At Crown College, one of our key values is excellence in biblically-founded education for Christian leaders. Over the past few years, we’ve intentionally walked out this value by offering free public courses in Old Testament and New Testament studies.

This fall, Crown College is eager to announce the launch of a brand new free course: Backgrounds and Cultures of the Bible. This course is open to all, has no associated cost, and is your opportunity to conveniently advance your understanding of biblical culture and context.

Why study the cultures of the Bible? Because understanding the culture behind biblical narratives helps you better understand and interpret God’s Word for application in your life!

The Backgrounds & Cultures of the Bible course features 13 mini-lessons over 13 weeks, sent to you by email. Every week, you can expect to receive a video lecture of about 25 minutes, as well as printable versions of the PowerPoint slides from the lecture and associated notes pages. Our team has also developed a small-group discussion guide to accompany each lesson, designed to help initiate discussion amongst communities of believers studying together.

Join Crown College as we explore the cultural practices, beliefs, geography, and chronology of the 12 biblical cultures from Genesis to Revelation. Register today to begin receiving the lessons.


The Backgrounds & Cultures of the Bible mini-course is now open! Sign up below and receive lesson one in your inbox today.


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  • Lesson 1 – An Introduction to Backgrounds & Cultures of the Bible


  • Lesson 2 – The Mesopotamian Culture
  • Lesson 8 – The Assyrian Culture
  • Lesson 3 – The Egyptian Culture
  • Lesson 9 – The Babylonian Culture
  • Lesson 4 – The Moabite & Ammonite Culture
  • Lesson 10 – The Persian Culture
  • Lesson 5 – The Canaanite Culture
  • Lesson 11 – The Hellenistic Culture
  • Lesson 6 – The Philistine Culture
  • Lesson 12 – The Roman Culture
  • Lesson 7 – The Phoenician Culture
  • Lesson 13 – The New Testament Greek Culture


Class attendees can expect to gain insight into the cultures of the Bible! Our goal is to provide an overview of each culture, highlighting key themes and their biblical content. The course professor will also incorporate practical “take-aways” within each video lesson.

After signing up, you will receive an email from Crown College each week with access to a Bible culture lesson. There are 13 lessons total, and each will provide a 20-30 minute video lesson, a printable notes page, PowerPoint slides exploring the culture, and a small-group discussion guide.


As you anticipate the arrival of your first course lesson, the team at Crown College recommends you pick up a simple 3-ring binder for organizing your printed notes, PowerPoint slides, and discussion questions. This class contains a lot of content, and a binder will help you organize and easily reference your notes in the future. If you pride yourself on your organizational habits, you may also choose to purchase or make a set of 13 divider tabs to separate your lesson content.

If you learn best by writing, we recommend taking a few minutes to print off the notes page and the PowerPoint slides in handout form prior to watching the lesson video. So, you may decide that you want paper for printing. To engage in each lesson, you’ll need your phone, tablet, or computer to stream your video, as well as an Internet connection. You may desire a paper and pen for taking notes.

You don’t need to purchase any books for this free class mini series, but a few excellent resources are recommended below if you decide to study the biblical cultures further on your own.

For each week of this class, a mini-lesson will be released with a 25-30 minute video lecture, printable fill-in-the-blank notes page, PowerPoint slides, and a small group discussion guide. We’re not assigning any homework!
The goal of this class is to introduce each Bible culture and go over a few key points that impact the Scriptural narrative, then align students toward resources for further study as desired.

Each lesson could be completed well in under an hour.

No books are required for the free class sessions—we will provide everything you need! However, here are two excellent resources you can purchase if you would like to study further on your own.

  1. Holman Bible Atlas: A Complete Guide to the Expansive Geography of Biblical History, 1999. Thomas Brisco.  Holman. ISBN: 1-55819-709-5. This is a good combination of Bible maps and an explanation of the story or chapters at hand. (Amazon link)
  2. Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Manners And Customs How The People Of The Bible Really Lived, 1999. Howard Frederic Vos. Nelson. ISBN: 0-7852-1194-2. Also available on Kindle. (Amazon link)
    This is the book that follows all 12 biblical cultures by examining 13 different aspects of each of the 12 cultures. Here are the 13 aspects that each culture that are reviewed:

    1. THE LAND
    5. WARFARE
    8. DRESS

While this class does not qualify for college credit, we’re excited to offer it as an opportunity for you to conveniently advance your understanding of biblical culture and context.

Of course! To register, they can visit this page and sign up. Anyone who registers for the class will receive the lessons in order for the following 13 weeks. The first video (which explores the Mesopotamian culture) will be sent the same day they register. This way, each class registrant will have the opportunity to receive all class content, beginning with lesson #1

If you’re leading a Bible study, small group, or church ministry, you may decide to watch the lesson videos together in a group setting. The Crown College team would love for you to create community and open Bible discussions in this way! As you share the lessons, please honor these two requests from our team:

  1. Share the link with your group, so that each individual has the opportunity to register for the full class and receive the content personally.
  2. Refrain from editing logos, watermarks, etc. that credit all content to Crown College. It is our pleasure to share this free class mini-series with you at no cost, and we ask that you allow the videos, notes pages, PowerPoints, and email messages to be credited to Crown College.
  3. With families and small groups in mind, the Crown College team has designed a small group discussion guide to help initiate conversation. This guide will be available for download alongside the other content for each lesson.
Dr. John Holmes from Christ Community Church Omaha

About the Professor

Dr. John Holmes has his PhD in Education-Administration, Curriculum, and Instruction from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and ThM in Historical Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He served on staff with Grace University for 25 years, and his roles through the years included Academic Dean, Vice President of Student Life, and Associate Professor of Bible. Dr. Holmes is an avid hiker, mountain climber, and biker. He and his wife, Donna, enjoy ministering to young married couples. Currently serving as Associate Pastor at Grace Life Bible Church in Omaha, Dr. Holmes also teaches Bible and Ministry program classes for Crown College Omaha. His students often comment that Dr. Holmes, “knows each student in his classes, and that he creates plenty of class time for discussing questions that arise within the studies.”

Backgrounds and Cultures of the Bible is now open! Sign up below and receive lesson one in your inbox today.


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Who is Crown College?

For over 100 years, Crown College has been preparing students for lives of outstanding service and leadership. Located just west of Minneapolis, Minnesota, we offer traditional on-campus degree programs, 18 NCAA Division III athletic teams, internship opportunities, and summer outreach programs around the globe. We have been a leader in online education for over 20 years, with nationally-recognized bachelor and master’s degree programs that can be completed 100% online with most courses just 8-weeks long. With all programs integrating biblical principles and industry best practices, graduates of Crown College are prepared to succeed both professionally and personally.

Crown is fully accredited by the High Learning Commission (HLC), and has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report, MONEY Magazine, and Christian Universities Online.

The mission of Crown College is to provide a biblically-based education for Christian leaders. The Crown College experience is more than just a degree—it equips students to do what they do best, whether that’s as a nurse, a video technician, a teacher, a pastor or a business leader. It means taking the skills, talents and passions that God has given to our students and showing them how to impact the world.



Learn more about Crown College:


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Crown Online

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Crown Extensions

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