Old Testament Survey (Online)

Course Syllabus

Winter 2019


BL101 – Old Testament Survey

Class dates- 1/7-3/31

Instructor: J.D. Eldridge, M.A.T.S.

Phone: (858) 336-7598

Email: j.d.eldridge@icloud.com


Our Mission:

The Branch College of Ministry exists to develop, equip, and inspire Christian leaders for excellence in ministry to the church.


Course Description:

This course is an overview of the Old Testament with an emphasis on the literary themes in canonical context. It seeks to develop an understanding of the theological and literary purpose of the Old Testament and its message. An exploration of topics includes human origins, the history of Israel, Old Testament covenants, and the periods of monarchy, captivity and return. Discussion forums will consider Old Testament themes in light of New Testament theology and contemporary Christian living.


Student Learning Outcomes:

After taking this course, students will know or be able to do the following:

1.  Demonstrate basic knowledge of the content, sections and major themes of the Old Testament.

2.  Describe and define the formation of the Old Testament Biblical cannon.

3.  Understand the various forms of literature in the Old Testament and how they should be interpreted.

4.  Identify the basic geography and general time-line of Old Testament Biblical events.


Program Learning Outcomes

This course, when combined with other courses, fulfills the Program Learning Outcomes 1 and 2:

1. Successfully utilize various methods of Biblical Interpretation.

2. Accurately teach sound biblical principles.


Institutional Learning Outcomes

This course, when combined with other courses, fulfills the Institutional Learning Outcomes 1, 2, and 4:

1. Demonstrate clear, effective communication of significant material.

2. Conduct competent academic research within a given discipline or field.

4. Possess the knowledge and skill required to succeed in leadership roles and in service to the community.


Required Textbooks:

Hill, Andrew and John Walton. A Survey of the Old Testament, Expanded and Redesigned. Grand Rapids:     

Zondervan, 2009.


Walton, John H. Chronological and Background Charts of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan,


Recommended Reading

Aharoni, Yohanan, and Michael Avi-Yonah. The Macmillan Bible Atlas. New York: Macmillan, 1977.


Dillard, Raymond. B. and Tremper Longman III. An Introduction to the Old Testament. Grand Rapids:

Zondervan, 1994.


Klein, William, Craig Blomberg, and Robert L. Hubbard. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. Revised

and Updated ed. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004.


Vos, Howard F. Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Manners and Customs: How the People of the Bible Really

Lived. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999.


Waltke, Bruce K. An Old Testament Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2007.


Walton, John H., Victor Harold Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas. The IVP Bible Background                          

Commentary: Old Testament. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 2000.


Course Requirements:


A. Audio Lectures (10%) Throughout the course the instructor will post audio lectures on Populi. Listening to these audio lectures is required, and accounts for 10% of the final grade. In order to receive full credit, the student must listen to the lecture and subsequently notify the instructor within the same week the assignment was given.  


B. Textbook Reading (20%) Each week there is a reading assignment. Reading the textbook is required, and accounts for 20% of the final grade. In order to receive full credit, the student must read the assigned text and subsequently notify the instructor within the same week the assignment was given.


C. Discussion Boards (20%) Each week one discussion question will be posted by each student, as well as the instructor. The question should be in relation to the textbook reading or lectures, and should be the result of careful reflection. Each student must respond to the instructor’s discussion post, and must respond to at least one discussion question posted by other students. In order to give other students plenty of time to reflect and respond, all discussion questions must be posted by Wednesday at 11:59pm to receive credit. All initial responses must be posted by Friday at 11:59pm, and the discussion board will close on Sunday at 11:59pm.


D. Exams (50%) There will be two major exams given throughout the course. The Midterm Exam is worth 20% of your final grade, while the Final Exam is worth 30% of your final grade. The instructor will provide the students with a comprehensive study guide several weeks in advance of each exam.




                  Value of Assignments                                                Grading Scale  

    Audio Lecture                               10%                         96-100        A           77-79    C+         60-62          D-

    Textbook Reading                        20%                        92-95          A-          73-76    C           below 60    F                       

    Discussion Board                         20%                        88-91          B+         70-72    C-

    Midterm Exam                             20%                        84-87          B            67-69    D+

    Final Exam                                    30%                        80-83          B-           63-66    D


Class Schedule:



