The purpose of this paper is to familiarize the student with the principles of
interpretation. The student will also learn how to present in a coherent format the
research gained from following these principles. These guidelines are a slightly modified
version of the process presented in the course textbook, Elements of Biblical Exegesis.
The textbook can be used for reference. Pages 28-30 provide a brief overview of the
process of writing an exegetical paper. Michael Gorman provides a sample paper of a
longer exegetical paper on a NT passage on pages 252-264. This is a great sample
paper; however, the sample paper provided in the âExegetical Paper Tools and Helpsâ
section of this course is the sample paper that should be used as a guide.
- One of the three versions discussed in Elements of Biblical Exegesis should be
used as the basis for this study (NIV, ESV, NASB).
- Mainly utilize sources found in the SEU Library for the exegetical paper. Another
acceptable list is available in the textbook for the class.
- The paper is to be ten to twelve pages in length of content, not including the
pages serving as the âBibliographyâ and cover page. A font comparable to âNew
Times Romanâ with a 12-point size is to be utilized.
- The eighth edition of the Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and
Dissertations by Kate Turabian serves as the style manual for this paper. An
abbreviated and adapted guide is available in the Interpretative Project Folder in
- The title of the paper should be: An Exegetical Study of [Scripture reference].
- Proper grammar and spelling are essential.
- Headings must be utilized, and the results of the research must be presented in a
- Proofread the typed document. Use of the ACE is strongly encouraged as errors
must be corrected ([email protected]).
SEU-document-template-v1 Page 2 of 13
- Should a printed copy of a paper be submitted (not required in this course),
staple the paper in the upper left-hand corner. Please do not use binders or
Failure to follow the above instructions will result in a reduction in grade.
Follow the eighth edition of Turabian for formatting issues. Turabian is the required
format for all religion courses. Getting familiar with the formatting now will help you for
future courses. Use a title page and begin numbering of pages with the first page of text
(not the title page). The title page should consist of the title down one-third of the page,
centered, and in all caps. Several lines below the title should be the studentâs name on
one line, the course name and number on the next line, and date of submission on the
third line. This completes the title page. On the next page, center the page number at
the bottom (all other pages should have the number in the upper right corner on the
third line from the top. Begin the text on the sixth line (one inch from the top of the
page). It is suggested that the student make use of a header that automatically inserts
the page number. An example paper will be made available in the âExegetical Paper
Tools and Helpsâ.
Each of the following headings through âBibliographyâ is a section of the Project. Under
each section is a description of the type of information to be included in that section and
steps for gathering that information. The heading for each section is the heading the
student should use in his/her Project (as in the above exampleâs use of âIntroductionâ),
and the sections must be presented in the same order given below.
Introduction and Survey (1 page) (5 points)
First, briefly note why this passage was selected for your study out of all the other
passages available. Next, briefly state the thesis of your study and what you initially
believe to be the main idea of the passage. Then indent and type out the passage in
SEU-document-template-v1 Page 3 of 13
*Refer to pages 65-66 in Elements of Biblical Exegesis for hints on writing the
Contextual Analysis (2-3 pages) (15 points)
First read the book of the Bible which contains the passage. From this reading
A. What does the book state about the author? Who is the author? If the author is
not identified, are there statements which might imply the identity of the author,
or which might reveal any other information concerning the author?
B. Who are the recipients of the message? Where do they live? What is their
relationship to the author? What is their spiritual condition? Note any customs,
places, persons or events mentioned in the passage or surrounding material.
C. When was the passage written, and what occasion prompted it?
D. What is the purpose of the book? Are there any explicit or implicit statements of
Second, consult and use at least three sources (a maximum of one online source not
found through the SEU library may be used for the entire project). Compare and expand
the results from the reading of the book described above (A-D) with these sources.
*âWhen considering the historical sociopolitical, and cultural context, which can
encompass a vast quantity of information, always ask yourself, âOf everything I could
learn and say about these context, what are the key facts and issues related to this
passage that will affect my interpretation of it?â â pg. 80 of EoBE
Formal Analysis (2-3 pages) (15 points)
For this project, the Literary and Rhetorical Contexts will be included in the Formal
Analysis. Within your Literary and Rhetorical contexts and the Formal Analysis include
SEU-document-template-v1 Page 4 of 13
A. Note the broad context of the passage (the entire book) in order to identify the
major blocks or units of thought. Do this by making a broad outline of the book
(an outline in a biblical encyclopedia may be consulted). The outline should be
single spaced and not exceed Â½ page. Note how the passage fits into the outline.
