Apostle Paul wrote letters to faith communities that he had
founded, and to some that he had not.
All of these communities existed in various major urban
centers of the Roman Empire in the first century of the Common
Era. This course
examines Paul’s letters in order to ascertain Paul’s thought
and action on aspects of his ministry, and that of his colleagues,
such as the nature of the church, the Pauline mission, preaching,
teaching, leadership and authority, and issues of conflict,
pastoral care, and social justice. The focus of this course lies
in the impact of the ancient, urban and Roman imperial setting
upon Paul’s congregations, and the nature of his letters as
instruments of ministry. Issues
in modern ministry, including ministry in the city, will also
inform classroom discussion of and student assignments with the
the end of this course, students will have:
about the ancient, urban world of Paul, and its correspondence
to our own.
Paul’s letters through the lens of ministry, asking about
both his thought (theology) and action (ethics).
more about other leaders in the Pauline communities, both
women and men, and the kinds of ministry in which they
engaged, especially in comparison to Paul.
the building blocks toward a theology of ministry in Paul,
which could be used for our own theologies and approaches to
and informed participation in class.
New Testament Letters of Paul in a Modern Translation (the
professor will use the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)).
Highly recommended but out of print: Fred Francis and
J. Paul Sampley, eds., Pauline Parallels, Second
Edition (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984).
essays in Pauline ministry (on reserve in library):
- M. Luther Stirewalt, Paul the Letter Writer (Grand
Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2003).
Virginia Wiles, Making Sense of Paul: A Basic Introduction
to Pauline Theology (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2000).
Recommended for an Overview of Paul, his letters, and his
- John Ashton, The Religion of the Apostle Paul (New
Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2000).
Cousar, The Letters of Paul (Nashville:
Abingdon Press, 1996).
Roetzel, The Letters of Paul:
Conversations in Context (Louisville, KY: Westminster
For each week of class for which we have readings, bring a one-page
reading report reflecting on what you read, both from Paul’s
letters and from the secondary literature.
Summarize two or three of the most important things you
learned, suggest some unanswered questions that the reading raised
for you, and propose some connections to your own present-day
circumstances and ministry setting. Use these as reference for class discussions that day and
feel free to add notes & questions that arise from the
discussion. Hand in to
professor at the end of class.
Professor expects twelve of these from each student.
b. Virginia Wiles studies a variety of Pauline theological terms
(e.g., righteousness, law, sin, death, Christ) from Paul’s Jewish,
Hellenistic and personal experiences.
At the end of each chapter in her study, she offers a
“reading check.” On the basis of the questions in one of these
chapters, construct a five-page essay in which you respond to
the questions in narrative form and reflect on the implications of
the theme in question for Paul’s ministry.
How does Paul’s thought about righteousness, law, sin,
Christ, or etc., as discussed by Wiles and understood by you, become
reflected in his or his community’s practice of ministry, be it
leadership, mission, pastoral care, or any other practice? Cite
examples from two or three of Paul’s letters.
Due October 30.
c. In Wayne Meeks’ seminal study of Paul, he studies,
sociologically, three areas of ministry – community formation,
governance and ritual. Select
one of these and on the basis of Meeks’ discussion, your own
reading of Paul’s letters, other course readings and other books
and articles that you find on the ministry theme in question, write
a 12-page essay in which you analyze Paul’s mission strategy and
congregational development, apostleship and leadership, or ritual
practices, both major and minor.
How do Paul’s practices correspond to what we do today in
congregational life and ministry? How influential are Paul’s
practices in your setting? Why or why not? Due December 10.
10 Introduction to Course and the Study of Paul’s Letters
17 The Urban World of Paul
Meeks, 9-50; Roetzel, Paul, 8-43.
Gal 1:13-24; 2 Cor 11:21-29; Phil 3:2-11 (Pauline
Parallels #195 [p.222]).
Roetzel, Letters, 6-50.
Jesus to Christ: Part II”
24 The Study of Ministry in Paul:
Overview of Issues
2 Cor 4:1-12; Rom 1:1-7, 15:14-29; 1 Thess 2:1-8 (Pauline
Parallels, #158-159 (pp.176-179).
The Letters of Paul: Form, Structure & Purpose
Stirewalt, 1-55; Roetzel, Paul, 69-92.
1 Thessalonians – as a model of a Pauline letter, the earliest
letter; Philippians, as a model of
Paul’s epistolary rhetoric.
Cousar, 23-45; Roetzel, Letters, 51-65.
The Letters of Paul: Overview & Function as Ministry
1 Corinthians as a model of Pauline ministry by letter
Roetzel, Letters, 79-118.
15 Constructing a Pauline Theology: From Thought to Action
Wiles, 1-81; Roetzel, Paul, 93-134.
Romans – theology for ministry
Nils Dahl, “The Missionary Theology in the Epistle to the
Romans,” in Dahl, Studies in Paul: Theology for Early Christian
Mission (Minneapolis: Augsburg Press, 1977), 70-88. On
reserve in library.
Case Study in Theology as Ministry:
2 Corinthians 1-9
Paul’s Apostleship: A Study in Early Christian Leadership
Roetzel, Paul, 44-68; Meeks, 111-139.
Galatians, 2 Cor 10-13 – the defense of Paul’s apostleship.
Ashton, 152-170; Efrain Agosto, “Windows into Paul’s
Leadership,” from book manuscript, Leadership in the New
Testament, copy on reserve in library.
Paul’s Churches & Paul’s Leaders: Formation &
Meeks, 51-110; Elliot, “Paul & His Co-Workers;” Agosto,
“Windows into Pauline Leadership: His Leaders,” manuscript on
reserve in library.
Philippians, Philemon; Rom 16:1-2; 1 Cor 16:15-18; 2 Cor 8:16-24 (Pauline
Parallels, #65, p.73).
8 Case Study in Pauline Ministry: Paul and Women
Ross Shepard Kraemer & Mary Rose D’Angelo, Women &
Christian Origins (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press,
1999), 199-253. On reserve in library.
Rom 16:1-16; 1 Cor 11:2-16, 14: 33-36; Gal 3:28; Phil 4:2-3; Eph
5:21-33; Col 3:18-4:1; 1 Tim 2:8-15, 5:1-16.
Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, “`No Male and Female’ Galatians
3:28 – Alternative Vision and Pauline Modification,” in In
Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian
Origins (New York: Crossroad, 1983).
On reserve in library.
Case Study in Pauline Ministry: Resolving Conflicts through
Ritual and Example
Meeks, 140-163; Roetzel, Paul, 135-151.
1 Corinthians 1:1-14:40; 1 Thess 1:2-3:13; Phil 2:1-4:3
Gerd Theissen, Social Setting of Pauline Christianity: Essays on
Corinth (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982), 121-163.
On reserve in library.
22 The Interpreters of Paul: Ministry through Theology
Roetzel, Paul, 152-177.
Colossians and Ephesians
Roetzel, The Letters, 133-152; Cousar, 163-175.
No class – Reading Week
The Interpreters of Paul: The Pastorals
Barrett, “Ministry in the Pastoral Letters,” on reserve.
1-2 Timothy; Titus
Roetzel, Letters, 153-160; Cousar, 175-180.
a Pauline Theology of Ministry
Meeks, 164-192; Cousar, 75-86.
Essay on Pauline Practices