We’re nearing the end of our New Testament study for the year; what have we learned? Shall we assess?
Back in 2006, when I was still engaged in my Sisyphian PhD pursuit, I taught an Honors Acts-Revelation class at BYU, which was a lot of fun. We learned a little Greek, read some introductory scholarship, and the New Testament in two translations. Students had an outside assignment each week, and a reading assignment for each class period on top of the New Testament passages. Generally speaking, students responded very positively. On the very first day, we learned the Greek alphabet, and they got a Greek assignment, in order to filter out the purely devotional, Seminary-type students who wouldn’t fit the class profile or rank me highly. Student reviews are king at The BYU, especially in the Religious Education department.
Below are the midterm and final I gave. The midterm was take-home and open scripture, though I warned them it wouldn’t help. The final was given in class. Now, five years on, I would reword, reframe, or rethink some of these questions, they’re certainly not immune to criticism. But looking at them again, I think we struck a good balance between, faith, devotion, critical thinking, and introduction to scholarship. Enjoy.
As you go through, please write neatly and clearly! I can’t grade what I can’t read. Flip the test over, and write your name neatly on the back of the last sheet. Remember to support your answers, be as specific as you can, and write clearly, Take note of the time you start and finish the exam, and indicate how long it took you to complete.
Lastly, have fun.
- In the New Testament, what is an ? (Handout, class discussion.4 pts) [Greek font not enabled]
- Explain the primary scriptural reason why Paul’s preaching of “Christ and him crucified” was a stumbling-block to the Jews. (Class discussion. 6 pts.)
- (Short answer) According to Acts, how did the earliest Christians refer to themselves?How did Paul refer to them in his letters? (Class discussion. 2 pts.)
- Explain the cultural background of the meat-sacrificed-to-idols controversy (in Acts and Corinthians), and how that cultural background helps us understand the issue. (Secondary reading. 6 points)
- Why is Stephen’s vision of Christ standing on the right hand of God not a good argument against the classical definition of the trinity? (Handout, class discussion.4 pts.)
- Was the apostasy internal or external, and how quickly was apostasy present among the early Christians? Support your answer with whatever relevant scriptures, Greek, logic, etc. (Reading, 5 pts)
- What is the Gospel, as preached in the New Testament? (Class discussion, 3 pts)
- Part of critical thinking is becoming aware of your own assumptions. We have discussed several different ways our assumptions can mislead us when reading the New Testament. What assumptions, practices, or ideas do we typically bring to our reading of the New Testament that cause us to misread it? Discuss three. (Reading, class discussions. 6 points)
- Give a rough summary of 1-2 Thessalonians- Date of writing, what they were struggling with, how Paul responded, etc. (6 points)
- Why don’t LDS strictly follow everything the Bible says? (Class discussion, 4 pts.)
Which Bible translation did Joseph Smith say was the most accurate? (1 pt)
Where was Paul born? (1 pt)
FINAL (This was open-scripture, but in-class with a time limit)
- What does the word mean? (class discussion, 2pts)
- What is the Greek word behind “earnest” in Eph.1:14, and in that light, what does the passage mean? (class discussion, assignment, 3 points. This question tested students understanding and usage of Strong’s Lexicon, which had been their first assignment. I brought in several to class, and they took turns coming up to consult it to answer this question.)
- After “the spirit,”according to Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and Brother Spackman, what is the one most important thing to aid one in understanding a passage? (2 pts)
- Based on the dates given by Richard L. Anderson in Understanding Paul (and not consulting the Bible Dictionary), list Paul’s letters in order of writing, from earliest to latest.
- With regards to Christ, what is the general theme of Hebrews? (Hint: The chapter headings won’t help you.)(3 pts.)
- What relevance or implications does the date of 1 Thessalonians have for the doctrine of the apostasy? (3 pts)
- When you encounter something in the scriptures that is odd, contrary to LDS thought or doctrine, how do you react in terms of dealing, accommodating, understanding, and/or reconciling it to your beliefs and/or the doctrines of the Church? 4 points
- a. Were Peter James and John “ignorant and unlearned” peasants (Acts 4:13), and how do we know? Support your answer
- b. Why does the answer matter? (Secondary reading. 5 pts.)
- According to the Hebrew meaning of the word and Paul’s explanation in Hebrews 11, what is faith? How does this compare with Alma 32? (Class discussion. 4 pts)
- With regards to the Epistle of James and Paul’s letters in general, what do they mean when they say “works”? Why do they differ? (Class discussion, 4 pts)
- 1Explain (using examples if possible) how Paul ranks the relative strength and merits of intellect vs. spiritual understanding. How do Paul’s own experiences play into this question? (4 pts)
- How much of the reading did you do for this class? Indicate a percentage (multiples of 5 please ).
Thought question if you have time: Statistically speaking (and my experience bears this out), boys speak up in class with comments, questions, discussion etc., about 4x as often as girls. Why is this?