This unit will introduce and investigate the theology of the apostle Paul, and its relationship to his ethical teaching. You will explore the core theological ideas that lead Paul to the articulations of Christian faith and practice that we find in his letters. You will consider the strengths and weaknesses of different accounts of Paul’s theology, and will learn how they relate to contemporary theological and ethical issues, including debates about questions of identity, race, gender, and political engagement. By studying Paul’s letters in detail, you will gain a deeper understanding of the development of early Christian theology and its relevance for today.

Unit code: BN2129P

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: New Testament

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Describe, with reference to key primary texts, the main theological and ethical ideas within the Pauline letters


Discuss the ways that theological ideas and ethical instructions are related to each other and through exegesis of a specific text.


Identify, with reference to secondary literature, a number of the most important scholarly debates about the central ideas and overall coherence of Paul’s theology.


Articulate the connection between Paul’s theology and ethics and Christian theology and practice today.

Unit sequence

one unit of introductory New Testament study: BN1000P/BN2000P/BN1009P/BN2009P or equivalent.


Lectures for this unit will be provided in the classroom, and captured and supplemented by pre-recorded video material accessible to both face to face and online students.

Seminars relating to the interpretation of key texts from the Pauline letters will be held in the classroom and/or through real-time online conference.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bassler, Jouette M. Navigating Paul: An Introduction to Key Theological Concepts. Louisville / London: Westminster John Knox, 2007.
  • Dunn, James D. G. The Theology of Paul the Apostle. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1998.
  • Eisenbaum, Pamela. Paul Was Not a Christian: The Original Message of a Misunderstood Apostle. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.
  • Horrell, David G. An Introduction to the Study of Paul. 3rd ed. London: T & T Clark, 2015.
  • Marchal, Joseph A., ed. Studying Paul's Letters: Contemporary Perspectives and Methods. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2012.
  • Sampley, J. Paul. Walking in Love: Moral Progress and Spiritual Growth with the Apostle Paul. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2016.
  • Sanders, E. P. Paul: The Apostle’s Life, Letters, and Thought. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2015.
  • Schnelle, Udo. Apostle Paul: His Life and Theology. Translated by M. Eugene Boring. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005.
  • Thompson, James W. Moral Formation according to Paul: The Context and Coherence of Christian Ethics. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011.
  • Long Westfall, Cynthia. Paul and Gender: Reclaiming the Apostle’s Vision for Men and Women in Christ. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2016.

NOTE: this is an indicative list of introductory works relevant to the unit content and learning outcomes. More advanced studies are listed in the postgraduate unit record.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay (2400 words)

0 60.0

Exegesis (1600 words)

0 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 5 Sep, 2018

Unit record last updated: 2019-02-20 13:27:58 +1100