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Online · School of Divinity · Biblical Studies

New Testament Orientation I

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 01/13/2020

Course Description

A general introduction to the New Testament Gospels, General Epistles, and Revelation, emphasizing matters of text, canon, authorship, date, authorial purpose, and theme development. Also a special introduction, involving current issues of criticism and interpretation, such as the synoptic problem. The general principles of interpretation (hermeneutics) will be introduced as well as the special principles concerning parables, symbols and types, and prophecy.





This course will provide the student with an overview of both the background and content of the New Testament. A broad look at the New Testament as well as the historical, cultural, political, and religious context allows the student to see how the specific message of a New Testament document interfaces with the whole.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe key features of the historical and cultural context of the New Testament.
  2. Describe the major events and themes of Christ’s life and ministry.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the historical setting, major themes, interpretive issues, and literary genres of the Gospels, General Epistles, and Revelation.
  4. Evaluate the influence of the Old Testament on the theological emphases of the Gospels, General Epistles, and Revelation.
  5. Construct an evidence-based research project of a key issue or problem in New Testament studies.

Course Resources

Required Resource Purchase

The resource below is provided in the course at no cost to the student.

Elwell, Walter A., and Robert W. Yarbrough. Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Additional Materials for Learning

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Blackboard recommended browsers
    4. Microsoft Word
    5. A study Bible, such as the NIV Study Bible or NASB Study Bible, is recommended, but not required.

Course Assignments

Bible readings, textbook readings, videos, and lecture presentations. (MLO: A, B, C, D)

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student must participate in 2 Discussion Board Forums during the course in which the student must post a thread in response to the Discussion Board prompt and then respond to 2 different students’ threads. Each Discussion Board thread must contain at least 400 words; each reply must contain at least 200 words. Any sources used, including textbooks, assigned videos or presentations, or outside resources must be documented with parenthetical citations and a bibliography of sources used. (MLO: A, B, C, D.)

Gospel Christology Paper

The student will be assigned one of the four canonical Gospels and write a paper, not to exceed 15 pages, double-spaced, in which the student identifies and traces through the Gospel the primary Christological interpretation of Jesus employed by that Gospel writer; for example, “Jesus as miracle worker;” or “Jesus as Son of God;” or “Jesus as Servant of the LORD;” etc. In the paper, the student must identify the particular stories and passages in the Gospel where this portrayal is emphasized, as well as his or her reasons for thinking so. The student must work chiefly with the text of the assigned Gospel, though secondary sources must also be used, especially academic commentaries on the biblical text, as “conversation partners” with whom to test the student’s hypothesis. The student will be assigned a Gospel on which to work based on the first letter of his or her last name: A-F (Matthew), G-L (Mark), M-R (Luke), S-Z (John). The paper must be in current Turabian format with all sources documented with appropriate footnotes and bibliography. References to the text of the Gospel may be included in the body with parenthetical citations. (MLO: A, B, D, E.)

Reading Reports (8)

The student must complete the required reading each module/week and report the completion of reading each module/week in Blackboard. (MLO: A, B, C, D.)

Presentation Reports (8)

The student must complete the required viewing of visual presentations (video and PowerPoint) each module/week and report the completion each module/week in Blackboard. (MLO: A, B, C, D.)

Exams (4)

The student must take 4 exams, each focusing on material from the 2 most recent modules/weeks. Each exam contains 20 multiple-choice and true/false questions, is open-book/open-notes, and must be completed in 1 hour. (MLO: A, B, C, D.)


Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums (2 at 100 pts ea)


Gospel Christology Paper


Reading Reports (8 at 15 pts ea)


Presentation Reposts (8 at 10 pts ea)


Exams (4 at 100 pts ea)





Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


NBST 515

Textbooks: Elwell & Yarbrough, Encountering the New Testament (2013).

The Holy Bible.



Reading & Study




Elwell & Yarbrough: chs. 1–2

3 presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1

Reading Report 1

Presentation Report 1







Elwell & Yarbrough: chs. 3, 8–9

2 presentations

Reading Report 2

Presentation Report 2

Exam 1





Elwell & Yarbrough: chs. 4–5

Matthew, Mark

2 presentations

Reading Report 3

Presentation Report 3




Elwell & Yarbrough: chs. 6–7

Luke, John

2 presentations

Reading Report 4

Presentation Report 4

Exam 2





Elwell & Yarbrough: chs. 10–12

2 presentations

Reading Report 5

Presentation Report 5




Elwell & Yarbrough: ch. 22

Hebrews, James

2 presentations

DB Forum 2

Reading Report 6

Presentation Report 6

Exam 3






Elwell & Yarbrough: ch. 23

1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2, & 3 John, Jude

2 presentations

Reading Report 7

Presentation Report 7

Gospel Christology Paper





Elwell & Yarbrough: ch. 24


2 presentations

Reading Report 8

Presentation Report 8

Exam 4






DB = Discussion Board

NOTE: Each course module/week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.