Who are we?
We are an online
Institute for the Art of Biblical Conversation, a 501c3 non-profit teaching organization.
We focus on specific biblical texts, usually through whole-book studies (like Matthew, Romans, Genesis, etc.) We engage together in both English and Greek/Hebrew sessions, depending on one's interest and capability. You choose what you want.
We practice Supportive Engagement, which means the mutual building up of each other, even when we disagree about specifics. Energetic engagement of ideas is encouraged, which makes interaction challenging and growth oriented.
We are a diverse group of women and men from a variety of churches (primarily now, the US and Canada), and from diverse education, age, and personal backgrounds. We are not a church, not a small group Bible class, and not a strictly academic organization or typical school or online teaching program. We hope to be supportive of individual growth and to bring challenge to biblical-text study.
For those who want high quality,
With one-on-one guidance and group support,
you've found a safe place to dig deep and nurture your biblical competence.
TWO MAJOR COMPONENTS
We are an online biblical studies SEMINAR. We focus on the path of contextual study of specific biblical texts by using carefully tested methods of evaluation. Such a seminar is not simply a happenstance class you can attend, and it is not a “fly by the seat of your pants” (in the name of the Spirit) kind of approach; it is, instead, a focused, textually oriented group project that engages biblical texts deeply.
This is why we have developed and are continually emphasizing PROBE on a text-by-text basis. This does not mean you have to be a highfalutin Bible scholar—it just means that our approach is far more focused on high quality biblical-text study than most church Bible classes or small group “Bible study” sessions are able to be. It is also different from “schools” or online programs (which mostly comprise recorded classes).
Get to know highly qualified teachers from a variety of backgrounds.
Learn Bible study skills and methods that help you become an independent thinker.
We champion “Supportive Engagement.” This does not mean that we are simply nice to each other—too nice to take any risks. It rather means that we intentionally engage both biblical texts and each other in lively discussion—even when we disagree, or rather, especially when we disagree!
We believe in the principle, “Iron sharpens iron, and one person spurs on [sharpens, whets, stimulates, provokes] alongside himself or herself, the one who is called a friend. (Prov. 27:17 LXX).”
This does not mean rancor or yelling and throwing things; it means focused, lively interchange of ideas in a context of mutual respect. It means having the other person’s back!
We believe that the group loses its power if there is no interaction—no disagreement or no ability to test ideas. Where there is no healthy tension, the potential for personal growth diminishes. We are willing to challenge each other because we respect each other and because we care about the things we believe.
Occasional LIVE Events
Our seminar occasionally meets as a group in LIVE session. 2012 (TX), 2014 (TN), 2016 (IN), 2018 (TX). 2020 was interrupted by COVID; next planned 2023 (IN)
Online Panel Discussions
No biblical topic is off-limits, and panel discussions involve everyone in the group who is willing to be involved, either on screen (4 at a time), and/or in chat.
Occasional Team Projects
Working as a team to study specific biblical texts for practical outcomes.
The seminar approach through supportive engagement is a powerful and empowering combination. These are essential to what we are doing, what we offer, and why we exist. One of these does not exist without the other.
In IABC, you decide how involved you want to be; you make your own choices. You are given all kinds of opportunities to go beyond typical “Bible study,” to learn and practice new skills, to express yourself, to ask questions, to test your ideas, to step out of the shadows and engage, not only for your own mind, but for the minds of human beings across the board.
In short, we are not a spoon-feeding group; we are a biblical studies seminar determined to supportively engage each other.So, what are my options?