Free Bible Study Lessons home page

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about our Free Bible Study Lessons.

Questions about our grading system:

* Before contacting us to ask about your lesson grade, please click here!
* How does the automatic grading system work?
* Why did the computer count my answers wrong?
* How do I see the correct answers?
* What if the lesson still does not seem to work properly?
* How do I save a copy of a lesson or a list of correct answers?
* How do I print out a copy of a lesson?
* Can you tell me what lessons I have completed and what scores I received?
* If you're just really frustrated, read this!

Other questions about our lessons and web site:

* Who sponsors your web sites, and what do you believe?
* What copyright restrictions are there on your materials?
* My lessons have not been returned yet. What happened?
* Can I receive your materials by regular mail?
* Can you send us copies of your materials so we can distribute them to others?
* Do you offer a certificate of completion for your courses?
* Do you have free advanced courses available?
* What translation of the Bible should I use with your materials?
* What do I do when I cannot access a page on your web site?
* Do you answer questions and respond to comments?
* What is the RSS feed mentioned on your web sites?
* Can you provide me with a free Bible?
* Can we make a financial contribution to help with your work?
* Can you help me find a faithful church or a Christian to study with in my area?
* How can I distinguish when you are explaining Scripture from when you are quoting? 

Note: Before emailing us about our grading, please read the following message!

If you are concerned about how the computer graded your lesson, please be aware that the computer may count off under certain conditions even if your answer seems to be correct. Please do the following:

1) Return to the top of this page and carefully read each item of information about our grading system.

2) Please check to be sure you are using one of the recommended translations listed on the menu page for the course you are taking.

3) Also compare your answers to the list of correct answers for the lesson you are studying. Please note that you must submit your answers on a lesson to us before you will be shown the correct answers.

4) Be sure you carefully read and follow all instructions in the lessons.

If after carefully doing all the above you are still convinced you were graded incorrectly, please email us giving the course name, lesson number, question number, and the answer you believe should be counted as correct. Thank you.

How the grading system works

Please follow all instructions carefully! As the instructions state, you must first save each lesson to your computer and study it offline. Then you open the answer quiz page in your browser and enter your answers according to the instructions.

Note that the computer has been programmed to accept various answers for many of the questions. However, your answers must match with the wording of the Scriptures as found in our recommended translations (see the menu page of each course for a list of translations).

When all answers are complete, go to the bottom of the lesson and click on the button to submit your answers to be graded. The computer immediately shows which answers were correct and which (if any) were incorrect. If you wish to change any answers you missed, click on your "back" button to return to the answer quiz page (note that you must use your "back" button - if you use any other way of returning to the quiz page you will have to retype all your answers!). You may then change your answers and click on the "submit" button again. You are free to continue this process until all answers are correct (or until you decide to quit).

When you decide you are through answering questions (whether or not you have answered all questions correctly), follow the instructions at the bottom of the grading page to submit your answers and other requests to us for processing. You will then see another page that shows your grade and processes your other requests. You will also be shown the correct answers for the lesson. Please note that you must answer the questions and submit your answers to us before you will be shown the correct answers.  

Why did the computer count my answers wrong?

An answer may be counted wrong for several reasons:

1) Obviously, you may simply have misunderstood the question or the Bible passage. Read very carefully each Scripture reference that the lesson tells you to read. Then read each question very carefully. Then answer the question according to the Scripture.

2) You may have made a typing error, a spelling error, or even a grammatical error. The computer knows only correct answers. If your answer differs from what the computer has been told is correct, it will count you wrong! Check the wording of the Scripture carefully and spell your answers as they are in the Bible. Note: Capitalization does not matter.

3) You may be using a different Bible translation. The menu page for each course lists the translations that are recommended for use. If you use a different translation, the wording might not agree with what the computer has been taught to accept. We suggest that you use a recommended translation (a link is provided on the menu page to online Bibles if needed). However, if you choose to continue using another translation, you must expect the computer to disagree on occasion!

4) On a short answer question, you may have worded a correct answer in a form the computer simply does not recognize. If this happens, we are sorry, but we can only anticipate a limited number of possible answers. Do not use your own words for the answers; avoid adding words that are not in the Bible text. Answer as briefly as possible and as closely as possible to the wording of the Scriptures. Do not add explanations or multiple answers. Just answer briefly as in the Bible.

5) Unfortunately, sometimes computers have glitches, especially on the Internet. Sometimes the computer just makes a mistake for no apparent reason. We're really sorry, but in this case there is really no alternative for you but to start over. You might want to come back and try the lesson again some other time.

Remember that, if the computer says you missed an answer, you will have an opportunity to correct it before your grade is submitted to us.

