EH3205 In Search of Biblical Justice

The John Leland Center for Theological Studies

Arlington, VA

Facilitator: Samuel L. Feemster                                                 Office: Online

Office Hours: Online 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Mon. & Tu.   Class: 8:05 – 10:00p.m. Thurs.

EH3205 – In Search of Biblical Justice: A multi-focal perspective

Course Description:

Students in this course will identify some characteristic features of the Bible’s teachings on justice revealed through God’s self-disclosure and reflect upon their availability to be a catalyst for Biblical Justice in our world.

SIGNIFICANCE FOR LIFE AND MINISTRY: This course is designed to guide the student’s search for Biblical Justice by first examining what God declares about justice and righteousness in His word and secondly reflecting upon the responsibility of Christians to originate, implement, and sustain worship, educational, and advocational initiatives that promote the transformational characteristic of Biblical Justice for all persons across all callings who are interested in doing what is right and just, intrinsically.

Learning Outcomes: Through participation in this course, students will: 

  • Communicate the meaning of justice as revealed by God in Scripture
  • Promote the pursuit of justice and righteousness as the character of God and the work of the Church
  • Compare the centrality of justice in the life of Israel, the teachings of Jesus, and life in 21st Century churches where we worship
  • Cultivate a working knowledge of essential language and concepts to inform the design, development, and implementation of innovations intended to dismantle systems and structures that sustain injustice

COURSE FORMAT: This semester-long course will be taught as a series of lectures with some collaborative discussion. Each week, students will participate in a 1-hour group discussion to originate worship, educational, or advocacy initiative that may lead to the critique of an identified structural or systemic source of an injustice experienced in communities across our nation as well as communities in other countries. This initiative will be a group project for the class. Student assessment will include attendance, weekly assignments, participation in group discussions, a final paper disclosing how this course impacted the baseline information they provided at the first class, and their contributions to the group project.

Required Readings for EH2305

Barram, Michael, Biblical Justice and Christian Formation (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI., 2018) ISBN 978-0-8028-7507-5

Nicholas, Jessica, God Loves Justice: A User-Friendly Guide to Biblical Justice & Righteousness (S&E Educational Press, LA, Cal., 2017) ISBN 978-0-9989031-0-1

St. Ambrose: On the Duties of the Clergy (Benediction Classics, Oxford., 2020) ISBN 978-1-84902-616-1

The Poverty and Justice Bible, (American Bible Society) ISBN 978-158516-973-3

Tisby, Jemar, The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Churches Complicity in Racism (Zondervan Press, Grand Rapids, MI., 2018) ISBN 978-0-310-5927-8

Supplemental Text:

Gilbert, Kenyatta R. Exodus Preaching: Crafting Sermons about Justice and Hope (Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN., 2018) ISBN – 13:978-1-5018-3257-4

Houston, Walter J., Justice – The Biblical Challenge (UK: Equinox Publishing Ltd., London, SW3 55R, 2010) ISBN 9781-84553-888-0 (Paperback $42.00; Kindle $31.78) On Reserve

Marshall, Chris; The Little Book of Biblical Justice (Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2005) ISBN 978-1-56148505-5 (Paperback $5.99; Kindle $5.99)

Westfall, Cynthia. L., and Dyer, Bryan, R., EDS, The Bible and Social Justice: Old Testament and New Testament Foundations for the Church’s Urgent Call (Pickwick Publications, Eugene, Or., 2015) ISBN 13:978-1-4982-3807-6 (Paperback $29.00; Kindle $ 9.99) On Reserve


RELATIONSHIP TO CURRICULUM: This course meets a core curriculum requirement for the Masters of Christian Leadership (MCL), the Graduate Certificate in Leadership Studies, congregation and public life tracks, and the Graduate Certificate in Justice Formation.

