Interview With Coordinator of New Bible Study Course
Life, Hope & Truth just launched an 11-lesson Bible course. We discussed the new course with its coordinator and principal author, Erik Jones.
On Feb. 3, 2021, we launched a major new resource for students of the Bible: the Life, Hope & Truth Bible Study Course. This free 11-lesson course enrolled over 600 students in its first day.
We asked Erik Jones, who shepherded the course through its development, to share the goals and background of the course. He is a former history teacher and now is a full-time writer and editor for Life, Hope & Truth.
His other main responsibilities include editing and coordinating Insights blog posts and writing a regular column for Discern magazine. He has also authored three booklets:
- The Last Enemy: What Really Happens After Death?
- The United States, Britain and the Commonwealth in Prophecy.
- God’s Purpose for You: Discovering Why You Were Born.
He continues to teach as an adjunct faculty member at Foundation Institute, Center for Biblical Education, and oversees its student housing program.
Q: What do you hope students will get out of the new course?
A: My greatest hope is that those who take this course will develop a greater passion for studying the Bible. We obviously hope that people will finish the course better educated on the biblical topics we cover in the course, but our primary goal is to help people to develop the passion and skills to continue their study of the Bible throughout their lives.
Q: Who do you think will benefit most from the course? Who is the target audience?
A: Ultimately, everybody! We designed this course to be able to be studied by everyone—from the Bible novice to someone who has been studying the Bible all his or her life (and everyone in between). We hope there’s something everyone can get out of it.
We also think it will be helpful for younger people. I think people 13 years old and above could take it and learn from it. It would really help a teenager develop a strong foundation in the Bible, and help seasoned adults strengthen that same foundation in their lives.
This course is designed with regular people as the target audience. In other words, you don’t need to have a theology degree or credit hours from a seminary to be able to understand and learn from this course.
Q: What drew you to the project?
A: Well, my background is in education. So the idea of helping to create a systematic course designed to educate regular, everyday people in the Word of God was very exciting to me. As I said earlier, I hope this goes beyond just educating people in what the Bible teaches, but also helps educate them in how to be good students of God’s Word.
Q: How many writers, reviewers, proofreaders and designers were involved?
A: I’m glad you asked that because this project really was a team effort. I can’t begin to list all the names, but I’d like to specifically acknowledge those who helped me with the writing: Mike Bennett, Tim Groves, Jim Haeffele, Jeremy Lallier and David Treybig. All of these men have extensive experience teaching the Bible (through writing and the spoken word), which greatly helped.
Some other integral people to this project were Becky Bennett (our copy editor) and Teri Mez (a very talented graphic designer we contracted to design the lessons).
If we added in all the other individuals who were involved with various elements of the development of each lesson, there would probably be well over 20 people who had a part in each lesson. There would be no way to really estimate the man hours that have been invested in this course—but we’d probably be talking thousands.
Q: How many years did this take? What were some of the major challenges?
A: Do you want the long answer or the short answer?
The short answer is . . . a while.
The long answer is six years and eight months.
Now, I must clarify that there was a period of time in there when the project was actually shelved for a while due to other projects and uncertainty about the best approach to take. Initially, we had planned for a very ambitious online-only course that would have included embedded teaching videos and gamification. We eventually realized that was a bit too ambitious and wouldn’t be the ideal platform for everyone. So we rethought the plan and decided to go forward with interactive PDF lessons that allowed people to either print them out or do them on a device.
This approach actually will allow the Bible Study Course to reach a wider audience, so I think it was the right decision.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: The only thing I’d like to add is that if people take the course, we’d love to hear their feedback. So if students have any feedback (positive or negative) or have any questions about things they learn in the course, they can feel free to reach out to us at lifehopeandtruth.com/contact.