BIB 310 Synoptic Gospels       Instructor: Bruce Terry
Section: 01                    Office: Stotts, Room 20A; Box: 121
Day/Time: MR 9:30-10:45am      Telephone: 304/485-7384 ext. 153
Room: 143, North Campus        Office Hours: TWF   10:00-11:00am
EMail:                       TR    11:00-12:00am
                                             MTWRF  1:00- 2:00pm


Synopsis of the Four Gospels by Kurt Aland (either the Greek-English or English only are acceptable)
Interpreting the Synoptic Gospels by Scot McKnight

Course Description

This course will focus on the first three gospels, also called the synoptic gospels. It will include introductory material, a comparison of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, a discussion of the synoptic problem, introductions to exegesis and textual criticism, and an emphasis on historical reconstruction from ancient texts. Beyond the academic analysis of the text, the course will focus on who is this Jesus that the text describes.

Course Objectives

  1. To acquaint the student with the teachings and historical events in the life of Jesus as revealed in the first three gospels of the New Testament.
  2. To develop an academic understanding of reading an ancient text such as the Bible.
  3. To introduce the student to academic concerns, such as introductory background material, the synoptic problem, textual criticism, exegetical method, and historical reconstruction from an ancient text.
  4. To help the student come face to face in the scripture with Jesus, thus providing a faith building experience for the student.

Attendance and Tardies

Attendance in class is mandatory; it will be part of the basis for the grade given. If you cannot attend for good reason, either notify me beforehand or as soon as possible afterward. This applies even if you have an excused absence. You will be expected to do all work of any classes missed, except for pop quizzes and daily homework. If you do not intend to attend regularly, kindly withdraw from the class now.

Do NOT miss class simply because you do not have an assignment finished. Do NOT miss class if you can possibly come; save any absences for sickness or death in the family. If you have an extended illness, please contact me to let me know.

Kindly try to be a class on time. If you are consistently tardy for no good reason, I reserve the right to count three tardies as an absence.

If you have to leave early, please inform me before class. Do not schedule extra work, doctor's appointments, etc. during class time if at all possible. If you are too frequent in leaving early, I reserve the right to count early departures as a partial absence, adversely affecting your grade.

Absences may be excused if you bring me documentation that you were ill, involved in an accident, on school business, or there was a death in the immediate family. More than three hours of unexcused absences will result in your being dropped from the course. You may pay a fine and petition to be reinstated. Additional unexcused absences will result in your being dropped without future reinstatement. No credit will be given for a course in which absences, both excused and unexcused, total more than 25% of the hours of the course (i.e., as many as 12 class hours, counting each class as 1½ hours).

Office Hours

I will be in my office ten hours during the week as outlined above. If you have class conflicts with my office hours, you can schedule another time with me. Appointments during office hours will be given precedence over drop-ins, but if you need to see me about something and don't have an appointment, come on up to my office and I will try to squeeze you in. If you need help, please use my office hours. You may also see me both before and after class as time permits. I will be available for extended conferences after class hours if it does not interfere with another class or chapel. No appointment will usually be necessary to see me at this time. If I am not in my office at office hours after a class, check my last classroom to see if a student has detained me there.


Your grade for the class will be based on three major exams (including a comprehensive final exam), eight pericopes color coded in the synopsis, one map, a six-page typewritten exegesis, a four-page typewritten sermon or lesson, attendance, and questions from pop quizzes over the reading, collected in-class work, and collected homework. For the papers, one page is defined as 27 double-spaced typewritten lines (counting the title, but not your name and/or page numbers) with 1" margins (1¼" margins on the left). Use a cover sheet with the papers. Exam questions can come from the lectures or assigned readings from either the textbook or the New Testament. The final exam will cover material from the whole course.

Class will be excused for students attending the World Missions Workshop at LCU. Students will be expected to attend at least a one hour class for each hour missed and turn in a one- page report on the class attended. The reports will count as attendance grades.

Ten points will be given for attendance. One point will be deducted for each class missed, including those missed for illness. The only exception to this will be those who miss on official school business and have an official notice to this effect. Two grace days will be given to allow for absences due to illness and excused absences for official school business. Note well: Grace days will be applied first to excused absences.

Additional readings/quizzes/essays/maps may be assigned.

The final grade will be based on your work in the following way:

          Synopsis Marking and Map                          10%
          Attendance                                        10%
          Pop Quizzes/Homework                              10%
          Exegesis                                          12%
          Sermon/Lesson                                      8%
          Major Tests                                       30%
          Final Exam                                        20%

The only extra credit which will be allowed to exceed these percentages will come from up to three one-page reports on the Inman Forum. Your final grade will be A, B, C, D, or F. An A will be given for an average of 100-90, a B for 89-80, a C for 79-70, a D for 69-60, and an F for any average below 60.

All work is expected to be turned in on time. If for some reason you cannot make the due date, please ask my permission to turn the work in late. Late homework is not accepted, since the answers will often be given in class. Realizing that other teachers may assign work due at the same time, I will not dock your grade on papers and maps if they are no more than two weeks late; however, if they are later than two weeks, expect to have your grade on that assignment lowered by half.

Students who are absent on exam days with good reason may schedule a make-up exam within the next week. You must ask to take a make-up exam.

Students who score less than a 70 on a major exam may petition to retake the exam within a week after grades are returned on it. The highest grade on any retake exam will be 70. Once again, you must ask to retake an exam. There will be no retakes on the final exam. Study hard for it.