Reading Due

Assignment Due

Week 1



Background Information: Approach to reading the OT, and Geography



H&W:1, 2

Discussion Questions

Audio Lecture

Week 2



Background information: Culture, Archaeology, and Formation of the OT


H&W:  9, 19, 26

Discussion Questions

Audio Lecture

Week 3


Pentateuch: Intro, Genesis, Exodus


H&W:  3, 4, 5

Discussion Questions

Audio Lecture

Week  4


Pentateuch: Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy


H&W:  6, 7, 8

Discussion Questions

Audio Lecture

Week 5


Historical Books: Intro, Joshua, Judges, Ruth


H&W:  10, 11, 12, 13

Discussion Questions

Audio Lecture

Week 6


Historical Books: Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah

H&W:  14, 15, 16, 17

Discussion Questions

Audio Lecture

Class 1-5 Mid-term Exam

Week 7


Poetic Books: Poetic and Wisdom Literature, Job, Psalms


H&W:  20, 21, 22

Discussion Questions

Audio Lecture

Week 8


Poetic Books: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs


H&W:  23, 24, 25

Discussion Questions

Audio Lecture

Week 9


Major Prophets: Intro, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel


H&W:  27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32

Discussion Questions

Audio Lecture

Week 10


Minor Prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah


H&W:  33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38

Discussion Questions

Audio Lecture

Week 11


Minor Prophets: Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi


H&W:  39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44

Discussion Questions

Audio Lecture

Class 12


Review for Final Exam

H&W:  45, 46, 47

Class 1-11 Final Exam


Library Policy and Procedures


1. Library Hours

·         Monday – Friday: 8:30am–4:30pm

·         During Classroom Times (6pm-9:30pm)


2. Students/patrons may not check out reference books, dictionaries, or commentaries that come in complete sets. Please ask a Branch College faculty or staff member when in doubt.

3. Students/patrons must check out books with a Branch College faculty or staff member using the Library Log Sheet.  Do not remove books from the library without checking them out with a Branch College staff or faculty member. 

4. Students/patrons will be allowed 5 weeks from the date they check out a book to return it.  Failure to return the book or books on time will result in a loss of privilege to use the library until fines are paid, and withholding of grades.  Lost books will require the student to pay for the book by the college’s determined value of the book.  Damaged books may be fined as determined and assessed by the college up to the full value of the book.

5. Students/patrons must check in books with a Branch College faculty or staff member and return all books to the designated book return area in the library rather than returning them to their shelves. This will enable the college to track the extent to which the library is being used by its students/patrons.


The Branch College Academic Policy:


Attendance:  A student who misses 3 classes will be automatically dropped from the course unless arrangements have been made previously with the instructor due to emergency or extreme circumstances. A student who misses class is responsible for all class notes, assignments and any exams that occurred during their absence. It may or may not be possible to make up these assignments, at the discretion of the instructor. Excused absences (that do not fall under the definition of emergency or extreme circumstances) will not count against the “automatic drop” policy, but the grade will reflect a reduction for such absences for each class period missed.


Readings: Assigned readings are mandatory and should be completed in advance of the classes for which they are scheduled in the syllabus. Knowledge of the readings will be critical for understanding the lectures and subsequent discussions, and for preparing for the final examination. 


Quality of Writing: Written assignments should be undertaken as though you were preparing them for publication, even if only for publication in your church or denomination. This discipline should help to improve the quality of your writing. Emphasis in this class will always be placed on the quality rather than the quantity of your work. I appreciate and reward good and lucid writing, and I depreciate and downgrade poor and obscure writing. It is a matter of communication. Clarity and precision of language make communication easier and understanding more pleasurable.

Formal Style of Writing: All assignments should be typed and written in a formal style, for example, no contractions or excessive use of slang.  Papers should include notations (footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical notations), and a bibliography or works cited that follow the format for bibliographical references found in Turabian’s, A Manual for Writers. 

Plagiarism: Anyone who plagiarizes (i.e., presents as one’s own work something which has been taken from someone else) may receive an automatic failure on that piece of work and a warning.  (Plagiarism can involve the taking of an idea or structure of a written work as well as the actual copying of what is written.)  For a first-time offense, the student will receive a 0% grade for the paper with a 1-week grace period to rectify and correct the paper. If such corrections are made on time and to the standards of the course outline the result will be a grade maximum grade of 60%. A second offense of plagiarism will result in failure (“F”) for the final course grade.


Late Papers: All papers are due at the prescribed dates specifically listed in this syllabus. Each paper is due prior to the start of the class period. (Example, if it is an evening class, then the paper shall be due by 6pm. If an afternoon class, then the paper shall be due by 1pm.)  Each day the paper is late will be a 10% reduction in the overall grade.  Extenuating circumstances will be the sole reason that a paper can be turned in late, but prior written approval or communication to the instructor is needed. With extenuating circumstances, the professor has the discretion to deduct as he/she sees fit.  


Completion of Work: All assignments must be turned in order to pass the course. Extended due dates will be granted only in cases of hardship such as hospitalization or emergency absence from class. Unless such a situation arises immediately before a deadline, arrangements cannot be made after the fact without receiving a reduction in your grade. A similar policy applies with regard to course incompletes. 

Incomplete: If the student finds they will be unable to complete the course within the allotted time period they may request an Incomplete from the instructor. To request an Incomplete the student must obtain an Incomplete Form either from the website or the Branch College office. They are to complete this form and submit it to the instructor for approval by the last class session. Students are ineligible to request an Incomplete for a class after the last class session. The instructor will then file the Incomplete Form with the Administrations office. The student has a maximum of 4-weeks from the last class to complete all course work. If the course work is not completed within the allotted time period the student will receive the grade earned as a result of not completing the course work. 

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