Course Grading:

Attendance                                                                                      15

Survey                                                                                              05

Weekly assignment and individual presentation                             40

Group Project (including weekly group participation)                    20

Final paper                                                                                       20

TOTAL POINTS                                                                          100 PTS

Course Schedule

August         27/1  Introduction: In Search of Biblical Justice (Feemster)

  • Discuss syllabus and course requirements.
  • Collect survey data to establish how student’s perspectives about Biblical Justice have been informed and shaped
  • Share the meaning of Biblical Justice and Justice Formation as used in this course
  • Establish student’s involvement with justice as either worship, education or advocacy

September   3/2   What God says about Justice and Righteousness (Carro)

  • Introduce students to the theme of justice and righteousness in the Bible
  • Explain what God means by justice and righteousness
  • Explore how the first audience might have understood this language
  • Assigned: Nicholas, Introduction, and chapters 1-2
  • Submit answers to questions 1-4, page 17

10/3  The Story of Creation: Justice as Cosmic Order (Wallace)

  • Assigned: Nicholas: Chapter 3, Submit Answers to questions 1-2
  • Chapter 4, Submit Answers to questions 1-3

17/4  Justice, The Fall and Responsibility (Houck)

  • Assigned: Tisby, Forward & Chapters 1-3
  • St. Ambrose: On the Duties of the Clergy, Book One, Chapters 24-25

24/5  The Story of the Exodus: Justice as Faithfulness (James)

  • Assigned: Nicholas, Chapters 5. Submit aswers to all questions
  • Tisby, Forward & Chapters 4-5

October        01/6  The Story of Israel: Justice as a Community of Equals (Smith)

  • Assigned: Nicholas: Chapter 6, Submit answers to questions 1-3
  • Tisby, Forward & Chapters 6-7

8/7   Justice according to the Prophets (Catlett)

  • Assigned: Nicholas, Chapter 9, Submit answers to questions 1-4
  • Tisby, Forward & Chapters 8-9

15      Reading Week  (Students are encouraged to prepare for 9/22)

22/8  Justice in the Old Testament Wisdom Literature (Fr. Reed)

  • Assigned: Weinfiled Justice and Righteousness
  • The Social Visions of The Hebrew Bible

29/9  Justice as Virtue (Lee)

  • Assigned: Nicholas, Chapter 7. Submit answers to questions 1-3
  • Assigned: Nicholas: Chapter 8, Submit Answers to questions 1-3
  • St. Ambrose: On the Duties of the Clergy, Book One, Chapters 26

November    05/10 Justice in the Sermon on the Mount (Dapaah)

  • Assigned: Nicholas, Chapter 12. Submit answers to questions to questions 1-4. Chapters 13. Submit answers to questions 1-4

12/11 Justice in The New Testament (Parker)

  • Assigned: Nicholas, Chapters 10. Submit answers to both questions. Chapter 11. Submit answers to questions 1 4.

19/12 Western Theories of Justice (Shirin)

  • Assigned: St. Ambrose: On the Duties of the Clergy, Book One, Chapters 27-29
  • Nicholas, Chapter 14. Submit answers to questions 1-3.
  • Distribute Final Exam

26      Thanksgiving Holiday

December    03/13 Exodus Preaching (Gilbert)

10/14 Justice: Abdicated, Compromised, or Embraced

  • Assigned: Nicholas, Chapters 15 & 16. Submit answers to questions 1-4 at the end of chapter 15.
  • Question 4: Based upon your reality and the reality of our nation and world, who are the bad guys according to God’s justice. What do you think it would be like for Christians to pursue transformation for people who are the “bad guys” of the world according to God’s justice?

17/15 Group Project: In class presentation – One hour

  • Individual Presentations – Reflect on how Biblical Justice informs your perspective about justice and the probable practical impact of this wakefulness on your work – One hour

24      Final Paper Due before 11:59 PM


Answer Format For Questions

The user-friendly introductory guide prepared for our use will help you engage, reflect, and commit to the justice ministry of Jesus. The author exposes readers to God’s love of justice and provides thoughtful questions to guide engaged believes through a self-critique of their behavior in light of God’s expectations of his children. The questions at the end of each chapter help readers understand that God expects his children to do justice throughout the routine of daily living according to his standards. My responsibility is to meet you at this point on your journey and encourage you to wade into deeper waters. I will read every word you write and respond to you each week. The format for your writing is detailed below.

Prepare your weekly responses to questions at the end of each chapter as detailed below. At a minimum, your response to each question should include three paragraphs.

Name                                                                             Date

Semester                                                                       Class #



  • Re-state the question to give context to the rationale and conclusion that follows.
  • [It is acceptable to provide a concise conclusion as an introductory sentence/statement.]

Rationale for response

  • Your experience(s) of God, our classroom lectures, assigned readings, and group discussions should inform your rationale.


  • If necessary, re-state your conclusion. In either event, provide a summary statement or paragraph(s) connecting your conclusion and rationale.

Be Diligent and thoughtful.

  • Producing this weekly summary will provide an excellent outline for your final paper.