks for working through this course together. I’ve appreciated the comments and community notes.  You know, our notes will remain as added lasting content for this course that we can switch on and off. Feel free to add more to the community note discussions as you review this material in the future. One of the great parts of the Faithlife Group community component to Mobile Ed courses is that you don’t have to lose the community after the cohort experience ends.   Please don’t forget to write a one page (no more than 750 word) reflection paper for the course. Email it to programsofstudy@faithlife.com. The paper may be writtenin the genre of your choosing (e.g., opinion, response, summary, critique, application, review, etc.) This is the last requirement for this portion of the New Testament Cornerstone certificate program. I want to see how many people can earn this certificate this summer.   The next course, NT307: Archaeolog and the NT started today. I'm the moderator for that course too; so I'll look forward to seeing the discussion in that course this week. Please join in if you haven’t done so already. https://faithlife.com/mobile-ed-summer-session-nt307   Thanks again for the discussions and the shared encouragements to continue learning about the New Testament.
          1. Hi Dr. Dale, I did write a paper and posted it in the discussion area. I am sorry that it is more than 750 words, but not so much if quotes are not counted. I was so motivated by the course content, that I really wanted to contribute for the edification of others. Blessings.
        2. It can be expected that many who take this course will be familiar with the material in most of the segments: as with NT281, this course was very helpful in its comprehensive approach and identifying and filling in many gaps, but perhaps primarily in clarifying the significance of some less well understood facts and concepts, especially in relation to Acts. There are only a couple of minor points in the course that I would tend to disagree with and would seek additional evidence to support: 1. The statement that taking the Gospel to the “ends of the earth” could have meant taking the Gospel to Rome. It is understood that the Romans and of course anyone in the Roman political sphere would have thought Rome to be the center of the world: Jews and Christians of course would disagree and hold that the centre of the world is in Jerusalem (in the Greek Orthodox part of the Church of the Resurrection if my memory serves me correctly). While taking the Gospel to Rome was indeed important, my understanding was that the commission to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth had Paul thinking of Spain once he was done in Rome and that other apostles had been sent outside the Roman Empire, south and east to India (Thomas) [following the line of conquests by Alexander], and also south into Africa well beyond Egypt. 2. The idea that while after the Resurrection Jesus told his disciples to go to Galilee, and Gospel accounts tell of post Resurrection appearances there, and Luke focusses on them staying in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon them, that these stories can be reconciled by them taking the initiative to go back home to Galilee to collect belongings they would need for their missions to take the Gospel to the “ends of the earth”. While we may in hindsight know how long it was between the Resurrection and Pentecost, it seems unlikely that the Apostles would have had an understanding of this timeframe. Although it may only take a few hours to get from Jerusalem to Galilee in a car or bus on modern roads, this was not a journey to be taken lightly back when these events occurred. It would have been a tiring journey of several days each way, plus the time to talk with family and friends about their mission! Two additional points would support this being unlikely: a. They were far from rich and would have had little if anything still at “home” to collect that would likely have been suitable for their mission b. They had previous experience of those sent out by Jesus on missions not being required to take anything with them! It would appear more likely that the details of the post Resurrection appearances in Galilee were simply missed out in Luke as he had no direct experience of them and perhaps had not heard about them or understood their significance, given his primary association with Paul rather than the other Apostles who had experienced them. One final, and again minor point related to Gnosticism: I still have trouble understanding why it is referred to as “Gnostic Christianity” when it appears to be quite a different religion with little in common with Christianity. From its roots in a pagan creation story through its core beliefs and attempts to fabricate Gospel accounts to subvert and undermine Christianity as we know it, it has more the appearance of an entirely separate religion attempting to explain and exploit the “popularity” of the true Gospel story. On the face of it, Islam seems as close or closer to Christianity than Gnosticism.
          1.  — Edited

            I welcomed and enjoyed this course, NT211 Introducing the Gospels and Acts:Their Background, Nature, and Purpose(1). It was especially helpful, since I have not spent much time in this area of study. I reviewed a couple of references on the subject of interpretation (2) and knowing scripture (3) . The first reference stresses the need to study and understand the historical setting NOT to alter or change what Scripture says, but rather to understand both fully and rightly what the inspired author has written (4). Chapter 5 of Knowing Scripture titled “Culture and the Bible” discusses the subject in some detail. The author states that questions are complex and do not yield to simplistic solutions. He lists four practical guidelines to assist: 1. Examine the Bible itself for apparent areas of custom. 2. Allow for Christian distinctives in the first century. 3. The creation ordinances are indicators of the transcultural principle. 4. In areas of uncertainty use the principle of humility. He ends the chapter with this: “It is comforting that this Book has indeed manifested peculiar ability to speak to the deepest needs and communicate the gospel effectively to people of all different times, places and customs. The obstacle of culture cannot make void the power of the Word” (5). In the course, I was especially struck by the extent to which Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabean war influenced Jewish thinking and practice into New Testament times. The way the Pharisees and other religious leaders acted makes more sense to me. All of this led to and was influenced by God with the arrival of Jesus in the “fullness of time” (6).   I found the statements concerning Jesus getting onto trouble an interesting way to put it. I think Jesus wasn’t concerned about getting into trouble per say. He was teaching and explaining things they didn’t understand or didn’t want to understand. He was focused on His mission of going to the Cross for us. It seemed to take this “pushing” for this to happen. His disciples, on many occasions, certainly thought he was getting into trouble. One of the best examples of this is in John 11:8: “…are you going there again” (7) (Jews seeking to stone Him in Jerusalem)? Or, in other words, it took “getting into trouble” as part of the plan to get to the Cross.   There were many other things I got out of the course, but these were what jumped out at me!   References: 1) Bock, D. L. (2014). NT211 Introducing the Gospels and Acts: Their Background, Nature, and Purpose. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.   2) Kuske, David (1973), Biblical Interpretation: The Only Right Way. Milwaukee, WI: Northwest Publishing House.   3) Sproul, R. C. (2009), Knowing Scripture. Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press.   4) Kuske, David (1973), Biblical Interpretation: The Only Right Way, page 59-67. Milwaukee, WI: Northwest Publishing House.   5) Sproul, R. C. (2009), Knowing Scripture, page127. Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press.   6) Galatians 4:4, The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.   7) John 11:8, The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
            1. Hi Jim: Nice comment. Quoting you: : The first reference stresses the need to study and understand the historical setting NOT to alter or change what Scripture says, but rather to understand both fully and rightly what the inspired author has written." I really have a problem with people that interprets Scripture synchronically alone. I do think that revelation is progressive, and to properly understand it we need to study diachronically too, intertextuality does play a role, because the whole counsel of God is related. Example: What did the author of Exodus 6:6 try to get across as intended message?  You can know all the background, and then say that is a mistake to treat God with anthropomorphism, etc. It is not until later progressive revelation is given to us, that we fully understand what the true author the "Holy Spirit" meant: John 12:36 - 38.  Yes now we understand, the outstretched Arm of the LORD is Jesus. See clear understanding  of the truth of God, by intertextuality, diachronism, and progressive revelation from an authorized source. Blessings.
          2. Congratulations on your completion of Summer Session: NT211 The Gospels and Acts. We hope you have enjoyed these ten days of video lectures and we encourage you to continue your studies by completing the Logos Mobile Ed New Testament Cornerstone Certificate!