Internet Explorer 7, 8, and 9 are no longer supported. Please use a newer browser.
Concourse works best with JavaScript enabled.
Liberty University logo

Online · School of Divinity · Biblical Studies

Old Testament Orientation I

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 02/06/2020

Course Description

An examination of the current status of research in studies relative to the Pentateuch and Historical Books. Special attention will be given to biblical introduction, hermeneutics, and the acquiring of a strategic grasp of the historical setting, literary genres, and structure of each book, as well as areas of particular critical concern.





OBST 515 (along with OBST 520) is foundational for graduate-level study in the Old Testament under Liberty University School of Divinity. This course helps the student understand the Old Testament and related issues so that s/he can effectively minister to the Church and local community.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify the major themes and general contents of the Pentateuch and the Historical Books.
  2. Analyze the literary features of Hebrew narratives and their significance for the study of Old Testament historical texts.
  3. Identify major critical issues related to the authorship and historicity of the Pentateuch and the Historical Books and defend an evangelical view of Scripture in the context of these issues.
  4. Explain how the theological message of the Pentateuch and the Historical Books contributes to the larger theological message of the Bible as a whole.
  5. Apply Old Testament legal and narrative materials with literary and theological sensitivity.

Course Resources

Required Resources

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

Hamilton, Victor P. Handbook on the Pentateuch. Ppbk Ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing, 2015. Available in paperback, Kindle and Logos.

Hamilton, Victor P. Handbook on the Historical Books. Ppbk Ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing, 2001. Available in paperback, Kindle and Logos.

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, Bible readings and lecture presentations which include audio and visual lectures. Supports Learning Outcomes A, 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 on Monday.

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will read articles associated with each Discussion Board Forum and answer the questions found in the corresponding instructions for his or her thread. The student will post a thread interacting in a critical, but collegial manner with the associated article. In addition to the thread, the student must reply to one classmate’s thread by engaging specific issues, questions, or passages related to the thread. The reply must be a minimum of 200 words. The reply is a collegial analysis of what the other student has written and not about the viewpoint of the student who is writing the reply. The student must use current Turabian format to cite any outside sources that are referenced, but there is no minimum number of citations required. Supports Learning Outcomes A, B, D, E.

Reading Reports (8)

The student will complete the required reading each week and report the completion of reading each week in Blackboard. Supports Learning Outcomes A and C.

Presentation Reports (8)

The student will complete the required visual presentation(s) each week and report the completion each week in Blackboard. Supports Learning Outcomes A and C.

Old Testament Interpretive Commentary: Ruth

The student will write a minimum 2500 word interpretive commentary on the Old Testament (OT) book of Ruth, in current Turabian format, that will include the following major components: 1) an introduction to the historical setting (approximately 200 - 300 words); 2) an exegetical outline of the book (that provides structure for the commentary with content oriented subheadings); 3) an interpretive commentary on Ruth for chapters 1-4 (approximately 500 words per chapter); as well as 4) a conclusion that supports at least 3 applications to the Christian life drawn from the interpretive analysis performed in the commentary (approximately 300 – 500 words). The student will submit a title page and bibliography in module week 2 containing a minimum of 5 scholarly sources (that will provide a basis for research in the interpretive commentary), and the completed commentary will be submitted in module week 7. Supports Learning Outcomes A, B, C, D, E.

Exams (4)

The student will take 4 exams throughout the duration of this course. Each exam will cover the reading and study material from the 2 most recent modules/weeks preceding it and are not otherwise cumulative. Each exam will be made up of 2 objective parts: 30 multiple-choice and 30 true/false. Each exam will be open-book/open-notes and have a 1-hour and 30-minute time limit. Supports Learning Outcomes A, B, C, D, E.

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums (2 at 75 pts ea.)


Report on the assigned reading (8 at 12 pts ea.)


Report on visual presentations (8 at 6 pts ea.)


Old Testament Exegetical Commentary: Ruth


Title Page and Bibliography


Final Commentary


Exams (4 at 120 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


OBST 515

Textbooks: Hamilton, Handbook on the Pentateuch (2015).

Hamilton, Handbook on the Historical Books (2001).

Textbook readings parallel Bible readings.


Reading & Study





Read Hamilton (2015) parts 1–2

Bible Readings: Genesis, Exodus

2 videos


Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1

Reading Report 1

Presentation Report 1








Read Hamilton (2015) parts 3–4

Bible Readings: Leviticus, Numbers

1 video


Exam 1: Genesis to Numbers

IC: Title Page & Bibliography

Reading Report 2

Presentation Report 2







Read Hamilton (2015) part 5

Read Hamilton (2001) part 1

Bible Readings: Deuteronomy, Joshua

1 video


DB Forum 2

Reading Report 3

Presentation Report 3






Read Hamilton (2001) parts 2–3

Bible Readings: Judges, Ruth

1 video


Exam 2: Deuteronomy to Ruth

Reading Report 4

Presentation Report 4






Read Hamilton (2001) parts 5–6

Bible Readings: 1Samuel, 2 Samuel

1 video


Reading Report 5

Presentation Report 5




Read Hamilton (2001) parts 7–8

Bible Readings: 1 Kings, 2 Kings

1 video

Exam 3: 1–2 Samuel, 1–2 Kings

Reading Report 6

Presentation Report 6





Read Hamilton (2001) part 9

Bible Readings:

1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles

1 video

Interpretive Commentary: Ruth

Reading Report 7

Presentation Report 7





Hamilton (2001) parts 10–11

Bible Readings: Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

2 videos

Exam 4: 1–2 Chronicles to Esther

Reading Report 8

Presentation Report 8






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.