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13 B211 NT Exegesis Pauline Epistles

Course Description 

A study of the letters of Paul, considering the background, structure, theology, and messages of the letters. This course may focus on selected letters or passages to provide examples of interpretation and application.

Paul’s letters reveal much about the early church and provide important foundation for Christian theology. Students will learn sound principals of exegesis. Methods for bridging the message from the ancient text to the current culture of the students will be modeled by the teacher then demonstrated by the students. Historical issues will be examined closely. Special attention will be given to passages that deal with holiness.

Course Rational

Exegesis leading to local application is a key skill for a pastor and the foundation of all teaching and preaching. The thirteen canonical letters written by the Apostle Paul are foundational for Christian theology. Selected passages will be examined more closely. The course may also focus upon specific letters of Paul.

Intended Course Outcomes through Engagements

Students will show growth in the following ways:

  1. Character Formation: Apply key ideas from Paul’s letters in one’s personal life, leading to transformation into Christ’s likeness.
  2. Content Processing with Peers: Identify Paul’s theology about God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, sin, salvation, and the mission of the church to reach the lost.
  3. Ministry Capability Development: Model Paul’s teaching about ministry and the training of laity in the church to fulfill the mission of God.
  4. Application in Mission and Community: Determine appropriate methods from Paul’s ministry and teachings for making contacts in the community.

Connection to Ordination Preparation:

Learning Outcome Assessment Program Outcome Activity Statement
1 1 CH-4 ACC-1, CED-1, DIS-4, PRA-1
2 2 CN-1, CN-3, CN-4, CN-6, CN-7 LEA-10, PRE-2, PRE-3, PRE-6
3 3 CN-4, CP-2, CP-13 DIS-3, DIS-14, PRE-11, PRE-13
4 4 CP-1 ICO-2, MIN-1, PRE-13


Content 42%
Competency 32%
Character 18%
Context 8%

Course Textbooks

Key Texts:

A Bible in the student’s first language.
Bruce, F. F. Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000.

Additional Learning Resources:

Any of the commentaries in the New Beacon Bible Commentary series from Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City.

Available at the Wesleyan Holiness Digital Library www.whdl.org:

Howard, Richard E. Newness of Life: A Study in the Thought of Paul.
Beacon Bible Expositions, Volumes 6 – 10: Romans Through Titus.

Course Requirements

  1. Bible Reading and Prayer Journal: Students should read through the Bible as designated in the Master Plan for Bible Reading in the Course of Study. For this course, students will read Job 1 – 42 and Romans 1 – 8. In this journal, answer these personal questions, “How does God speak to me or my family today through His word? How does this reading help me to love others?” There should be at least five entries in the journal of at least one paragraph of 200 words each entry. The entries can be scattered across a semester, be daily for intensive modules, or in follow up to modular class meetings. As an alternative, students may give a short oral report in the cohort small group during the class meeting time, sharing how God is developing them through reading the Bible.
  2. Inductive Book Study: Students will work in small groups to complete an inductive study of one of Paul’s letters studied in this course (students can do this individually if needed). Teachers may assign different letters to different groups. Students will be given time during class meetings to work together on this project. Students will use the following methodology learned in other courses:
    1. Step 1: Read through the entire book of the Bible without stopping to analyze or take notes (students may also use an audio Bible to listen to this book). The purpose is to get an overview of the book.
    2. Step 2: Read through the entire book again. During this second reading, write down at least 10 questions as you read, asking yourself these questions – Who? When? Where? What? Why? How? Note verses that talk about the following topics: sin, salvation, Christ, descriptions of God, exhortation and expected responses from the audience.
    3. Step 3: Reread the entire book again. Create a short title of no more than three words for each chapter. The title should capture the main idea of the chapter. Do NOT use titles already written in your Bible but determine your own chapter titles. Note the major divisions of the book. Develop 3-6 major book division titles of less than 6 words each. Be sure to indicate which chapters each division title is covering. Develop one overall theme or title for the whole book. This should be related to the major divisions, but as an overview of the book. Again, both the division titles and overall theme should be your own work, not that of some other author or editor.
    4. Step 4: Read/review the book one more time to evaluate your titles, then construct a chart or outline of the book based on your work above, including the overall theme or title, the major book divisions, and the chapter titles under each major division.
    5. Step 5: Develop a list of at least one question from each major section (or at least one per paragraph from “d” above). Design these questions for purpose of small group discussion in a Bible study in your ministry setting.
    6. Step 6: Each student should determine at least one change they will make in their life based on the study of this Bible book and share this with the group.
  1. Application Project: Students will prepare a public presentation on the message of one passage from the Letters of Paul. This presentation should be relevant to the student’s ministry context. Students may choose from the following types of presentations:
    1. Sermon: Following good form that is culturally relevant, present the message of the passage in a worship setting, making careful connection to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    2. Bible Study: Present the message in a study format with a clear lesson plan, including appropriate discussion questions to which the group can respond.
    3. Sunday School Lesson: This can be prepared for a specific age level. The material must be presented in a way that will understandable to that age level. Appropriate learning aides should also be prepared or described, such as handouts, charts, crafts, etc.

In appropriate settings, arrangements should be made early on for the student to give the presentation in an actual ministry setting (church or community). If this is not possible, class sessions can be arranged to give each student opportunity to practice and give the presentation to the class. When possibly and appropriate, the audience will be given a simple response sheet to complete that will show the student’s effectiveness in making the message of the passage clear.

  1. Community Impact: Work in groups of 2 or 3 to determine a compassionate need within the community. Find the biblical basis for a compassionate ministry outreach based on the three books studied in this course. Develop a strategy and plan and, if possible, implement the project during the course. Students may also work through a local church or community outreach.

Course Assessment

Bible Reading and Prayer Journal     10 %
Inductive Book Study                          30 %
Application Project                              30 %
Community Project                             30 %

Course Outline

  1. Paul’s Early Life of Persecution
  2. Damascus Road Experience
  3. First Missionary Journey
  4. Second Missionary Journey
  5. Third Missionary Journey
  6. Trial, Arrest, and Final Years
  7. Romans
  8. 1, 2 Corinthians
  9. Galatians
  10. Ephesians
  11. Philippians
  12. Colossians
  13. 1, 2 Thessalonians
  14. 1, 2 Timothy
  15. Titus
  16. Philemon
  17. Holiness in Paul’s Letters
  18. Paul’s Letters for Today