This unit will examine life in early Christian churches, seeking to explore diverse understandings of Jesus and challenges that confronted both apostles and churches. Careful exegesis of significant passages from Epistles and Revelation will be a key component in exploring theologies and practices of early Christian churches. The study of possible historical and social contexts will provide an important focus of the unit.

Unit code: BN2794B (Approved)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: New Testament

Proposing College: Eva Burrows College

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Learning outcomes


Articulate plausible life settings for communities involved in the production and reception of New Testament texts


Discuss several struggles and challenges that early believers faced.


Evaluate strategies of selected leaders to address, strengthen and encourage the faithful


Assess the relevance of early church traditions for contemporary life.


Employ effectively various tools of Biblical criticism in the exegesis of specific texts in the Epistles/Revelation

Unit sequence

18 points in BN


Lectures, group work, online forums, videos

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bird, Michael. Introducing Paul: The Man, His Mission, and His Message. Illinois: IVP Academic, 2008.
  • Bloomberg, Craig. From Pentecost to Patmos: Acts to Revelation, an Introduction and Survey. Nottingham: Apollos, 2006.
  • Burge, Gary, Lynn H. Cohik, and Gene L. Green. The New Testament in Antiquity: A survey of the New Testament within its Cultural Context. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009.
  • Gorman, Michael J. Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul & His Letters. Michigan: Eerdmans, 2004.
  • ______. Reading Revelation Responsibly: Uncivil Worship and Witness: Following the Lamb into the New Creation. Eugene: Cascade, 2011.
  • Green, Joel B., and Lee Martin McDonald (eds.). The World of the New Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013.
  • Hawthorne, Gerald (et al.). Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. Illinois: IVP, 1993.
  • Horrell, David G. An Introduction to the study of Paul. 3rd ed. London: Bloomsbury, 2015.
  • Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Writings of the New Testament. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 2010.
  • Levine, Amy-Jill (ed). A Feminist Companion to Paul. London: T&T Clark, 2004.
  • Martin, R. Davids, P H. (et al. eds.) Dictionary of the Later New Testament and its development. Illinois: IVP, 1997.
  • Meeks, Wayne A. The First Urban Christians: The Social World of the Apostle Paul. Second Edition. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.
  • Witherington III, Ben. Letters and Homilies for Hellenised Christians, Volume 1. Downers Grove: IVP, 2006.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Exegetical Essay

2,000 word exegetical essay

0 50.0

1,500 word workshop paper

0 30.0
Oral Presentation

1,000 word online presentation

0 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 1 Nov, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2020-11-16 15:14:40 +1100