First Principles
So, are you thinking about starting the Simeon Course? The best place to start is here with our First Principles course. It's an introduction to the most fundamental principles for studying the Bible. Here's everything you'll need to know.

How do we get started in studying God's Word? What kinds of things should we look for in the text? This course tackles the foundational principles of studying God's Word, and is accessible for new students or for those trying to feel out the longer courses we offer.

This course covers the basic principles of studying the Bible that any preacher, teacher, student, or faithful Christian who wants to read God's Word should know. It begins with our basic conviction about Staying on the Line of Scripture. It then tackles the use of context, structure, and a book’s big ideas, and begins to answer the question of how to make applications for yourself and others while reading and teaching. The lessons included are:

1. Staying on the Line (a conviction about not saying more or less than the Bible says)
2. Pathway for Preparation (an overview of how one should prepare for exposition)
3. Context (using the literary and historical context to rightly interpret a text)
4. Structure (understanding how a text is organized to emphasize a particular point)
5. Melodic Line (using the message of the whole book to understand the message of a particular text)
6. Text and Framework (being aware of the agendas we bring and submitting them to the text)
7. Seeing Jesus (rightly relating each text to the death and resurrection of Jesus)
8. The Bible for Life (wrestling with how to move from the text to applications/implications)

For the First Principles Course, there are two tracks available depending on your ministry responsibilities and level of interest: the original First Principles track, and the First Principles for Women’s Ministry track.

The First Principles course has 8 lessons (listed above) and is designed primarily for those who are interested in getting started in Bible study with an eye toward teaching. This course features our Chairman, David R. Helm (Lead Pastor of the Hyde Park congregation of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, Illinois).

The First Principles for Women's Ministry track has 8 lessons (listed above) and is designed primarily for women who are interested in getting started in Bible study with an eye toward teaching. This course features four women's ministry leaders: Nancy Guthrie (teacher and conference speaker), Colleen McFadden (Director of Women's Workshops for the Charles Simeon Trust), Susan Jahns (teacher at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois), and Abi Byrd (teacher at Sterling Park Baptist Church in Sterling Park, Virginia).

There are two primary ways to take any of our courses: as a Group or as an Individual.

Our courses were designed for groups of people who have a common bond (e.g., pastors in the same city or denomination, students in the same church internship program, lay leaders for a particular ministry, missionaries from the same church, or even a group of friends). Those using this format will follow a syllabus, complete assignments, and spend time together discussing the videos. They will also present their own work in a text to the other members of the group. The group format is flexible, and there is no set schedule and pace for how a group must work through the course. The group coordinator will have a contact at the Charles Simeon Trust to answer any of their questions while leading the group.

We also have a self-guided option for students taking the course as individuals. Being our most flexible option, this is for students who want to take a course at their own pace or who simply want access to the online materials. In some cases and depending on our staff capacity, individual students may send their small group outlines and practice sermons to a Charles Simeon Trust employee for helpful feedback, though the rest of their coursework (study questions and readings) are to be completed independently.

We are doing everything we can to keep this simple. The cost of the whole First Principles course is only $19. More information about tuition, making payments, and discounts is available on the tuition page. 

We have partnered with the most seasoned pastors and best professors we could recruit in order to elevate the quality of our courses.

David R. Helm

David R. Helm
Lead Pastor of Hyde Park Congregation, Holy Trinity Church - Chicago, Illinois
Executive Director, Charles Simeon Trust

Dave serves as Lead Pastor of the Hyde Park congregation of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago. David held the post of Senior Pastor from its founding in 1998 until 2008, when Jon Dennis assumed the role. A graduate of Wheaton College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, David is ordained in the PCA and serves on the council of The Gospel Coalition. He authored 1 & 2 Peter and Jude in Crossway’s Preaching the Word series, The Big Picture Story Bible and contributed to Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching in Honor of Kent Hughes. Additionally, David serves as Chairman of the Charles Simeon Trust, a ministry devoted to equipping the next generation of Bible expositors.

Nancy Guthrie

Nancy Guthrie
Teacher and Conference Speaker

Nancy teaches the Bible at conferences nationally and internationally and contributes to the Gospel Coalition blogs. She and her husband host Respite Retreat, a weekend retreat for couples who have faced the death of a child. She is presently engaged in graduate studies via Reformed Theological Seminary Global. Nancy is author of numerous books, including Holding on to Hope, Hearing Jesus Speak Into Your Sorrow and the five-book Seeing Jesus in the Old TestamentBible Study series.

Colleen McFadden

Colleen McFadden
Director of Women's Workshops, Charles Simeon Trust

Colleen joined the Charles Simeon Trust in 2007 and currently serves as the Director of Women's Workshops. Prior to working with the Trust, she was in the corporate world, most recently as a Business Development Manager at a major insurance corporation. Colleen earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Illinois and an MDiv from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. She teaches and trains women in her local congregation, Seven Mile Road Church, in Philadelphia and serves on the board of Matthias Media Ministries.

Susan Jahns

Susan Jahns
Teacher, College Church - Wheaton, Illinois

Susan has taught in the College Church Women’s Bible Study since 2003. A longtime member of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois, she served on staff for six years as a Children's Ministry Associate. She earned her BA in Christian Education at Wheaton College.

Abi Byrd

Abi Byrd
Deacon of Women's Ministry, Loudoun Valley Baptist Church - Purcellville, Virginia

Abi serves as Deacon of women's ministry at Loudoun Valley Baptist Church where she mentors and disciples women and teaches a Bible Study. She also speaks for evangelistic events and retreats at other churches. Abi has a BEd Honors degree in music and education from Cambridge University. She has been a teacher in elementary school and served with the children's ministry on staff at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. She and her family have also served as missionaries in the UK and Kosovo with Radstock Ministries, of which she is part of the Board.