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New Testament

NTS5121 The Gospels: What Jesus Taught

The purpose of the course is to provide a solid basis for an advanced study of the canonical Gospels, in their social, cultural, religious and historical contexts. In particular, the course focuses on the teaching of Jesus as presented in two of the Gospels (Matthew and John), each distinctive in its theology and together presenting a composite picture of the historical Jesus. Such a basis is essential for pastors and teachers involved in ministry within their local communities. The teaching Jesus has formed the basis for the Christian community for almost two thousand years. As prospective teachers and pastors, the course is designed to provide a solid framework for the interpretation of these teachings, in ways which are both academic and practical. As we grasp the essence of Jesus profound teaching as revealed in the Gospels, and search out the elements of the original contexts, we are empowered to begin the vital process of translating those teachings into our own contexts, for the benefit of our own communities. This is the heart of all true theological enterprise and so logically, what this course is all about. By the end of this course the student should be able to:
  • compare and contrast one of Matthew’s parables with a similar parable in the Gospel of Luke.
  • compare and contrast key elements in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7) with Luke’s Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6).
  • apply the teaching of Jesus on the metaphors in the Gospel of John, such as bread (John 6), light (John 8) and sheep (John 10), in the form of a Bible study for your home community.
  • compare and contrast the didactic (teaching) conversation of Jesus with two different people, Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman in John (John 3 and 4), paying careful attention to the use of literary forms (e.g. irony and metaphor).
  • apply selected aspects of the Farewell discourses (John 14-16), such as the teaching on life after death (John 14), the true vine (John 15) and the Holy Spirit (John 14,16), to the challenges facing the modern Christian community.
  • complete a research paper on one aspect of the teaching of Jesus in context illustrating both the understanding of the original context of Jesus and its application to the context of the modern Christian community.

NTS5122 The Pastoral Epistles and Pastoral Ministry

This course is a thorough study of 1–2 Timothy, with special reference to their application to the present day. During the course, you will learn how to interpret and apply NT letters. Since these two letters represent the apostolic counsel of a spiritual father (Paul) to his dear son and apprentice (Timothy), guiding him about how to remain faithful and fruitful in pastoral ministry, they have much to teach us about ministry today. The course unfolds in two halves. In the first half, we walk you through 1 Timothy step-by-step, showing you how to interpret and apply the letter. In the second half, you use the methods we modelled to interpret and apply 2 Timothy. In other words, the first half is a guided tour of 1 Timothy, while the second half is an inductive, self-study of 2 Timothy. By the end of this course, you will be able to:
  • demonstrate the ability to teach or preach from the Pastoral Epistles in a way that faithfully expounds the original meaning and draws out its significance and application for your ministry context.
  • discuss exegetical questions and difficulties in the Pastoral Epistles and motivate personal conclusions about the meaning of the text.
  • develop ministry maxims that are both faithful to the message of the Pastoral Epistles and faithful compasses to keep your ministry on course.
  • explain concrete ways in which the teaching of the Pastoral Epistles has challenged, confirmed, or corrected your ministry philosophy or praxis.

