Archives For Education

Josh GraumanAs I mentioned in my previous blog, I am excited to be starting a new program in South LA for training cross-cultural church planters. In this post I want to dive in to what the program is going to look like.

My heart as a pastor is to walk in discipleship with people. Some might take that to mean that study should be informal and non-structured, but discipleship doesn’t mean “non-academic.” Discipleship should include rigorous study of Scripture. We have designed The Apprenticeship to include both structured teaching (a full 3-year, 93-unit M.Div. level program), as well as walking alongside our pastors in inner-city ministry. We will study Hebrew, Greek, and Genesis to Revelation chapter by chapter.

Why go into so much depth in such a “practical” program (roughly 75% of the formal program is Bible and original languages)? In short, it is because we believe in the sufficiency of Scripture. Studying the Bible in depth is extremely practical. While some may view Judges, Jonah, or Jude to be books that may change your theology but aren’t very practical, we believe each of these books have massive implications for your daily lives and topics as commonplace as how you relate to your next-door neighbor.

At Eternity Bible College, we spend about half of our class time doing Biblical Theology. This means that we study Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, which allows us to focus on what God focuses on in the Bible. As a professor, I don’t choose the topics that are important to me. God has already set our agenda in Scripture. And by walking through Scripture chapter by chapter, we can see how revelation unfolds in God’s time, and keep context primary in our study.

We are adopting this same model for studying Scripture in The Apprenticeship. Students will develop the tools to derive their theology and practice from Scripture alone, and will be freed from the shackles of pragmatism and legalism.

This fits perfectly into our vision of equipping apprentices to plant churches cross-culturally. Church planters must be able to rigorously study Scripture on their own, and know how to derive theology, philosophy of ministry, and application to a wide variety of circumstances and topics. Every culture is unique, and yet the Bible is the answer to all the problems of every subculture around the world. So that’s why such a large portion of our program focuses on teaching the apprentices how to rightly divide the Word and apply it in various contexts. (Click for more info on the importance of Biblical Theology or Hebrew and Greek.)

Hebrew BibleYet we still believe that our study of Scripture must be applied to daily life or it hasn’t been understood correctly. In fact, it is impossible to understand the Bible as God intended without applying it to real life. The Bible addresses our thoughts, motives, and lifestyles, and so to understand it properly we must be in contexts where these are dealt with. And so that is why I am so passionate about the rest of our program. There will be lots of time for “fireside” discussions, prayer, and doing ministry and life together. Although I am going to be heading up the program, our apprentices will also learn from and walk with other pastors as we minister in the inner city together. Here we have cultures colliding as many hispanics are moving into one of the oldest African American neighborhoods in Los Angeles, and we have the privilege of planting a church here that brings the unity and hope of the gospel.

Once again there is a lot more information on our website, but that gives you an idea of what I am going to be embarking upon. We would ask that you keep us in prayer and if you know anyone interested in training for cross-cultural church planting, that you direct them our way! Click here for more info.

Josh GraumanI recently announced that I will be leading an internship program through my church, Cornerstone South LA. We call it The Apprenticeship, and it’s designed to train cross-cultural church planters. This is something that has been in my mind for quite a long time, and I’m excited to see it becoming a reality.

As anyone who knows me well can attest, I have always viewed myself first and foremost as a pastor. For the past ten years I have loved being a part of what Eternity Bible College is doing, investing in students, and even being able to help design the curriculum. I love Eternity’s heart and vision. And yet I have always felt a tension when teaching students that I have not been able to disciple outside of the classroom. As much as I can teach students in class, my passion is to invest in people through the local church.

It was this tension that led me to pursue teaching the Old Testament module at our Simi Valley campus. The last few years have been amazing as I’ve been able to teach the same group of students for nine hours every week, guiding them through the entire Old Testament. This has been a great experience for me and I know the process benefits the students. Yet my heart yearns for the kind of discipleship that can only take place outside of the classroom.

The Bible was written to deal with real life. So it is only in the context of life that we can really understand and apply what the Bible is trying to teach us. If we are only thinking about the Bible in a theoretical way, we are missing the point! As Jesus says, all true learning results in becoming like your teacher (Luke 6:40). That is why I always encourage students who are pursuing further education not to go study under “smart” people, but under people they want to emulate.

The Apprenticeship

This tension between academic learning and practical application is at the heart of everything Eternity Bible College does. I have observed that it is only when I am walking with students in the context of real life that I can bring up things that we learned in class that apply to specific situations. It is only when we see weaknesses or blind spots in real life that we can remind each other about what we have learned.

