I’m currently putting together reading lists for students on the PGP course who will be writing essays as part of their assessment. Some of the books on my own bookshelf are beginning to look a bit dates, so I’m looking for suggestions for books for the essay titles below.
All these essays are being marked at HE Level 4 (First year of a degree course) so the level needs to be suitable for people who might not have studied theology academically before. Also, at this level, 90% of the marking criteria is aimed at explaining and synthesising views which are taught on the course. This means that the reading list should include non-evangelical views, but this will only contribute a small component of the mark. For more information about PGP’s approach and methodology, please see this statement on our website.
If you’ve got any suggestions, please leave them as comments or send them via Twitter, FB, e-mail, etc. If you are able to include the full bibliographical information then it makes my life much easier – but the suggestion is more important. Please use the essay code to say which essay your book is for.
Module PPTC01- Applied Biblical Theology
C01-1. Is it possible to identify a single storyline throughout the whole of the Bible?
C01-2. ‘The Bible doesn’t make any sense without Genesis chapters one to three’ To what extent does our interpretation of the Bible stem from an understanding of its first three chapters?
C01-3. “The Psalms are a mirror for the soul – every human emotion is there.” How does an emotional engagement with the Psalms help us interpret and apply them?
C01-4. How do the Old Testament prophets speak beyond their own situation and into the contemporary Christian Church? Illustrate your answer with examples from the books of Isaiah or Ezekiel.
C01-5. ‘The new is in the old, concealed – the old is in the new, revealed.’ How important is an understanding of the Old Testament for a responsible reading of the New?
C01-6. How does an understanding of different literary genres help us apply the Gospels?
Module PPTC02 – Biblical Theology for Christian Ministry
C02-1-1. “St. Patrick said the three leaves of the shamrock represent the trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. That’s why four leaf clovers are so lucky, you get a bonus Jesus.” – Stephen Colbet. Explore the usefulness and limitations of using illustrations to teach the doctrine of the trinity?
C02-1-2. “The cross isn’t a form of cosmic child abuse – a vengeful Father, punishing his Son for an offence he has not even committed. Understandably, both people inside and outside of the Church have found this twisted version of events morally dubious and a huge barrier to faith” – Steve Chalke. Using both Old and New Testament passages, discuss the importance and relevance of the doctrine of substitutionary atonement.
C02-1-3. Explain which Bible text or texts you consider to be most important when teaching about the role of women in the Christian church.
C02-1-4. “That which he has not assumed, he has not healed” – Gregory of Nazianzus. Discuss whether Jesus needed to become fully human to redeem humanity.
C02-2-1. “The next time you see a clean-shaven fundamentalist wearing a poly-cotton shirt and eating a shrimp, remember to shout ‘Abomination!’” – Jeffrey John. How does the ‘six act’ division of the Bible contribute to our understanding of the ethics of human sexuality? Answer with reference to either homosexuality or marriage and divorce.
Ethics and Pastoral Ministry
C02-2-2. What role should the Bible have in Christian Counselling?
C02-2-3. How should an awareness of the culture of our hearers influence our teaching of the Bible? Illustrate your answer with reference to communicating with children, teenagers or people with a postmodern worldview.
C02-2-4. How do the pastoral epistles (1&2 Timothy and Titus) challenge Christian leaders today? Illustrate your answer by reflecting on your application of these letters to your own life and ministry.
C02-2-5. Can prayer be taught or just caught? Illustrate your answer by reflecting on the development of your own prayer life.
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