PR 500 Introduction to Preaching – Syllabus


Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

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October 2017

Instructor: Dr. Pablo A. Jiménez

Mailing Address: 130 Essex Street, South Hamilton, MA 01982



Facebook, Twitter, YouTube & Skype: drpablojimenez


Course Description:

Preaching the Gospel of Jesus is a daunting challenge, particularly in the Hispanic and Caribbean context, which is multilingual and multiethnic, postmodern and postcolonial. This reality shapes preaching, as the main means the Church employs to interpret and communicate the Gospel.

This course will seek to offer the student an introduction to the practice of preparing and delivering expository sermons, taking into consideration our particular context. It is our objective to provide the student the tools and processes necessary to prepare biblical, clear, edifying, and even creative sermons. Learning experiences include reading, discussion, lecture, exegesis, practice preaching, watching sermons, and self-critique.

Course Objectives:

The aim of the course is empowering students to develop their full potential as preachers. At the end of the course the students should be able to:

  1. Present a coherent theology of preaching.
  2. Understand preaching as a communicative process.
  3. Employ contextual hermeneutic perspectives in the preparation of their sermons.
  4. Design effective sermons.
  5. Evaluate the impact of the postmodern and postcolonial condition on contemporary homiletics.
  6. Present effectively their sermons.

Course Textbooks: (All available through Amazon’s Kindle Store)

Robinson, Haddon. Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014. ASIN: B00IGDKNI2

Stanley, Andy. Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to irresistible Communication. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Press, 2006.. ASIN: B001E2WM54

Required Readings: (To be distributed by the professor)

Jiménez, Pablo A. “And the Word Became Flesh: Homiletics and Evangelical Preaching in Hispanic Churches”, In The Hispanic Evangelical Church in the United States: History, Ministry and Challenges, edited by Samuel Pagán. Elk Grove, CA: National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, 2016, pp. 299-326.

_____. “If You Just Close Your Eyes: Postcolonial Perspectives on Preaching from the Caribbean” Homiletic Vol. 40 No. 1, (2016): 22-28.

_____. “Toward a Postcolonial Homiletic: Justo L. González Contribution to Homiletics.” In Hispanic Christian Thought At the Dawn of the 21st Century: Apuntes in Honor of Justo L. González, edited by Alvin Padilla, Roberto Goizueta & Eldin Villafañe. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006, pp. 159-167, 305-306.

Suggested Readings:

Graves, Mike & David J. Schlafer. What is the Shape of Narrative Preaching? Essays in Honor of Eugene Lowry. St. Louis, Abingdon Press, 2008. ASIN: B001NEKAF2

Lowry, Eugene. The Homiletical Plot: The Sermon as Narrative Art Form. Westminster John Knox Press, 1980. ASIN: B00SLHGXEQ

Kuck, David W. Preaching in the Caribbean: Building up a People for Mission. Kingston” BY the author, 2007. (No ISBN)

Stott, John R. W. Between Two Worlds: The Art of Preaching in the Twentieth Century. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1982. ASIN: B001Y35JB2

Mitchell, Henry H. Celebration and Experience in Black Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2010 (Revised edition). ASIN: B0052EFW66

Schlafer, David J. What Makes this Day Different?: Preaching Grace on Special Occasions. Cambridge: Cowley Publications, 1998. ASIN: B009D16VH8

Thomas, Frank. They Never Like to Quit Praisin’ God: The Role of Celebration in Preaching. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press/United Church Press, 1997. ASIN: B00DD045UA

Travis, Sarah. Decolonizing Preaching: The Pulpit as Postcolonial Space. Eugene, OR: Cascade Press, 2014.

Willhite, Keith & Scott M. Gibson. The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching: Connecting the Bible to People. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1998. ASIN: B009M6T1YY

Wiseman, Karyn L. I Refuse to Preach a Boring Sermon: Engaging the 21st Century Listener. Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press, 2013. ISBN-10: 0829819568


All written assignments should be typed, double-spaced and written in a 12-point font such as Arial, Helvetica or New Times Roman. Formats: Send your paper in MS Word (extension doc or docx) or Adobe Acrobat (extension pdf). All assignments will have a maximum value of 100 points. No late work will be accepted. If you experience illness or emergency, you must request an extension, sending an email to the instructor. Your email on this issue must be an official extension petition.

