The Sokhanya Bible Program

NB: Please read it carefully so that you will understand:

  • what the study is about;
  • how to do the study in the most meaningful way and
  • so that you will benefit to the maximum.

Contents:

    • The Aim of the Sokhanya Bible Program
    • The origin of the Sokhanya Program
    • The Contents of the Sokhanya Program
    • How to go about your studies
    • Study in a group
    • Guidelines for assessment
    • Send in your answer papers
    • Some guidelines on doing your studies

NOTE:

  1. It is no use to try to complete this program as quickly as possible. It is not just about getting a certificate or about learning a few things that you might not have known.
  2. The study wants to help you to grow spiritually. For that reason one must take time also to think and pray about the things that you learn.

1. The aim of the Sokhanya Bible Program
The Sokhanya Bible Program wants to help you to:

  1. To gain proper and sound knowledge about the Bible and the Christian life by studying the Bible alone. This program covers the whole Bible. It does not give the teachings of a particular church or tradition.
  2. To grow spiritually strong by committing yourself to God so that you can serve Him fully. By understanding more about God and what He does for us as the Bible teaches us, we grow in fellowship with God trough the Holy Spirit.
  3. To be able to use what you gain to build other people up in their faith. As a leader you have to eat the Word of God, as Ezekiel did (Ezekiel 2:4-10) so that you will be able to feed others with the Word (John 21:15). A blind person cannot lead others who are blind Luke 6:39-40).
  4. To be able to guide the church in the full truth of the Word and to protect it from false teachings and practices.

NOTE: One-sided and superficial knowledge is very dangerous. Many people know only a few things about the Bible that they have heard from other preachers. It is only when you have been touched by the Living Word of God that your own life changes and other people can be changed!

2. The origin of the Sokhanya Program

Local church leaders from different denominations in the Xhosa speaking churches in the Cape-Peninsula came together to plan training for lay preachers. Sokhanya was founded in 1992 as an independent Bible School. It was decided that the Bible will be the only study book. The present Sokhanya study books are the result of class discussions over a period of 25 years. It is structured on the books of the Bible and do not follow any confessional model. Since Sokhanya has from the beginning accommodated believers from all theological traditions, its teachings seek to build bridges of understanding over differences of opinion.

3. The Contents of the Sokhanya Program

a. This Program accepts that you as student have a certain level of knowledge of the Bible. In a program like this it is impossible to deal with every verse and every matter that we find in the Bible.

b. This Program seeks to help you to get a good understanding of how the message and topics and themes of the Bible fit together. It seeks to help you to understand the historical situations that one has to know of to be able to understand what you read in the different parts. It also explains the important cultural and religious background which helps one to understand the Bible.

The Program consists of 15 booklets.

  • Module 1/1 What the Bible is and how to read the Bible
  • Module 1/2 -1/3 The books of Moses
  • Module 1/4 -1/5 The books of the Prophets
  • Module 2/1 -2/2 The books of Poetry
  • Module 2/3 -2/5 The books of the Gospels
  • Module 3/1 -3/2 The books of John
  • Module 3/3 -3/5 The books of Paul

Course status and accreditation

  1. The present Program is not yet accredited on the national system of SAQA. At present there is no program that is registered yet. We are working very hard to get accreditation for all our programs
  2. To get the Sokhanya Program ready for accreditation, there are a number of aspects that we are busy to add to this program. These are aspects related to the practical work of a leader in the congregation. When these things are in place, we will inform you.

4. How to go about your studies

  • When you have now enrolled, you received the first 5 books, which is the full Module 1.
  • Each book has a question paper which is the way in which you are tested on each book.

a. Get an overall view of the book:

  • Each book begins with a short paragraph which tells you what that book as a whole is about. Read it so that you will be able to follow what you are dealing with.
  • Next you find a list of things which tell you what the purpose of the book is The aims of the lessons: Carefully read this.

b. Study each lesson one by one:

  • Each book contains a number of lessons. Each lesson also starts with a short paragraph which tells you what that lesson is about.
  • Then there is a section which tells you what you will have to know when you have studied that lesson. This helps you to see what the important thing in each part of the lesson is.

c. Every lesson consists of a number of sub-headings.

  • They are indicated in the following way 1.1 2 and 2.1  2.2 and so on. You must study each sub-heading separately and finish the answers of that section on the question paper before you go on to the next heading.  
  • Many of the sections begin with an icon like this &. This tells you that you first have to read the Bible verses that are given there. These verses will help you to understand the following lesson and to use the Bible properly. NOTE: You must always have your Bible open next to your study books and read it. The purpose of the study is to help you to know and use the Bible. It is the Bible is that is most important.

d. Now you must read the whole section.

