Academic Programs 

 Leadership in the New Testament: A Case Study Approach  (SC-675)
Winter/Spring 2005

This course will explore the writings about Jesus and the letters of Paul as models for the theology and practices of leadership in earliest Christian communities. The case study method will be introduced as a means of biblical interpretation for ministry as well as a way of mining the gospel tradition and Paul’s letters for understanding the role of leaders in these ancient faith communities. How these learnings inform the practice of leadership and ministry today constitutes a major focus of the course. 


Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
D.Min. Schedule – Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 25, February 15, March 8, April 5, and April 26

Efrain Agosto
Professor of New Testament


Contact Information:
(860) 509-9500


Course Syllabus


Course Objectives

By the end of this course the student will have:

  1. Learned how to use the case study method for teaching biblical studies in ministry.
  2. Explored issues of leadership and ministry in Jesus and the Gospels and Paul and his Letters.
  3. Applied lessons from ancient Christian practices of leadership to the needs of ministry and service today.


Course Requirements

  1. Attendance and participation in all sessions is required.  Because this course is intensive, interactive and meets only five times for full-day sessions, one absence will impact final grade.  More than one absence will constitute course withdrawal.
  1. Reading:

Efrain Agosto, Jesus and Paul: Models of Leadership in the New Testament, Selected chapters in draft form (to be distributed in class).

 David Bartlett, Ministry in the New Testament (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993).

Craig Blomberg, “Implications of Globalization for Biblical Understanding,” in Alice Frazer Evans, Robert A. Evans, and David A. Roozen, eds.,  The Globalization of Theological Education (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1993), 213-246. [On Reserve]

Wes Howard-Brook and Sharon H. Ringe, The New Testament: Introducing the Way of Discipleship (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2002).

Jeffrey H. Mahan, Barbara B. Troxell, and Carol J. Allen, Shared Wisdom: A Guide to Case Study Reflection in Ministry (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993).    

Material in course notebook.

Also recommended as a guide for writing and studying cases in ministry:  Harry S. Wilson, Pastoral Theology from a Global Perspective (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996).  [On Reserve]

Also on reserve: Burton H. Throckmorton, Jr., Gospel Parallels: A Comparison of the Synoptic Gospels (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1992), for those who prepare a Gospel case study to compare and contrast various versions of a Gospel pericope.

  1. Assignments
    1. Each student will write and present one case study, including teaching notes, either on a Gospel story having to do with leadership or an incident in one of the Letters of Paul.  Students will use readings in Gospels, Paul, and the textbooks to determine which Gospel pericope or epistle passage they will recreate as a case study in an issue of religious leadership.  The course notebook also provides a list of options based on Agosto, Jesus and Paul: Leadership in Ministry.
    2. In addition, each student will serve, at least once, as a scribe for a case study presentation and an evaluator of a case study teaching experience.  The scribe is responsible for taking notes on newsprint provided during each presentation and for submitting a typed version of the notes at the next class session.  The evaluator fills out an evaluation sheet provided for each case study, makes the initial response, leads the subsequent discussion and submits written evaluation comments at the next class session.
    1. At the end of the class (April 26), each student will submit a revised version of their written case study and teaching notes, based on feedback from the professor, the evaluator and fellow students at the end of their teaching session, as well as the written evaluation submitted subsequently.
    1. Two weeks later (May 10), the student will submit (to the professor’s office via email, regular mail or personal delivery), a 12-page essay stating the historical and exegetical background, and theological implications for the passage they studied in their case study.  This paper will integrate their understanding of the passage with the rest of the New Testament document (Gospel or Pauline Letter) in which the passage is found, modern interpretations of the passage, and the student’s own understanding of how this passage might apply to issues of leadership in ministry in our own day and age. 


Course Schedule

January 25        
Introduction to Course; Case Study Method; Studying Leadership in the New Testament.

Guest presenters: Alice Frazer Evans and Robert Evans, Co-directors, Plowshares Institute; Founding Directors, Case Teaching Institute

Read:  Shared Wisdom, 11-32; Ministry in the New Testament, 1-22; Case Study:  “Lobola for a Dead Woman;” Handout: “Problem-Posing Case Studies and How to Study Them.”

February 15            
Leadership in the Gospels:  According to Mark and Matthew

Read:  Shared Wisdom, 33-60, 115-128; Ministry, 58-88; New Testament, 16-61; Agosto, Chapter Two; The Gospels of Matthew and Mark.

Presentations:  Case Studies in Mark and Matthew

March 8                        
Leadership in the Gospels:  According to Luke and John

Read:  Sharing Wisdom, 61-89; Ministry, 89-149; New Testament, 62-102; Agosto, Chapter Three; The Gospels of Luke and John.

Presentations:  Case Studies in Luke and John

April 5              
Leadership in Paul:  His Churches & Leaders

Read:  Shared Wisdom, 91-103; Ministry, 23-57; New Testament, 122-147;

Agosto, Chapters Four & Five; 1 Thessalonians, 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, Philippians, Philemon.

Presentations:  Case Studies on Paul, his churches and his leaders

April 26                        
Leadership & the Post-Pauline Experience

Conclusion of Course: New Testament Leadership Today

Read:  Shared Wisdom, 105-114; Ministry, 150-200; New Testament, 148-167; 1-2 Timothy, Titus; Blomberg, 213-246; Case: “Pray for a Miracle.”

Presentations: Final Case Studies on Paul and the Pastoral Epistles

Submit: Final Version of Case Studies and Teaching Notes

May 10       
Final Paper Due
by 5PM in Professor’s office (by mail, email or drop-off).

Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500