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Online · School of Divinity · Biblical Studies

Apologetics and the New Testament

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

An investigation of key issues in the study of the New Testament with a focus upon defending the truthfulness of the New Testament. Focused attention will be given to the Synoptic Problem, historical Jesus studies, the historicity of Acts, as well as theories of the development of New Testament Christology and claims of early, competing Christianities.


Prerequisites: APOL 500 and NBST 610


The study of the accuracy and historical reliability of the New Testament is vital to the defense of Christianity. This course will explore current, key issues related to the truth-claims of the New Testament in order to defend the core of Christianity. In doing so, it will equip the student to defend the veracity of the New Testament against recent criticisms of its claims.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Discuss key issues of methodology, history, and theology as it relates to the key issues of the New Testament.
  2. Evaluate critical issues related to the veracity of the New Testament.
  3. Assess scholarly approaches to the historical issues of the New Testament.
  4. Develop a defense of key historical issues in the New Testament.
  5. Integrate historical, biblical, and theological methodology into a cohesive whole in presenting a defense of the veracity of the New Testament.

Course Resources

Required Resources

The resources below are provided in the course at no cost to the student.

Bauckham, Richard. Jesus and the God of Israel. Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2008.

Bock, Darrell L. Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources and Methods. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002.

Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don’t Know About Them). New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2009.

Köstenberger, Andreas J., Darrell L. Bock, and Josh D. Chatraw. Truth in a Culture of Doubt: Engaging Skeptical Challenges to the Bible. Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2014.

Kruger, Michael J. The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate. Downers Grove: IVP 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. School of Divinity Writing Guide:

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

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 is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. For each thread, the student must integrate biblical principles and cite at least 2 scholarly sources other than the course textbooks and the Bible in current Turabian format. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words. The student must include a word count at the end of each thread and reply.

Research Paper – Topic and Bibliography

The student will submit the topic for his or her Research Paper along with 10 scholarly sources other than the course textbooks and the Bible cited in current Turabian format.

Critical Evaluations (2)

For each Critical Evaluation, the student will write a 1,000–1,200-word paper in current Turabian format that focuses on the selected portions of the Ehrman and Kruger textbooks. Approximately half of each Critical Evaluation (500–600 words) must be a summary of the applicable textbook, while the other half must be a critique of the textbook’s strengths and weaknesses. Each Critical Evaluation must include citations from the course textbooks and the Bible.

Research Paper

The student will write a 2,000–2,500-word, research-based paper in current Turabian format that focuses on the subject of New Testament reliability or the defense of high Christology. The paper must reference at least 10 scholarly sources in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible and include a bibliography.

Exams (4)

Each exam will cover the Reading & Study material for the assigned module/week and the immediately preceding module/week. Exams 1 and 3 will contain 15 multiple-choice and true/false questions, 1 matching question, and 1 short essay question. Exams 2 and 4 will contain 20 multiple-choice and true/false questions and 1 short essay question. Each exam will be open-book/open-notes and have a 30-minute time limit.

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums

Threads (2 at 45 pts ea)


Replies (2 sets of 2 at 20 pts ea)


Research Paper – Topic and Bibliography


Critical Evaluations (2 at 150 pts ea)


Research Paper


Exams (4 at 90 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 640

Textbooks: Bauckham, Jesus and the God of Israel (2008).

Bock, Studying the Historical Jesus (2002).

Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted (2009).

Köstenberger et al., Truth in a Culture of Doubt (2014).

Kruger, The Question of Canon (2013).


Reading & Study




Bock: Introduction

Ehrman: ch. 1

Köstenberger et al.: Introduction–ch. 1

2 presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1 Thread





Bock: chs. 1–6

Ehrman: ch. 5

1 presentation

DB Forum 1 Replies

Exam 1




Bock: chs. 7–11

Köstenberger et al.: ch. 4

1 presentation

Research Paper – Topic and Bibliography



Ehrman: ch. 2

Köstenberger et al.: ch. 2

1 presentation

Critical Evaluation 1

Exam 2




Ehrman: ch. 3

Köstenberger et al.: ch. 3

2 presentations

DB Forum 2 Thread



Ehrman: ch. 4

Köstenberger et al.: ch. 5

Kruger: Introduction–ch. 1

1 presentation

DB Forum 2 Replies

Exam 3




Kruger: chs. 2–5

1 presentation

Critical Evaluation 2



Bauckham: ch. 1

Köstenberger et al.: Conclusion

1 presentation

Research Paper

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.