So I want to spend whatever time I have left on this earth investing in life-on-life discipleship. We are all here on this earth to fulfill our God-given mission to make disciples.

As I teach in a classroom setting, I know that my students are walking with their pastors and church families to apply the truths they are learning in the classroom. This is something Eternity requires and takes very seriously. As I evaluate my own heart, I want to take personal responsibility for those whom I am teaching, as Paul commands Timothy to do (2 Tim. 2:2). I want to walk with younger men in the trenches of local church ministry as we flesh out the deep truths of Scripture that we are learning in class. I believe this is something that God has gifted me to do, and I am excited to invest more deeply into a smaller group in the context of inner city ministry.

In a future post I will talk a little bit about what the program will look like, but in the meantime, feel free to look at the program website.

Perhaps that sounds creepy. Let me clarify. Preston won’t be in your living room, he will be on your computer or tablet. The whole process will be simple, affordable, and effective. Here’s how.

Preston RedReaders who have had any exposure to Preston’s writing are familiar with his grasp of the Bible. I have always been particularly impressed with his ability to teach the Old Testament in a powerful, engaging, and clear manner. While his book Fight is about violence, Preston’s overview of the Old Testament’s teaching on the issue was hugely beneficial for me in simply understanding what the Old Testament is all about. The same is true of his book Charis, which is about Grace in the Old Testament. He knows these ancient books well, and he knows how to bring them to life.

You may or may not know that Preston has taught through the entire Old Testament in three Silo courses:

The Silo format means that each of these courses consists of roughly 15 sessions, and each session consists of a 5-7 minute video and some discussion questions. This is a great format for getting an overview of something as complicated and important as the Old Testament.

Normally Silo courses are $25 each, but if you use the coupon code “abraham” you can take 40% off each of these courses (offer expires December 31, 2014). This means you can cover the Old Testament in roughly 45 five-minute sessions for only $45. Or you can study these courses with a group for even less.

If you’d like to get a feel for what these three courses are like, the first two videos for each course are embedded below. If you’re ready to go, sign up for the first course here. And if you have any questions, let us know.

 

The First Two Sessions of the Pentateuch Course

 

Old Testament: Introduction to the Pentateuch from The Silo Project on Vimeo.

Old Testament: Two Ways of Reading the Old Testament from The Silo Project on Vimeo.

 

The First Two Sessions of the Historical Books Course

Old Testament: Introduction to the Historical Books from The Silo Project on Vimeo.

Old Testament: Joshua, Part 1 from The Silo Project on Vimeo.

 

 

The First Two Sessions of the Poetic & Prophetic Books Course

Old Testament: Introduction to the Poetic & Prophetic Books from The Silo Project on Vimeo.

Old Testament: Job from The Silo Project on Vimeo.

Eternity Boise

Chris Hay —  September 22, 2014 — Leave a comment

BoiseEternity Bible College is on the move! God has called us to make rigorous biblical education accessible to as many as possible and we do that many different ways, including this blog. Another means we are employing to fulfill that calling is through extension classes, and eventually extension campuses, all over the US and the world. We are in the process of launching an extension site in Boise, Idaho, and I recently had the privilege of visiting Boise.

Several months ago, after much prayer and discussion, we sent Preston Sprinkle and his family to Boise where they have settled into their new home. Preston is investing this first year to building awareness, exploring the possibilities, and seeking local church support of an extension campus in Boise. He recently set up and scheduled an information event, invited local pastors and other interested parties, and I traveled north to attend that event.

It was exciting! The attendance approached 60 people, and many shared their excitement that Eternity was coming to their city. Numerous pastors expressed support. There is already a financial investment, not to mention emotional, spiritual, and logistic support. Preston is slowly building a faculty. (NOTE: Eternity relies heavily on adjunct professors, employing pastors and others who have the academic credentials, but who are also active, current ministry practitioners.) Locations for the campus are being discussed, and many are offering advice, possibly shared-space, etc. The excitement and enthusiasm was palpable. I even met a young lady who was totally committed to being our first student next fall!

Boise Event 1Yes, classes will begin on location in Boise in Fall 2015! We will offer the full first year curriculum in 2015/16, adding each successive year’s curriculum each successive year. So as of next fall, students will have two destination campuses to choose from, Simi Valley CA or Boise ID, as well as taking our full program online.