Please understand that we do not ask "trick" questions. We are not trying to fool you. We are trying to help you understand God's word. However, sometimes people have ideas and beliefs that simply do not harmonize with what God's word actually says. We try our best to ask understandable questions that help deepen your appreciation and understanding of the real meaning of God's word.

If you are seriously convinced the computer should accept an answer, but it just will not accept it, before you write to us, please check the list of correct answers (follow the instructions in the lesson to see them). If you have done all this but are still convinced the computer graded your lesson incorrectly, please email us giving the course name, lesson number, question number, and the answer you believe should be counted as correct.

How do I see the correct answers to the questions?

You must answer the questions on a lesson and submit your answers to us before you will be shown the correct answers. After you complete and submit your answers, you will be shown the correct answers for the lesson.

Remember that the list of correct answers includes the preferred answers based on the recommended translations, but it does not show all the answers that the computer accepts.

What if the lesson still does not seem to work properly?

Sometimes a lesson just does not seem to work properly. If this happens, please reload it and try again. You might want to close other programs on your computer to free up computer memory (sometimes even rebooting your computer helps). If a lesson still does not work properly, we suggest you skip it and try again some other time. If it still does not work, please send us an email telling us the course name, the lesson number, and the problem you had.

For more information, click on this link.

Saving copies of the lessons or answers

The instructions on the menu page tell you to save each lesson to your computer before you start to study. You may save in HTML or PDF formats. Click on the link for the format you prefer, then use the "save" or "save as" menu item when the lesson has completely downloaded to your computer. This should save a copy of the lesson for future reference. We suggest you then print out a "hard copy" of the lesson before you begin to study it.

Also please save the page that shows your grade and the correct answers to the questions. Because we offer a free service, we do not save a record for each student of  lessons he/she has submitted (please see information below about student records).

Printing out copies of lessons

To print out a copy of any lesson, simply open the lesson in your browser or your pdf reader (you may do this when you are at our web site or after you have saved a lesson to your hard drive). Then click on the "print" option on the menu or toolbar of your browser or reader. This should simply print the lesson out.

If the resulting print is too small, try increasing the text size for the screen display on your browser before printing the lesson out (this should be an option on a menu item).

If you are still having problems, try printing out using the pdf format instead of HTML.

If your printer prints out the background color, look through your options or preferences for an option that tells the printer not to print the background at all. If you select this option, the background color should not print.

Can you tell me what lessons I have completed in the past and what scores I received?

When you complete each lesson in our free online Bible courses, the web site should show you a page on your browser that indicates your grade and shows you the correct answers to each question. If you want a record of your grade and of the correct answers, you must save the online page when the computer instructs you to do so. Please note that you will not be sent an email acknowledging each lesson.  (We have been compelled to eliminate sending email responses for each lesson due to complications caused by email servers and spam software.)

Our sites are visited by literally thousands of students every week. Thousands of them each year take our courses. Because we offer a free service, we simply cannot maintain a record of lessons and grades for the benefit of each particular student. Each student is responsible to keep a record of his/her own work. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and we appreciate your understanding.

Please remember the purpose of the lessons.

Everyone knows that working with computers can be frustrating. If you are troubled because the computer disallows one of your answers, please remember the purpose of the studies. The goal is to help people understand the Bible better. The "score" is not the goal, but simply indicates that you should consider whether or not your answers are correct according to the Scriptures. If you are learning God's word, then the purpose of the lessons has been accomplished.

Also please remember that these lessons are being offered to you as a free service. You are not being charged in any way. All the people who provide these lessons and respond to your questions are volunteers. We are human and sometimes make mistakes. We appreciate your patience as we help you understand God's word better.

Who sponsors your web sites, are you affiliated with a denomination, and what do you believe?

Occasionally people inquire about the religious views and/or affiliation of those who sponsor our web sites. To learn about who sponsors our sites, please click on the following link: www.gospelway.com/bio.htm 

What copyright restrictions are placed on your materials?

All materials and all pages on our site are copyrighted, whether or not they have an express copyright notice on them. For a statement of our guidelines for use of our materials by others, please go to our copyright guidelines page.

I submitted lessons from your Free Bible Study Courses site, but they have not been returned yet. What happened?

When you submit your answers to a lesson online, you should see your grade immediately. Please save this page for future reference! This is the only record we will give you of your grade and the correct answers. 

We no longer send students an e-mail acknowledging their lesson or confirming their grade. This policy has been made necessary because of complications caused by email servers and spam software.

If you submit a question or comment with your lesson, you should receive a response from one of our volunteer correspondents. However, you must be sure to submit a complete and correct email address. One of the main reasons students do not receive our responses is that we have been given an inaccurate email address!

Also, please remember that our courses are offered free of charge as a free service to our students. All our volunteers have other jobs, schoolwork, or family responsibilities, so they must find time around their other responsibilities to respond to our students. Sometimes they are sick or out of town or have other special circumstances come up. We appreciate very much the work they do. And while we encourage them to be diligent, we also encourage our students to be understanding when delays occur on our end.