  • This gives you important information that will help you to understand the topic of the lesson. It also explains the meaning of different passages of the Bible. You will see that every section give a lot of other verses of the Bible. Try to read as many as possible of these verses in your Bible. This will help you to grow your knowledge of the Bible and to use the Bible correctly. It is best if you can read all these verses some time.
  • When you have finished a section, you must answer the questions on that section before you go on to study the next section.

5. Study in a group

  • You can use this study program on your own and study on your own time.
  • We want to encourage students to form study groups.
  • It is much more meaningful to study with a group of friends.
  • When you decide to study, tell others who may also be interested of the study program and encourage them to enroll.
  • Arrange to meet at a certain time to discuss the study material. This is not to replace you studying on your own time. But when you come together you can discuss things in the lesson that were not clear. Then you tell others what you understood and hear what they think. In this way you help one another to understand the material and the Bible even better. You can share new insights and solve problems.
  • This meeting is not a place to preach and to show off your knowledge. It is an opportunity to share about the Word and ministry.
  • It is important that every member of the group should answer their question papers themselves. You may discuss the questions in the group, but may not use the answers of someone else.

6. Guidelines for assessment

  1. On the question paper you will see that the questions are numbered in the same way as the sub-sections of the lesson.
  • When you finished lesson 1.1, then you must first answer the questions next to 1.1 on the question paper.
  • On the question paper you will find the following:
  • NOTE: Always answer questions in your own words. If you write   words directly   from the Bible or the Study Guide, you will get no marks. Every mark is showed in the question paper by a star *
  • The test wants to see whether you understand what you answer. It is useless just to repeat what you read. That is not real learning

b. Read the question carefully before you answer it and make sure what you are expected to do when you answer:

  • Example: if the question says explain a verse or a word, you must say what it means and not just write the verse or ate word from the book. Note that the word that tells you what to do is printed in BOLD in the question.
  • The issue that you have to answer about is written in ITALICS.
  • Example: What does John 19:20 tell us about the languages of the times of Jesus? The question is about the languages and not anything else.
  • Use the space given on the paper and do not try to say too much
  • The star * shows the mark that the question counts
  • NOTE: After you have finished the whole book and answered all the questions, there is a section where you must do something in the congregation.

How to use this lesson in your congregation
There is no right or wrong answers to this section. It wants to give you the opportunity to share what you have learned and to report on what you did.
You do not get marks for this part. But we will deduct 10% of your marks if you do not do this section

7. Send in your answer papers

  • When you have finished the study book and completed the answer paper, you have to mail the answer to the office. You must send only the answer paper and not your study books.
  • Make sure that you write your name and address and student number on every answer paper before you post it to:  Sokhanya Bible Program/NBI, PO Box 841, Wellington, 7654
  • Because you receive all 5 books of the module, you can immediately continue with your next study book. When you have completed all 5 books, the office will let you know that you have to enroll and pay for the next module. In the meantime your answers will be corrected and you will receive feedback from the office on your work.
  • If you did not receive new material or answer papers, please speak to Jerry Sesoko in NBI office at 021 864 8232. It often happens that post take a long time to reach you and sometimes post even get lost. Whenever you phone or write to the office, always give your student number.
  • When you get an answer paper back, please take time and have a good look at your mistakes and the comments that are given. This will help you to learn even more and understand things which you might not have understood correctly in the beginning.

8.  Some guidelines on doing your studies

  • If you study alone, the following will help you do study in a disciplined way. But even if you are part of a study group, these things are important.
  • Have a special time that you give to your study. We know that you are very busy and have many commitments. But to have time to study regularly should be one of your commitments. Try to have at least two hours per week.
  • Do not rush through your study material. Take time to understand the material and to read the Bible and to think what that means for your personal faith and for your ministry. Whether you study in a group or alone, always pray and ask the Holy Spirit to make the Lord alive in your heart.
  • As we have already said: use the Bible as much as possible. Seek to get deeper understanding in what you read and not only to find new information. It is very helpful to use different translations. Use the Bible in your home language. But try to find a translation which you do not know well and see how that translation puts the verses that you study. This will bring new understanding of the message of the text
  • The study books mostly use the Good News Bible. But it often use other translations to help you to get more understanding.
  • In the study book you will see that we use different These symbols want to help you to read better and see important things in the lesson. In the paragraphs important parts are also printed in bold letters.
  • If you read something that is not clear or that you want to understand, please discuss it with other leaders or with members of your study group.
  • You must keep all study books. We are sure that you will benefit from reading these study books even long after you have completed your studies. They are your library for many years to come.

May the Lord bless you richly through your studies.