The best online Bible classes will meet your educational, financial, and scheduling needs. Online Bible classes are offered by a variety of educational institutions, some which are affiliated with a specific Christian denomination and some which are not. Often, individuals seeking ordination in a certain denomination must have coursework from approved educational institutions, so it is important to verify the status of the school before enrolling in classes. The tuition and fees for online Bible classes varies widely between government funded and private institutions.
Before you begin looking at online Bible classes, determine how much money you can spend. If you are planning to finish a program in Biblical studies, you should determine your budget with your long term goal in mind, calculating the overall cost of the program and how much you can afford each semester. This will affect how many classes you can take during any given amount of time.
Don't forget that many schools offer financial aid. Financial aid comes in the form of grants, scholarships, and loans. Grants and scholarships, typically, do not have to be paid back if all qualifications are met, but loans must be paid back with interest. You may also find funding through your religious congregation or affiliated denomination.
After you have determined your budget, consider your schedule. Unless you are an unmarried, full-time student, you probably have family obligations. You may also work full- or part-time or attend meetings, services, or other gatherings as part of your regular activities. Write down everything that takes up your time during the week, including sleeping and hygiene routines, and tally up the total. Subtract that from your total weekly hours, and what is left can be devoted to your online Bible classes.
Typically, classes require two to three hours of outside work per week per credit hour. So for a regular three credit hour course, you will spend six to nine hours studying and completing assignments. Online classes may actually require more time, since most of the class meetings and attendance requirements involve a great deal of written work.
After you've determined how much money and time you can devote to your coursework, look for classes that meet those requirements. Online classes are either synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous means that there is a required meeting component, and that you must be online for a certain period of time, usually on a weekly or biweekly basis. Asynchronous classes do not have required meetings, although coursework and assignments usually have set due dates. Asynchronous classes offer greater flexibility in scheduling than synchronous classes.
Educational facilities typically have a course catalog, which lists all the courses they regularly offer and specific semester course schedules. Bible classes may be listed in the course catalog under headings like "Introduction to Old Testament," or "Survey of the New Testament" if they are general courses. More concentrated classes typically focus on smaller portions of the Bible, and may include words like pentateuch, gospels, minor prophets, major prophets, or simply the title of one or more books of the Bible. The course catalog descriptions will be the best guide to choosing a class which focuses on the Bible, as opposed to a class which uses the Bible as a supporting text for other studies.
The description should provide a clear overview of the objectives of the course. The semester course schedules will provide information about required class meetings, the beginning and ending dates for the course, and the name of the instructor. For more information, contact the instructor and ask for a syllabus.
The syllabus will give detailed information about the course, a timeline for scheduled units, topics, readings, and assignments, and list other requirements for students. Study the syllabus carefully to determine whether the course really meets your needs in terms of content as well as scheduling and required assignments. Some courses are naturally more time consuming than others, especially if they require significant group assignments, outside projects, or several essays longer than 10 to 15 pages.
When you contact the instructor for the syllabus, ask him or her about expectations for the class and students. If you have any special concerns, such as needing to miss a class meeting or anticipating a family situation in the near future, ask how these might be addressed. The teacher should be helpful and polite, but it is not always possible for all situations to be accommodated, so if the instructor seems to think the class is not a good match for you, keep looking.