So the best thing students can do to help speed up return of their lessons is to give us a correct email address. After that, we do ask for your patience and cannot guarantee a response.

Can I receive your materials by regular mail?

As a general rule our policy is that we send out materials only online (and rarely by email). Regular mail is comparatively expensive and time consuming.

Since we live in northern Illinois (near Wisconsin), we do make exceptions for people who live in Illinois and Wisconsin. Other than that, our general rule is to send materials only by Internet.

If you don't own a computer, one thing you might try would be to go to a computer (wherever you can get access to one, such as at a library or a friend's house) and print out a few of our online lessons. You can then study them at home and then the next time you have online access, you can fill in the answers to those lessons and send them to us. Then you can print out some more lessons, etc.

We are sorry if this inconveniences you, but we operate on a "shoestring" budget. We hope you understand.

Can you send us copies of your materials so we can distribute them to others?

Unfortunately, for financial reasons, we are unable to send out free copies of our materials for distribution. If you know people who have access to the Internet, we would gladly have them take our online courses.

We do not offer our free courses with the intent of making money or even receiving contributions. However, for those who are really interested, some of our materials are available for sale in quantity. See our Light to My Path web site for more information.

We always wish we could do more, but we hope these alternatives will be helpful.

Do you offer a certificate of completion for your courses?

When you complete the last lesson in any course, the computer should plainly tell you that have completed the course. If you save this page, you will have a record that you completed the course. For financial and other reasons, however, we do not mail our students with any kind of formal certificate when they complete one of our free online courses.

We hope your studies will benefit you as you learn more of God's will. The truth can make us free from sin (John 8:31-34). We hope that will be reward enough for continuing to study it.

Do you have free advanced courses available?

All the materials we have available are on our web sites. We have several Bible study courses available at our Free Bible Study Lessons web site at www.BibleStudyLessons.com. We also have free articles about various Bible study topics. These are available through our Gospel Way and Bible Instruction sites at www.gospelway.com and www.gospelway.com/instruct. We are also developing verse-by-verse commentaries on books of the Bible. These include study questions for students to consider, but students do not submit answers to us for grading. To see a list of materials, please to to www.gospelway.com and search for the links to our commentaries.

We are continually working to develop more materials for our Bible study sites. We encourage you to check back from time to time.

Also we have a monthly newsletter that contains a Bible study article each month and that informs our students of any new materials that we have recently placed online. If you would like to subscribe to that newsletter, simply click on the link to our Request Form at the bottom of any page of our web site.

What translation of the Bible should I use with your materials?

The menu page for each online Bible course lists the recommended translations for that course. Any of those translations should work well. Other translations may not work as well, simply because we cannot program the computer to accept all the variations in wording that may be found in various translations. For further information, see our notes above explaining the automatic grading system.

If you choose to use some other translation, the computer may not recognize your answer. In particular, we strongly discourage use of the looser modern "translations" that simply paraphrase the Scriptures, rather than attempting to give a true translation. An example of this would be The Living Bible.

What do I do when a file on your web site will not download to my computer?

When a file does not completely download to your computer, the reason is usually a problem somewhere in the Internet. As you know, the Internet is a conglomerate of millions of computers, and problems can occur anywhere along the line as our file is transferred to you.  

If a file does not transfer properly, you can attempt the following steps to solve the problem:  

1) If you tried to access the site by clicking on a "link," try typing the URL address directly into the appropriate line of your browser. Some have told me this will work even when clicking the link did not.

2) If you still get no results, try clicking on the "refresh" button in your browser. This will attempt to download the file to your computer again.

3) Try closing as many programs on your computer as you can. Sometimes lack of computer memory slows a browser down so much it cannot access a web site.

4) If you still have problems, you may try again at a different time. Sometimes the Internet is just "busy" and cannot complete a request until later. This is especially a problem during the evenings.

5) If you have tried the above approaches and still have problems, then please send us an email naming the file you were trying to download. See below to email us.

Do you answer questions and respond to comments?

The purpose of our web sites is to provide serious Bible students with quality materials to help them study the word of God for themselves. It is not our purpose to provide chatrooms or discussion groups. Other sites may provide that service, but that is not our purpose.

So we encourage our students to benefit from the materials we provide online. We have literally thousands of students taking our online Bible courses every year. We try to respond to their serious questions and brief comments about our online materials, but this of itself takes a significant amount of our time. All our graders are volunteers who have many other serious responsibilities. They grade lessons and respond to students in their "spare time." This means their time is limited.

Occasionally we receive emails requesting that we read, study, and/or respond to lengthy statements, frequent questions, published articles, or that we engage in other lengthy exchanges about religious topics. These discussions or materials may or may not be of serious religious value. However, while we have no desire to be unkind to anyone, quite frankly we generally do not have time to respond or to engage in such lengthy discussions or exchanges.