  1. Class preparation and participation: All students must read the textbooks before the first day of class. Each student must also participate in class discussions. Although no paper is required, the instructor will grant a grade for this assignment.
  2. Biblical Interpretation: Study ONE biblical text from the list included below, following the key questions listed in THE THREE STEPS SYSTEM (enclosed as an appendix). Your paper should have no less than three and no more than five pages. DUE: October 13.
  • Genesis 32:22-32 (Narrative)
  • Psalm 130 (Poetic Literature)
  • Isaiah 5 (Prophetic Literature)
  • Matthew 13.1-9 (Parable)
  • Mark 1.21-28 (Miracle Story)
  • Luke 5:1-11 (Discipleship Story)
  • Romans 5.1-11 (Epistle)
  • Revelation 4 (Apocalyptic text)
  1. Sermon Outline: Write a sermon outline or manuscript based on the text studied for Assignment #2 and using the system taught in class. DUE: October 14.
  1. Final Exam: Take an exam on the sermon theory taught in class. DUE: October 15.
  2. Sermon Manuscript: Develop your outline into a full sermon manuscript of no less than 1,000 and no more than 2,000 words, using the system taught in class.  DUE: October 26.

Grading Scale:*

Grade Percentage Points
A 100 – 95 % 500-475
A- 94 – 90 % 474-450
B+ 89 – 87 % 449-435
B 86 – 84 % 434-420
B- 83 – 80 % 419-400
C+ 79 – 77 % 399-385
C 76 – 74% 384-370
C- 73 – 70% 369-350
D+ 69 – 67 % 349-335
D 66 – 64 % 334-320
F 63 – 0 % 319-0


Topic Required Readings  Suggested Readings
Basic Definitions Robinson, Chapter 1
Theology for Preaching  Jiménez, Davis, Kuck, Stott
Communication Principles Stanley, Chapters 1 to 10 Wiseman
Biblical Interpretation for Preaching Robinson, Chapters 2 to 4 Willhite & Gibson
Sermon Rudiments Robinson, Chapter 5
Sermon Outline Robinson, Chapters 6 to 9
Basic Sermon Forms Graves, Lowry, Schlafer
Sermon Delivery Robinson, Chapter 10, Stanley, Chapters 11 to 17 Mitchell, Thomas
Evaluation & Planning

The Three-Step System

Biblical Interpretation for Preaching

I. Point of contact: First Step in the Preparation of Biblical Sermons

Begin with prayer. Ask God to make you sensible to the Word and to speak through your sermon to the congregation. Keep a devotional atmosphere throughout the exercise.

Read the text several times. Work primarily with the translation that has become part of your own being. Compare it with other translations for the purpose of comparing and contrasting emphasis, movement, and structure. Do not use secondary sources for this exercise.

Read the text once more, aloud and with feeling. Only then, proceed to answer the following questions.

  1. What are the questions that this text sparks?
  2. What feelings surface as you read the text?
  3. What memories does the text cause you to recall?
  4. Imagine that you are immersed in the world of the text:
  • What do you see?
  • What do you hear?
  • What do you smell?
  • What do you touch?
  • What do you taste?
  • How does it feel to be in that world?
  1. Has your perception of the text changed? How?
  1. What is this text about? List the topics and ideas suggested by the text.

II. Explanation: Second Step in the Preparation of Biblical Sermons

After a direct interaction with the text, turn to secondary sources such as commentaries, dictionaries, and other homiletic aids. Insofar as possible, identify the historical context in which the text is found. Then, proceed to answer the following questions.

  1. What was the situation of the community to whom the text was written?
  2. Identify the form, the function and the literary structure of the text.
  3. Note the key words of the text. How are they used in this particular document?
  4. Have you found answers to you questions about the text?
  5. What are the mayor theological claims of the text?
  6. Enumerate the topics suggested by the text.

