A Pauline Letter in English

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
COURSE UNIT 223 - 8223


Students consider the destination, structure and purpose of the letter alongside a study of its major themes and exegesis of selected passages.  The letter chosen will normally be Romans but may be 1 Corinthians.


To enable students to understand and interpret one of Paul’s major letters.


Category of outcome

By the end of this unit students should be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

·         Explain the structure and major themes of the letter

·         Formulate a critically informed opinion of its purpose and audience

Intellectual skills

·      Identify and analyse the particular theological emphases of the text and its contribution to our knowledge of Paul and his ministry

·      Demonstrate developed exegetical skills through working on the text

Practical and Transferable skills; Personal qualities

·      Explain the possible implications of the letter’s themes for today’s church

·      Interpret an ancient text with sensitivity to its genre, occasion and worldview


Assessment task


Weighting within unit



500 words

2000 words




·         223:

·         8223:

An essay plan

An essay



3000 words

2000 words






·         223:

·         8223:

An essay

An essay

and a learning journal*

* Distance learning students are required to pass this element. So long as this element has been passed, they will be eligible for compensation if the overall unit mark is within the compensation zone (30-39%), and the compensatable credit allowance as set out in the Degree Regulations has not been exceeded.




Available on which programme(s)?

BA in Theology



1: introduction to and overview of the Letter

2: The history of Christianity in Rome; Romans 16

3: The new perspective on Paul; overview of 1:16-32

4: Romans 2:1 - 3:20; how Paul uses the Old Testament

5: Romans 4; the righteousness of God and the faith of Jesus Christ

6: Romans 5; the apocalyptic mindset

7: Romans 6; Paul retelling the history of Israel

8: Romans 7; the place of the Law and the ‘I’ of v7-25

9: Romans 8:11-17; the role of the Spirit in the life of the believer

10: Romans 9-11

11: Romans 12-15, focussing on 12 and 13:1-7



1: Introduction to the unit: Corinth, the Church and 1 Corinthians

2: Divisions and the gospel of the cross

3: Divisions and the role of Christian leaders

4: Immorality

5: Marriage and divorce

6: Idolatry

7: On not exercising rights

8: Christian gatherings

9: Concerning spiritual gifts

10: The resurrection

11: The resurrection body

12: The end and the beginning

Teaching method

Interactive lectures

Additional eLearning content

Unit materials are available at Spurgeon’s Online to support student learning


Written feedback within 15 working days from submission

Date of approval (for office use)


Information updated on

December 2015

Indicative reading


Bassler, Jouette M., Navigating Paul: An Introduction to Key Theological Concepts (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2007)

Brondos, David A., Paul on the Cross: Reconstructing the Apostle's story of redemption (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006)

Malherbe, Abraham J., Social Aspects of Early Christianity, 2nd edn (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993)

Dunn, James D.G., The New Perspective on Paul, rev. edn (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008)

Hawthorne, Gerald F. and Ralph P. Martin, eds, Dictionary of Paul and his Letters (Downers Grove and Leicester: IVP, 1993)

Wright, N.T., Paul: Fresh Perspectives (London: SPCK, 2005)



Donfried, Karl P., ed., The Romans Debate, 2nd edn (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1991)

Grieb, A. Katherine, The Story of Romans: A Narrative Defense of God’s Righteousness (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002)

Kruse, Colin G., Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans; Nottingham: Apollos, 2012)

Moo, Douglas J., Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002)

Morgan, Robert, Romans (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995)

Oakes, Peter, Reading Romans in Pompeii: Paul’s Letter at Ground Level (Minneapolis / London: Fortress / SPCK, 2009)

Sumney, Jerry L., Reading Paul’s Letter to the Romans (Atlanta: SBL 2012)

Wedderburn, Alexander J.M., The Reasons for Romans (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1988)

Westerholm, Stephen, Understanding Paul: The early Christian Worldview of the Letter to the Romans  (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004)

Wright, N.T., ‘The Letter to the Romans’ in Leander E. Keck, ed., The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. X (Nashville: Abingdon, 2002), 395-770



Bailey, Kenneth E., Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes: Cultural Studies in 1 Corinthians (London: SPCK, 2011)

Ciampa, Roy E. and Brian S. Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians, Pillar New Testament Commentary (Nottingham: Apollos, 2010)

Dunn, J.D.G., 1 Corinthians (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995)

Fee, Gordon D., The First Epistle to the Corinthians, New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987)

Hays, Richard B., First Corinthians, Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1997)

Malcolm, Matthew R., The World of 1 Corinthians: An Exegetical Source Book of Literary and Visual Backgrounds (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2012)

Murphy-O'Connor, Jerome, Keys to First Corinthians : Revisiting the Major Issues (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)

Thiselton, Anthony C., First Corinthians: A Shorter Exegetical and Pastoral Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006)

Witherington, Ben, Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1995)

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A Pauline Letter in English

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
Course Unit 223 - 8223





Hours of Learning:



Dr Stephen I. Wright or Rev Simon M. Jones

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