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Preaching Luke
TH 668M-20
Waterloo Lutheran Seminary
Fall Term
Class Sessions: September 15, 22, October 13 and 27, 9 AM - 4:00 PM

Prof. David Schnasa Jacobsen
Phone: 884-1970 ext. 3493
Office Hours: when my door is open or by appointment

Learning Goals:
This intensive format course is designed to explore two options available to the preacher who is interested in preaching Luke against the backdrop of Luke's own narrative-theological vision. It is, for the most part, seminar in format. Within this narrative-theological framework, students will be encouraged to choose to exegete and preach on Lukan texts that help to meet their own learning goals. Your professor is more than happy to meet with you individually to help you find the resources that will meet your goals.

By the end of this course, all participants should have met these following general goals:
1. To understand Luke's narrative-theological vision and its context.
2. To practice the use of the tools of narrative criticism as they relate to both exegesis and preaching.
3. To develop theological skills for contextualizing gospel proclamation in conversation with Luke's unique narrative-theological vision.
Students with disabilities or special needs are advised to contact Laurier's Special Needs Office for information regarding its services and resources. Students are encouraged to review the Calendar for information regarding all services available on campus.
Wilfrid Laurier University uses software that can check for plagiarism. Students may be required to submit their written work in electronic form and have it checked for plagiarism.

Required Texts:
Jacobsen, David Schnasa and Günter Wasserberg. Preaching Luke-Acts (Nashville: Abingdon, 2001).
Lowry, Eugene. The Homiletical Plot (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1980). Tannehill, Robert. Luke (Abingdon New Testament Commentaries; Nashville: Abingdon, 1996.
Both of the above books are also available on reserve at the library reserve desk and should also be available for purchase at Sperling's. Please bring an NRSV bible and a Greek NT to class.
Preachers should think about developing a preaching library to help them through Luke. A bibliography is provided on the last page of the syllabus. While some of the items are still in print, there is a chance that preachers will be able to purchase some of the older ones through used-book services (check at This way you'll be able to build up your commentary and preaching helps library and still have money left over in your church's book/education budget to take courses as pastors in continuing education in swell places like Waterloo Lutheran Seminary!


Session 1: September 15
9 AM: Introductions, Syllabus, and Scheduling
10 AM: Lecture "Luke in the History of Scholarship"
11 AM: Lecture "A Primer in Narrative, Narrative Theory and Narrative Theology"
Lunch Break
1 PM: Workshop Luke 24:13-35 from a narrative perspective
2 PM: Video "Babette's Feast"
3 PM: Video "Babette's Feast," cont. and class discussion on the art of narration.
To prepare for session 2, please read Eugene Lowry's The Homiletical Plot as well as the Introduction to Robert Tannehill's Luke, pp. 19-31.

Session 2: September 22
9 AM: Lecture "Narrative Preaching from Beginning to 'End': From Lowry to Campbell to Hilkert"
10 AM: Workshop "Endings and Beginnings in Luke: from Acts 28-Luke 1/2"
11 AM: Lecture "Luke-Acts as Grief Document: From Theology of Glory to Tragedy"
Lunch Break
1 PM: Video "The Lives of Others"
2 PM: Video "The Lives of Others," cont
3 PM: In-class theological discussion. From a theology of glory to a tragic theology of provisionality and redemption.
To prepare for session 3, please read the first half of Jacobsen and Wasserberg's Preaching Luke-Acts, pp. 9-71 as well as pp. 136-144.

Session 3: October 13
9 AM: Student Presentation on a Lukan Text __________________________
10 AM: Student Presentation on a Lukan Text __________________________
11 AM: Student Presentation on a Lukan Text __________________________
Lunch Break
1 PM: Student Presentation on a Lukan Text __________________________
2 PM: Student Presentation on a Lukan Text __________________________
3 PM: Sermon Videos and Discussion
4 PM: Theological discussion: How can we narrate redemption theologically today?

Session 4: October 27
9 AM: Student Sermon on a Lukan Text __________________________
10 AM: Student Sermon on a Lukan Text __________________________
11 AM: Student Sermon on a Lukan Text __________________________
Lunch Break
1 PM: Student Sermon on a Lukan Text __________________________
2 PM: Student Sermon on a Lukan Text __________________________
3 PM: Debriefing: Preaching Lukan Narrative Theology-beyond hardened hearts.
4 PM: Evaluation and Party!


