How was BTS used at USF?
Question: I am homeschooling my 17-year old. We're going through the Old Testament right now, and I just stumbled upon a review of your book. I was wondering if you still have a copy of the course syllabus? I would love to see how you used the books for a college level course---what the pacing looked liked, and what writing assignments accompanied it. Perhaps I might be able to incorporate your book into what we are doing. Our focus this year as we read through the Old Testament is really on "understanding and knowing" the Lord, specifically going through His Word to see how He exercises "lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness" (Jer. 9:24).
Answer: Thank you for your interest in the Balancing the Sword study curriculum. Although I do not have all of the syllabi, click to view one sample syllabus for Fall 1995. My USF students earned four credits on a senior level over the fifteen-week semesters during the spring and the fall and over the six-week semester during the summer. The three semesters rendered a total of twelve credits under the title of "Rapid Reading of the Scriptures" as classical literature. Students were required to do all reading in the Authorized King James Version. The Authorized translation was required because of its unsurpassed literary impact upon the English-speaking world. The KJV's reading difficulty added to the course's challenge, but students were welcome to also read a second or third translation to assist their understanding. Students read all sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament over the year answering the Balancing the Sword questions as they progressed.
I lectured on a portion of the reading each week. Classes lasted 1:30 hours to 2:00 hours. Although attendance was technically mandatory, most students loved the classes and continued to attend after their semester was completed. The head of the literature department knew that I was a Christian who would do my best to perfect the students academically while also attempting to engender faith as compelled by the biblical writers. Hence, every class opened and closed with prayer. My primary focus when speaking was
Each week students demonstrated their comprehension through class discussions and quizzes.
Questions for the weekly quizzes were always taken directly from the Balancing the Sword questions covered in the previous week; therefore, students were never surprised by a quiz's contents.
However, only ten questions were used, and the students did not know which ten questions would be chosen.
Each question was worth ten percent of the quiz's value. Thus, participants had to commit to memory a wide array of details.
Finally, each student composed ten book reviews of one to two pages in length.
Reviews had to capture a full and proportioned overview of the biblical book and include verse citations.
As would be expected in the literature department, essays were rigorously
graded for punctuation, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and overall writing quality.