Not so much a systematic course in economic science, Biblical Economics is more an exploration of the theology and philosophy behind the stewardship of existence. Built around the book of the same name by Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr., the study course guides students through a Christian understanding of economic structures, money, poverty, and personal property management. If you want to learn a bunch of technical jargon and learn to navigate abstruse charts this probably isn't the program for you; however, if you want to integrate economic theory with Biblical thought and practical application, Sproul's accessible introduction is probably the perfect place to start.
How Does This Work?
Biblical Economics is a thirteen-chapter book by R.C. Sproul, Jr. outlining the key economic theories/approaches,major points in the development of the science, and Biblical precepts concerning the distribution of wealth, the free market, debt, and many other crucial issues. While Sproul discusses the differences between the Keynesian and Austrian schools, Marxism and socialism, and the strengths and weaknesses of capitalism, he also provides incisive commentary on private stewardship, the church as an agent of social justice, and the government's role in regulating commerce.
While the Biblical Economics text is the core of the curriculum, a series of thirteen audio lectures—each covering a chapter in the book—act as important supplements in which Sproul delves further into the material in a classroom setting. These are fairly informal lectures, with some teacher/student interaction that isn't always covered by the sound system, but there is lots of good information illuminating particularly difficult topics as well as Sproul's own views. A separate disc contains two e-books for further study:The Law by Frédéric Bastiat, and Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators by David Chilton, both classics among Christian students of economics.
A study guide/workbook includes chapter-by-chapter summaries and discussion questions, quizzes and tests, a glossary, and a bibliography of resources for further investigation. While there is space to write answers to the questions, you could just as easily use them as actual discussion starters for a more interactive approach. Memory verses at the end of each section provide added Biblical perspective.
High school students are probably the ideal age group for this course, though it's just as useful for adults and could even make a great Sunday school curriculum. Because Sproul focuses on the nature of economy and its interaction with Christianity, this is more of a theological investigation than anything else, with plenty of advice and insight for individuals and the broader community of the church collectively. In many ways, you could even use these materials, particularly the book, for your personal devotions or as a supplement to Bible reading.
Our Honest Opinion:
The book around which this course is built is an excellent introduction and careful treatment of a commonly avoided discipline that nevertheless has enormous consequences on the way we live and even how we think about God. The audio lectures and e-books are useful as well, though unnecessary, and the e-book titles are not specifically integrated into the program.
The weak link is the study guide—the questions are not as provocative as they could be considering the book's content, and no attempt to bring the various elements of the course into a cohesive system is made. Biblical Economics is sold apart from the course for a much lower price, a good choice for casual study or for individual students in a classroom setting, but if you're going to try to use it as a textbook you'll want to buy the course set.
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