A study of the literary, historical, social, and theological aspects of the four Gospels.
Attention will be given to each author’s point of view and what is the same and what is different about the descriptions of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Students will study the messages of the Gospels for the first Christians and their importance to modern readers. Students will master a basic outline of at least one Gospel.
The four Gospels are unique in literature. They have many interesting features that keep scholars debating. However, for the beginning student, it is important to know how to interpret the Gospels for life and ministry by studying their inspiration, stories, and application. The course seeks to ensure that new ministers have the tools necessary to model, teach and preach accurately from the Gospels.
CN-1 Ability to describe the basic story of the Bible.
CN-3 Ability to describe the basic content and theological themes of the New Testament, identify the principal people and events and their roles in New Testament history.
CN-4 Ability to explain the basic principles of biblical interpretation.
CP-2 Ability to prepare biblical messages for effective and sound preaching and teaching. CP-2
CP-13 Ability to interpret and apply Scripture to personal and congregational life. CP-13
CX-8 Ability to understand and relate the relevance of Christ’s mission, ministry, and message for the context in which they find themselves. CX-8
ACC-1 Demonstrate a Christ-like character of submission, integrity and love in all relationships.
CED-2 Identify the themes and teaching methods Jesus used and be able to use them in the church and community.
Dealing Biblically with the Spirit World
DBS-2 Identify and interpret accurately biblical passages appropriate for responding to the spirit world.
DBS-5 Explain how to distinguish between demonic or spirit activity in distinction to physical or psychological phenomena. Explain the most common ways that demonic activities are expressed in your culture / context. Train people to adequately respond to the spirit world while clearly understanding of the role of prayer and fasting.
DIS-1 Identify the qualities of a disciple as Christ taught and determine ways in one’s personal life to apply these qualities.
DIS-5 Explain the essential concepts of discipleship: what is a disciple, how to be a disciple, why would a person become a disciple, and how to make more disciples
DIS-14 Prepare, organize, and deliver a biblically sound lesson or sermon using culturally sensitive techniques and skills.
LEA-1 Identify how Christ was a leader and demonstrate ways to apply this leadership in students’ lives.
LEA-3 Demonstrate to a mentor that the students’ interpersonal relationships reflect the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, including forgiveness, honesty, loving the neighbor, and respect for other.
PRA-1 Model the prayers of Christ and His relationship to the Father through a strong passion for a life of prayer shown by devoting time to prayer and keeping a prayer journal, including a list of lost people for whom God has made them responsible.
PRE-1 Identify the methods Jesus used to preach the gospel and use some of these to preach a sermon.
PRE-2 Interpret the Bible within its historical and cultural contexts, recognize different literary genres in the Bible and how to interpret them in appropriate ways, identify the message and key theological concepts for the original audience, and apply the message through a sermon to contemporary audiences in contextually relevant ways.
PRE-3 Tell the story of the Bible including important dates, people, and events, in order to show the human problem and God’s answer in Jesus Christ.
PRE-5 Describe the key themes and methods of Jesus’ teaching, how this affected people, how they responded to his ministry, and how this can be applied to preaching today.
PRE-11 Identify how holiness was experienced in the Bible and how this applies in the cultural context in which the student will most often find themselves.
PRE-13 Explain how God communicated his word to humanity as recorded in the Bible and the place of preaching in this.
SAB-2 Explain the biblical foundations and benefits of Sabbath. Explain the difference between a legalistic understanding of Sabbath and the grace that is available to us in a Sabbath time. Colossians.
SMG-1 Identify how Jesus trained disciples, the personal qualities he wanted in these disciples, and how he wanted the disciples to make more disciples, and demonstrate personal growth in these areas.
Bible of student’s choice.
Blomberg, C. L. Jesus and the Gospels: An introduction and Survey (2nd ed.). Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2009.
Brower, Kent. Holiness in the Gospels. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2005.
The Jesus Film. (http://www.jesusfilm.org)
- The local school’s attendance policy should be placed here.