B. Determine the literary form, or genre, of the writing being explored. Are there any
significant points to this genre that will be important to the meaning of the text?
C. Using only the Bible, read and analyze the general context of the passage.
Essentially, in one or two paragraphs, note the authorâs flow-of-thought
(movement), and state how the passage fits into this thought. In the event a
particular book of the Bible under study contains several chapters (not the
situation for this Project), the general context would consist of approximately
three to five chapters that surround the chapter in which the passage is found
and contains the overarching theme for that segment of the book.
D. Are there any âcommon structural patternsâ in your passage (inclusioâs chiasms,
etc. . .)? Is the writer using any literary form that is common to the time period of
E. Using only the Bible, read and analyze the immediate context of the passage
(generally the one or two paragraphs before and after the passage). Be aware of
any significant words, phrases, or ideas in the specific context, especially if they
are repeated or amplified in the passage. Note any quotations. Are there any
metaphors, similes, or allegories? Is there poetry or prose? Does the author
follow a deliberate pattern? Note the major concepts.
Detailed Analysis and Synthesis (5-6 pages) (30 points)
Consider A – I as you gather your material and thoughts. Go through these steps and
organize your thoughts and material before you begin step J. Make sure to review
chapter 6 of EoBE for more insight into the questions that should be addressed in this
A. What does the analysis of the historical background and context indicate about
the meaning of the passage?
SEU-document-template-v1 Page 5 of 13
B. Read and compare the passage with a minimum of two other translations. Note
any differences that indicate truly divergent meanings or help amplify a meaning.
C. Identify a minimum of 4-6 key words as indicated in class (possibly drawn from
the differences in translation, drawn from the contextual study, etc.). Rely on
commentaries to help you understand the contextual meanings of these words.
What is significant about the authors use of such words?
D. Define the meaning of each key word in light of its unique context. Remember
that this is an exegesis paper NOT a word study. Be careful not to overwork
E. What is the literary form? Are there any literary devices (metaphors, allegories,
etc.)? What impact does this make on the meaning of the passage?
F. Note the grammatical structure of the passage for any bearing this has on the
meaning of the passage.
G. Consult and use a minimum of three commentaries and compare them with the
meaning of the passage as derived from the above process.
H. Look up the passage in at least one periodical/journal (you should have found
two in your SEU Library Exercise. Prefer any periodical listed in the bibliography
under the heading âPeriodicals.â
I. What specific theological issues are addressed? How do these theological issues
relate to the basic message of the Bible? What, if any, unique concepts or
insights are presented concerning these theological issues? What issues were at
stake? Does the passage describe some aspect of God, humans, Christ,
salvation, ethics, the Church, or the Holy Spirit? Old or New Testament theology
resources would be helpful at this point.
J. Interact with and present the result of steps A-I in a verse by verse treatment of
Next, create a subtitle âSynthesisâ. In one to two paragraphs answer the following in a
A. What is the main point in each part of the text, and how do the parts make a
whole? Can the main point be located accurately in one word, phrase, image, or
SEU-document-template-v1 Page 6 of 13
verse, or does it come only from the content and/or structure of the text as a
B. Why do you think the passage was included in this biblical book? What might
have been the purpose(s) or function(s) of the text for its original authors and
C. What spiritual claims did the text make upon its original hearers/readers? What
response might the author have desired from these hearers/readers?
Reflection (1 page) (15 points)
Based upon your exegetical study of the passage and following sound principles of
application, state a few applications that can legitimately be made. This can be summed
up in a few key questions:
A. What does this text mean for readers other than the original ones?
B. What does it mean to you? What does it mean to your faith community?
Basically, what is the message of the passage to the modern Church? Avoid
generalizations that could also be made from countless other texts. State explicitly what
this passage is saying. Give only the primary meaning as it relates to Christian life
Bibliography (10 points)
A minimum of three commentaries, one Bible background commentary, and one
periodical article, and two other scholarly resources (textbooks or theology books), are
necessary if you desire to produce a high quality paper. Also include the version(s) of
the Bible and any online resources used in the Project. Alphabetize the list of resources
you have cited in your paper using the correct Turabian style. It is encouraged that you
interact with more than the required sources above to improve your grade.
