TMD3510EN - Theology of Suffering

Course description

This course examines the biblical understanding of human suffering in general for the sake of the evangelical mission in a world full of pains and joys. It addresses the nature and cause of suffering (both spiritual and physical), God’s solution to suffering, and pastoral care of suffering. Students are assessed on the readings and lectures through online discussion, weekly short essays or reflections, case studies, and service projects.

How this course benefits students

Suffering is a universal phenomenon in human lives and the main target of Christian ministry and pastoral healing. Through this course, students can understand why there is suffering and how God deals with suffering. As a result, the students are equipped for fruitful Christian ministry on suffering under the theological framework of God’s plans for humans.

Why this course is important

Suffering is so common in human society that every human being either experienced or is experiencing or will experience it. Thus, to love and serve others as Jesus did, it is crucial to know and understand what suffering is and how one can overcome it through a biblically informed lens.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Medical Theology
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.
Dr. Xi Li, Professor of Medical Theology

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

The cause, nature, and meaning of suffering are discussed based on the Bible, the words of God, to clarify God’s plan with His creation, including humanity.

Missionally driven

This course emphasizes God’s mission in a world where human lives are full of suffering. It is driven to prepare students for missional work regarding human suffering.

Contextually informed

Lectures and discussions consider the sociological and anthropological contexts penitent to the cause and nature of suffering, especially the impact of various contexts on human understanding of and solution to suffering.

Interculturally focused

Not only approach suffering as a universal phenomenon but also examine the cultural similarities and differences in understanding and solving issues of suffering.

Practically minded

The course addresses potential solutions to suffering in local and specific settings and ways to embolden practitioners of pastoral care to implement their training for missional purposes.

Experientially transformed

Through ministry projects, students are inspired to live out a faith in God’s solution to suffering and to create hearts of compassion for lifelong ministry.