Content on this site is labeled as to its overall spiritual difficulty level (compare Hebrews 5:12-14), as it seems to me. This sort of labeling is subjective and hand-wavy, it is true, but hopefully it can be at least somewhat useful as a guide. The labeling looks like so:
- basic Some link to content
- basic+ Some link to content
- intermediate Some link to content
- intermediate+ Some link to content
- advanced Some link to content
- advanced+ Some link to content
- mixed Some link to content
The distinction between the bare labels and the “plus versions” (e.g., basic and basic+) is the “ease of acceptability / controversy factor” – things with plus labels are more controversial and/or harder to accept, as it seems to me. It so happens that many of the things that are controversial and/or harder to accept are more advanced teachings, as one might expect. Christians disagree about the basic parameters of the gospel very little, but particulars of eschatological chronology quite a bit, for example.
While this site’s writings do run the full spectrum, the two content levels this site focuses on the most are basic and advanced+, as described here.
How content level interacts with the site’s content types
Here is a brief overview of how content level interacts with all of this site’s primary content types:
|Content Type||Content Level|
|Topical Studies||Any of the levels|
|Pages||Any of the levels|
|Q&As: Self-Generated||Any of the levels|
|Q&As: Reader Correspondence||Typically mixed|
|Ministry Info||Typically intermediate|
|Study Group Recordings||Typically mixed|
Pages from the content types in the table above that have a content level of “Any of the levels” can be of any of the content levels, from basic all the way through advanced+.
Some notes specific to various content types:
- While Topical Studies, Pages, and Self-Generated Q&As can occasionally end up with a content level of mixed, this is not particularly common. Usually I am able to pick a level that generally describes the overall spiritual difficulty of the content.
- The two subtypes of Q&As behave a bit differently. Q&As that are completely generated by me behave in essentially the same way as Pages (so can run the full spectrum from basic through advanced+). The Reader Correspondence Q&As that involve actual written exchanges between myself and site readers are often variable in overall spiritual level, and thus often end up labeled as mixed, although sometimes it is possible for me to pick one specific level.
- Most writings in the category of Ministry Info have a content level of intermediate. Working out the specifics of ministries in general and one’s own ministry in particular is not really something for new believers, but it is also not “hard teaching” as far as things go. It’s more a question of “of what type am I?” than “how exactly do these things work again?”
- Study Group Recordings typically end up with a content level of mixed since the discussion within our Bible study tends to range widely in its level (although I would say it most frequently hovers between intermediate and advanced).
- Writings in the categories of Guides, Greek resources, and Hebrew resources have no content level, as these things are typically not spiritual in nature, per se. The guides on this site are primarily focused on practical matters of “how to do X,” and the language resources would be at home on any secular University’s language department portal (although textual examples are overwhelmingly drawn from the Bible). Links for these content types will therefore not be prefixed with a content level, as they don’t have one.
Why only three levels of content?
The main reason why I only define and use three content levels is because the lines are so blurry and indistinct. I would be quite uncomfortable breaking things down any more, since fine-grained categorizations would really imply a level of precision that simply isn’t there.
Part of this is because different people find different things hard (i.e., my intermediate might be your basic), so any labels I affix are really my best guesses as to how “most Christians” will relate to the content. The same goes for my decisions about what content I give the plus distinction and what content I do not.
What content level(s) should I focus on?
This is a question that is difficult to answer. New believers really should focus on the basics of the gospel and what it means to be Christian (for example), but after that the best order to approach things really becomes something of a personal matter.
More than anything else, figuring out “where you are” is probably best done with some personal experimentation. As a general principle, however, I can recommend following your interests (even if this means you jump up a level above where you have been), since interest is a crucial component of effective learning.