A Preface to the Study of Scripture

Next Session: Apr 29, 2024


This course will provide students an introduction to the theology of Scripture. While we will discuss the contours of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, this course is principally focused on three theological concerns: the need for revelation, the meaning of inspiration in Catholic thought, and the means by which revelation is passed down in the Church. Students will have a more secure, theological foundation for future courses, especially those on the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, but also those on the history of the Church.

This course lays the foundation for other STEP courses on Sacred Scripture. We will address the Catholic understanding of the nature of God’s revelation to us in the forms of Scripture and Tradition, with a special emphasis on Scripture. The course is guided by the Second Vatican Council’s official text on Scripture, Dei Verbum (Latin for ‘the Word of God’).

Course Content

Unit 1: Revelation Itself

Unit 2: Scripture's Inspiration and Interpretation

Unit 3: Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church

Unit 4: The Hebrew Bible

Unit 5: The New Testament

Unit 6: Handing on Divine Revelation


Course Format

  • Seven weeks in duration, with one week for orientation.
  • Typically 15-20 students in each course.
  • All lecture text available online in text format.
  • Supplemental readings are provided to encourage further exploration of topic, internet links provided for all readings.
  • Written assignments (150-200 words) required.
  • Facilitator-moderated Zoom sessions with students in the course.

Participation Requirements

  • View or read the lecture for each unit.
  • Read assigned texts; keep notes, questions, and comments for class discussion.
  • Participate in the class discussion using the Forums area: post at least 2 comments, questions, or responses per unit.
  • Respond to the assignment in each unit.
  • Participate in at least 4 scheduled Zoom sessions throughout the course.
  • Complete the course evaluation.

Time Expectations

4 to 6 hours per week, depending on your learning style and schedule.

Course Certificate

A certificate of completion awarding 35 contact hours will be sent upon completion of all course requirements.


Dr. Joshua McManaway

Dr. Joshua McManaway

At the McGrath Institute for Church Life, Josh works primarily on developing curriculum for STEP courses. In addition to this, he teaches in the Theology program at Holy Cross College.

Josh is from Raleigh, North Carolina. He graduated from East Carolina University with a B.A. in Classics and Religion. He holds an M.A. in Early Christian Studies and a Ph.D in the History of Christianity from the University of Notre Dame. His dissertation, titled, “Nestorius Latinus: The Latin Reception and Critique of Nestorius of Constantinople” explores how Latin theologians from the 5th to 8th centuries understood and critiqued Nestorius. His research focuses principally on early and Medieval Christianity.

Josh lives in South Bend, Indiana. He enjoys learning languages, reading, brewing beer, roasting and drinking coffee, and cycling.