Eternity is committed to the local church, and it is imperative to us that the churches in a specific location want our presence there. It was abundantly clear to me that the churches of the greater Boise area want us in their city. We are thankful for the opportunity, and excited about the possibilities as we continue to provide opportunities for God’s people to pursue rigorous Biblical education.

Follow the progress of the Boise Campus at the Eternity Bible College Boise Extension facebook page.

I get asked quite often how much money one should spend on building a personal library, and about what sort of books should be in that library. My answer usually directs them to some good reference tools, such as commentaries and Bible dictionaries, or other Main Carouselresources that they will return to often. But my answer has recently changed. If you want to get a resource that will be with you the rest of your life, I would recommend a Bible software program. And if you want a Bible software program, I’d highly recommend Accordance.

Let me give you a quick back-story so you can learn from my mistake. When I was doing my master’s degree, I kept eying all the Bible programs out there (Gramcord, Logos, Bible Works, and Accordance), but I never ended up buying any of them. They can be expensive, especially for a seminary student living on Ramen noodles. So I kept buying books and more books, and at the end of my degree, I could have easily afforded a Bible program for half the price of what I spent on books (granted, some of the books were necessary).

When I started my Ph.D., I had my heart set on getting a Bible program and I had my eye on Accordance, which my friends all said was the most highly acclaimed program for high-level study. But then I started hanging out with some super smart (like, creepy smart) professors, who mocked the idea of Bible programs. “If you want to know how many times a Greek word is found in the New Testament, just read the Greek New Testament.”

Yes, thank you, I thought. But how about the rest of us who don’t have an encyclopedic memory of all the words in the Greek New Testament?

In any case, I continued to flip vocab cards and write down word occurrences, and never actually bought a Bible program. And that was a mistake. I could have saved a ton of time and not a few tears if I had just bit the financial bullet and purchased Accordance.

This is why I am so thankful that as of Summer 2014, I am a proud owner of Accordance! And it has revolutionized my study.

For those of you who don’t know, Accordance (like other programs) gives you a wealth of sources, such as books, commentaries, atlases, reference tools, translations (tons of translations); but it also allows you to search for words, phrases, Greek and Hebrew constructions, and other such functions to enable you to dig deep into the text. I won’t go into detail about how to do this—Accordance has many tutorials and videos to guide you through this. But I do want you to know that it is much easier than I thought.

For instance, if you wanted to see how many times the Greek word agape occurs in the New Testament, you can do this with one click. But this is only the beginning of a whole new world. With a few more clicks, you can see which books or which authors use the Accordance 10 screenshotword, in which form (future, past, present), how many times the noun form is used (agape) along with the verb (agapao), along with the adjective, adverb, and other words with the same root. You can search the Greek translation of the Old Testament, other commentaries and dictionaries that use the word, and this is still only the beginning. With just a few simple clicks, you can have a screen full of definitions, stats, articles, and parallels that will keep you busy for hours.

But Accordance isn’t just for language study. A lot of you probably don’t know Greek and probably never will. If you’re wondering if Accordance is just for the ivory tower or those climbing it, then you may be interested in one of the lower level packages, such as the Bible Study Collection or even the Starter version. Even these will give you access not only to a bunch of English resources (including several translations and dictionaries), but will also link up all the English words with the Greek word in Strong’s Concordance, which you may be familiar with.

Another thing I like about Accordance is that the different packages (there are 6 levels in all) don’t bog you down with too many resources that you will never use. I haven’t done a thorough search through all the other Bible programs out there, but some of the ones I’ve looked at seemed to have tons of sources that I would never read and would never recommend my students reading (outdated commentaries from 100 years ago or books written by people that will only lower your grade if you cite them on a research paper—at least in my class). Now, there are still some books in Accordance that I will probably never use, but the list seems smaller than other programs.

But if you’re thinking about buying a Bible program, I’d definitely recommend doing your own research on them all before you do. While I’m extremely happy with Accordance, I would make sure it’s the right fit for you. I would recommend spending an hour touring through some of the videos on the Accordance Vimeo page, or some of the tutorials they have online, to see if it’s the type of program that will help you in your studies. And if you do end up getting Accordance, I would highly recommend putting it into your mind that you will take the time to watch even more videos to learn how to use it. Accordance is the Photoshop of Bible Software; you can do some basic stuff right away but will need to invest some time learning all of its endless capabilities.

Let me know if you have any questions!