Bible: Old Testament 2018 (Csilla Saysell)

GL18 Bible Old Testament Csilla Saysell

1. Learning Experience

This Bible: Old Testament option aims to engage with your view of how the Old Testament presents God.

In the first few weeks, as you begin:

Email the facilitator: Csilla Saysell to introduce yourself: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Spend some time reflecting on your own perspective of how the Old Testament presents God, record (journal) any things you feel are significant, remarkable, or challenging in terms of your own perspective. This is to enable you at the end of this option to assess how far you have travelled through the eight-month period. This is a private document for you unless you chose to share something of the detail to your supervisor/mentor/spiritual director/coach or in your final reflection.

Over the eight months, do one reading per month and answer the reflection questions in your journal. You will need to get hold of the two books listed below:

Book 1

Copan, Paul. Is God a Moral Monster: Making Sense of the Old Testament God. (Baker Books, 2011). Buy online from Book Depository, or borrow from the Carey library…

As this book deals with a good number of topics the brief reflection questions below cannot address them all and only reflect a selection of issues. The end of the book (pp.223-33) contains detailed questions on each chapter for those interested in any one of these topics in more depth.

Reading/Reflection 1 (12 February)

Read: Chapters 1-5 (pp.11-53).

Reflection: After reading about the New Atheists, which of the issues they raise do you find most challenging? How does Part 2 answer the three accusations about God’s character (arrogance, jealousy, child abuse)?


Reading/Reflection 2 (12 March)

Read: Chapters 6-11 (pp.57-123).

Reflection: Is it helpful to think of Israel’s laws as ‘incremental steps’ towards the ideal? How do we avoid the problem of relativism as applied to the OT?


Reading/Reflection 3 (12 April)

Read: Chapters 12-17 (pp.124-197).

Reflection: What light does the ancient Near Eastern background to slavery shed on Israel’s system of slavery/servanthood? What aspects of the argument on the killing of the Canaanites did you find helpful or unconvincing?


Reading/Reflection 4 (12 May)

Read: Chapters 18-20 (pp.198-222).

Reflection: What do you think of the accusation that monotheism leads to violence? How does the coming of Jesus bring clarity to the OT and some of its challenges?


Book 2

Walton, John. The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate. (IVP Academic, 2009). Buy online from Book Depository, or borrow from the Carey library…

Reading/Reflection 5 (12 June)

Read: Intro, Propositions 1-4 (pp.9-53).

Reflection: What are Walton’s arguments that the creation in Gen 1 is primarily functional? How convincing do you find his arguments so far?


Reading/Reflection 6 (12 July)

Read: Propositions 5-9 (pp.54-92)

Reflection: How does the detailed reflection on days 1-6 as functional creation stand up to scrutiny? How does Walton’s idea that the cosmos is a Temple and the seven days are its ‘inauguration’ affect the modern debate around a seven-day creation?


Reading/Reflection 7 (12 August)

Read: Propositions 10-15 (pp.93-131)

Reflection: What are the implications of Walton’s theory of a functional cosmic temple approach on the science versus Scripture debate regarding material origins? How does Walton define the difference between science and theology?


Reading/Reflection 8 (12 September)

Read: Propositions 16-18, summary and FAQs (pp.132-173)

Reflection: In what way is theology stronger in Gen 1 as a result of Walton’s argument? What recommendations does he make for science education?  Did you find any of the answers in the FAQs particularly helpful and if so, which ones?


Reflection Guide

Use the five questions in the Reflection Guide as a basis to aid your reflection with each reading. You might find it helpful to use your response to these questions as conversation starting points when you meet with your own supervisor/mentor/spiritual director/coach (our assumption is you have some sort of accountability meeting at least once every two months).

By 12 October, and following the eight reading/reflection cycles and journalling, write a reflection (1000 words, or a 10 minute vlog). Explain how the reading and reflection has changed your perspective on at least one aspect of how the Old Testament presents God, and how you believe this insight will affect your life and ministry. Submit this to the Facilitator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., You might also like to share this with your Elders or supervisor/mentor/spiritual director/coach.

Feel free to email or phone the Facilitator (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) thoughts or questions at any time through the eight months.

Facilitator: Dr Csilla Saysell


Csilla comes originally from Hungary, but lived in India as a child for several years and spent a gap year in Israel as well as the last ten years in the United Kingdom. She started teaching Old Testament and Hebrew at Carey in 2013. Before moving to New Zealand she taught Old Testament and Hebrew at St John’s College, Nottingham and as a guest lecturer at Cranmer Hall at Durham University.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., the facilitator of this Bible: Old Testament option if you have specific questions about this option.

Email Andrea or Mike at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any general questions about Lifelong Learning or Baptist Leaders' Registration.

PARTICIPANTS: Up to a maximum of 20 at any time.

COST: This course is free for registered Baptist Leaders. All other registrants will be email invoiced NZD$50 per Guided Learning option.

[updated 30 October 2017]

Event Properties

Event Date 12-02-2018
Event End Date 12-10-2018
Registration Start Date 01-11-2017
Cut off date 01-02-2018
We are no longer accepting registration for this event


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