Instructions, Optional Written Project
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE WRITTEN PROJECT
PAUL'S PRISON EPISTLES
Write an 8-10 page project, analyzing a brief passage from the portions of Scripture studied in this course. Follow the specific steps given below, as well as the more general "Guidelines for Writing an Essay" found in the folder of "General Resources to Download for the Course."
1. Select a brief passage, from 1-6 verses. Choose a passage that may seem a little difficult to understand at first, something that stirs your interest.
2. Write down the questions that occur to you regarding the meaning of the passage. For example: What words do you not understand? What phrases seem perplexing? Is there something that seems to contradict some other passage of the Bible? Is there something that seems to go against your understanding of theology?
3. Begin to look for answers to these questions. Read different translations of the passage. Look at the surrounding context. Look up cross references that may shed light on the passage. Use a dictionary to look up words.
4. Study the historical background of the passage. The video lectures of this course provide a lot of background information, but you can also find additional information in the list of "Recommended Extra Reading" found in the folder of "General Resources to Download for the Course."
5. If you have already studied Greek, look up the passage in Greek and find the difficult words in a Greek dictionary.
6. If you have electronic software, such as Logos, E-Sword, or Gateway, you can use these tools for your research. See the "Recommended Extra Reading" to find these resources.
7. Find commentaries that you can trust and read their interpretation of the passage, still focusing especially on the questions you have written down. You may not agree with the commentaries, but they can be helpful, especially after you have already done your own thinking about the passage. Again, see the "Recommended Extra Reading" to find these resources.
8. Consider the place that the passage has in the historical outworking of the plan of redemption. Think of developments that have occurred during the different periods of Bible history regarding topics mentioned in the passage.
9. Try to discover the message of the passage for the believers who would read it at the time it was written, and try to apply the same message to people today. What practical importance does it have? Take into account how the passage relates to Christ and the plan of salvation.
10. Write a rough draft of the project. Make an outline and begin writing. Follow the "Guidelines for Writing an Essay" found in the folder of "General Resources to Download for the Course."
11. Make sure you include an introduction that stirs interest in the study. Explain the questions that you are especially researching. In the main body, you should include possible answers to your questions that others offer, then give your own conclusions. Back up your opinions with biblical evidence and linguistic resources. Include a conclusion, summarizing your answers.
12. Make sure to add footnotes where you have used ideas from another source, and a bibliography at the end.
13. Revise the project until it is polished. Read and re-read the project until it flows clearly and is easy to understand. Correct any spelling errors or grammatical errors.
14. Upload your essay, following the instructions under "Written Project" in the section "Submission of Optional Assignments."