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Bill Mounce

Seminary Smarties -- Now Showing At A Website Near You

By Bill Mounce (BT) was originally conceived as a resource for elder training, a place where people could access the best in evangelical training for free. Since its inception, however, it has moved far beyond this to providing, we hope, excellent seminary level education in English. And it’s still—and always will be—free.

BT is divided into four sections.

(1) The Story of Jesus is an evangelistic-friendly paraphrase of the gospel of John designed for the non-believer.

(2) New Believers is a 12 part course that a new believer can take on his or her own or, preferably, with a mentor. The 250 page notebook helps develop the spiritual disciplines a new believer needs.

(3) Leadership Education provides a full seminary course load taught by the finest evangelical teachers from a broad base of evangelical traditions. Listen to Dr. Robert Stein on hermeneutics, Dr. Doug Stuart on the Old Testament, Dr. Paul House on Old Testament theology, Dr. Bryan Chapel on homiletics, Dr. Bruce Ware on systematic theology, and many others.

(4) Foundations are shorter courses geared for lay people who want an introduction to the topics covered in Leadership Education. For example, you can listen to Dr. Bill Mounce cover the New Testament in a format designed to be replicated in other churches (called The Biblical Training Institute).

You can even create your own class using BT materials as well as your own. The courses are all audio and come in various formats (including mp3), and some have transcriptions and/or outlines. BT is used by people in over 130 countries around the world.

Even though I have been a university and seminary professor and am now pastoring, I still find Leadership Development a difficult and demanding issue. What I am learning is that development falls into four areas: biblical content; biblical theology; character; and skills. BT provides all the resources you need for the first two categories, and we are working on classes for the other two (although we now have Bible Study skills covered).

If you are a pastor, my suggestion is to decide what classes or portion of classes to assign, let your elders and elders-in-training listen to the lectures, and then come together on a consistent basis to discuss not just the content but the application and implications of the material. My church uses a Sunday School class to facilitate such discussion.

As we know, the one qualification that separates elders from other roles in the church is that they be "able to teach" (1 Tim. 3:2).’s goal is to enable elders, who would not otherwise have the time, money, or proximity to good evangelical training, become better teachers. And its price, we hope, reflects not the quality of the teachers, but their desire to build up Christ’s church.

Bill Mounce is the president of Biblical Training and the preaching pastor at Shiloh Hills Fellowship in Spokane, Washington. He is also the New Testament chair of the English Standard Version translation of the Bible.

March 2007

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