Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Grace Presbyterian Church in Spring Hill holds class about Old Testament

SPRING HILL — About 15 people from Grace Presbyterian Church have decided to start the new year by taking a fresh look at the Bible.

Using the Bible and Henrietta Mears' classic book, What the Bible is All About, Lois Hagedorn will teach "The Holy Bible, Just the Basics" for 12 weeks at 9:30 a.m. Sundays in the church's conference room.

While an introduction to the course took place last weekend, the first lesson will begin Sunday and is open to anyone in the community who would like an overview of the Old Testament.

"It will appeal most to those with little or no knowledge of the Bible and to others who feel they need a refresher course to jog their memories," said Hagedorn, a retired freelance writer.

The Rev. Chet Okopski, pastor of the church, said he is excited about the class because it is based on Mears' work.

"Mears was a marvelous Sunday school teacher who headed the Sunday school of the Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, Calif.," Okopski said. "In her lifetime, she taught more pastors the Gospel than any other teacher in our denomination. Many of her students went into ministry in all kinds of various and sundry churches. Her book, upon which Lois is basing this course, is a fantastic introduction to the Bible from one who understood what the Bible was all about."

Paul and Belinda Miller are taking the class in hopes of better understanding the roots of their religion.

"I was brought up as a Baptist and really need a refresher on the stories of the Old Testament," Mrs. Miller said. "Paul has never really done any kind of study of the earlier books of the Bible, so this will be a new experience for him."

Those who attend the class can bring any version of the Bible with them.

"If they don't have one, we'll be discussing several of the easier-to-read Bible translations that are available today," Hagedorn said.

The course is designed to be simple and user-friendly, so no one will be embarrassed by having to answer questions.

"No written homework, no testing, no completion certificate," Hagedorn said. "Each week, a Bible reading assignment for the next week's discussion will be given, as well as a simple outline of what students will be reading."

The outline will give an overview of each week's lesson, so students need not be concerned if they don't have time to read the entire assignment, Hagedorn said.

For the class this Sunday, it will be helpful, but not necessary, for students to have read the book of Genesis. At the end of the class, they will receive materials and an assignment to read Exodus for Jan. 16.

"In order to cover all 39 books in the Old Testament in 12 weeks, Lesson 3 of this very basic overview will cover the next three books — Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy," Hagedorn explained.

Lesson 4 will cover Joshua and Judges; Lesson 5 will be about Ruth, 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel; Lesson 6 will be 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles; Lesson 7 will cover Ezra through Job; Lesson 8 will be Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon; Lesson 9 will cover the major prophets, Isaiah through Daniel; Lesson 10 will be the minor prophets, Hosea through Micah; and Lesson 11 will cover the remaining prophets, Nahum through Malachi.

"Lesson 12 will be a wrapup of what we've covered and a presentation of the 400 years of silence before the birth of Christ," Hagedorn said.

There will also be a discussion of what students have learned and what they plan to do next to keep their Christian faith growing, Hagedorn said.

"In each lesson, we will gain a basic knowledge of the contents of each book, why the book is important to our faith and how each book points toward the coming Messiah," Hagedorn said.

Hagedorn, 77, and her husband, Kent, have spent their winters in Spring Hill for the past eight years. They are affiliate members at Grace Presbyterian Church and have been active members and elders of Sparta Presbyterian Church in Sparta, N.J., for the past 40 years, serving in several areas of ministry.

After working with her New Jersey church to present a "Walk Thru the Bible" course in 1980, Hagedorn developed her own course, based on Mears' book.

Hagedorn said her pastor at Grace Presbyterian teaches more in-depth courses. She hopes her course will lay a foundation for further study for students. She is considering teaching a class on the New Testament when she returns next fall.

"My hope is that with this basic knowledge, participants will better understand the information when it is presented in a worship service and that they will consider relooking at their Bibles, spending quality time reading the Bible for its timeless lessons about mankind's relationship with God," Hagedorn said.

"I'm hoping that the members of this class will take away from it a new sense of confidence about reading and understanding the word," Okopski said. "This overview is from a spiritual perspective and will help students to understand the Bible as a whole, a complete story — not just a bunch of books put together as one."

.if you go

Just the basics

Grace Presbyterian Church, 8375 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill, is offering a free Old Testament survey course, "The Holy Bible, Just the Basics," at 9:30 a.m. Sundays in the church conference room. Call Lois Hagedorn at (352) 684-0304; preregistration is not necessary. The accompanying textbook for the course, What the Bible is All About, by Henrietta Mears, is available online at

Grace Presbyterian Church in Spring Hill holds class about Old Testament 01/07/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 7, 2011 5:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Justin Timberlake in Super Bowl halftime show for first time since 'wardrobe malfunction'


    Justin Timberlake has finally been invited back to the Super Bowl halftime show, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy.

    Singer Janet Jackson covers her breast as Justin Timberlake holds part of her costume after her outfit came undone during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. The NFL announced Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, that Timberlake will headline the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 4 in Minnesota, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson cause a national controversy. [Associated Press]
  2. Here's what happened when 30 high school sophomores gave up their phones for a day


    LUTZ — They were everywhere at Steinbrenner High School. Teens with panic-stricken faces, furiously slapping one thigh, then the other.

    Grace Hayes, 15, left, and Kai'Rey Lewis, 15, talk and text friends after having a discussion about smartphone technology in Tiffany Southwell's English Literature class at Steinbrenner High last week. Southwell asked theme to give up their phones for a day and write about it. For Lewis, the ride home that day "was the longest bus ride in my life." [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  3. Cuban media treats visit by Tampa City Council as historic event


    TAMPA — Delegations of one kind or another have been traveling from Tampa to Cuba for years, even before President Barack Obama took steps to normalize relations between the two countries in December 2014.

    A Tampa delegation to Cuba this week was featured prominently in reports by the state-run media in Cuba, including Granma. From left are Tampa City Council vice chair Harry Cohen, St. Petersburg City Council Chair Darden Rice, Tampa philanthropist David Straz and Tampa City Council Chair Yolie Capin.
  4. As the curtain rises on the Straz Center's biggest shows, the spotlight is on parking


    TAMPA — The Broadway Series, the most lucrative shows of the year for the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, start this week, and this year the center wants all the drama to take place on stage, not during the drive to the theater.

    With downtown Tampa getting busier at night and on weekends, city officials and administrators from the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts have been working on ways to unsnarl traffic and help visitors find parking when there are lots of events at the same time. CHRIS ZUPPA   |   Times (2009)

  5. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 
Casimar Naiboa pleads for help to capture the killer of his son, Anthony Naiboa. Naiboa, 20, was shot and killed near 15th Street N. and E. Frierson Avenue after getting off the wrong bus in Seminole Heights. A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.