Overview of Program
The Bible Training Institute of Grace Bible Church of Bakersfield (BTI) endeavors to disciple men and women at an accelerated rate compared to how they might grow spiritually if only attending church and a traditional Bible study. BTI covers three broad areas: Systematic Theology, Bible Survey, and Applied Theology.
- Systematic Theology: Introduction to Theology, Bibliology, Theology Proper, Theology of Worship, Christology, Pneumatology, Anthropology, Angelology, Hamartiology, Soteriology, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Major Biblical Covenants, Kingdom of God
- Bible Survey: A survey of all 66 books of the Bible
- Applied Theology: Spiritual Maturity, Personal Evangelism, Titus 2 Womanhood (Women), Leadership and Ministry (Men), Applied Ecclesiology, Hermeneutics (Bible Study Methods)
BTI takes two years to complete and meets in two venues.
- The primary lectures (Systematic Theology and Bible Survey) happen during the Sunday School on Sunday mornings.
- The Applied Theology portion takes place in the more intimate discipleship setting of a Small Group in a home approximately every other week.
- There are six semesters (4 long and 2 short)
- BTI may be joined in any long semester and simply taken until all semesters have been completed.
You can enroll as an “enrollee” or “auditor.” An enrollee commits to doing all the reading, assignments, and attending every (or close to every) session. The enrollee will be considered as having completed BTI after all semesters are finished. An auditor attends and does all that he can but without the intent of being held accountable for completed reading and assignments and will not receive a completion certificate, but will grow in the faith based on whatever effort is put forth.
For the encouragement of those committed as either enrollees or auditors, we are asking that “walk-ins” be limited to those who are considering doing BTI but have not yet decided. This is not a Sunday School class to “pop in and out” of as the mood strikes.
Although we allow for auditors, you will get SO MUCH more out of this experience as an enrollee. It is always our hope to have more enrollees than auditors so that BTI does not turn into a spectator program.
SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT “Auditors” The “Applied Theology” Small Group is specifically designed for the discussion of the assigned reading. You may be auditing and doing the reading, which is wonderful. If, however, you are auditing and have not been able to do the reading, please be sensitive not to take discussion time away from those who have done the reading. It is not fair to their efforts. You are more than welcome to listen and participate, but please give preference and priority to those who have done the reading.
An attendance and assignment sheet will be available each BTI evening to track your progress. Getting behind on the reading is not recommended since it will be very hard to catch up.
As an enrollee, successful completion of the semester includes the following:
- Attending at least 80% of the Sunday Morning sessions and Applied Theology Small Group times. (If work or illness or an advance-planned family time away is an issue, that is fine. Just be faithful the rest of the time)
- Please note that except in special cases at the leadership’s discretion, listening to a lecture recording does NOT count for attendance. It is only to help you stay current.
- Completion of at least 80% of all reading
- Satisfactory completion of all written assignments to the highest level you are capable
- Completion of all Applied Theology Assignments
- Active participation in Applied Theology Small Group—giving input from your reading and assignments
- Satisfactory Final Project—should reflect the amount of material you will hear for about 15 hours of lecture and several hundred pages of reading. Will be graded as “pass” or “try again.”
- These are assignments for each session. The reading is due on the day it is listed.
- Don’t be afraid to mark up the book you are reading. I suggest reading with a red pen and highlighter to get the very most out of your reading. Interact with the book as you read it rather than just skimming.
- The reading for Systematic Theology will not always coincide exactly with the topic we are discussing that particular night. It is to double your exposure to important concepts, not necessarily simultaneously though.
- You may not agree with everything you read—use your critical thinking skills and prayer to formulate your position on controversial topics, keeping the love of the body of Christ as a priority vs. being right on a gray area of belief.
- NOTE: There are reading assignments due on the first night of class, including Bible Scanning.
Bible Scanning Assignments
- Whatever Bible books are being covered will be scanned before the BTI evening.
- Scanning means “speed reading” or reading the first verse of every paragraph, with the goal of covering a Bible chapter in 30-60 seconds.
- This is for the purpose of ingraining a better understanding of the big picture of the Word of God
- The goal is not to remember lots of detail but to get a feel for the scope of Scripture.
- NOTE: For Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah and Jeremiah, specific Chapters are given to scan—NOT the whole books.
Assignments Due — General Instructions
- Applied Theology assignments will be given for about every other BTI night. Follow the instructions carefully for each assignment.
- Some with be active (such as 60 minutes of prayer) and others will be written.
- Turn in written assignments on paper the night it is due.
Bible Book Review - "BBR"
- For whatever book or books covered the previous BTI class, write a 1 to 2-page essay explaining the following:
- Explain the title of the book
- Author and date of the book
- Purpose of the book
- Background and setting
- Major themes in the book
- NOTE: On the weeks when Minor Prophets are covered, a half-page for each book is sufficient.
- NOTE: 1 & 2 Kings is ONE BBR, "Kings" - same for 1 & 2 Chronicles, "Chroniclies."
- Possible sources:
- Introductions of each book in your study Bible
- BTI lecture notes
- The Bible Knowledge Commentary (see recommended books)
Theology Overview Essays
- These are explained in the Class and Assignment Schedule
Final Project — organizing your own notes
- This will be due several weeks after the end of the semester.
- Each Final Project will be explained in the revelant Student Syllabus.
- The book list for each semester can be found on the Book Lists page of this BTI website or on our church's website under Recommended Reading.
As you put forth time and effort, the fruit in your life will be inestimable.
Do not be afraid! Ask the Lord to help you with this—great effort will give great payoff
Make BTI a priority by
- Scheduling time several times per week to work on this
- Making BTI homework a major part of your personal time with the Lord — you will be blessed!
- Not waiting until the night before to try to do everything — you will lose out on the life-changing power of this discipleship opportunity.
- If you are married, scheduling time to work on BTI at the same time — it will generate wonderful conversations between you as well!