Lay Institute at DTS

Current Courses

The Lay Institute has expanded! We now offer courses through the On-campus Lay Institute and the Online Lay Institute.

Download Schedule

Monday Evening Courses

Monday, February 9 – April 6, 6:45-7:45 p.m.
(8-week, 1-hour classes)

0152 Messianic Prophecy: Did the Old Testament Point to Jesus?*

Michael Gabizon

What did the Old Testament actually say about the coming Messiah? Why is there so much debate between Jews and Christians regarding the anticipation and definition of the Messiah? Our class will not only delve into various Old Testament passages in order to demonstrate that Jesus was the expected Messiah, but it will also touch on how to use prophecy in evangelism with Jewish and Gentile people. Although Christians are often accused of misquoting the Old Testament when speaking about Jesus' fulfillment, this class will provide you with a better grip on how prophecy functions, giving you confidence to share Jesus and a stronger conviction of His Messiahship as you read the Bible.

  • Textbook: Michael Rydelnik. The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic? Nashville: B&H Academic, 2010.

0259 James: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Life*

Jeremy Closs

The book of James is often overlooked, but this book is full of practical wisdom for the modern Christian, providing concrete advice for how to lead a productive Christian life in a myriad of life-situations. In addition, there are a few problematic passages, especially to do with the efficacy of prayer and what seems to be the promise of healing for believers. This course will cover the historical background of James’ letter, the content of the letter, contextualizing the ancient message to the life of the modern Christian, with special attention given to difficult passages. Finally, throughout the course, modern-day application will be emphasized, both for the student and those to whom he is called to minister.

  • Textbooks: Douglas J. Moo. The Letter of James. Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000.

Monday, February 9 – April 6, 8:00-9:00 p.m.
(8-week, 1-hour classes)

4000 Serving While Draining: Plugging the Leaks and Refilling the Soul*

Will Mattingly

According to a 2010 article in the Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling, “the first component of burnout […] is caused by excessive work demands that drain emotional resources.” Serving in ministry roles can be busy and won’t stop being busy until Jesus comes back. Anyone who takes care of the spiritual lives of another is at risk and needs to learn of these warnings and symptoms so that are better prepared to serve fully. Remember, burnout doesn’t just happen to the paid staff on a church. So mothers, pastors, deacons, nursery workers are all at risk. If a person doesn’t serve with care, they will find themselves on the nasty side of burnout and possibly eventual moral failure. This course will address the two major facets (your identity and your mission) a servant must consider and identify with in order to serve in a spiritually healthy manner.

  • Phillip Cary. Good News For Anxious Christians: 10 Practical Things You Don’t Have To Do. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2010.

4220 Listening to Preaching: Getting the Most Out of Sermons*

Sawyer Nyquist

Every Sunday millions of church members sit down in churches and listen to a sermon. Some people take notes, some just listen, some underline in their Bible, and other just fall asleep. What exactly are church members supposed to do when they listen to a sermon? What are they supposed to hear from the pulpit? What makes a good sermon? How do believers listen well and what are they supposed to be listening for? This course outlines the main components of the sermon that most pastors use, enabling the person in the pew to appreciate the work that goes into each weekly sermon.

  • Textbook: Course reading will be provided through pdf files.

Tuesday Evening Courses

Tuesday, February 9 – April 7, 6:45-7:45 p.m.
(8-week, 1-hour classes)

0245 Romans 1-8: Our Problem; God’s Solution*

Dr. Timothy Ralston, Marjorie Cooper

How we got into this mess and what has God done to fix it? Sin is a problem for people. How can we expect to live in God’s presence when we can hardly get along with each other? Are some people just better people than others? And are these the ones who gain favor with God? This course looks at our most pressing problem when considering our relationship with God and, more importantly, we look at what God has done to fix the problem. We look at the first half of the Apostle Paul’s matchless letter to the Romans in which he reveals to us the despair of our sin and the splendor of Christ’s work on our behalf. We will tackle the problem of how we can be changed and made fit to live with God. And we will rejoice with Paul in our security as redeemed children of God, confident in his ever-lasting love.

  • Textbook: Francis A. Shaeffer. The Finished Work of Christ: The Truth of Romans 1-8. Wheaton: Crossway, 1998.

4155 Christianity vs. Non-Christianity*

Karen Bullitt

Jesus asked, “But, who do you say that I am?” The way an individual answers Jesus’ question will determine their eternal destiny. Is Jesus a good man, a prophet, an angel, or the Son of God? Oftentimes other religions use the same term, yet it has a very different meaning. This course will help students understand Christian and non-Christian perspectives (Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Oneness Pentecostalism) concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ. Students will identify non-Christian beliefs, as well as develop approaches to respond to those who challenge or question the true identity of Jesus.

  • Textbook: Ridenour, Fritz. So What’s the Difference? Regal: Ventura, California, 2001.

Tuesday, February 9 – April 7, 8:00-9:00 p.m.
(8-week, 1-hour classes)

4052 Faith that Works: A Biblical Understanding of Work*

Peter Battaglia

Does what you do every day matter to God? Do you see your work as full time ministry, even if you aren’t a pastor or missionary? The inherent value of all legitimate human work as a fundamental expression of the image of God and a primary way to love one’s neighbor is a theme that runs from Genesis to Revelation. This class serves as a survey of work and calling that is biblically faithful, historically authentic, and theologically sound. We will look at the meaning, value, and implications of work in God’s creation. Each student will be encouraged to grasp a biblical view of work and also discover how his/her own work specifically functions as meaningful service to God and others.

