From Text to Sermon

Instructor: Eric C. Smith, PhD

Course Synopsis

Taking as its material the Gospel of John, this course will cover strategies and methods for exegesis in the task of composing sermons. Students will employ a variety of critical tools and readings to develop sermon ideas and full sermons, providing valuable skills and experience for those interested in entering parish ministry, or those simply interested in biblical exegesis.

Books for the Course

Harper Collins Study Bible (NRSV), Jewish Annotated New Testament (2nd Edition), and/or another good, modern NRSV study Bible (contact your professor if you aren’t certain whether yours qualifies).

Hayes, John H. and Carl R. Holladay. Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner’s Handbook . Westminster John Knox Press, 2007.

McKenzie, Steven L. and Stephen R. Haynes. To Each Its Own Meaning, Revised and Expanded: An Introduction to Biblical Criticisms and Their Application. Westminster John Knox Press, 1999.

Brown, Raymond E. and Francis J. Moloney. An Introduction to the Gospel of John. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.

Course Assignments and Evaluation:

Your work in this course will be evaluated in several ways.

1) Weekly posts will account for 5 points per week (except week 5, Gathering Days, which doesn't have posts, and week 10, which will count for 4 points). This is a total of 44 points. Please note that the first three posts each week are graded on a complete/incomplete basis (1 point each), while the Sermon Abstract is worth 2 points and is graded with a rubric.

2) Two papers, one due at the midterm and the other at the end of the course, will count for 28 points each, for a total of 56 points. An evaluation rubric is attached to each of these papers.

3) Attendance at Gathering Days, while not linked to any points, is mandatory, and you cannot pass the course without being present.

Other Matters:

Policies and Services

Incompletes:  Incompletes are granted only in extraordinary circumstances. If an incomplete is allowed in this course, it will be governed by the Master's Student Handbook for Policies and Procedures.

Pass/Fail:  Masters students wishing to take the class pass/fail should discuss this with the instructor by the end of the first week.

Academic Integrity and Community Covenant:  All students are expected to abide by Iliff’s statement on Academic Integrity, as published in the Masters Student Handbook, or the Joint PhD Statement on Academic Honesty, as published in the Joint PhD Student Handbook, as appropriate.  All participants in this class are expected to be familiar with Iliff’s Community Covenant.

Accommodations:  Iliff engages in a collaborative effort with students with disabilities to reasonably accommodate student needs.   Students are encouraged to contact their assigned advisor to initiate the process of requesting accommodations.  The advising center can be contacted at or by phone at 303-765-1146. 

Writing Lab:  Grammar and organization are important for all written assignments.  Additional help is available from the Iliff Writing Lab, which is available for students of any level who need help beginning an assignment, organizing thoughts, or reviewing a final draft. 

Inclusive Language:  It is expected that all course participants will use inclusive language in speaking and writing, and will use terms that do not create barriers to classroom community. 

Jan 08, 2019TueWeek One: Introduction to John and to Exegesis (Primary Text and Brown Readings)due by 06:59AM
Jan 08, 2019TueGetting to know youdue by 06:59AM
Jan 08, 2019TueHow The Course Will Workdue by 06:59AM
Jan 09, 2019WedWeek One: Secondary Texts about Exegesisdue by 06:59AM
Jan 11, 2019FriWeek One: Marginaliadue by 06:59AM
Jan 12, 2019SatWeek One: Choose a Focus Text for Sermon Abstractsdue by 06:59AM
Jan 15, 2019TueWeek Two: Text Criticism and Historical Criticism (Primary Text and Brown Readings)due by 06:59AM
Jan 16, 2019WedWeek Two: Secondary Texts about Exegesisdue by 06:59AM
Jan 18, 2019FriWeek Two: Marginaliadue by 06:59AM
Jan 19, 2019SatWeek Two: Sermon Abstractdue by 06:59AM
Jan 22, 2019TueWeek Three: Literary (Source) Criticism (Primary Text and Brown readings)due by 06:59AM
Jan 23, 2019WedWeek Three: Secondary Texts about Exegesisdue by 06:59AM
Jan 25, 2019FriWeek Three: Marginaliadue by 06:59AM
Jan 26, 2019SatWeek Three: Sermon Abstractdue by 06:59AM
Jan 29, 2019TueWeek Four: Form Criticism and Tradition Criticism (Primary Text and Brown Readings)due by 06:59AM
Jan 30, 2019WedWeek Four: Secondary Texts about Exegesisdue by 06:59AM
Feb 01, 2019FriWeek Four: Marginaliadue by 06:59AM
Feb 02, 2019SatWeek Four: Sermon Abstractdue by 06:59AM
Feb 06, 2019WedGathering Days Articledue by 08:00PM
Feb 08, 2019FriNew Testament and Natural Language Processingdue by 06:59AM
Feb 12, 2019TueWeek Six: Feminist and Womanist Criticisms (Primary Text and WBC Readings)due by 06:59AM
Feb 13, 2019WedWeek Six: Secondary Texts about Exegesisdue by 06:59AM
Feb 15, 2019FriWeek Six: Marginaliadue by 06:59AM
Feb 16, 2019SatWeek Six: Sermon Abstractdue by 06:59AM
Feb 18, 2019MonMidterm Paperdue by 06:59AM
Feb 19, 2019TueWeek Seven: Liberation Theology (Primary Text and Brown Readings)due by 06:59AM
Feb 20, 2019WedWeek Seven: Secondary Texts about Exegesisdue by 06:59AM
Feb 22, 2019FriWeek Seven: Marginaliadue by 06:59AM
Feb 23, 2019SatWeek Seven: Sermon Abstractdue by 06:59AM
Feb 26, 2019TueWeek Eight: Queer Reading (Primary Text and Jennings/Liew Readings)due by 06:59AM
Feb 27, 2019WedWeek Eight: Secondary Texts about Exegesisdue by 06:59AM
Mar 01, 2019FriWeek Eight: Marginaliadue by 06:59AM
Mar 02, 2019SatWeek Eight: Sermon Abstractdue by 06:59AM
Mar 05, 2019TueWeek Nine: Postcolonial Analysis (Primary Text and Sugirtharajah Readings)due by 06:59AM
Mar 06, 2019WedWeek Nine: Secondary Texts about Exegesisdue by 06:59AM
Mar 08, 2019FriWeek Nine: Marginaliadue by 06:59AM
Mar 09, 2019SatWeek Nine: Sermon Abstractdue by 06:59AM
Mar 13, 2019WedWeek Ten: Primary Text and Brown Readingsdue by 05:59AM
Mar 16, 2019SatWeek Ten: The Fruits of Exegesisdue by 05:59AM
Mar 16, 2019SatOptional Case Studydue by 05:59AM
Mar 18, 2019MonFinal Paperdue by 05:59AM