Church of the Brethren

Online Bible Course: The Book of Romans

September 24 - November 2, 2012
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 16 May 2012.

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 course we will study the New Testament book of Romans, the first of Paul's "letters" or "epistles." We will try to read Romans 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 this book 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 a course project to demonstrate understanding of a particular aspect of Romans, 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 or later edition. Oxford University Press.
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 Romans by John E. Toews, Herald Press, 2004.

Course Schedule:

Week 1

September 24-30, 2012

Course and student introductions
Read through the entire book of Romans, commentary introductory material, and the "Theology of Romans" section and Essays at the back of the commentary.
Students propose course project

Week 2

October 1- 7, 2012

Romans 1-4, Bible and commentary
Students report progress on course project

Week 3

October 8-14, 2012

Romans 5-8, Bible and commentary
Students report progress on course project

Week 4

October 15-21, 2012

Romans 9-11, Bible and commentary
Students report progress on course project

Week 5

October 22-28, 2012

Romans 12-16, Bible and commentary
Students report progress on course project

Week 6

October 29 - November 2, 2012

Romans, Paul, and Christian Theology:
Re-read the essays at the back of the commentary as well as the "Theology of Romans" section
Look up and carefully read all Bible passages to which Toews refers in these sections of the commentary.
Students present completed course project
Closing discussion; re-read the entire book of Romans.
Class discussion of student projects

Any questions about course content, please email Susan Jeffers at