Today’s guest post is by Dr. Michael Allen, Kennedy Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and dean of faculty at Knox Theological Seminary. Dr. Allen is here to tell us about his new Doctor of Ministry class on Ephesians.
I couldn’t be more excited about the class beginning in January on the exegesis and theology of Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. We’ll be focusing on two things:
- Sharpening our exegetical skills by looking at this particular letter
- Reflecting theologically upon its implications for faith and practice
Ephesians touches on so many important things in the Christian life—grace, election, ethnic reconciliation, sanctification and ethics, the church and her leadership, social organization, spiritual warfare, and the like.
What we’ll study
We’ll be studying this portion of God’s Word using the best of recent New Testament studies (Australian scholar Dr. Peter O’Brien’s highly respected commentary), as well as some of the greatest resources from the history of exegesis (gleaned from the Reformation Commentary on Scripture‘s volume on Ephesians, edited by Knox Seminary’s own Dr. Gerald Bray). We’ll be discussing not only academic commentary, but also pastoral reflection on how the text shapes congregational ministry (in the form of Eugene Peterson’s powerful Practice Resurrection).
Through the centuries, Ephesians has been a paradigmatic text for defining the life of God’s community, the church. And we want to look anew at its role in shaping our calling in a time of deep cultural transition, when—once again—we need to see the church be the church by God’s grace.
This class will be an opportunity to look carefully at a specific portion of Scripture, as well as to refine our ability to look at the Bible as a whole. It will hone your exegetical and synthetic skills so that you’ll be able to read and teach on Proverbs and Ruth, as well as Matthew and 1 Peter.
The importance of God’s Word in ministry
We really believe there’s no greater skill for those in ministry than the age-old calling to read the Word of God prayerfully and faithfully: considering its canonical context, attending to its place in the history of God’s work in the church, and eagerly listening for how it confronts us in light of contemporary challenges. And we believe that studying together—with men and women involved in this work from various churches and different cities, as well as with saints from ages past through their writings—will better equip us to listen to God’s Word and be witnesses to the gospel in our ministries and our lives.
Our hope and prayer is that this class will be an occasion when “you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17–19).
I hope to see you soon. Meanwhile, “grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
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