Contemporary Homiletics

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
COURSE UNIT 260 - 8260


The unit considers some current criticisms of preaching and explores the theological basis for this form of communication.  Students consider some recent developments in biblical hermeneutics and explore their implications for the preacher.  They reflect on current thinking about sermon structure, including narrative structures, in order to identify strategies that are suitable for dealing with different genres of biblical material on a range of preaching occasions.  Through watching, listening to and studying examples of sermons, students are exposed to a variety of styles of preaching.  They are enabled to develop skills of sermon evaluation that help them grow in their own effectiveness as preachers.  They reflect critically upon their experience in order to develop an approach to preaching and communication that respects the Christian tradition, their own gifts and the range of possible hearers.


To develop skills in integrating insights from biblical studies and homiletics which contribute to effective biblical preaching in the contemporary context.


Category of outcome

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

Knowledge and understanding

·      Identify and evaluate recent approaches to hermeneutics and homiletics;

Intellectual skills

·      Interpret biblical texts and to identify their potential for preaching

Practical and Transferable skills; Personal qualities

·      Preach sermons that reflect a considered approach to the Bible, their hearers, their context and their own gifts


Assessment task


Weighting within unit




400 words each




·         260:

·         8260:

Group work in class

Two sermon outlines



10 minutes

2000 words

2000 words







·         260:


·         8260:

An sermon preached in class

A reflective commentary

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.    Why bother with preaching?

2.   Where is the word of the Lord?

3.   Form and structure in preaching

4.   Approaches to preaching – old and new

5.   Narrative preaching

5.   Mediated preaching

6.   Preaching theologically

7.   Preachers and their audiences

9-11: Sermon workshops: each student preaches a sermon

          followed by peer feedback and tutor assessment

Teaching method

Interactive lectures; sermons held in seminar groups

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

Day, David, et al., A Reader on Preaching: Making Connections (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005)

Goldingay, John, Models for Interpretation of Scripture (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1995)

Greidanus, Sidney P., The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text (Leicester: IVP, 1988)

LaRue, Cleophus J., The Heart of Black Preaching (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000)

Long, Thomas G., The Witness of Preaching, 2nd edn (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005)

Lowry, Eugene L., The Homiletical Plot, rev. edn (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2001)

Mitchell, H.H., Black Preaching: The recovery of a powerful art (Nashville: Abingdon, 1991)

Quicke, Michael J., 360 Degree Preaching: Hearing Speaking and Living the Word (Carlisle: Paternoster, 2003)

Standing, Roger, Finding the Plot: Preaching in a Narrative Style (Carlisle: Paternoster, 2004)

Stevenson, Geoffrey (ed.), The Future of Preaching (London: SCM, 2010)

Stevenson, Geoffrey, and Stephen I. Wright, Preaching with Humanity: A Practical Guide for Today’s Church (London: Church House Publishing, 2008)

Wright, Stephen I., Alive to the Word: A Practical Theology of Preaching for the Whole Church (London: SCM, 2010)

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Contemporary Homiletics

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
Course Unit 260 - 8260





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Dr Roger Standing

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