Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module THMN41830: Preaching from the New Testament

Department: Theology, Ministry and Mission

THMN41830: Preaching from the New Testament

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2020/21


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • to enable students to reflect critically on, and exercise the skill of, preaching in competent, imaginative and engaging ways that are faithful both to biblical scholarship and speak into the contemporary context. Special emphasis will be placed on selected passages from a limited number of New Testament texts, including those which present particular challenges for the preacher
  • to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the theological purposes behind each of the New Testament texts studied, in order to enable students to preach in ways faithful to the plain sense of the text;
  • to help students further develop their exegetical skills so that they can examine the selected passages in detail;
  • to enable students to reflect critically upon contemporary homiletical theory and its relationship to praxis;
  • to enable students to develop self-reflective awareness of their own preaching;
  • to model good practise and encourage the development of skills related to preaching. .


  • Lectures and seminars will offer an overview of the structure and theology of each of the texts studied, looking at the particular challenges each one presents to the preacher, with exploration of the tendency to conflate material, particularly seasonal texts. We will explore the challenges of reading each text in ways faithful to the original meaning, and how such reading might translate into sermon structure, content, and delivery. We will critically examine in detail a range of homiletic strategies in moving from text to sermon, earthing that discussion in specific passages, and in particular contemporary contexts. Students will have the opportunity to hear peers preach and preach themselves, and to offer and receive feedback.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • detailed understanding of the distinctive theological concerns of each of the New Testament texts studied and how these impact on homiletic methodology;
  • a critical awareness of the issues arising from preaching from each of these texts, with particular reference to the exegesis of particular set passages.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • critically reflect on a key aspect of ministerial praxis;
  • apply conceptual homiletic strategies to biblical texts in the movement from text to sermon;
  • practise and plan for the appropriate, wise and imaginative place of preaching in the ongoing mission and ministry of the church;
  • preach with careful scholarship, clarity and conviction to a non-specialist audience, expressing complex ideas with simplicity and depth, demonstrating sophisticated capacity to understand their audiences;
  • construct a sermon which is biblically rooted, pastorally aware and deals appropriately with the interface between text and context, showing awareness of the apologetic importance of connecting with popular culture
Key Skills:
  • demonstrate their ability as self-reflective, critically-aware practitioners;
  • effectively communicate ideas orally to both specialist and non-specialist audiences in a clear, concise, and engaging manner;
  • acquire and synthesise information through reading and research, and to present that information clearly and effectively in written format

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

  • Teaching and learning methods will vary, incorporating: lectures, seminars, small group discussions, and preaching classes

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures & seminars 18 Block 1.5 27
Preaching classes 2 Block teaching 2 4
Self-directed study, pre-reading, assignments 269
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Sermon Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Preached exegetical sermon in the context of a church worship service, accompanied by a written self-reflection. The sermon will normally be around 15–20 minutes +/- 5 minutes depending on the tradition of the relevant worship context. Evidence for the sermon will normally be a script of the sermon as delivered. The self-reflection will be 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 (NT) text. 2500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Two components: A 2,500 word exegetical paper exploring the exegesis of a specific NT passage or passages A short in-class sermon, delivered live to a ‘preaching class’ during the second block, which will then be discussed in class and with module staff. Staff will also be available for individual consultation regarding the 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