Again, we do not mean to be unkind, but if you would like to receive a response from us, we request that you please do the following:

1) If you are responding to something you read in one of our online courses or articles, please read and study the online material carefully and look up the pertinent passages cited before you send us your question or comment. Often the material we have published will answer the questions people have -- that is why we have published it! If your question or comment indicates to us that you have not seen our published materials or have not read them carefully, we will simply respond by referring you to our published material and urging you to read and study it carefully.

2) Please send just one or two brief questions and/or comments, and be specific. If you disagree, give specific evidence (especially Bible evidence) to demonstrate where you believe we are mistaken. Broad, general accusations, such as "You don't know what you're talking about," "You need to do more research," or "You're an idiot," are not helpful and will not receive a response!

3) Since the purpose of our sites is to examine the text of the Bible itself, please restrict questions and comments to the Bible text, rather than to religious history, quotations from theologians, etc.

4) Please focus on studying our online materials, rather than on lengthy, ongoing correspondence with us.

We try to do a service to our students by publishing materials for your benefit. But we regret that we simply do not have time for lengthy exchanges and communications. Thank you for being understanding.

What is the RSS feed mentioned on your Gospel Way and Bible Study Lessons web sites?

RSS is increasingly popular as a means to receive updates regarding new information available on your favorite Internet web sites. You need RSS feed reading software on your computer (some of which can be obtained for free). This is different software from a web site browser or email software (though some RSS readers can integrate with either of these). If you have SBC Yahoo, your My Yahoo! home page can also be set to show RSS feeds. When you open your RSS reader (or your My Yahoo page), it displays information about updates to the materials available on your favorite web sites. But this requires each of those web sites to maintain an RSS feed file (many do not yet do so). 

We have just set up an RSS feed so you can stay informed of new developments on our Gospel Way and Bible Study Lessons web sites. The URL address for our RSS page is https://www.gospelway.com/bible_topics.xml (this address is also available as a link at the bottom of most pages on the web sites). Just enter this address as a feed channel in your My Yahoo! home page or RSS reader. You should then see a list of materials that have been recently added to our web sites. Whenever we update this list (about once a week or so), you will automatically be notified. 

For more information about RSS, go to http://www.rss-specifications.com/.

Can you provide me with a free Bible?

Unfortunately, for financial reasons we are not in a position to give away free Bibles. Inexpensive Bibles can be obtained at most large department stores (KMart, Walmart, etc.). They are generally available for less than the cost of a month's online service.

You can also refer to many Bible texts online by going to the link on our menu pages.

Can we make a financial contribution to help with your work?

We consistently advertise the materials on our Gospel Way and Free Bible Study Lessons web sites as being "free," and we sincerely mean that in every way. We neither solicit nor accept funds for the materials on these sites. We have no desire whatever to be offensive in this. We just believe this is the best way for us to demonstrate our sincere commitment to helping people learn the truth without charge. We feel abundantly rewarded because we have been able to help souls learn the truth.

There are, however, some things our students can do to help in the work. (1) Students can continue to study the other materials we offer. (2) Students can tell their friends and loved ones about our materials and encourage them to participate. This would help us accomplish even more good by our work.

(Please note that not all of our sites offer materials for "free." In those cases, we specifically state what price we charge for our materials.)

Can you help me find a faithful church or a Christian I can study with in my local area?

When our Bible students have carefully studied our online materials and want to find a local church or Christians in their area, when possible we are willing to direct them to a Christian in their area who may offer some preliminary help. But the primary purpose of our site is to provide Bible instruction. So before asking for information for local contacts in your area, please do study carefully the Bible lessons and articles found on our Bible Instruction web site at www.gospelway.com/instruct/ or our other web sites. This will help you understand what you should look for in a local church.

We may live a significant distance from you, and we work by word of mouth (somebody knows somebody who knows somebody), so our efforts may take a while and may or may not be fruitful. Also, it is possible that finding a faithful church may require a significant drive from where you live. 

Above all, you need to be aware that we do not claim to identify any local church as being completely faithful in all things. We act, not in any authoritative capacity, but only by suggesting someone who may help you in starting your search. You must then investigate further and reach your own conclusions based your study and application of the Scriptures.

* How can I distinguish when you are explaining Scripture from when you are quoting? 

Some have apparently had trouble distinguishing when we are explaining a passage in our notes from when we are quoting. The rule is really simple: Do not assume we are quoting unless we put words in quotation marks! Sometimes our explanations are so closely worded to Scripture that they may seem indistinguishable. Nevertheless, we do not claim to be quoting unless we actually use quotation marks. 

Thank you for your interest in our free Bible study opportunities.

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