The purpose of the study is to explore Paul’s preaching for community formation in 1 Thessalonians as an alternative to contemporary homiletics, particularly the New Homiletic.
Chapter 1, as the introduction of the study, explains the necessity for and the structure of the study. It also provides evidence of correlation between Paul’s letters and his preaching, justifying this homiletical study on Paul’s preaching in 1 Thessalonians.
Chapter 2 describes and evaluates the New Homiletic, has exerted a strong influence on the contemporary homiletical field, especially in North America. By presenting a critique of the common features of the New Homiletic, it is argued that the New Homiletic has an inherently individualistic orientation, which neglects the cooperative identity of listener in the community.
Chapter 3 explores one of the most important intentions of Paul’s preaching in 1 Thessalonians: to maintain and solidify the young believing community in the face of challenges by the larger pagan society. It is showed that, in this critical situation in which the young community could have been damaged, Paul attempts to strengthen the process of community formation and its continuous well-being.
Chapter 4 investigates Paul’s preaching for community formation in 1 Thessalonians. To provide the necessary background, the sociological concept of symbolic boundaries is introduced. The creation of the boundary is indispensable to the formation of a community. It is then demonstrated that Paul in his preaching of 1 Thessalonians used three symbolic resources to create boundaries for the Thessalonian community: the kerygmatic narrative, local narratives, and ethical norms. The three resources functioned as symbolic boundaries to aid the converts in deriving a communal identity and strengthening the distinction between them and the larger society.
Chapter 5 examines the homiletical implications of Paul’s community formation preaching in 1 Thessalonians by using the perspectives of the contemporary homiletics and post-Christian culture. It is suggested that, in the contemporary culture, the two fundamental tasks of preaching is to provide shared narratives and communal ethical norms that are not in accordance with those in a non-Christian culture, and to build Christian communities.