This paper must follow several steps in order to demonstrate a clear control of the passage content as well as the context within the book as a whole. Below is a description of the process by which the text chosen should be approached prior to writing the paper.
– First, students should read the passage carefully, placing it in the context of the chapter and the entire book. Getting a basic understanding of what a particular author is trying to convey should be done before more detailed analysis.
– Second, students should look up the passage in two other translations. Biblegateway.com is a good place to go, since many translations are available and students can set a variety of translations in parallel columns. The purpose of this step is to give students a sense of significant places where translators have opted for different phrases or words. Unless students can work in the original languages of the Scriptures, this step will help tune the students into the way translations can influence their understanding and interpretation of a given text. Use translations which attempt to stay closest to the actual words of original languages or the structure of the writings. Use at least two of the following translations to supplement the student reading of the NAB version (the translation of the Study Bible being used in this course): New King James Version (NKJV), New American Standard Bible (NASB) (or its update—NASBU), Revised Standard Version (RSV) (or its update—the NRSV), New Jerusalem Bible (NJB), and New International Version (NIV).
– Third, students should be able to give a brief description/summarization of the passage’s theological significance.
– Fourth, students should be able to identify at least one critical method outlined in chapter two of Brown which might be helpful for analyzing the text.
– Fifth, students should be able to describe the importance of the text in light of its immediate context in the rest of the chapter and/or in light of its place in the biblical text as a whole.
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