Step 1: Getting Started

Always begin with prayer, asking for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in the interpretive process. Then study the biblical text according to the following areas of exploration outlined below. When you write up the exegetical paper, you are presenting the conclusions arrived at during the interpretive process of studying the biblical text. The paper should be written in such a way that it integrates all that you have learned in the interpretive process.

Craig C. Broyles writes: “We should not proceed through these exegetical steps in a linear fashion (i.e., attempting to finish a step before moving to the next) but in a spiral fashion (i.e. revisiting and revising earlier steps once discoveries have surfaced).”

Take time to meditate on the passage as part of the process. In a prayerful manner, read the text over and over again (perhaps aloud to yourself) emphasizing different words and phrases in the process of reading.

Begin the paper with an introduction stating which biblical passage will be analyzed. Then include the following components (click on each link to explore further, or move through the steps using the menu on the left-hand side):

Step 2: Textual Matters and Translation

Step 3: Compositional History

Step 4: Genre and Structure

Step 5: Historical Context

Step 6: Literary Context and Canonical Placement

Step 7: Literary Analysis of the Text

Step 8: Main Themes and Theological Message

Step 9: Theological Implications and Applications

(For information on compiling proper footnotes and bibliographies as you move through this process, see How Do I Produce a Biblical Studies Research Paper?)

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