Grace Notes Vision and Strategy
Grace Notes provides access to a comprehensive Bible training curriculum for Christians who have limited access to a local church teaching ministry, or who wish to study subjects that are not currently being taught by their pastor-teacher.
Missionaries on the foreign field, nationals in many countries, and people in North America who live far from Bible-teaching churches, have the common problem of lack of access to teaching.
The Grace Notes strategy has been to:
- Compile a large, comprehensive library of Bible teaching materials that will meet the academic needs for Christians who want to "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
- Develop a graded curriculum of course work that will help direct Christians through the steps in Christian growth.
- Provide for distribution of courses and lessons to students, by the Internet and other means.
- Correspond with students, record their progress with lessons and examinations, and manage the records associated with their studies.
- Issue certificates to students for completion of course work and unit studies.
The Grace Notes curriculum has been developed specifically using four interrelated components of Bible instruction:
Bible Analysis (exegesis, hermeneutics, and exposition). The process of dissecting a passage of Scripture into its component parts (vocabulary, syntax, grammar) in order to learn as well as possible the meaning (interpretation) of passages. Grace Notes has Verse by verse expositional studies of 50 books of the Bible.
Topical Development (categorization). The process of determining the meaning of words and concepts found in a passage of scripture by searching the whole Bible for explanations and illustrations of the subject under study.
These include: Studies of categorical Bible doctrines regarding salvation, stability in the Christian way of life, and all phases of a Christian's growth in Christ, Old Testament survey, New Testament survey, Life of Christ, Acts and Life/Epistles of Paul.
Historical Study (isagogics). The process of studying (1) the social history of the people and cultures in the context of the Bible passage, (2) the language history of the text as it was used colloquially in the time in which it was written, and (3) to learn how the text was applied to the people living in that time and place.
These studies include: Survey of Ancient History (early times to Byzantine Empire), Old Testament history and history of major mid-Eastern world powers - Egypt, Assyria, Sumer, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Hittites, Greece, Rome; History of Judea; History of the Jewish religion and practices; the Temple at the time of Christ; The Life and Times of Paul the Apostle
Correlation of Categorical Doctrine - This involves the gathering together of groups of related expositional and doctrinal studies that deal with specific areas of application.
Grace Notes studies are organized into a graded curriculum, roughly corresponding to the phases a Christian goes through while growing in grace. These phases are:
Orientation to the Christian Life
While very little information is needed to become a Christian, it takes a lot of Bible reading and study to learn all the things which are part of a Christian's position in Christ. There are many things to be understood about what God the Father provides for each believer at the time of salvation.
A partial list:
- Who is God? What are His attributes (essence)? What has He provided for us in grace?
- What does the Holy Spirit do for a person at the time of salvation?
- What does it mean to be "in Christ"? And what are the advantages?
- What is our inheritance in Christ?
- What are the spiritual blessings spoken of in Ephesians 3? Where are they; and how does a person take advantage of them.
- What do these salvation words mean: redemption, propitiation, atonement, justification, mercy seat, eternal life, imputation, grace, sanctification, forgiveness, saint, resurrection, throne of grace, volition, adoption, chastisement, confession of sin, spirituality and carnality, judgment seat, and many others.
Stability in the Christian Life
After a person begins to learn the fundamentals of Christian living, he learns that growth in Christ leads to stability in all parts of his life. Doctrines important for this understanding include:
- Occupation with Christ
- Sin and Confession of Sin
- Union with Christ (Positional Truth)
- The Local Church and the Body of Christ
- Armor of God
- Grace Provision
- Legalism; to name a few.
Edification actually begins when a new Christian first picks up his Bible and starts reading, attending Bible teaching, and participating in a church's training ministry.Edification is a life-long process; a Christian is commanded to "grow in grace", continuously advancing in spiritual understanding.
Production - Witness and Ministry
A person can witness for Christ right after being saved; so "production" can really begin right away. However, study is required for a Christian to be prepared for ministry to the unsaved, or a teaching ministry to believers.
Grace Notes verse-by-verse courses, and the doctrinal and historical studies, are good resources for training in witnessing and teaching. When a believer begins to teach, in home classes, Sunday School, or even from the pulpit, Grace Notes has materials that can be used in lesson preparation.
Course Development and Administration
To create a Grace Notes course for a book of the Bible, I create a full set of expository notes for that book, including the categorical doctrine and historical materials which accompany the book study.
When I started Grace Notes, I had complete notes for Titus, Ruth, and Ephesians, and partial notes for Romans and other books. I also had fully written out notes for the topical and historical studies that would accompany the book studies. In teaching home Bible classes, I distributed these notes to give people extra materials to study and to have makeup materials for those who had to miss classes.
Several pastor-teachers have made their expository materials available for Grace Notes distribution, so that now, after several years, we have book studies for more than 30 books of the Bible, and more than 300 doctrinal and historical studies in support.
Developing a Course
There are several steps in creating a course:
- Divide a Bible book study into a discrete number of lessons. For example, Titus and Ruth are 10 lessons each; Acts is divided into 20 lessons for each seven chapters; Romans, Mark, Luke, etc. are one lesson per chapter. The same is done for historical studies that become courses. For example, Alfred Edersheim's Old Testament History has been made into a 20-lesson course, with quizzes.
- Choose the categorical and historical studies that are to accompany each lesson.
- Create a lesson document that holds the expositional, categorical, and historical teaching for that lesson.
- Write a set of quiz questions for the lesson; include them in the lesson document. The number of questions varies from 10 to 20, depending on the material.
- Create a PDF file of the lesson. This will be included in the email message sent to students.
- Using Microsoft Outlook, create a message file (.msg) which has the lesson instructions, the quiz, and the attached PDF file.
To date, there are more than 65 courses being distributed, with more on the way, as the Lord sustains the work.
Units of Study and Diplomas
A Grace Notes Unit is intended as a rough equivalent to a semester in Bible college. So each Unit has five or six courses, each of which would be equivalent to three to five semester hours of work. Unit I, for example, has courses in Titus, Ruth, Doctrine, History, and Foundations of Bible Study. Go to the Diploma Courses Page to see a complete listing of Units, courses, and diploma requirements.
If you have questions about Grace Notes studies, or you would like to register for courses, write to: Warren Doud.