The chaplain of the pilgrimage I joined to the Holy Land repeatedly told our group that after the pilgrimage, we will never read the Gospels the same way again.
I did not realize how true this was until I received an e-mail from the alumni mailing list of the Universidad de Navarra announcing, among others, a new online diploma course on biblical theology. I wanted to enroll immediately; the trip to the Holy Land made me want to delve deeper into the Bible beyond my daily short readings of the New Testament.
I realized, though, that my schedule as a practicing attorney would prevent me from keeping up with the course requirements. In fact, I also realized that I do not need a formal degree in biblical theology. I just wanted to study the Bible more, so as to know God more and thus be able to love Him more. But just the same, I wanted a structured plan for the endeavor.
I then discovered the Bible Courses at the website of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, which was founded and is headed by the famous Dr. Scott Hahn. I found them appropriate for my needs.
At the “Bible Courses” page of the website, there are six courses, each consisting of six lessons: “Covenant Love: Introducing the Biblical World View, From Genesis to Jesus,” “The Lamb’s Supper: The Bible and the Mass,” “Reading the Old Testament in the New: The Gospel of Matthew,” “‘He Must Reign’: The Kingdom of God in Scripture,” and “Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God.”
Each lesson contains an outline, notes, study questions, recommended biblical passages, and suggestions for prayer and reflection. My own approach to using the material consists of reading the lessons and the cited Biblical passages (as well as the citations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, if any), and then taking down notes guided by the study questions. I also make marginal notes on my copy of the Bible. Finally, I use the lessons and my notes as material for my personal prayer.
The lessons are free, and do not even require a password. The site requests, however, that users register for informational purposes.
One drawback of the Bible Courses is that they do not have an interactive component. The courses are simply guides for self-study. Nothing prevents users, however, from forming their own study groups and online discussion forums to complement the lessons.
I am now on Lesson 2 of the “Covenant Love: Introducing the Biblical World View” course. So far my experience has been rewarding. I am learning how the key to understanding the entire Bible is the covenant between God and His people. I am also learning about the five covenants that God created with His people throughout the Old Testament, and how they are fulfilled in Jesus and His Church. I am amazed as I discover more and more God’s love for humanity, and how all parts of the Bible fit together and make sense.
I recommend the Bible Courses of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology to anyone who wants to delve deeper into the Bible. Each lesson makes me enthusiastic to learn more and enriches my prayer life. The Bible Courses of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology are a valuable resource for anyone who wants to read the Bible so as to know God more, and thus love Him more.