This course introduces you to Deuteronomy, the final book of the Pentateuch which is also a bridge to the rest of the Old Testament. Deuteronomy consists mainly of God’s commandments to the ancient Israelites. It therefore also provides an excellent foundation for a study of Biblical ethics. The goal is to first understand these laws in their Old Testament context and then to explore their relevance and application to your own world and ministry. By the end of this course the student should be able to:
- Explain the place of Deuteronomy in the history of ancient Israel and in the development of the Old Testament canon
- Demonstrate understanding of various approaches to the structure of Deuteronomy
- Interpret passages dealing with God and worship in Deuteronomy and apply them in selected ministry contexts
- Interpret passages dealing with the themes of family, community living, and leadership and apply them in selected ministry contexts
- Use what has been learned in the course to compile and present a framework for Christian ethics, applied to a selected ethical issue
Nehemiah lived during the Jewish Exile (587-538BC). The Babylonians carried them away in captivity and plundered their city. This was a direct result of their disobedience to God. Nehemiah found favour with king Artaxerxes. In his capacity as cupbearer for king Artaxerxes of Persia, he was assigned a lot of authority and managed the king’s place. The Nehemiah that we encounter in the biblical account was a godly man who feared God. He was humble, had a burden for the well-being of his people, was diligent in serving the king, was wise, diplomatic, encouraging, goal-driven, unmoved in his convictions, firm in his stance against their opponents and he had absolute faith in God. He was a visionary, who knew the Torah and who was able to win the favour of both his own people and king Artaxerxes. He was willing to follow through on his convictions and took action to restore the fallen city of Jerusalem. He was ready to act when the right opportunity presented itself. He managed to gather the support of his fellow-Jews and motivated them for the work. He associated with their corporate guilt and interceded for them. It is rare to find a figure with such a good balance between pragmatism, unclouded vision, interpersonal and negotiation skills, prayer and dependence on God’s guidance. Many books have been written on Christian leadership, and many of them should be commended for their insight and wisdom. Our desire is not to repeat all those useful leadership principles in this course. We would rather look at the book of Nehemiah and focus on some of the prominent leadership qualities he displayed. By the end of this course, you will be able to:
- Explain the structure of the book of Nehemiah and its historical context.
- Critically compare different author’s views on biblical leadership and how it relates to Nehemiah.
- Design a ‘Nehemiah leadership model’ for your context.
- Prioritize the different spiritual aspects of Nehemiah’s leadership.
- Examine valuable inter-personal communication skills in Nehemiah.
- Describe principles from Nehemiah for communicating with secular, religious and hostile people.
- Demonstrate why it is important for leaders to depend on God.
- Unit 1: Introduction to the Book of Nehemiah and its Historical Context
- Unit 2: Different Views on Nehemiah and Biblical Leadership
- Unit 3: Contextualising a ‘Nehemiah Leadership Model’
- Unit 4: Different Spiritual Aspects of Nehemiah’s Leadership
- Unit 5: Inter-Personal Communication Skills in Nehemiah
- Unit 6: Communicating with Secular, Religious and Hostile People
- Unit 7: Leaders Who Depend on God
This course will explore the history, theoretical underpinning, and primary models of narrative preaching as a foundation for equipping preachers to learn some narrative methods of preaching. The heart of the course involves students applying selected approaches, required to prepare and deliver sermons using narrative models. The course ends with the preacher (student) undertaking an evaluation of their narrative sermons, both a self-assessment and a congregational assessment. By the end of this course the student should be able to:
- discuss the influences (forces at work) and influencers (people) driving the recent rise of narrative preaching.
- articulate and defend the theoretical underpinnings, both theological and practical, that justify narrative preaching.
- describe the major models of narrative preaching, giving attention to the strengths and limitations of each model.
- interpret Old Testament narrative texts for preaching purposes.
- prepare and preach first-person and third-person narrative sermons.
- evaluate the experience of preaching narrative sermons.
The Psalms have been the most loved and inspiring portion of the OT for believers in Jesus since the days of the Lord himself. Their power to give voice to our deepest emotions, ranging from exuberant praise to desperate lament, makes them a powerful force for shaping the lives of God's people. Your life will be poorer if you do not cultivate a love of the psalms. Your church will miss out if you do not preach them regularly. As the name suggests, the course focuses on interpreting the psalms for the purposes of preaching and teaching them. By the end of this course, you will be able to:
- demonstrate awareness and understanding of the history and current state of Psalms' scholarship.
- engage responsibly and critically with a variety of scholarship on the Book of Psalms.
- explain how psalms were written, retained, and collected to form the Psalter.
- describe the message of the Book of Psalms as a compilation.
- list the major psalm genres and their characteristic features.
- explain the structure and flow of thought of a psalm based on its genre.
- appreciate how a psalm's genre controls its meaning and informs the way it should be preached.
- interpret the parallelism of biblical poems reliably, demonstrating an appreciation of the artistry and the meaning.
- interpret the imagery—the use of figurative language—of biblical poems skillfully.
- explicate a psalm in writing.
- preach or teach a psalm as Christian Scripture.
Throughout the centuries the book of Psalms has been at the heart of Israelite and Christian spirituality. This can already be seen in the New Testament, which quotes the Psalms more than any other book of the Old Testament. The Psalms featured prominently in the theology and spirituality of the church fathers and the Protestant reformers ensured a privileged position for the Psalms in their own time, as well as in the centuries that followed. Since the end of the nineteenth century, there has been a marked decline in the liturgical singing and praying of the Psalms. However, they continue to inspire the prayer and worship of God’s people, both personally and corporately. The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the Psalms, resources for and trends in the study of the Psalms, as ways to enhance its application in Christian living today. By the end of this course, you will be able to:
- Effectively engage with scholarly resources relevant for studying The Psalms
- Demonstrate an understanding of the literary characteristics of The Psalms
- Identify different Psalm types and their associated social contexts
- Identify and explain key theological emphases in The Psalms
- Assess and appreciate different contemporary applications of The Psalms, both individually and corporately
- Unit 1: Introduction to the study of The Psalms
- Unit 2: The Psalms as prayer and liturgy
- Unit 3: The Psalms as theology
- Unit 4: The Psalms as literature
- Unit 5: Special themes in Psalm studies