Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module THMN40230: Preaching from the Old Testament

Department: Theology, Ministry and Mission

THMN40230: Preaching from the Old Testament

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Not available in 2020/21 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • to enable students to reflect critically on and to exercise the skill of preaching, particularly on key passages from the Old Testament, with competence and in a way which is faithful both to biblical scholarship and the contemporary context.


  • The module will consist of three main sections:
  • A) Hermeneutics and Homiletics - the task of preaching wisely from scripture
  • B) Old Testament Exegesis - handling key passages in detail
  • C) Preaching the Old Testament - the practice of OT preaching
  • Sections (A) and (B) will be taught in the launch block of the module.
  • Section (A) will explore contemporary issues in homiletics as well as offering a practical perspective on the hermeneutical task of handling texts for preaching.
  • Section (B) will explore a selection of key OT texts in exegetical detail. The class will be able to select focal texts from a list of 10-12 texts offered. An indicative list is given below, selected on the principle that they should either be famous texts which will occur in most forms of preaching ministry (e.g. from the RCL), or that they are particularly prominent and difficult texts which a preacher might be expected to be able to comment on in ministry.
  • Section (C) will be taught in the concluding block of the module, and will seek to integrate student reflection and practice on the material from (A) and (B), peer group and module staff input, and further analysis of the practical task of preaching.
  • Indicative list of OT texts to be considered:
  • Genesis 22:1-19
  • Genesis 32
  • Exodus 15
  • Joshua 10-11
  • 1 Kings 3
  • 1 Kings 18
  • Psalm 23
  • Psalm 137
  • Isaiah 6
  • Isaiah 52:13-53:12
  • Jeremiah 31:31-37
  • Ezekiel 37:1-14
  • Daniel 6

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the course students will have developed in:
  • Their ability to exegete a variety of (relatively well known) texts from the OT and to demonstrate a critical understanding of their complexity and dynamics.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Their ability to articulate and carry through in practice a self-aware hermeneutical method when handling a variety of texts.
  • Their capacity to preach with careful scholarship, clarity and conviction to a non specialist audience expressing complex ideas with simplicity and depth and demonstrating a sophisticated capacity to understand their audiences.
Key Skills:
  • Their ability to model good practice and through growth in these areas their capacity and skill to encourage the development of preaching in others.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Contact time: 30 hours of staff input in either lecture or guided seminar format. Note that this module is unusual in having a longer 1st block in order to lay the exegetical and homiletic foundations more securely before sending the students back to their ‘home’ situations to work on specific passages.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures and guided discussion 9 Block 1 2 hours 18
Seminars 8 Block 2 1.5 hours 12

Summative Assessment

Component: Sermon and self-reflection Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Preached exegetical sermon (15-20 minutes) with a written self-reflection (1000 words) 1000 words 100%
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay on a topic relating specifically to homiletics and the biblical (OT) context 2500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Two formative assessments: a 2,500 word exegetical study of a specific OT passage; and a first version of the sermon, delivered live to a ‘preaching class’ during the second block, which will then be discussed in class and with the staff. Staff will also be available for individual consultation regarding their in-class sermon.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University