For two thousand years, the parables of Jesus have captured the imagination of his disciples, enticing us with their vision of God’s reign and beguiling us with their combination of outward simplicity and provocative inner complexity. For Christian preachers, teachers, and evangelists, as well as for their audiences, the parables reveal
the mind of Christ; for postmodern hearers in particular, Jesus’ parables present his teaching in an accessible and narrative form, engaging us and inviting our response. This course will offer an intensive literary and theological exploration of the parables as
resources for the teaching and preaching ministry of the Christian church. Together we will seek to discover their meaning both for Jesus’ day and for today, listening to the voice of Jesus in the gospels and to each other’s voices as class members present and discuss their own sermons.
- To provide an overview of parables as a literary genre.
- To examine individual parables within their respective social, historical, theological, and literary contexts.
- To explore appropriate methods and contexts for preaching the parables of Jesus, and their impact on style and presentation.
- To reflect on spiritual and ministerial identity in relation to the parables of Jesus and their presentation of God’s reign.
- To help students identify their preferred style or styles of preaching, and gain confidence in public presentation.
- To be formed as a community of learning, discipleship, and mutual accountability.
- To develop evaluative skills through peer evaluation.
- To offer practice in scriptural exegesis (using the Greek text as appropriate).
- To develop facility in the composition and delivery of sermons.