SEU-document-template-v1 Page 7 of 13
Mechanics (10 points)
It is extremely important that students know how to write and speak correctly. Poor
writing and speaking ability have the potential to hinder you from accomplishing your
goal of communicating the Word of God. Because of this, up to 15% will be deducted
from the overall score for mechanical errors (spelling, punctuation, Turabian
construction, sentence structure, typos, etc.). Carefully consult the Turabian sources
and use the ACE as needed.
Old Testament Background Studies
Anderson, Bernhard W. Understanding the Old Testament. Fourth Edition. Endlewood
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1986.
Bullock, C. Hassell. An Introduction to the OT Prophetic Books. Chicago: Moody, 1986.
Bright, John. A History of Israel. Third Edition. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1981.
Eichrodt, Walter. Theology of the Old Testament. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Westminster
Press, 1961, 1967.
Harris, R. Laird, ed. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. 2 vols. Chicago:
Moody Press, 1980.
Harrison, R.K. Introduction to the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans,
Heschel, Abraham. The Prophets. Vol I. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1969.
La Sor, William, David A. Hubbard, and F. W. Bush. Old Testament Survey. Grand
Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1982.
Lindblom, Johannes. Prophecy in Ancient Israel. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1962.
Rod, Gerhard Von. The Message of the Prophets. New York: Harper & Row,
SEU-document-template-v1 Page 8 of 13
- Schultz, Samuel. The OT Speaks. Fourth Edition. San Francisco: Harper
& Row, 1990.
Tenney, Merrill C., ed. The Zondevan Pictorial Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids:
Zondervan Publishing House, 1963.
Vaux, Roland de. Ancient Israel. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1961.
New Testament Background Studies
Brown, Colin. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. 4 vols.
Grand Rapids: Regency Reference Library of Zondervan Publishing House,
Buttrick, George, ed. Interpreterâs Dictionary of the Bible. 5 vols. Nashville: Abingdon
Drane, John. Introducing the New Testament. New York: Harper & Row, 1986.
Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. 3 vols. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985.
Filson, Floyd V. A New Testament History. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1964.
Guthrie, Donald. Jesus the Messiah. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House,
Hall, Douglas John. Professing the Faith: Christian Theology in a North
AmericanContext. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993.
. Thinking the Faith: Christian Theology in a North American Context.
Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1988.
Harrison, Everett F. Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Wm. B.
Eerdmans, 1964. Ladd, G. Eldon. A Theology of the New Testament. Grand
Rapids: Wm. B.
SEU-document-template-v1 Page 9 of 13
Orr, James, ed. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 5 vols. Grand Rapids: Wm.
B. Eerdmans, 1980.
Price, James L. The New Testament: Its History and Theology. New York: MacMillan
Publishing Co., 1987.
Ridderbos, Herman N. Paul: An Outline of His Theology. Grand Rapids: Wm.
Spivey, Robert A. and D. Moody Smith. Anatomy of the New Testament: A Guide to its
Structure and Meaning. Third Edition. New York: MacMillan Publishers Co., Inc.,
Tenney, Merrill C. New Testament Survey. Revised by Walter M. Dunnett. Grand
Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1985.
Zodhiates, Spiros. The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker Book
House, 1996. This is keyed to Strongâs Concordance.
