I am teaching the inaugural course at Trinity School of Theology in February. Joshua Farris, the founder of Trinity, has wonderful vision to provide theological education at an affordable rate. While the classes are open to everyone, one of the school’s primary aims is to help equip those serving churches bi-vocationally or as lay pastors.
This first course is New Testament Theology, and my main goal for the course is simple, that we all become better listeners. With that in mind, the course is split into two main sections: background and methods; and reading together.
In the first section, we will discuss questions, such as,
- What is the Bible?
- What is truth?
- What is revelation?
- What is the historical context (Jewish and Greco-Roman) of the Bible?
- What is the theory of hermeneutics (philosophical views)?
- What is the practice of hermeneutics (methodological views)?
The second half of the course will be reading together. My hope is we will take all that we have learned in the first section of the class and use it to become better listeners to the text and to each other. As Gadamer wrote, “In (hermeneutics) what one has to exercise above all is the ear.”
The passages will center around four common themes in the New Testament (this is not meant to be the end-all list of themes just four themes I consider relevant, representative, and engaging):
- The Kingdom of God
- The Cross and the Resurrection
- The Church
While I have some ideas on which passages we will be reading, I would appreciate your input. When you think about these themes, what New Testament passages come to mind (perhaps which texts are the hardest for you to listen to)? Also, which secondary sources should the students read when thinking about these particular themes?