Credit points


Campus offering

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THBS501 Biblical Studies or THBS562 Introducing the Scriptures

Teaching organisation

THBS602 is a fully online unit that involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. 

Unit rationale, description and aim

For modern Christians, and especially for teachers, ministers and pastoral associates in faith-based organisations, the Christian Scriptures remain central to their spiritual and professional lives. Yet as ancient texts, the writings of the New Testament require interpretation via the application of specific historical knowledge and interpretive skills. This unit focuses on the development of early Christian belief regarding the identity and mission of Jesus Christ. Students will explore the development of the pre- and post-resurrection interpretations of Jesus and the salvation he brings, and in particular the portraits of him found in the canonical Gospels. They will also examine other New Testament texts in order to determine the variety of Christologies in the early Christian tradition.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - outline the variety of portraits of Jesus in the New Testament (GA4; GA5);

LO2 - give a critical account of the development of Christology in the first century (GA4; GA5);

LO3 - use various sources, including online databases, to identify, analyse and assess cultural, historical and sociological factors influencing the development of Christology in the New Testament (GA4; GA8; GA10).

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:

  • The methodologies of studying New Testament Christology;
  • The pre- and post-Easter development of interpretations regarding Jesus;
  • The diverse portraits of Jesus in the canonical Gospels;
  • The Christology of selected New Testament texts, such as the Pauline and Deutero-Pauline epistles, the Johannine literature, Hebrews and other texts.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The curriculum for THBS602 has been designed to build students’ capacity and competency in reading, interpreting, teaching and preaching the Christology of the New Testament texts as leaders, teachers, pastoral assistants and/or ministers in faith-based organisations.

THBS602 is a fully online unit that involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. THBS602 is shaped by the Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR) model of pedagogy – sometimes called “Scaffolded instruction” – and, hence, uses a mix of direct instruction and synchronous engagement, as well as asynchronous collaborative and cooperative learning opportunities. Formally structured learning activities, such as lectures, tutorials and workshops, will be presented in an online environment using video-conferencing or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment, including contributions to cooperative learning in the form of online facilities, such as forums, reflective journals, wikis, blogs and interactive chat. The GRR model as used in THBS602 is designed to encourage students’ autonomy and facilitate students’ capacity in the development and application of the necessary knowledge and skills within the context of their personal and/or professional lives.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In this unit, all activities, direct teaching, structured learning, assigned readings and collaborative tasks build towards the assessment of students’ ability to apply the necessary knowledge and skills required to interpret effectively the Christologies of the New Testament. The three assessment tasks are designed to provide progressive engagement with key New Testament writers focusing on different contextual situations. Each of the three assessment tasks has been designed to test the students’ developed and developing capacity to understand and interpret NT Christology in a meaningful and relevant way; which aligns with the achievement of each of unit’s learning outcomes.

The first task requires students to describe the historical process of interpreting Jesus during his ministry and after his resurrection. (LO2, LO3) and to communicate their results via an oral or written review of selected scholarly literature. Students will have the opportunity in subsequent weeks to develop, refine and improve their skills in comparing and contrasting the Christologies of two synoptic Gospels (LO1, LO2, LO3), which will culminate in Assessment task 2. The final task will provide students with the scope to demonstrate their attainment of all three learning outcomes via a research essay in which the student is asked to compare and contrast the Christologies of Paul and the fourth Evangelist (LO1, LO2, LO3).

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Short paper or seminar presentation; for example, on the historical process of interpreting Jesus during his ministry and after his resurrection.


LO2; LO3

GA8; GA9; GA10

Research essay; for example, to compare and contrast the Christologies of two synoptic Gospels.


LO1; LO2; LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Research essay; for example, to compare and contrast the Christologies of Paul and the fourth Evangelist


LO1; LO2; LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Representative texts and references

Allison, D.C. Constructing Jesus: Memory, Imagination, and History. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010.

Brown, R. E. An Introduction to New Testament Christology. New York: Paulist, 1994.

Dunn, J.D.G. Jesus Remembered. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003.

Fredriksen, P. From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Jesus. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.

Gathercole, S. The Pre-existent Son: Recovering the Christologies of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006.

Longenecker, R. N. ed. Contours of Christology in the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.

Rowland, Christopher, and Christopher Tuckett, eds. The Nature of New Testament Theology. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2006.

Matera, F. New Testament Christology. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1999.

O’Collins, G. Christology: A Biblical, Historical and Systematic Study of Jesus. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Tuckett, C. M. Christology and the New Testament: Jesus and His Earliest Followers. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001.

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