Assignment 1: Presentation on a Lukan Biblical Text
During the third class session, students will lead an hour of the class by discussing the results of their exegetical study of a Lukan text. Students may choose an upcoming Lukan lection for the text, but there is no guarantee that every student will be able to do so. Each presentation should consist of three portions: 1. A narrative exegesis of their particular text (30 min.) together with sufficient copies of an annotated bibliography of relevant books and articles to hand out to the class. 2. A brief description of the place of their text in the broader work of Luke-Acts (5 min.). 3. A discussion of some of the theological implications of their text given Luke's overall theological vision (5 min.). The remaining ten minutes of the class hour will be reserved for comments, questions, and conversation in class. Date Due: Saturday, October 13--Grade: 30% of total

Assignment 2: Sermon on the Same Lukan Text as Above With this presentation and sermon students will be responsible for preaching a narrative sermon on the same Lukan text they exegeted in the prior class session. After preaching, the other students in class will offer feedback on the sermon with the facilitation of the professor. Sermon manuscripts for this session are to be handed in to your professor the day before you preach (that means Friday, October 26 by 1 PM!). The sermon will be graded by how well hearers hear the gospel through it and how well the preacher wrestles with Luke's narrated theology for today.
Date Due: Friday, October 26 at 1 PM, the day before Session 4--Grade: 60% of total

Assignment X: Class Participation
This percentage of your mark will be determined by your attendance and the quality of your participation in all four sessions.
Date Due: All the time--Grade: 10% of total

Fear not. The grading system is designed to maximize the possibilities for growth in learning. Really. The first assignment gives you a chance to take some risks in learning a new method of exegesis. At the same time, since the second assignment is weighted more heavily there is much room for growth. Clearly, students who receive high grades for their presentation and their sermon will receive a high final grade. Students who also demonstrate a clear improvement in their work by the end of the semester will also be eligible for a higher final grade. What is our motto?: "per fidem ambulamus." So walk by faith and don't worry so much.
Nonetheless, I must offer one caveat. Since beginning pastors almost always have to produce weekly sermons regardless of circumstances, late sermon manuscripts will result in an automatic reduction of grade by one letter and missed presentations will result in a grade of F.
M.Th. and doctoral students taking this elective course will be expected to perform at a higher level and may be asked to complete extra work. Attendance at extra discussions for advanced students may also be required.

Biblical Resources on Luke for Preachers: An Annotated Bibliography

Fitzmyer, Joseph. The Gospel According to Luke (2 vols.). Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1985.
-. The Acts of the Apostles. New York: Doubleday, 1998.
These commentaries are encyclopedic relative to historical issues in and behind the text of Luke.
O'Day, Gail R.. "Acts" in The Women's Bible Commentary. Carol A. Newsom and Sharon E. Ringe, eds.; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1992.
O'Day sees potential in using the writer's interest in erasing ethnic boundary lines between clean and unclean as a model for better gender relations.
Ringe, Sharon H. Luke. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1995.
Ringe's commentary takes into account the social and historical context of the Gospel even while asking questions of what the text means for us today.
Tannehill, Robert. Luke (Abingdon New Testament Commentaries). Nashville: Abingdon, 1996.
This is an excellent choice for the preacher who wishes to ground her/his narrative preaching in solid critical exegesis.

Homiletical and Pastoral Resources on Luke
Allen, Ronald J. Preaching Luke-Acts. St. Louis: Chalice, 2001.
Allen's book is an excellent guide for those wishing to preach thematically.
Craddock, Fred. The Gospels. Nashville: Abingdon, 1981.
Craddock treats Luke in one of his chapters-scholarly and preachable
Jacobsen, David Schnasa and Günter Wasserberg. Preaching Luke-Acts. Nashville: Abingdon, 2001.
We pursue a reading of Luke-Acts as a consistent narrative and explore its preaching implications in a series of sermon "scenes". We also explore the continuing problems that anti-Judaism poses for contemporary interpretation.
Ourisman, David J. From Gospel to Sermon: Preaching Synoptic Texts. St. Louis: Chalice, 2000.
Ourisman thinks preachers should take the narrative shape of the whole Gospel in to account. He devotes a whole chapter to preaching from Luke.
Smith, D. Moody. Interpreting the Gospels for Preaching. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980.


Preaching Luke-Acts | Preaching Apocalyptic Texts | Biblio-file | Syllabi | Liberating Word | Links | M.Th. in Homiletics
WLS Home Page | Faculty Page | Preaching Resources by DSJ | My CV

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Last Updated: 16 March, 2011
© copyright 1999-2011, David Schnasa Jacobsen and Waterloo Lutheran Seminary