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REL 201: Introduction to the New Testament: Module 4

A basic introduction to the literature and theology of the New Testament, including exposure to critical methods such as form and redaction criticisms.


At the conclusion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Describe the Lukan emphases in Luke's Gospel.
  • Explain the portrait of Jesus given in Luke's Gospel. 
  • Explain the relationship and continuity between Luke's Gospel and Acts of the Apostles. 


Action Assignment Due no later than
Read Gospel of Luke
Chapters 8 and 12 in A Voyage Through the New Testament
Chapter 3 in Portraits of Jesus
Post Initial reply to discussion question Thursday 11:59 PM EST/EDT
Post Responses to at least two classmates Sunday 11:59 PM EST/EDT
Submit Exegesis Paper Rough Draft Sunday 11:59 PM EST/EDT

Exegesis Paper

Students must complete an exegesis of a passage from teh New Testament. Exegesis means to expound upon a text, to unpack a text of its many meanings. Elements of various types of criticism will be employed to develop further one's ability to interpret the Bible. Please respond to the following items as you exegete the assigned passages from the Bible.

A draft of the exegesis is due in Module 4 with the final paper due in Module 6. This paper should be between 2,000 and 3,000 words in length. Please use MLA format. The draft is worth 6% of the course grade and is due in Module 4; the final paper is worth 20% of the course grade and is due in Module 6. 

Follow the outline below and answer the questions in each section using recommended sources. Keep the outline headings below as the subheadings of your exegesis. 

a. Literary Criticism

  1. Context: What follows and precedes your passage? Are your pages affected by this context?
  2. Form Criticism: What is the literary form of your passage? Are there other places in the Bible (or related text) where this form is used and which help to interpret this passage?
  3. Structure: Do you detect any particular structural pattern? (e.g., parallelism within your assigned book of the Bible). Describe the parts of your passage. 
  4. Redaction Criticism: Has your passage come through an editorial process? What changes have been made? Explain why certain changes have been made?
  5. Key Words: What are the theologically important words in teh passage? Do these words evoke any other parts of the Bible? Are these words used in a new way by the author of this passage? What do these words mean?

b. Theological Analysis

  1. What does this passage say about the relationship with God?
  2. What questions might this passage have addressed in the community for which it was originally written?

Some of the ideas above are adopted from A Guide to Biblical Exegesis by G. Landes and W. Wink. 

Document your exegesis carefully. Include sections of the assignment outline as subheadings for your paper. Be sure to use some material from the course bibliography for your exegesis, especially the Biblical Reference Books.