Welcome to the community of Exploring the Bible students!
You can engage the courses in several different ways. Click below for the one(s) that interest you.
- I just want to learn the basics for my own enrichment.
- I'm going all the way! Tell me about getting a Certificate of Biblical Literacy.
- Can I earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for taking the course?
- Can I just take one course and see how I like it?
- Do I need to take the courses in order?
- I'm already a student and have other questions.
Be sure to also check our FAQ.
You are an "informal" student in the course lingo. Once you have a group, you can just buy the student book and go. You don't need to apply, pay a fee, or fill out a form. Your group leader will guide you through each class session. To get the most out of the study you should do the homework marked for all students listed at the end of each session in the Student Text. If you attend at least four of the six sessions with your group, you will receive a Certificate of Participation from your group leader at the end of the course. As an informal student you will not be eligible to receive the Certificate of Biblical Literacy or Continuing Education Units.
Not sure if you want the certification? Then do both the regular and "Extra Mile" homework at the end of each session. If you can keep that up for the six sessions of the course, submit your work to your group leader and apply for the Certificate of Completion. The Certificates of Completion will let you convert to a formal, "Extra Mile" student and receive credit down the road. You cannot receive credit with just the Certificate of Participation. See the Getting Credit section for more details.
You are an "Extra Mile" student in the course lingo, and you will finish each course with a much higher level of understanding than the "informal" students. At the end of each sesion in your Student Text you will find two sets of homework. One is for all students and the second is only for those who want to go the "extra mile." You need to do both to earn the Certificate of Biblical Literacy. The Extra Mile homework typically involves some extra reading, research, and writing. There is also time built into several class sessions to allow any Extra Mile students to share what they have discovered in that extra research with the others in your group, so be sure to let your group leader know that you are going to do the Extra Mile work.
The Massachusetts Bible Society is in the process of applying for certification to issue CEUs for Exploring the Bible. Until this process is complete, you will need to submit the material to your own professional organization or denomination to see if they are willing to give you credit for the course. At the very least you should plan on doing the Extra Mile work if you want this kind of credit.
Using Exploring the Bible: The Dickinson Series material does not obligate you to a thing. If you want to get formal credit, then you need to adhere to the requirements, but otherwise you can use the material any way you want. You can take one course or half a course or all three as an "informal" student without filling out a single form or paying anything beyond the cost of your student book (between $11-$15, depending on the course, and cheaper than that if you buy from Amazon).
Taking the courses in order is strongly recommended, but it is not a requirement. The material is designed so that each course builds on the information and experiences of the one before. Feedback from groups piloting our studies told us that students who jumped into courses out of order had a harder time, since they lacked some of the foundational material in the earlier courses. If you're taking a later course first, it would be advisable to at least get the Student Texts from any prior courses and go through them. But the short answer is that you can take them in any order, even if you are seeking certification.