You will then research and write an analysis of the text in order to: (a) discover and present what the passage meant to its original hearers in its original context and (b) interpret this original meaning theologically and practically for the reader today. The exegetical paper should primarily be an exploration into, discovery of, and explanation of the original meaning of the text, and the defense of the explanation using both extra-textual and intra-textual evidence. Extra-textual evidence includes what we know about the historical and contextual situation behind the passage, what we know about the life and work of Paul in general (if applicable), the oral and written sources underlying the passage (if applicable), the genre of the passage, what situation occasioned the writing of the passage, Paul’s/original author’s own situation, beliefs and purposes for writing (what the author was trying to accomplish by writing the letter), as well as the original audience and their situation. Intra-textual evidence includes ideas, topics and themes in the larger book as a whole, literary and narrative structure, rhetorical structure and literary devices, as well as an analysis of wording and grammar of the specific passage. This means that the exegetical paper should not be an interpretation without any evidence. The exegetical paper must justify and defend the interpretation of the literal meaning presented, using the course content materials, and bibliographical literature consulted, relevant to the passage.
This also means that any theological conclusions or practical applications of the text should come first and foremost from the results of the process of exegesis and interpretation just outlined. Spiritual meanings and practical applications of the text must be founded upon the literal meaning of the text. Jumping ahead to theological and practical conclusions without a proper exegetical foundation essentially divorces the Bible from the people to whom it is addressed in the present.
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