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Humanities:  Introduction to the Bible (Part 1 - Old Testament)

Florida Department of Education (courses)
Grades:  9th to 12th (Adult)
Subject Area:  Humanities
Course Number:  0900400
Course Title:  Introduction to the Bible I
Credit:  1.0
Course Length:  36 weeks  (4 segments of 9 weeks is typical)
Hours of Accumulated Study:
  180 Hours (1 hour per day; 5 days per week)
Required Course Materials:

  • Balancing the Sword (Volume 1 or Volume 2) by Allen B. Wolfe
  • Reputable Study Bible Covering Old and New Testament
  • The Indestructible Book (DVD) - 4-hour on-location lecture series

Step One. Read all the information below to gain a general sense of this course's

  • summary description,
  • major concepts and content,
  • requirements, and
  • achievement objectives.

Step Two. Select your biblical books. You may wish to reference the sample reading plan for this course.

Step Three. Use the BTS Reading Planner software to create an itenerary including the books that you've selected combined with your starting date and ending date. Click here for help determining when your school year should start and stop.

Step Four. Read the biblical books according to your schedule. Answer the Balancing the Sword questions in either the first or second volume as you progress. Reread each chapter when you fail to successfully answer the BTS questions. Check your answers against the answer key provided in the back of BTS.

The Indestructible Book (4-DVD Set)
The Indestructible Book will be more understandable after reading Acts. The Indestructible Book is well organized, tightly encapsulated, packed with details, and interlaced with explanations of less familiar terms. Therefore, it is not necessary that watching The Indestructible Book be delayed until after reading Acts. Each presentation is one hour, but offers enough substantive content that the DVDs should be watched in smaller increments so that notes can be taken. It is reasonable that a student will only cover thirty minutes of video in one hour when stopping to take notes. Therefore, the entire set will take eight days. Students may benefit from watching the DVD straight through the first time (without taking notes) simply to gain the overview quickly before rewatching the videos for taking notes. The Bible reading and Balancing the Sword questions do not stop or slow down if you follow our prescribed reading plans. Therefore, watching the videos and taking notes will expand the time the class requires. If you prefer, you can adjust the reading plan to accommodate additional days to replace the reading with the videos. Our BTS Reading Planner software will recalibrate the reading assignments. The purpose for watching The Indestructible Book is to gain a basic understanding of how the Bible (1) was assembled, (2) was canonized, (3) was translated into English, and (4) was influential upon Western culture.

* More specific instructions will follow.

Summary.  The primary purpose of this humanities course is to gain a foundational understanding of the Old Testament scriptures and how this extraordinary collection of writings has impacted humanity.  Therefore, reading samples of the Old Testament and studying select biblical books using Balancing the Sword will be on-going assignments.  In addition to a study of the Text, you will learn more of the origin of the Scripture and how different segments of humanity uniquely view the ancient Jewish Scripture.  This course is continued in Introduction to the Bible II with a study of the New Testament.

A. Major Concepts/Content.  The purpose of this course is to enable students to acquire a critical appreciation of major ideas and literary forms of the ancient Israelite literature which came to be held as the sacred Scripture by Jewish and Christian religious communities.  The course will include the study of this literature in its ancient, historical, and cultural contexts, and its impact on Western culture.

The content should include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • survey of various types of literature found in the Bible
  • literary analysis of chief characters, structures, and plots
  • literary analysis of biblical narratives and poetry
  • analysis of prophetic literature in its ancient and historical context
  • historical and cultural contexts of biblical literature
  • chief themes of biblical literature
  • comparison of the literary forms and religious and cultural concepts in the Bible and in ancient Near-Eastern literature
  • formation of biblical literature into sacred Scripture
  • history of interpretation in the Jewish and Christian communities
  • methods of academic study of the history and literature of ancient Israel
  • transmission of biblical texts and translations from antiquity to present
  • impact of the Bible on Western literature, art, music, and thought

This course shall integrate the Goal 3 Student Performance Standards of the Florida System of School Improvement and Accountability as appropriate to the content and processes of the subject matter.

Course student performance standards must be adopted by the district, and they must reflect appropriate Sunshine State Standards benchmarks.

