• Caleb Harrelson

Getting the most out of an Engage Intensive Class

Updated: Apr 7



Tips for getting the most out of an Engage Intensive Class


*Note: This post is specifically about my “Formation & Reliability of the Bible” 8 week class and those registered for it. To register for this class, click here.


Overview of Class Topics for the "Formation & Reliability of the Bible" class:

1. The Nature of Scripture: Inspiration, inerrancy & Sola scriptura (March 14th)

2. Old Testament Canon formation (March 21st)

3. The Case for Moses’ authorship & evidence for the Exodus (March 28th)

4. More on the historicity of the Old Testament (April 4)

5. New Testament Canon formation & the historical Jesus (April 11th)

6. The early & eyewitness writing of the New Testament (April 18th)

7. The preservation of the New Testament & why it wasn’t corrupted (April 25)

***Off week: May 2nd***

8. Translations, the King James Only Controversy & alleged contradictions (May 9th)

How to get the most of our our Engage Intensive apologetics class...


Think about your goal

  • Full Engagement: Are you wanting to retain 100% of the class material? If so, consider doing all of the recommendations listed below that you can.

  • Mid-level Engagement: Are you wanting to just get a good general grasp of the topic (maybe retain about 50-80% of the class material)? If so, consider just doing what works for you in the suggestions below.

  • Just Show up and listen: Do you just want to hear presentations about this topic? Then just show up and don’t worry about anything else.

While this class is an "intermediate level," most high school-adults should be okay with a good commitment to consistently engage with the material in one of the ways listed in this post. I have found that discipline and consistency is generally the key for one to retain the class material well; barring unmanageable things that would prevent your successful engagement (other time commitments, health issues, you need to take the beginner class first, etc.) Again, remember to keep in mind your "goal" for the class. If your goal is to just "show up and listen," then I wouldn't worry too much about a full retention of the material. Just enjoy the class and invest in the material as much or as little as you desire!

Ask questions!

  • There are no dumb questions!

  • Last week in my Greek class I asked my professor a question online that was super obvious. At first, I was embarrassed because I should have easily recognized the answer; however, my professor didn’t embarrass me and understood that sometimes “people just are tired or miss a simple detail.” If you don’t want to ask a question during class, however, please send me a message later and I will do my best to help you better understand the topic. My goal is to invest in YOU during this class!

Consider doing some of the homework

  • Answering some of the discussion questions and/or watching at least one of the recommended videos will help you grasp the topic better.

Try some of the “Engaging with your neighbor” homework

  • I consistently find that when someone talks with a skeptic or unbeliever, they suddenly become very eager to soak up everything they can in class. Many times, I find that believers have a harder time getting serious about an in-depth study in apologetics UNTIL they have a challenging faith conversation or do a worldview survey with their friends or family. At that point, they quickly realize their need to grow in being confident in God’s Word, how to respond to objections and engage with every person about the gospel.

Consider watching my beginner apologetics series and then jump back into this class.

  • Generally, I would recommend people watching or taking my beginner apologetics course BEFORE taking one of my intermediate ones (Creation, Cult, Foundations, Biblical Justice, Biblical Reliability, etc.). All of the notes and lessons for the beginner series can be sent to someone upon request ($50 value- suggested donation).

  • If you are already registered for my 8 week intensive class, I will send you my beginner class as a bonus. (click here to register for the current class). My beginner class was only 6 weeks, but if you feel you don’t have time to go through all 6 while taking this intermediate class, I would at least recommend watching lesson one on “Defining Apologetics and faith.” This is a very important lesson that will help frame up the importance of engaging with these topics and loving God with your mind.

Participate during the beginning and middle discussion time

  • Trying to explain to others what you are learning will help you process and understand it better.

  • If you are watching online, it would help for you to visit with me online during class discussion breaks or the person you are watching with. The discussions are KEY to helping your learning in class!

Read and review the notes and recordings as necessary.

  • Yes, you heard that right! You will receive detailed notes each week along with ALL of the classes recordings. They will be sent out to everyone registered for the class. Did you miss a week or two? No worries! You can watch the recording if you want to catch up. Also, if you fail to watch a recording before the next class, don't worry! Each lesson (see below) can stand on its own, so don't worry too much if you aren't able to catch up in time for the new lesson.

  • The notes are thorough and have no blanks so that you can just focus on listening and can review the content later. If you want to take extra notes on other comments made during the presentation or from the slides, that is totally up to you. Some people prefer taking extra notes, some find it easier for them to draw while listening, and others just find it easier to merely listen.