Marking the Synopsis

Mark at least 8 pericopes (sections in the synopsis) of at least five-verse length with one of the following coloring schemes:

                              modified Barr  Farmer/Stein
Found in Matt., Mark and Luke     pink         blue
Found in Matthew and Mark         orange       yellow
Found in Mark and Luke            yellow       green
Found in Matthew and Luke         blue         red/pink
The passages may either be highlighted or underlined. If highlighting is used with the first system, parallels to John may be underlined in green.

Instructions for Bible Map in Bible 310

Draw or trace a map of Palestine in the first century A.D. showing at least the following:

Bodies of Water:

Regions: Cities:
  • Jerusalem
  • Magada
  • Tyre
  • Bethlehem
  • Bethsaida
  • Sidon
  • Bethany
  • Nain
  • Caesarea
  • Jericho
  • Chorazin
  • Joppa
  • Samaria
  • Emmaus
  • Gaza
  • Nazareth
  • Bethphage
  • Gennesaret
  • Cana
  • Gadara
  • Capernaum
  • Caesarea Philippi (not to be confused with either Caesarea or Philippi)
  • Extra credit may be given for neatness, detail, and good use of color.

    N.B. In lieu of drawing or tracing, it is acceptable to photocopy an outline map of the region and fill it in with the above; however, it is not acceptable to photocopy a map which has any of the above marked on it. You must fill it in.

    Text Critical Readings

    For each of the assigned sections of scripture to read below, also read the discussion of textual problems for the passages found at "".

    MAJOR EXAM DATES:   Exam 1 -- Monday, September 21, 1998
                        Exam 2 -- Thursday, October 29, 1998
                        Final Exam -- TBA, December 14-18, 1998
                               Course Plan
     8/27/98 -- Introduction to the Course
                homework: read an introduction to Matthew
                          write a one-page summary of what you read
     8/31/98 -- Introduction to Matthew
                homework: read an introduction to Mark
                          write a one-page summary of what you read
     9/ 3/98 -- Introduction to Mark
                homework: read an introduction to Luke
                          write a one-page summary of what you read
     9/ 7/98 -- Introduction to Luke
                homework: read chapters 1-3 in McKnight
     9/10/98 -- The Synoptic Problem
                homework: read chapters 4-10 in McKnight
     9/14/98 -- Exegesis and Critical Approaches
                homework: read pp. 25-31, 82-88, 124-125, 388-394,
                            407-410, 480-487, 497-501, 512-519, 521-
                            526, 527-536, 539-546 in Ferguson's
                            Backgrounds of Early Christianity
     9/17/98 -- Old Testament and Intertestamental Backgrounds
                homework: study for test
     9/21/98 -- Major Exam
                homework: read Matt. 1:18-2:23; Luke 1-2
     9/24/98 -- The Birth of Jesus
                homework: read Matt. 3:1-4:11; Mark 1:1-13; Luke 3:1-
                            22; 4:1-13
     9/28/98 -- The Baptism and Temptation of Jesus
                homework: read Mark 1:14-3:6; Luke 4:14-6:16
                          draw a map of first century Palestine
    10/ 1/98 -- Early Encounters of Jesus
    Inman Forum
                homework: read Matt. 5; Luke 6:17-49
    10/ 5/98 -- The Sermons on the Mount and Plain
                homework: read Matt. 6-7
    10/ 8/98 -- The Sermon on the Mount (continued)
                homework: read Matt. 8-12; Mark 4:35-5:43; Luke 7;                     8:19-9:6
    10/12/98 -- Various Miracles and the Sending out of the Twelve
                homework: read Matt. 13:53-15:39; Mark 6:1-8:10
    10/15/98 -- Other Various Miracles
    World Mission Workshop--LCU
    Huffard Forum
                homework: read Matt. 13:1-52; Mark 4:1-34; Luke 8:1-
    10/19/98 -- The Kingdom Parables of Jesus
                homework: read Matt. 16:13-17:23; Mark 8:27-9:32;
                             Luke 9:18-10:20
                          write 4-page sermon or lesson
    10/22/98 -- Peter's Confession and the Transfiguration
                homework: read Luke 10:25-37; 12:13-21; 15:1-16:31;
    10/26/98 -- Special Parables found only in Luke
                homework: study for test
    10/29/98 -- Major Exam
                homework: read Matt. 19:1-20:16; Mark 10:1-31;
                             Luke 18:15-30; 19:1-10
    11/ 2/98 -- Later Encounters of Jesus
                homework: read Matt. 21:1-23:39; Mark 11-12;
                            Luke 19:28-21:4
    11/ 5/98 -- Events of the Final Week
                homework: read Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 17:20-37;
    11/ 9/98 -- The Synoptic Apocalypse
                homework: read Matt. 25
    11/12/98 -- The Synoptic Apocalypse (cont.)
                homework: read Matt. 26:1-56; Mark 14:1-52;
                             Luke 22:1-53
    11/16/98 -- The Last Supper and Arrest of Jesus
                homework: read Matt. 26:57-27:26; Mark 14:53-15:15;
                             Luke 22:54-23:25
    11/19/98 -- The Trial of Jesus
    Last Day to Drop a Class with a "W"--Stick with it to the end!
                homework: read Matt. 27:27-66; Mark 15:16-47;
                             Luke 23:26-56
    11/30/98 -- The Crucifixion of Jesus
                homework: read Matt. 28; Mark 16; Luke 24
    12/ 3/98 -- The Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus
                homework: read "Another Look at the Ending of Mark"
                          write 6-page exegesis
    12/ 7/98 -- The Long Ending of Mark
                homework: finish color-coding 10 pericopes in Aland
                          turn in photocopies of this work
    12/10/98 -- The Events of the Resurrection
    WEEK SIXTEEN: Final Exam Week
                homework: study for final exam
    12/__/98 -- Final Exam (schedule available in November)
    N. B.: Homework is listed before the class for which it is due!


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