The following testimonial, written by Minister Phyllis Ford, relates the experience of a group of students who recently studied N.T. Wright Online’s Book of Daniel course together via Zoom. You can enroll in this course for half-off until April 30th.

The Body of Christ is divided in respect to our how our Christian faith and beliefs relate to Scripture. Proper training in understanding the Bible includes knowing the history in which it was written, information about its authors, and a grasp of its overarching narrative. 

Finding the Right Training for Our Small Group

Early last year I was determined to find the right training where we could all learn and still study independently. We were eager to find teaching that provided overviews on the various subject matters in the Bible. Our journey landed upon Dr. N.T. Wright’s work available on Udemy. 

Simply Jesus became our first dwelling place where we could study the New Testament Gospels with new insights. Needless to say, we were excited! 

While looking through the windows of the Gospels we began to explore Jesus. Studying this way seemed simplistic but we soon realized we had our work cut out for us. 

Discovering New Dimensions in Jesus Story

By hearing Professor N.T. Wright we began to see things in God’s Word in the dimensions and layers of the time it was written and how we can understand things now from a contemporary view. We also picked up the book Simply Jesus and Prof. Wright’s The Kingdom New Testament as additional resources. 

Our eyes began to open and we observed the rich history surrounding the words of Scripture. We developed a broader understanding of how the world viewed the early church and how the church viewed the World. 

More importantly, we learned about how Jesus sees us and a new way we might see Jesus Christ in His fullness. We learned new comparisons that were fascinating, especially as we considered life and death. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ can be compared to the death we experience in our flesh when we live a cross-centered life. We also came to understand how Jesus’ resurrection relates to us.

My favorite new idea was how Heaven and Earth’s relationship to us and each other is closer than we think. The power of Calvary, the Resurrection, and all that leads to it, touched us all. 

Laughing, Crying, With the Help of a Syllabus

I loved the fact the course included questions within the syllabus. The time we spent answering them was rich and well worth our while. 

As we studied, there we shared times of laughing and crying that drew us closer as a community. We came to value each other as colleagues who all had something significant, as well as brothers and sisters in the Lord. 

Studying Together Through the Pandemic

When we began, we had no idea that we were about to enter into a serious pandemic. We didn’t know our boats would take us where we could help each other weather our storms as the narrative of the very words of Jesus encouraged us and kept us along the way. 

After Simply Jesus, we considered moving on to learning about Paul. We observed the courses in Udemy’s overview mode and waited for direction on which way to go. 

I, along with my colleague Angela, felt that we should instead study the teachings of Daniel. The pandemic had created an interest in prophets and prophetic function. We were also fascinated by how prophets interacted with the political arena. 

As we studied each chapter, we found the Book of Daniel speaking to us. The book’s “times and seasons approach” led us to ask, “what we could learn from this great prophet of God, Daniel?” How did he become a great prophet who influenced so many regions and people? Why was he the Lord’s choice to deal with such Kings of Babylon, Medes, Persia? 

Why did God reveal to Daniel visions of what was to come? How this could be compared to how God works with people now? 

What about the lessons Jerusalem learned due to their disobedience? 

How could we become like Daniel? How might we learn to recognize the systems of men and to learn not to fall prey to the ‘Babylonian frame of mind’? 

Just Look at the Section Titles

We were inspired to enroll when we saw the section titles for Daniel in Udemy’s overview. When I saw titles like Section 1 ‘Living Faithfully in a Hostile Culture’ I knew this course would be prophetic for us.

The last section is titled ‘Living Faithfully in the Kingdom of God’. This phrase occurs as early as Section 1 in this course, but by the time we got to the end, we had an entirely different understanding of it deep in our hearts & minds. 

This course, and especially the last section, moved us from hostility into the promises of God.      

Minister Phyllis Ford works online and around the world with a focus on prayer and spiritual warfare.

If you have a story of your experience with N.T. Wright Online Courses, email us at courses@ntwrightonline.org.

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Jennifer Loop

Jennifer Loop is Content Developer for the Wisconsin Centre for Christian Studies. Currently, she is working towards her doctorate in the study of practical theology at Durham University, centering her research on forgiveness. Jennifer has served as a leader in Celebrate Recovery, a Christian 12-step recovery program. She is married to Gary and they live in West Bend with their twenty-year-old cat, Caleb.