English Standard Version
New American Standard Bible
New English Bible
New International Version
Revised Standard Version
History of Israel (Bright) DS121.B72
SEU-document-template-v1 Page 10 of 13
Introduction to the New Testament (Harrison) BS2330.2.H33
Introduction to the Old Testament (Harrison) BS1140.2.H35
New Manners and Customs of Bible Times (Gower) BS620.G69 1987 New Testament
Background (Barrett) BS2410.B28 1985 or DS122.B3 New Testament History (Bruce)
New Testament Introduction (Guthrie) BS2330.2.G8 1970
Old Testament Survey (LaSor, Hubbard and Bush) BS1140.2.L25 1982
St. Paul Traveler and Roman Citizen BS2505.R3
Survey of Israel’s History (Wood) BS1197.W66 1986
Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Archer) BS1140.2.A7
Survey of the New Testament (Gundry) BS2535.2.G85 1994
Old and New Testament textbooks used in SEU survey classes may be helpful as
resources, and commentaries frequently contain an introduction that includes
Anchor Bible Dictionary Ref. BS440.A54 1992
Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible Ref. BS440.B26 1988
Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Development Ref. BS2625.5D53 1997
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Ref. BS440.I6 1979 (also older edition)
Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible Ref. BS440.I63
New International Dictionary of the Bible Ref. BS440.N44 1987 Zondervan Pictorial
Encyclopedia of the Bible Ref. BS440.Z63 Evangelical Dictionary of Theology Ref.
SEU-document-template-v1 Page 11 of 13
New Dictionary of Theology Ref. BR95.N38 1988
Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology Ref. BR95.W94 1987
Wycliffe Dictionary of Theology Ref. BR95.W9 1999
Zondervan Dictionary of Bible and Theology Words Ref. BR95.D46 2002
Greek-English Concordance to the Greek New Testament with the NIV Ref.
BS2302.K657 1997 (G/K)
New Englishman’s Greek Concordance Ref. BS2302.W495 1982 (Strongâs) New
Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance Ref. BS1121.W5 1984 (Strongâs) NIV Exhaustive
Concordance Ref. BS425.G62 1990 (G/K)
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Ref. BS425.S75
Young’s Analytical Concordance Ref. BS425.Y7 1955
Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gensenius Hebrew and English Lexicon Ref. PJ4833.B67 1979
Geseniusâ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Ref. PJ4833.G4 (Strongâs)
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature Ref.
New Thayerâs Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Ref. PA881.G8 (Strongâs)
Figures of Speech Used in the Bible BS537.B87 1968
New International Dictionary of NT Theology (Colin Brown) Ref. BS2397.N48
New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis (VanGemeren)
Ref. BS440N438 1997 (G/K)
SEU-document-template-v1 Page 12 of 13
NIV Theological Dictionary of NT Words Ref. BS2397.N5 2000 (G/K)
Theological Dictionary of the NT (TDNT – Kittel)
(10 v.) Ref. PA881.K513 (Strongâs index in Vol. 10:61ff) (1 v.) Ref. PA881.T4713
Theological Wordbook of the OT (TWOT) Ref. BS440.T49 (uses its own numbering
system but can be traced through Strongâs in back of Vol. 2)
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the NT Ref. PA881.V5
Anchor Bible Commentary Ref. BS192.2.A1 1964 .G3 Commentary on the OT (Keil and
Delitzch) BS1151.2.K4 1996 Daily Study Bible Ref. BS1151.2.D3 / Ref. BS2341.2.D3
Expositor’s Bible Commentaries (Gaebelein) Ref. BS491.2.E96 Interpretation
Commentaries Ref. BS491.2.I54
New American Commentary Ref. BS1151.2.N49 1993 / Ref. BS2341.2.N49 1991
New Century Bible Commentaries Ref.BS1151.2.N495 1980 / Ref. BS2341.2.N492
New International Commentaries Ref. BS1151.2.N4 / Ref. BS2341.2.N4
New Interpreterâs Bible Commentary Ref. BS491.2.N484 1994
Old Testament Library Ref. BS1151.2.O42
Tyndale Commentaries Ref. BS1151.2.T8 / Ref. BS 2341.2.T8
Word Biblical Commentaries Ref. BS491.2.W67 1982
Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary Ref. BS2341.2.Z6 2002
Expositor’s Bible (Nicoll) Ref. BS1965.N5 1980
Vincent’s Word Studies of the New Testament Ref. BS2341.V5
SEU-document-template-v1 Page 13 of 13
Word Pictures in the NT (Robertson) Ref.BS2341.R6
Bibliotheca Sacra Evangelical Quarterly
Expository Times Interpretation
Westminster Theological Journal Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Journal of
Biblical Literature Journal for the Study of the New Testament Southwestern Journal
of Theology Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society Novum Testamentus Vetus
Review and Expositor
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