III. Interpretation: Third Step in the Preparation of Biblical Sermons

Move once again to the present, exploring the message of the text for the contemporary Church. Make the hermeneutic movement self-consciously and critically. Then, proceed to answer the following questions.

  1. Establish a correlation between your social location and the social location of the text. What realities function in our world in the same way as in the world of the text?
  • Identify the elements of salvation. Identify the sources of conflict.
  • Who is the powerful? Who are powerless?
  • In order to interpret the text appropriately, with whom do we should identify with in the text?
  1. Does the function of the text in its ancient setting suggest a possible function for our sermon in our setting?
  1. Does the form or the literary structure of the text suggest a given design for the sermon?
  2. Does the text suggest any guidelines for contemporary pastoral action?
  3. What are the “good news” for the congregation? For the Church at large? For the world?
  4. Enumerate the possible “sermons-in-a-sentence” suggested by the text. Pick one for your sermon and save the others for future sermons.
Pablo writes
Pablo writes

And the Word Became Flesh

An essay by Pablo A. Jiménez:

Jiménez, Pablo A. “And the Word Became Flesh: Homiletics and Evangelical Preaching in Hispanic Churches”, In The Hispanic Evangelical Church in the United States: History, Ministry and Challenges, edited by Samuel Pagán. Elk Grove, CA: National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, 2016, pp. 299-326.

Download this document on PDF

The Hispanic Evangelical Church
The Hispanic Evangelical Church


Toward a Postcolonial Homiletic

An essay written by Dr. Pablo A. Jiménez:

Jiménez, Pablo A. “Toward a Postcolonial Homiletic: Justo L. González Contribution to Homiletics.” In Hispanic Christian Thought At the Dawn of the 21st Century: Apuntes in Honor of Justo L. González, edited by Alvin Padilla, Roberto Goizueta & Eldin Villafañe. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006, pp. 159-167, 305-306.

Download this document on PDF 

Hispanic Christian Thought
Hispanic Christian Thought

Open House @Gordon-Conwell

Are you exploring a call to ministry? Visit Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS), during its Open House 2017, to be held October 17 to 18. There is financial aid available for prospective students. For more information, visit:

GCTS Open House 2017
GCTS Open House 2017

Discipleship & Theological Education

Discipleship & Theological Education

On Mark 10.46-52

By Pablo A. Jiménez

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Miracle stories are about God’s mercy and power.  However, Mark 10.46-52 is much more than a miracle story; it is a story about discipleship. We know it because twice we find the word “road” or “way” (Gk. “hodos”, vv. 46 & 52) and we also find the verb “to follow” (Gk. “akolutheö”) which in the Gospel of Mark are the hallmarks of discipleship: following Jesus on the Way.

This is also the last story before Jesus’ “Triumphal Entrance” to Jerusalem. Jesus goes into Jerusalem in order to face the cross. Therefore, this is a key text for understanding Mark’s view on discipleship. 

As Jesus reaches the town of Jericho he finds that, on the roadside of that tourist town, there are people who are willingly giving wealthy people the opportunity to help them. In Judaism, to give to the poor is a “mitzvah,” it’s a good deed. So, in Jewish Rabbinical theology, beggars were important because they allowed you to have “mitzvoth”, good deeds that would account for salvation. This explains why Jesus finds on the roadside a long row of beggars with various ailments.

But there is one beggar called Bartimaeus. It has always puzzled me that the text says “Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”).” (v. 46) “Bar” means “the son of.” Having grown up in the Caribbean, I know by experience that in poor communities people who had ailments were treated differently. Usually, they were not addressed by their proper names but by nicknames based on their ailments or on their family relations. This man probably had another name, but people just called him “the son of Timaeus” because he was “invisible” to the community. He was considered “the other.”

Bartimaeus learns that Jesus is coming his way. By this time Jesus’ fame has grown and he walks surrounded by a large entourage of people. It is impossible to miss him. So, Bartimaeus hears that Jesus is coming and he–who is sitting by “the way”–begins to cry out: “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Now, his theology is faulty. Yes, Jesus is “Son of David”, but not necessarily in the militaristic way many expected during the First Century. Bartimaeus does not call Jesus “the Christ” nor “the Messiah.” He has an inkling of who Jesus is, but he needs better theology in order to fully understand his divine identity.