B. Special Note.  Section 233.062, Florida Statutes, provides school boards the authority to "install in the public schools in the district a secular program of education including, but not limited to, an objective study of the Bible and of religion."  A variety of instructional materials should be used to allow for discussion of the different interpretations of the Bible and the different theories of how the Bible came to be.

C. Course Requirements.  These requirements include, but are not limited to, the benchmarks from the Sunshine State Standards that are most relevant to this course.  Benchmarks correlated with a specific course requirement may also be addressed by other course requirements as appropriate.  The benchmarks printed in regular type are required for this course.  The portions printed in italic type are not required for this course. Some requirements in this course are not addressed in the Sunshine State Standards.

Achievement Objectives (AO).  After successfully completing this course, the student will:

AO-1.  Identify various types of literature found in the Bible (including the “Apocrypha” or “Deuterocanonical” writings).

LA.E.1.4.5 understand the different stylistic, thematic, and technical qualities present in the literature of different cultures and historical periods.

AO-2.  Analyze the chief characters, structures, and plots in narratives found in the Bible.

LA.E.2.4.1 analyze the effectiveness of complex elements of plot, such as setting, major events, problems, conflicts, and resolutions.

LA.E.2.4.2 understand the relationships between and among elements of literature, including characters, plot, setting, tone, point of view, and theme.

LA.E.2.4.5 analyze the relationships among author’s style, literary form, and intended impact on the reader.

AO-3.  Analyze varied literary genres and poetry found in the Bible.

LA.E.1.4.1 identify the characteristics that distinguish literary forms.

LA.E.2.4.3 analyze poetry for the ways in which poets inspire the reader to share emotions, such as the use of imagery, personification, and figures of speech, including [anology,] simile and metaphor; and the use of sound, such as rhyme, rhythm, repetition, and alliteration.

AO-4.  Analyze prophetic literature in its ancient and historical context.

AO-5.  Demonstrate knowledge of historical and cultural contexts of biblical literature in the ancient Israelite community and ancient Near East.

AO-6.  Demonstrate knowledge of the development of the chief themes in biblical literature as understood in the ancient Israelite community.

AO-7.  Compare and contrast the literary forms of biblical writings within the context of the history and culture of ancient Israel and the literature of the non-Israelite, ancient Near-Eastern literature.

LA.A.2.4.1 determine the main idea and identify relevant details, methods of development, and their effectiveness in a variety of types of written material.

LA.D.1.4.1 apply an understanding that language and literature are primary means by which culture is transmitted.

AO-8.  Demonstrate awareness of the formation of biblical literature and the process by which diverse writings came to be regarded as sacred Scripture by various Jewish and Christian communities (canonization).

AO-9.  Demonstrate awareness of varied interpretations of Bible literature by Jewish and Christian religious communities, by other communities and individuals, and by scholars studying the history and literature of ancient Israel.

LA.E.2.4.8 know that people respond differently to texts based on their background knowledge, purpose, and reader's point of view.

AO-10.  Demonstrate awareness of methods used in modern academic study of the Bible.

LA.A.1.4.1 select and use prereading strategies that are appropriate to the text, such as discussion, making predictions, brainstorming, generating questions, and previewing to anticipate content, purpose, and organization of a reading selection.

LA.A.1.4.2 select and use strategies to understand words [i.e., cueing systems] and text [i.e., reading strategies], and to make and confirm inferences from what is read, including interpreting diagrams, graphs, and statistical illustrations.

LA.A.2.4.6 select and use appropriate study and research skills and tools according to the type of information being gathered or organized, including almanacs, government publications, microfiche , [Internet], news sources, and information services.

AO-11.  Demonstrate awareness of how the texts of biblical writings were transmitted, translated, and gradually recognized as authoritative by Jewish and Christian communities from antiquity to the present.

LA.A.2.4.7 analyze the validity and reliability of primary source information and use the information appropriately.

LA.A.2.4.8 synthesize information from multiple sources to draw conclusions.

AO-12.  Demonstrate knowledge of the impact of the Bible on Western literature, art, music, and thought.

Original Course Description - 2002 (source)
Formerly, this course earned 0.5 credit.  Now, the course earns 1.0 credit.  (source:  2008-2009 Course Directory, Senior High, Section 3: Basic and Adult Education Courses, page 39 of 92)

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Balancing the Sword is a structured study guide for every chapter of the Bible.