Keep showing up

  • Yes, I know, some of these classes feel like “throwing peanut butter on the wall.” Keep listening and showing up and then I promise you will have that “AHA moment.” Things will start to click/stick. Don’t give up!

  • If you miss a week (or three!), don’t worry...just show up when you can and watch the recordings if you fill so inclined.

Question: “If Scriptures is so easy a child can understand, then shouldn’t I immediately be able to understand all these topics...shouldn’t these topics be simple to understand?”

Response: Yes, Scripture is clear in its main message of the gospel and how to follow Christ. Also, I do believe that every believer is called to do apologetics (1 Peter 3:15) and CAN do it effectively regardless of their education level. Basic Apologetics can be easily done in everyday conversation.

It should be noted that since this class is not a purely “biblical interpretation” or “Bible study” class, it will initially feel like a great change in pace. This is mainly because when we talk about the “Formation and reliability of the Bible” we are going to be dealing with a variety of subjects at once (interdisciplinary): history, philosophy, logic, biblical interpretation, archeology, evangelism, etc.


Also, I believe we honor God when we seek to take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10: 3-5) in every subject and bring it into submission to the Lord Jesus and love him with all our mind. Truly, “the fear of the Lord is beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). No, I don’t believe every believer is called to engage with apologetic related topics to the same degree that myself and other believers are currently doing; however, frequently challenging yourself to think about how a variety of subject fields glorify the Lord Jesus and how to engage with unbelievers is a worthy endeavor. With that said, below is a list of a few simple class goals and “apologetic methodologies” you can take from this class and immediately apply:

  • Think of at least one key truth that you were taught on why Scripture can be trusted during each lesson and practice sharing that with someone.

  • During class, think of a simple question you can ask a struggling believer or unbeliever that will help them thoughtfully engage with the bible more and trust in Christ.

  • Think of how each lesson can lead you to trust in God’s Word more and meditate on it more and grow your boldness to share with others about what it says.

  • Think about how you can explain to others that “unbelief always leads to absurdity.” Another way to think of it is like this: any worldview that rejects God’s Word as its ultimate standard, can make sense of reality. It must deny, distort and suppress the evidence like pushing a beach ball under water. Think about how you can explain to others that God’s Word is describing reality about God, Creation, humanity and the solution.


Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get something immediately.

  • If you feel like you are having a hard time understanding a certain point, please ask me a question before class, during breaks, after class, email or call me later. Yes, I have had people struggle with understanding a concept in the past, but every single person that has asked me for clarification during or outside of class has been able to persevere, understand the topic better and get what they wanted out of the class.

Question: “Why can’t this class just be shorter or have less material?”

Response: “I hear you and understand where you are coming from. I frequently give presentations in many formats where my depth and time varies. Some of my public YouTube videos run in between 30 minutes to an hour and some of my online articles vary between a 5-20 minute read. Some of my presentations for teens runs around 45 minutes. If I give a one-time or series of seminars to teens, my presentations will be shorter than this class as well (w/ one 1-2 pg. Notes!). However, given that I have a variety of formats to offer, this class serves as a more rigorous engagement with more detailed notes and role-playing opportunities.

Additionally, since our culture is at a massive turning point where Christianity is a minority and secularism has discipled most of the past few generations (see whoisgenz.org), I believe it is necessary to seriously deal with many of the false ideas that have set themselves up against the knowledge of God.

I am very familiar with many of the current attacks against God’s Word in academia, progressive churches, ministries and people in street evangelism, so there is a reason why I cover many of the popular objections against Scripture. With some objections to Scripture, it would be a disservice to you if I gave a fluff answer that failed to adequately answer the objections. I want my notes to be well documented with scripture and other sources so that you can readily engage with someone on this topic.

Lastly, since this class involves a per person investment in the class, I view this “Engage Intensive” as an opportunity to really invest in you and help you have a thorough understanding of the class topic. This class serves as a “filling of the gap between Sunday school and Seminary.” Historically, Christians led the West in education (prior to the Scopes trial) about how to think Biblically about ALL subjects; therefore, I hope to recapture that goal with this “Biblical apologetics and worldview” intensive class.

Thank you!

Thank you for your investment in me as a missionary! This enables me to have the time to study and research for this class SO THAT I can invest you as well! I want everyone in this class to take every thought captive, love the word of God more and boldly engage with others about the total truth of His Word!


Are you not singed up for the current class?


If you would like to sign up for my current class on the "Formation & Reliability of the Bible" you can sign up here. All that register for the class will receive a copy of the notes and recordings.




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