Mark 10.46-52 points to another important aspect of discipleship, namely, how the disciples treated “the other.” Jesus closest followers go to the blind man and “rebuke” him. (v. 48) Here Mark employs the Greek verb “epitimaö”, which is used elsewhere in the Gospel to describe the actions of rebuking unclean spirits and casting out demons. (Mark 1.25, 4.39, 9.25) Are the disciples treating Bartimaeus as demonic? Are they looking down on him? Where they influenced by Rabbinical Theology, according to which an ailment is a sure sign of sin and, therefore, a valid reason for exclusion?

In any case, the disciples do not give Bartimaeus access to Jesus. They block Bartimaeus access to Jesus. I think that this was a test. Jesus gave an “exam” to his disciples. Have they learned anything? Have they understood Jesus’ mission?

If you read Mark you will soon realize that no, they had not understood Jesus. For example, earlier in chapter 10 the disciples are bickering, debating about who was going to be “greater” in the kingdom. So, Jesus gave them a test, and they failed it when they said to the beggar:  “There is no grace for you.”

  • You are too poor.
  • You are too sick.
  • You may even be demonic.
  • You are “the other.”
  • We rebuked you, in Jesus’ name!

But Jesus had other plans. He called his disciples and told them to go and bring the blind man to him. I imagine that this was not the most comfortable moment for the disciples. Having “crow” as the main dish for dinner is never comfortable!

Following Jesus’ instructions, the disciples return to the same man that they had previously rejected, excluded and demonized. They say to him: “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” (v. 49) Notice how the role of the disciples has changed. Instead of blocking access, now they are giving access to Jesus!

In response, Bartimaeus does two things that clearly illustrate his enthusiasm. First of all, he throws away his robe (v. 50,) which he was probably using to catch the coins tossed at him. I imagine the robe flying through the air, the coins falling to the floor, and the other beggars fighting for the easy money.

Bartimaeus jumps to his feet and goes to Jesus, who proceeds to give him another test, asking “What do you want me to do for you?” (v. 51) The beggar responds: “Rabbi, I want to see” (literally, “to see again, Gk. “anablepö”.) Therefore, the man in need asks for the gift of vision.

Remember that the disciples didn’t understand fully who Jesus was. Why? Because they lacked vision. Bartimaeus asks for vision and he receives it. And his vision, in many ways, was clearer than the disciples’ vision.

Jesus tells the healed man that he could leave. Bartimaeus could go back home. He could go back to his family, get a job, and become part of the community again. But this man chooses another path. He decides “to follow Jesus on the way”. (v. 52) That is, on the way to the cross.


Theological education is just a higher level of discipleship. Evangelism, Christian education, spiritual formation and theological education are on a continuum. In many ways, theological education begins the day that someone tell us: “Jesus is LORD.” In this sense, everything we do at a theological school, even at the doctoral level, is just a form of Christian discipleship.

Those of us engaged in theological education have the opportunity to be in a role similar to Jesus’ disciples in this text: We can grant others access to Jesus. 

In order to fulfill this role faithfully, we must remember who Jesus is calling:

They may be people with faulty theology.

They may be people with problematic backgrounds.

They may be people totally different to us.

But they are crying out for Jesus. We have the wonderful opportunity of receiving them and of discipling them. And they will have the wonderful opportunity to suffer for Jesus, walking along him on the way to the cross.


The Hispanic Ministries Program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

The Hispanic Ministries Program (HMP) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS) is an excellent educational opportunity for you. The HMP offers a range of courses in both English and Spanish, in different parts of the United States of America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean, leading to a Masters. Students without a qualifying college degree may apply to a Diploma, which may qualify them to enter the Masters program. 

You can find further information about the HMP through the following links: 

You may also find more information about the HMP in our Facebook page:; of follow us on Twitter at

If you have any specific questions, feel free to email us at or call us at 978-646-4303 (English) or 978-646-4302 (Spanish). 

In Christ,

Rev. Pablo A. Jiménez, D.Min.

Associate Dean for Hispanic Ministries