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All are welcome to take this course.

This is a required course for CMCs in Block 4.

Class dates are: February 25, March 25, & April 29, 2023

Biblical Interpretation for Preaching: Judges
Spring 2023 Saturday, 10am-4pm I
n-person sessions at Northgate FMC in Batavia

Instructor: Chris Landon
Phone: 585-343-4011

Course Description In this course, students will learn how to faithfully exegete a passage of scripture for the task of preaching. The students will learn and practice an exegetical method that can be applied to any scripture passage. Students will be studying the whole of a biblical book and, at the same time, focusing on one particular passage for the purpose of composing a sermon.

Students should be aware that topics such as violence against women, rape, and murder will be discussed during this course. These topics will be treated with sensitivity but may be uncomfortable or triggering for some. If this is a cause for concern, students should contact the instructor to discuss their concerns.

Course Objectives

Head Students will develop the skills to be faithful interpreters of scripture, learn a method of engaging scripture at a substantive level, and become aware of the available resources for the interpretation of scripture. They will develop critical thinking skills as it pertains to studying scripture for the task of preaching.

Heart Students will engage with scripture and reflect on the role of scripture for personal and communal spiritual formation. They will reflect on the theology presented in scripture and apply it to their own lives and the lives of their congregants.

Hands Students will engage in the practice of crafting and delivering a sermon, which is an essential pastoral skill. They will develop their process for writing a sermon and practice its delivery.

Course Format This class will meet in person on the dates listed below.

  1. Class Sessions: Students will attend in-person class sessions and be prepared to discuss the passages assigned for that particular session.
  2. Reading: There is required reading for each section. Students will need to purchase the texts listed under the required readings, but all other readings will be supplied by the instructor through the course page. Students will also need a gender-inclusive translation of the Bible, such as: NRSV (1989), NCV (1991), NLT (1996), TNIV (2005), CEB (2011), NIV (2011).
  3. Written assignments: There are written assignments required for each class session. Detailed descriptions of each assignment are also listed below. The page requirements are the minimum.

Required Texts:

  • Branson, Robert D. Judges. New Beacon Bible Commentary. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2009.
  • Schneider, Tammi J. Judges. Berit Olam. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000.
  • Other reading material will be distributed by the instructor via email.
  • Students will also be required to use one of the translations listed above that utilizes gender-inclusive language.

Recommended Texts:

  • Gorman, Michael J. Elements of Biblical Exegesis: A Basic Guide for Students and Ministers, Third Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2020.
  • Oden, Thomas. Pastoral Theology: Essentials of Ministry. New York: Harper Collins, 1983.
  • For other works on Judges see the bibliography in Schneider, pp. 291–298.
  • The following are two newer works not included in her bibliography:
    • Boda, Mark J. and Mary L. Conway. Judges. Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament 7. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2022.
    • Gupta, Nijay. Tell Her Story: How Women Led, Taught, and Ministered in the Early Church. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, Forthcoming.

Course Evaluation

40% Summaries of the Commentaries
Each class session students will bring a two-page summary of each of the commentary sections that they have read for that session.

50% Sermon on Judges 4: Deborah and Jael
Students will write a 5-page sermon on Judges 4. This sermon should reflect sound exegetical practice and quality research. The sermon should contain specific points of application for their intended audience. Students are encouraged to tailor this assignment to the ministry context that they currently serve in or would like to someday serve in. A rough draft of the sermon should be brought to the second class session.

The final version of the sermon is due on 5/20/23.

10% Attendance and Participation Students are expected to attend all of the class sessions and participate frequently.

Plagiarism Students are required to cite any sources that they use in any of their assignments. Citations should conform to the SBL Handbook of Style. Students will receive a supplemental version of the handbook to use over the course of the class at the first meeting. Plagiarism is a serious issue and can have consequences for the students' performance in this class and in their professional life.

Late Assignments Assignments are expected to be submitted on time. If an assignment is turned in late, 5% will be taken off per day that the assignment is late. If a situation arises that will result in assignments not being completed on time, students should email the instructor to request an extension.

Class Schedule 2/25/23     
Introduction, Judges 1:1–5:31
READ: Schneider: xi-98; Branson: 21-88
DUE: Reading Notes

3/25/23     Judges 6:1–12:15
READ: Schneider: 99-192; Branson: 89-125
DUE: Reading Notes; Rough Draft of Sermon on  Judges 4

4/29/23   Judges 13:1–21:25
READ: Schneider: 193-290; Branson: 126-189 Suggested reading: Oden, “The Ministry of the Word Through Preaching,” Pastoral Theology.
DUE: Reading Notes

Sermon on Judges 4 Due 5/20/23