Online Bible Course: The Book of 2 Corinthians

February 8 - March 19, 2010
Sponsored by: Church of the Brethren Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center

If you have questions about the course itself, email Susan Jeffers at
For information on registration and fees, contact Amy Milligan, 717-361-1450.

This webpage was last updated 12/8/09.

This online Biblical Studies course is open to anyone who would like to enroll. By far the majority of students in SVMC courses are members of the Church of the Brethren in training for ministry (broadly construed). The instructor, Susan Jeffers, is a Quaker (member of the Religious Society of Friends) and would be particularly pleased should some interested Quakers sign up. To get a sense of the instructor's biblical interests and approach, check out her "Peace Church Bible Study Home Page" at

Course Description: In this online course we will study the New Testament book of 2 Corinthians (Paul's second letter to the church at Corinth.) We will try to read 2 Corinthians “as if for the first time,” paying close attention to what the biblical text actually says and what it might mean. We will consult commentaries and other resources for information about the ancient world and what the Church has thought about these books of the Bible, in an effort to become better equipped for biblically grounded ministry. Students will be expected to read and think about assigned biblical and other texts, to participate in online class discussion, and to learn a bit of the biblical Greek language relevant to our study. Students will complete an individual study project to engage more deeply with some aspect of 2 Corinthians, demonstrating effective use of resources such as Bible dictionaries and commentaries, and ability to use the Bible in ministry.

Course Format: This course will be conducted online, using "Moodle" online courseware. You will need access to a high-speed Internet connection for an hour or more, at least 4-5 times per week throughout the course. You should plan on a total of 12-15 hours every week for the 6 weeks of the course for reading, online discussion and offline study. If you have questions, contact the instructor, Susan Jeffers, at

Required Books

(1) NRSV Study Bible, in one of these editions:
New Oxford Annotated Bible, New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha, Third edition, 2001, ISBN 019528478X or 0195284852
New Interpreters Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha. Abingdon, 2003, ISBN 0687278325.
HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books. HarperSanFrancisco, ISBN 0060655801, 0060655267, or 0060655275.
Please email the instructor for permission to use a different NRSV Study Bible.

(2) Believers Church Bible Commentary 2 Corinthians by V. George Shillington, Herald Press.

(3) Bible Dictionary, any one of these editions:
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, David Noel Freedman, ed., 2000, ISBN 0-8028-2400-5 or 978-0802824004
HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, Paul J. Achtemeier, ed., 1996, ISBN 0060600373 or 978-0060600372
A Dictionary of the Bible, 2nd edition, W.R.F. Browning, e.d., 2009, ISBN 9780199543991 or 0199543992 (not yet published as of December 1, 2009, but it should be out soon)

(4) Instructor's Greek lessons and accompanying audio materials, which students will download from the online course site at no cost.

The expectation for Greek language study is simply that each student spend 1 hour per week working with the materials and, in weeks 2, 4 and 6, taking a quiz. The Greek quizzes are online, with no time limit, open book, and the student can re-take them as many times as you wish, with only the highest score counting toward the grade. You are not expected to know any Greek at all, prior to the start of the course. I try to make the Greek study fun, and not worrisome. On the other hand, if you do happen to have some Greek language knowledge, welcome! Please join us! I will also post more advanced optional resources so you can make good use of your Greek in this study of the book of 2 Corinthians.

Before the course begins:

Read through the entire book of 2 Corinthians and jot down your impressions and questions as you read and when you're finished. Try to read "as if for the first time" - don't read the introduction to the book first, or look things up as you go, or read the study notes at the bottom of the page. Just try to form your own first-hand impression. 2 Corinthians is a difficult book in some respects, and we'll be hearing plenty of scholarly and pastoral opinions about why it is the way it is, and what it means. Try to let 2 Corinthians speak to you directly before we start listening to what everybody else thinks about it!

Course Schedule - details to follow:

Week 1

February 8-14, 2010

Course and student introductions
Read through the entire book of 2 Corinthians, commentary introductory material and Essays
Students propose course project
Greek lesson: the Greek alphabet

Week 2

February 14-21, 2010

2 Cor 1:14-2:13, Biblical text and commentary
Begin work on course project
Greek lesson and Quiz 1

Week 3

February 22-28, 2010

2 Cor 2:14-7:16, Biblical text and commentary
Continue work on course project
Greek lesson

Week 4

March 1-7, 2010

2 Cor 8-9, Biblical text and commentary
Continue work on course project
Greek lesson and Quiz 2

Week 5

March 8-14, 2010

2 Cor 10-13, Biblical text and commentary
Complete work on course project
Greek lesson

Week 6

March 15-19, 2010

Re-read 2 Corinthians and skim commentary
Wrap up discussion of course projects
Greek lesson and Quiz 3

Questions about the course itself, email Susan Jeffers at For information on registration and fees, contact Amy Milligan, 717-361-1450.