Writing the Paper: By this time you’ve learned a lot about your passage. You should now have some idea of what you think the difficulties are and the possible solutions. Difficulties include things inherent to the text, theological questions the text raises, ways in which the text has been handled or applied in the past, and/or gaps in the scholarship you perceive. This becomes your introduction. Possible solutions become a thesis statement. This can be a proposed methodological approach to bring clarity to a text, the value of an insight from another source or particular data set (eg. Comparing with other texts, a linguistic or historical insight), wisdom from other interpretive traditions, or any number of other insights or arguments you might apply to the text.
I. Introduction – Introduce your topic/problem statement, thesis (theorized solution), and outline your approach (methodology). (1/2- 1 page)
II. Body – There are many ways to organize this aspect of the paper. You may choose to organize your work based upon the structure of your argument, or perhaps you want to analyze the passage through several methodological lenses (eg. Historical, Cultural, Literary), or perhaps something about your research materials suggests an organizational approach. Experiment with which structure works best for your thesis and expect to spend a few pages per section as you develop your data and make the case for your thesis. This is the portion in which you will cite sources, quote texts, and apply all your excellent research (3 pages, approx. 1 page per concept)
III. Conclusion – Here, you restate your thesis and summarize your argument, drawing attention to the implications or applications of your interpretation. It is also customary to note here any future avenues of study your work has made apparent. (1-2 pages).