NTS5123 Ephesians: The Unified Church

Ephesians is widely celebrated as the queen of Paul’s epistles. It is especially ‎relevant for Christ-followers in Africa because it deals at length with two topics of ‎immense importance in Africa: the power of the gospel to unite people who are ‎natural enemies and the power of the gospel to grant the believer victory and ‎authority over evil powers in Christ.‎ By the end of this course, you will be able to:
  • Discuss the major background issues relating to Ephesians.
  • Perform an overview study of Ephesians as a letter to a missional church.
  • Construct an appropriate exegetical method for the letter to the Ephesians.‎
  • ‎Conduct a detailed exegetical study of a passage in a Pauline letter.‎
  • Interpret and teach each passage in Ephesians from a missional perspective.
Course Outline
  • Unit 1: Background Issues of Ephesians
  • Unit 2: Panoramic Study of Ephesians as a letter to a missional church.
  • Unit 3: Exegetical Method
  • Unit 4: Exegesis of Ephesians 1–3
  • Unit 5: Exegesis of Ephesians 4–6
Required Reading Adeyemo T (Gen. ed.) 2006. Africa Bible Commentary: A One-Volume Commentary Written by 70 African Scholars. Nairobi: WordAlive Publishers. Asumang A 2008. Powers of Darkness: An Evaluation of Three Hermeneutical Approaches to the Evil Powers in Ephesians. Conspectus 5: 1–19. Baugh SM 2015. Ephesians. Edited by H. Wayne House, Hall W. Harris, and Andrew W. Pitt. In Evangelical Exegetical Commentary. Bellingham: Lexham. Cohick LH 2013. Ephesians: A New Covenant Commentary. In New Covenant Commentary Series. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press. Fee GD 2002. New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors (3 rd ed.). Louisville: Westminster John Knox. Grassmick JD 1976. Principles and Practice of Greek Exegesis. Dallas: Dallas Theological Seminary. Ilo SC, Ogbonnaya J 2011. The Church as Salt and Light: Path to an African Ecclesiology of Abundant Life. Eugene: Wipf & Stock Publishers. Kaiser WC Jr. 1981. Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Teaching and Preaching. Grand Rapids: Baker. Keener CS 2014. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (2 nd ed.). Second edition. Downers Grove: IVP. Metzger BM 1994. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (2 nd ed.). New York: United Bible Societies. Patzia AG 1990. Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon. In New International Biblical Commentary. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers. Schreiner TR 1990. Interpreting the Pauline Epistles. Guides to New Testament Exegesis. Grand Rapids: Baker. ________ 2011. Interpreting the Pauline Epistles (2 nd ed.). In Guides to New Testament Exegesis. Grand Rapids: Baker. Smith KG 2018. Semantic Diagramming. Johannesburg: SATS. Stott J 1989. The Message of Ephesians. In The Bible Speaks Today. Leicester: InterVasity Press. Thielman F 2010. Ephesians. In Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker. Turaki Y 2006. Ephesians. In Africa Bible Commentary, edited by Tokunboh Adeyemo, Logos edition, 1451–64. Nairobi: Word Alive. Young RA 1994. Intermediate New Testament Greek: A Linguistic and Exegetical Approach. Nashville: Broadman & Holman.

NTS5124 Acts: The Missional Church

Acts is the second volume of Luke’s account of events related to Jesus and the life of the early church. As such it can be seen as a sequel to the Gospel of Luke and is addressed to the same person, Theophilus. Acts relates the history and development of the church from Christ’s ascension to Paul’s imprisonment in Rome. To call the book the Acts of the Holy Spirit and not the Acts of the Apostles, like some do, would be fitting. Christ departs and promises his disciples the Holy Spirit who would enable and equip them. There are a few ways in which we can divide events in the book. We will examine three of those in this course:
  • We can divide the events in the book by prominent leadership figures. The first part focuses on Peter as the main leadership figure (chapters 1-12) and the second part is dominated by Paul as the figure of leadership (chapters 13- 28).
  • Acts can also be divided by the areas of missionary activity. Chapters 1-6 focuses on the mission in Jerusalem. In chapters 7-9 the focus shifts to Judea and Samaria and finally, in chapters 10-28, the message of Good News reaches the ends of the earth.
  • Perhaps one of the best ways to look at Acts is to divide it according to the five summaries that Luke provided, in 6:7, 9:31, 12:24, 16:5 and 19:20. It seems that these sections in Acts focus respectively on Jews only, Samaritans, God-fearers, Gentiles, Nations and finally Rome.
We will expose you to a highly effective approach to missiology, known as the Praxis Matrix, which was developed by missiologists from the University of South Africa (UNISA). This is not only an effective approach to mission praxis, but it also serves well as a model of missiological research. We will read selections from Acts with the aid of the Praxis Matrix. By the end of this course, you will be able to:
  • Explain the structure of the book of Acts and its historical context.
  • Critically compare different author’s views on Acts and the missional church.
  • Explain the understanding of Christian mission as God’s mission
  • Explain the “praxis matrix” approach to missiology
  • Demonstrate the impact of the praxis matrix on your own missiological approach and mission experiences.
  • Discuss how the concepts of ‘being with’ and ‘doing for’ challenge your understanding and practice of mission.
  • Design a ‘Missional church model’ for your context.
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