- 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 Numbers 27-Deuteronomy 27 and Luke 4 – 9. The focus of the Scripture reading and prayer time for this course is on our accountability before God. As students read and pray, they should consider this question: “What is God asking me to change in my life in order to be more like His image as revealed in Jesus Christ?” Because this question may lead to personal or embarrassing information, students may be more general in the reflections they write in their journal so as not to reveal something to teachers that is meant only for God. Students may also meet with a mentor to discuss their response to the question. Students may also write out a prayer of confession as part of their reflections. Reflections should be at least one paragraph of 200 words.
(Outcomes CN-1, ACC-1, DIS-1, DPF-1, LEA-1, LEA-3, PRA-1)
- Parable Study: Students will work in groups (or individually in some cases) to discuss the meaning and application of one of the parables of Jesus. Students should use good interpretive methodology from previous courses for this study (historical, literary, cultural contexts, textual observations). The study should identify the key theme or themes of the parable and how it applies to the students’ life and/or ministry context. The final result will be shared either in a 2 to 3 page paper or oral presentation.
(Outcomes CN-1, CN-3, CN-4, CP-13, CED-2, DIS-5, PRE-2, PRE-3)
- Themes Presentation: Students will be put into groups (work may be done individually in some cases) to discuss, research in the Gospels, and then give a presentation to the class on one of the major topics of Jesus’ teaching or ministry. The topic should speak to the cultural or ministry context of the students. Such topics include the kingdom, ethics, freedom from disease or evil spirits, discipleship, spiritual disciplines, and so forth. Each student should participate in the discussion, research, and presentation.
(Outcomes CN-1, CN-3, CN-4, CED-2, DBS-2, DBS-5, DIS-1, DIS-5, PRE-2, PRE-3)
- Sermon or Bible Lesson: Students will select one story from the Four Gospels about important life events of Jesus, then make either a sermon or Bible study lesson from them. The sermon or Bible study should be at least 3 pages and include the intended audience, key theme of the message, clear outline, and be supported by insights from the chosen Bible passage. The sermon or study should include or end with clear application to the intended audience. The teacher will give different options for sermon outlines and design (story format, topical format, exegetical format).
(Outcomes CN-1, CN-3, CN-4, CP-2, CX-8, CED-2, DIS-5, DIS-14, PRE-1, 2)
- Preaching or Teaching: The above sermon or Bible study will be preached in a local ministry setting of the student’s choice, in a church or community setting. At least one observer, preferably the course instructor, a pastor, or a professional, should complete a simple evaluation form to provide helpful feedback to the student.
(Outcomes CP-13, CX-8, CED-2, DIS-5, DIS-14, PRE-1, PRE-11, PRE-13, SMG-1)
- Lesson Content Evaluation: There will be regular session evaluations (exams or quizzes) by the teacher on the content of the class, for example the content of the Gospels, type of literature, literary, historical, social, and theological contexts of each Gospel, the writers, and others.
(Outcomes CN-1, CN-3, DBS-2 DBS-5, DIS-1, DIS-5, LEA-1, PRE-1, PRE-3, PRE-5, PRE-11, PRE-13, SAB-2)
Parable Study 15%
Themes Presentation 15%
Sermon or Bible Lesson 20%
Preaching or Teaching 20%
Lesson Content Evaluation 20%
45-59% (Passable for the certificate level and toward the requirements for being ordained in the Church of the Nazarene)
If a student marks a final grade lower than 45% he or she must take the course again for credit at the diploma level
- Why Study the Gospels
- Introduction to the Gospels
- Historical, Social and Religious Setting of the World of Jesus
- Jesus as a Teacher
- The Kingdom of God
- The Synoptic Gospels and John
- The Gospel of Matthew
- The Gospel of Mark
- The Gospel of Luke
- The Gospel of John
- The Significance of the Life of Christ
- The Teaching of Christ for the Church today
- The Mission of the Church to Make Disciples