3670 Trouble between the Testaments? The Use of the Old Testament in the New*

Andrew Cress

Each of the New Testament authors referred to the Old Testament Scriptures in some way as they wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. These passages can sometimes be difficult to interpret, making readers feel uneasy about the way that NT authors quote or allude to the writings of their OT counterparts. Though it may at first appear that the NT authors took the OT out of context, this course will help students develop a model for understanding how the NT authors used OT texts in their writings and will expose students to the nature of quotation, allusion, and typology in the ancient world. Students will receive a boost of confidence in the authority and interpretive ability of the NT authors. It will also equip students to analyze OT in the NT passages for themselves.

  • Textbook: Beale, G.K. Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012.

Online Courses

All online courses are designed to take 8 weeks to complete. However, they are self-paced within the start and end dates. For details about the Online Lay Institute, see our Fast Answers.

February 9 - May 31

LI 01 – Bible Study Methods**

Faculty video: Dr. Mark Bailey, Dr. Howard Hendricks

Tools. Like a construction worker uses different tools to build a house, we need tools to properly discern what the Bible is teaching us. The goal of Bible Study Methods is not that we may know more about the Bible, but that through a methodological approach to studying the Bible, we may know more of the Triune God and in knowing we may be spurred on to love and good deeds (Heb 10:19-25). This course teaches you to extract meaning out of Scripture using the tools of observation, interpretation, correlation and application. Different tools need to be applied at different times.

  • Textbook: Howard Hendricks. Living by the Book. Chicago: Moody Press, 2007.

LI 02 - Thinking About Our Christian God**

Faculty video: Dr. Scott Horrell, Dr. Michael Svigel, Dr. Glenn Kreider, Dr. Nathan Holsteen

We love the Bible because it is God’s word. But do we know how to think of God properly and comprehensively? Do we have a well-developed theological framework for interpreting Scripture so that we can know God accurately? This course will teach you the fundamentals about what makes Christianity “Christian.” In this course you will deepen your understanding of the Trinity, mankind and culture, sin, salvation and what is the purpose of studying end times.

  • Textbooks: Michael Svigel, Nathan Holsteen. Exploring Christian Theology Series: Revelation, Scripture, and the Triune God and Exploring Christian Theology: The Church, Spiritual Growth, and the End Times, Ada, Mi., Bethany House, 2013.

LI 03 - Developing Godly Leadership Skills**

Faculty Video: Dr. Howard Hendricks

Do you feel as though leadership should be left to the rare few? Not so! There are many areas of life where we are called to be leaders—as parents, at work, at church, and in our community. When we realize that leadership is not an option, the question then becomes, how do I lead well?

Join us as we learn Godly leadership skills. In this class we will go to Scripture to study leadership principles from the example of Moses and Jesus. Next, we will discover your leadership style so that you may have the greatest impact on the people you find in your care.

  • Textbook: Andrew Seidel, Charting a Bold Course: Training Leaders for 21st Century Ministry. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2003.

LI 04 - John: When the Word Became Flesh**

Faculty Video: Dr. Mark Bailey

What do you think of this statement: deity takes on flesh. Jesus, the Son of God assumes humanity in order to save mankind. The book of John opens with this miraculous event and continues to present Jesus’ words about himself and His role in salvation. Know Jesus as the God/Man. Know Him through the great I Am’s. Know Him as He presented Himself. Your faith will be enriched; your love of Christ deepened and as a result so will your love for one another. Join us in this class in worship of our Savior.

  • Textbook: John Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: AN Exposition of the Scripture: New Testament. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1983.

LI 05 – Romans: Salvation  Christ’s Work; Our Joy**

Faculty Video: Dr. Ron Allen, Dr. Glenn Kreider

When speaking about the book of Romans, John Calvin once said that there is no book of the Bible that has changed so many lives. Martin Luther had an epiphany when reading it that sparked the Reformation. This class will unlock the mysteries of the first eight chapters of this book. You will revisit the beauty of our salvation, the wonder of our Savior, and the mystery of the cross. Remember Romans 8: 38 - For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

  • Textbook: John Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scripture: New Testament. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1983.
  • There is an app available for tablet use that contains both Old and New Testament commentary. Access app.

LI 06 – Majoring in the Minors: A Study of the Minor Prophets (Elective)**

Faculty Video: Dr. Stephen Bramer

Can God use evil for good? On what basis does God judge nations? Does God's relationship to Israel hold any significance for us today? Of all the Old Testament books, the Minor Prophets seem to be the most neglected and the least familiar. When we don't use certain portions of Scripture, we can come away with a lesser view of God. How ought Christians apply the messages from these prophetic books to their lives? This course will be an expositional study of the Minor Prophets (excluding Jonah) with an emphasis on the biblical theology of these books and their application to contemporary life & ministry.

  • Textbook: John Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scripture: New Testament. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1983.
  • There is an app available for tablet use that contains both Old and New Testament commentary. Access app.

LI 07 – Studying the Old Testament Pentateuch (Torah)**

Faculty Video: Dr. James Allman

What is the Pentateuch? It is the first five books of the Bible, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Journey with us into the world of the Pentateuch, and explore the origins of the natural world, the founding fathers of a great nation, the Mosaic Law, the expedition of the faith and struggles of God's chosen people, and the divine commissioning of God's people to posses the land which would become known as Israel. In this exciting study we will expositionally survey Genesis through Deuteronomy with a special focus on the meta-narrative and transitional points of this biblical narrative. This study addresses several crucial biblical theological themes that will not only influence our understanding of these five books, but ultimately impacts our understanding of the entirety of Scripture.

  • Textbook: John Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scripture: New Testament. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1983.
  • There is an app available for tablet use that contains both Old and New Testament commentary. Access app.

*Qualified course for 1 CEU units/ 8 hours minimum attendance
**Qualified course for 2 CEU units for completion of all assignments