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Course Materials
How to Succeed

Course Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the requirements for this course should be able to demonstrate that they have acquired an understanding of the following:

  1. The Old Testament narrative in its historical and cultural context
  2. The Old Testament’s fundamental doctrines and principles
  3. How the Old Testament bears witness of the work of Jehovah
  4. How selected Old Testament passages can be applied to daily living

Course Materials

The Old Testament
Available online: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot?lang=eng

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There will be reading assignments from the Old Testament in each lesson. This is the focus of the class. However, to help provide information you would receive from the instructor if we were together in the classroom, I have also included both outside readings and some things I have written for each lesson. Often these outside readings have to do with the background of the Bible and are written by people of other faiths. While these readings largely consist of facts, sometimes an interpretation or two is presented. Part of the goal of this course is to learn what our Christian and Jewish friends are saying about the Old Testament. These readings will help accomplish that goal as well.

Quizzes (15)

You will be presented with a quiz at the end of each lesson to assess your mastery of the lesson's content. These quizzes will consist of true/false and multiple-choice questions. There are no retakes, so please be sure to double-check your answers before submitting each quiz.

Old Testament Journal (3 submissions)

In this assignment, you will carefully articulate what you have learned from the Old Testament during this course. Complete this assignment by carefully studying the readings, viewing the video segments, and answering the journal questions that are presented at various points in the lessons. Please use [ LINK REMOVED ] this file and follow its instructions for formatting your entries, noting that the most recent entries will be placed at the top. You will submit a total of 27 entries by the end of the course. You will be invited to submit everything you have written in the document to that point after every fifth lesson (lessons 5, 10, and 15). There are no resubmissions, so please be sure to double-check your responses prior to submission.

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Exams (1)

The course has one proctored final exam. This exam will be different than the lesson quizzes in that it will be in essay format and it will be closed book. The final exam is your opportunity to show how much you have really learned. Because it is closed book, it will allow you to demonstrate your ability to recall, understand, and synthesize the material you have been going through in the course. It should reflect things you have really come to know in a way that will stick with you for years. Think of this as if you were on a subway or an airplane and the person next to you wanted to talk about the Bible. You won’t have notes or a text with you. Instead you will be able to show your understanding of some of the most salient points of the course. Hopefully, as with other writing, this will help you to formulate your thoughts carefully and also help you to remember these concepts for a lifetime.

There are multiple versions of the final exam. Out of the nine questions listed below, you will be presented with five. As you read each lesson, think of which questions it would help you answer. I urge you to take notes on the material that would be be useful to you on the final exam. This will make studying for the final easy. Please keep in mind that a complete response for each prompt will typically require one to two pages of thoughtful writing.

1) Using your knowledge of the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah from the time of their separation into two kingdoms, describe acts of political leaders and kings that helped cause religious apostasy and moral decline. Analyze how these acts contributed to the religious and moral downfall of their people.

2) Using your knowledge of the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah from the time of their separation into two kingdoms, describe acts of priests and the common people that helped cause religious apostasy and moral decline. Analyze how these acts contributed to religious and moral downfall.

3) Using your knowledge of Old Testament prophets, describe and analyze ways they tried to stop the apostasy and encourage righteousness. Use specific examples. Explain how these prophecies can apply to our day. Use specific examples.

4) Explain some of the doctrine taught in the books of Job, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs (use all three in your answer). Use specific examples from each of these books in your explanation.

5) Using specific examples, explain some of the main themes of Isaiah.

6) Using specific examples, explain some of the main themes of Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

7) Using specific examples, explain some of the main themes of two of the minor prophets.

8) Employ at least three specific examples in demonstrating how the second half of the Old Testament teaches about Christ.

9) Employing at least five specific examples, explain and analyze how the second half of the Old Testament teaches of God’s love and mercy. Include an explanation of how these teachings apply to Israelite individuals today.

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How to Succeed

To receive full credit on these assignments and the final exam, you must complete each part of the assignment. For example, if it says describe and analyze, you must provide both a description and an analysis. Most points that are missed on essays are because students only do some of the several things they are asked to do. Thus, if you are asked to describe, analyze, and apply to your life, when you are done, make sure you have done all three of those things. Additionally, if you are supposed to describe and analyze acts, that means you must do so for more than one act. Similarly, examples means more than one example. Many students miss points because they only provide one example when more than one is asked for.

The best answers will answer every portion of the question in a cogent way. They will demonstrate that the student understands the concept being asked about and has sufficient knowledge of specifics from the text. They will also demonstrate an ability to apply those specific things to the general concepts, and to synthesize that knowledge into formulations of thought that apply to our world today.

Students who are successful in this course typically do the following:

  1. Read carefully, writing down questions they have as they go.
  2. Look for symbolic meaning and principles that can be applied to life as they do the reading.
  3. Go out of their way to really work hard and thoughtfully on the assignments.

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The grading for this course is very straightforward:

Assignment Percent
Lesson Quizzes (15) 25%
Journal (27 entries in 3 submissions) 30%
Final Exam 45%

Grade Scale

Your letter grade is calculated according to these percentages.

A 93–100
A− 90–92
B+ 87–89
B 83–86
B− 80–82
C+ 77–79
C 73–76
C− 70–72
D+ 67–69
D 63–66
D− 60–62
E (fail) 0–59

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


15 computer-graded, open-book, open-notes lesson quizzes. 27 instructor-graded journal entries submitted in 3 journal submissions. There will not be an option to resubmit the journal assignments or retake the lesson quizzes.


1 proctored, instructor-graded final exam. All assignments up to that point must be submitted and graded before requesting an exam. Students must pass the final exam to pass the course. There will not be an option to retake the exam.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514