The Bible Collection: Samson and Delilah

2016-07-31-samsondelilahSamson and Delilah is the latest Bible Collection film I have watched, and after finally completing it over probably over a half-dozen sessions, I have finished up the two-part film.

In the three hour film you are told the story of Samson, an Israelite who has superhuman strength, who threatens the control of the powerful and evil Philistines that rule over the lands. Samson is told from an early age that he is God’s chosen instrument of freeing the Jewish people from their oppressor’s control, but instead of staying focused on God, Samson instead focuses on vain things, particularly toxic, physical relationships with Philistine women.

Eventually he is seduced and falls under the spell of a woman named Delilah, who manages to get Samson to tell what the secret behind his strength is. When he finally confesses that it’s his hair, she cuts it off and turns him over to the Philistines (in exchange for a large reward of silver pieces). He is foolish, and she used him … and because of that his eyes are blinded and he is thrown in jail. He eventually gets right with God though, and uses his strength one last time to push down temple pillars, which kill Philistine royalty and elite, as prophesied.

To me, this film had a good message and some good acting (Elizabeth Hurley and Dennis Hopper steal the show), but was simply too long and tiring to watch over two parts. Also, Samson comes across as a very unlikable, vain and selfish man … a very odd choice for someone so powerful, considering it took him until the very end to do what God wanted. It’s truly a cautionary tale of worldly things keeping humans from doing the things God wants and hopes for us.

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Intro to Spiritual Disciplines Course Completed!

2016-07-03-sd501Yesterday I finished up my second full-length course from Koinonia Institute: “SD501: Intro to Spiritual Disciplines.”

This course, unlike the two I’ve done previously, is taught by Dr. Daniel Stolebarger, who apparently is involved high up with the Koinonia Institute. In this course you cover topics like:

• Jewish customs and how Jewish leaders are trained, teach, etc.

• How you can setup your own small study groups for learning and fellowship

• What different types of translations exist and what some differences are.

The class is only five weeks long and after doing the weekly exams and discussions, you have to take a fairly easy 50+ question final exam. Luckily, the vast majority of final exam questions are easy to remember from the first couple lectures and the rest can be found online with minimal research. I did well on the weekly quizzes…and got a 85% on the final exam.

What was my favorite part of the course?

I think the most interesting part of the course is the final part, where a guest lecturer goes over different Bible translations and how they can warp the Word of God, if not done carefully and/or for the right reasons.

What am I thankful for?

Despite me not being a big fan of this particular teacher’s discussion style, I am grateful that Jesus Christ has exposed me to a different type of teacher. I’m sure in my studies I’ll encounter many people who have different mindsets and approaches to teaching/learning than I do, and it’s healthy for me to be exposed to someone who doesn’t quite mesh with me, yet I can still find some value in their words. It’s a humbling thing, and nudges you to go out of your comfort zone, in regards to trying to find the good in things and people.

What could use some work?

This course was difficult for me, mainly because of two reasons: I felt the lecturer was hard to focus on (his mannerisms, vocal style and analogies were challenging to deal with) and he seemed to not have a very clear, well-designed/executed approach to the course content. Even now, I’m not quite sure what the focus of the course was — was it just a catch-all for things Dr. Stolebarger liked discussing?

Survey of the New Testament Course Completed!

2016-07-02-bib501-2Two days ago I finished up my first true* (*full-length) course from Koinonia Institute: “BIB501-2: Survey of the New Testament.”

I think this is an excellent course for a new believer to take because Dr. Missler does a wonderful job covering a huge amount of material in about a dozen or so hours. He tackles very important subjects like:

• Describing Jesus’ ministry, from the perspective of four Apostles

• Covers Paul’s ministry in great detail, with explanation of his travels

• Explains Revelation in a very straightforward manner

I also contributed to weekly forum discussions (I missed one weeks’ discussion due to me getting my schedule messed up), took 12 weekly quizzes and then a 90+ question final exam also. I did well on the weekly quizzes…and on the final test I got a 86% on it (that exam took me over 6 hours of studying/research to complete, over three separate days!).

What was my favorite part of the course?

There were two parts – the first one was Dr. Missler explaining why Jesus was unrecognizable initially to His followers after He rose from the dead. It was a very sad and tragic discovery Chuck exposed students too, and it makes a lot of sense … and made me feel incredibly sad for Jesus (and His Father) that humans would treat him so badly. The second thing I loved was Dr. Missler’s approach to explaining Revelation. The two-part analysis really broke down a very complex book into understandable, digestible chunks that I could finally wrap my head around. It also helped explain key differences that separate so many denominations (Pre-Millennialism + Pre-Tribulation vs, well, everything else).

What am I thankful for?

I’m thankful that I had the ability to learn about the New Testament from such a learned, well-spoken and detailed teacher like Dr. Chuck Missler. The material covered gave me a much deeper understanding of the events of the New Testament and how that applies to me, as a believer.

What could use some work?

The only part of the entire course I felt was weak was the very final hour, where it was basically a “summary” of material covered previously, vs. Dr. Missler digging into something new. I feel as though (perhaps) that final hour would better be spent talking about how the New Testament has changed society and what impact that has had on Jewish and non-believers. (Or something like that topic, where it talks about the New Testament, in a general sense…)