Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


THBS501 Biblical Studies OR THBS562 Introducing the Scriptures OR THBS502 Interpreting the Bible for Leadership and Mission OR THMM502 Interpreting the Bible for Leadership and Mission

Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning tasks such as input, discussion and online learning. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, the required preparation prior to each intensive, and the preparation and completion of tasks for assessment. 

Unit rationale, description and aim

In this unit participants will be provided with an opportunity to explore hermeneutical approaches to reading the Bible which enable the world of the modern reader to enter into the world of the biblical text. Participants will examine critical and reflexive forms of biblical interpretation that open up possibilities for meaning-making around the biblical message in and for our contemporary world. This unit supports participants to to interpret biblical texts in light of their own experience and their contemporary context.

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.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome Description
LO1Identify contemporary hermeneutical approaches to engaging with the Bible
LO2Utilize hermeneutical approaches to interpret biblical texts in dialogue with contemporary culture and experience
LO3Evaluate the impact of hermeneutical approaches to the Bible in their own settings to make meaning


Topics will include: 

  • The Bible in the Catholic tradition;
  • The role of the reader in the interpretation of biblical texts;
  • Theoretical and theological approaches to biblical hermeneutical interpretation;
  • Processes for engaging hermeneutically with the Bible;
  • The conditions for creating interpretive communities;
  • Interpreting difficult biblical texts, ‘texts of terror’

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is normally offered in two modes:

1)    Attendance mode, undertaken over a sequence of two-day face-to-face intensives (4 days in total). During these face-to-face learning opportunities, participants will learn with and from the teaching team and each other through critical reading, analysis, discussion, dialogue, workshops and reflection.

2)    Online scheduled mode that includes class activities are held online, at scheduled times, and will require some attendance to enable online interaction. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.

Participants are asked to engage critically with current approaches to biblical hermeneutical interpretation, and to examine the significance of these approaches both theoretically and practically for the context in which they might lead learning in the study of the Bible. THBS606 positions the participants as active partners in the learning process. Participants in this unit are recognized as adult learners who develop deep understanding when their learning is relevant to them and connected to the context in which they lead others to learn. Participants are thus expected to accept responsibility for their own learning in this unit. Active engagement with, and contribution to, the learning of others is essential throughout the unit.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

 In order to pass this unit, you are required to undertake all assessment tasks and achieve an overall grade of Pass (50% or higher).   

Task 1 asks you to identify your social location and to explain its significance for how you read the Bible. This formative task is designed to build your self-awareness of the context through which you make meaning of the Bible in order to inform your interpretive lens for the rest of the unit.

Task 2 asks you to interpret a biblical passage using a defined hermeneutical approach. The task allows you to assess your capacity to interpret the Bible hermeneutically. 

Task 3 invites you to investigate the significance and impact of approaching the Bible hermeneutically in your own context. The task is designed to allow you to integrate theory and practice through study, action, analysis and reflection.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Contextual analysis



Hermeneutical analysis of a selected biblical passage



Written assignment, e.g. research essay, action research project, class learning design


LO1, LO3

Representative texts and references

Bieringer, R. and Mary Elsbernd,. Normativity of the Future: Reading Biblical and Other Authoritative Texts in an Eschatological Perspective. Annua Nuntia Lovaniensia 61. Leuven: Peeters, 2010. 

Bieringer, R., Roger Burggraeve, Emmanuel Nathan, and M. Steegen (eds.). Provoked to Speech: Biblical Hermeneutics as Conversation. Leuven: Peeters, 2014. 

Boer, Roland and Fernando Segovia (eds). The Future of the Biblical Past: Envisioning Biblical Studies on a Global Key. Semeia Studies 66. Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012. 

Jeanrond, Werner G. Theological Hermeneutics : Development and Significance. London: SCM, 1994. 

McKenzie, Steven L. and John Kaltner (eds.). New Meanings for Ancient Texts: Recent Approaches to Biblical Criticisms and Their Applications. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2013.  

Monaghan, Christopher J., and Mark O'Brian. God's Word and the Church's Council: Vatican II and Divine Revelation. Vatican II Series. Adelaide: ATF, 2014. 

Pollefeyt, Didier, and Reimund Bieringer. "The Role of the Bible in Religious Education Reconsidered: Risks and Challenges in Teaching the Bible." International Journal of Practical Theology 9, no. 1 (2005): 117-39 

Reinhartz, Adele. Befriending the Beloved Disciple: A Jewish Reading of the Gospel of John. New York: Continuum, 2005. 

Ruiz, Jean-Pierre. Readings from the Edges: The Bible and People on the Move. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2011. 

Schneiders, Sandra Marie. The Revelatory Text: Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scripture. Second ed. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999. 

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