Research Paper Topics Write a 9-10-page exegetical research paper on one of the following topics in Romans: Justification by Faith: Consider Romans 1:18-5:11, where the concept of justification by faith was developed by the apostle Paul. While justification is a theological topic, the paper should not be a general doctrinal discussion of justification. Instead, the paper should exegetically present the topic as it is developed in Romans. That will require addressing in order the way Paul developed his teaching about the topic mentioned above. See the general instructions for the paper below for the general writing requirements for the paper. This topic will require understanding of Paul’s flow of thought and of the issues he addressed and that are debated by Romans scholars (not theologians). The student will likely need to read Romans 1:18-5:11 repeatedly to gain that knowledge, but the textbook will help as well. Address the following sections using appropriate subheadings according to Turabian:
Definition – In no more than 150 words, explain the biblical definition (not the doctrine) of justification. At the minimum, this section should rely on a reputable biblical dictionary or encyclopedia. Other sources may be consulted as well. It may be necessary to determine the definition to clearly understand the remaining instructions. Need – Identify the portion of Romans 1:18-5:11 where Paul demonstrates who is in need of justification. Explain in one page or so how Paul developed that argument and what his primary point is. Basis – Locate the passage in 1:18-5:11 where Paul identified what is necessary for humans to be justified before God. Explain the basic problem presented for a just and wrathful God and how justification is made possible. Means – Explain the section of 1:18-5:11 where Paul teaches the means by which a person appropriates justification. In other words, this should explain how Paul demonstrated what is required from human beings. Explain how Paul developed his argument here.
Time factors – Examine Paul’s use of verb tenses to determine whether justification is instantaneous or gradual. Results/Benefits – Once one has been justified, what benefits or results follow? This section should explain the passage in 1:18-5:11 where the benefits are discussed. Assurance – Explain the comments in Romans 1:18-5:11 where Paul explains how one may be assured of justification before God. Only the words in bold (above) should appear as the subheadings. Be sure to thoroughly analyze what the apostle Paul teaches in his letter to the Romans about the subheadings and questions listed above. Do not overlook the requirement that this topic must be explained from Romans and not from the student’s personal doctrine. Sanctification (The Christian Life): Consider Romans 5:12-8:39, where the concept of sanctification was developed by the apostle Paul. The paper should not be a general doctrinal discussion of sanctification. Instead, the paper should exegetically present the topic as it is developed in Romans.
That will require addressing in order the way Paul developed his teaching about the topic mentioned above. This topic will require understanding of Paul’s flow of thought and the issues he addressed that are debated by Romans scholars (not systematic theologians). The student will likely need to read Romans 5:12-8:39 repeatedly to gain that knowledge, but the textbook will help as well, as will the research. Include the following sections using appropriate subheadings according to Turabian: Definition – In no more than 150 words, explain the biblical definition (not the doctrine) of sanctification. In this case, failure to be clear about the meaning of the word impacts thought considerably. At the minimum, this section should rely on a reputable biblical dictionary or encyclopedia. Other sources may be consulted as well. It may be necessary to determine the definition to clearly understand the remaining instructions. Need – Identify the portion of Romans 5:12-8:39 where Paul demonstrates why one is in need of sanctification. Explain in one page or less how Paul developed that argument. Basis – Locate the passage in 5:12-8:39 where Paul identifies what makes it possible for humans described in the “need” section to be sanctified to serve God. Means –
Explain the section of 5:12-8:39 where Paul teaches the means by which a person appropriates sanctification. In other words, this section should explain how Paul demonstrated the part that human beings play in sanctification. Time factors – Examine Paul’s overall comments to determine whether sanctification is instantaneous or gradual. Results – Read carefully Romans 5:12-8:39 to determine what is the overall goal of sanctification. What is God’s purpose? Assurance – How can one have assurance that he or she is sanctified/being sanctified? Only the words in bold (above) should appear as the subheadings. Be sure to thoroughly analyze what the apostle Paul teaches in his letter to the Romans about the subheadings and questions listed above. Do not overlook the requirement that this topic be explained from Romans and not from the student’s personal doctrine or experience. The Christian’s Relationship to the Mosaic Law: The existence of both the Old Testament and the New Testament raises the question of the Christian’s relationship to the Mosaic Law. Since Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, are under the New Testament does it follow that NT Christians are not obligated to the Old Testament, particularly the Mosaic Law?
In light of Paul’s emphasis on justification by faith in stark contrast to works, discuss his view of the Mosaic Law in Romans. The paper should briefly explain the pertinent passages in Romans that address the law. After that analysis, the paper should draw a conclusion regarding what Romans says about the purpose of the law, and whether that purpose has been fulfilled in a Christian’s life or is ongoing. Finally, the paper should assess in what way, if any, the Christian has a relationship with the Mosaic Law.. This paper must be based on exegetical research regarding the key passages in Romans. Exegesis of a Selected Passage. The student may choose one of the passages listed below for a more detailed exegetical analysis. One of the following may be chosen for exegetical explanation: Rom 1:18-28Rom 2:1-10 (Do not fail to consider this within the overall point in Romans. Context is essential in this passage.)Rom 5:12-21 (As above, locate this within Romans.)Rom 8:1-11 (In addition to other issues, research should include resolution of the issue regarding the righteous requirements of the law.)Rom 14:1-12 or 14:13-23 (Be careful to note the issues in scholarship regarding the weak and the strong.)The exegesis of a selected passage should address the following regarding the one chosen passage: How the passage fits into the near context and how it fits into the overall flow of Romans. In one page or so, identify the point of Romans and explain how the passage fits into the flow of thought in Romans as the overall point in the letter is developed.
Explain the matters of controversy or difficulty within the passage and suggest a resolution. This section should include explanation of key words, how the thought progresses in the passage and any points of controversy or tension in the text should be resolved. If there are issues that exist regarding other passages, that should be briefly addressed. Support from the passage the student’s position about the point of the passage within the theology of Romans. This section should not address how the passage fits within the student’s personal doctrinal position. This should address how the point of the passage fits into Paul’s overall point. An application of the passage to the original readers and to the present day situation within the student’s realm of experience. The application should be specific to a particular situation. The student should avoid statements of general principle and summaries of the passage. General instructions for the paper Length Requirements The paper must consist of 9-10 pages, double spaced. The issues are complex and it may appear to the student that more space is required. One of the maxims of good writing, though, is detailed analysis, but concise reporting. It is often the case that the student who has the best grasp of the material will be able to address it most concisely.
The paper, then, should be tightly focused to include only material necessary to address the subject for the assignment and the thesis adopted by the student. Papers that exceed the page limit will not penalized, but it is likely the professor will stop reading (we all have deadlines) after the maximum length limit. Make sure everything needed for the grade is included by then. The title page, outline page (if included) and bibliography are not included in the pages counted. Research Consult and interact with at least ten published scholarly sources. Only published sources may be used. Unpublished Internet sources are not research level sources and my not be used for this paper. Published material that is located on library sites, Google Books, etc., is useful. The Holy Bible, dictionaries/lexicons, and concordances must be utilized, but they are not counted in the minimum number of sources. These are simply understood components of research. These types of sources need to be included in the bibliography, but do not count toward the required ten. Cite Bible references parenthetically within the body of the paper following the quotation, paraphrase, summary, or allusion. Cite reference works in footnote citations.
A few clarifications should be made regarding acceptable sources for this research paper. First, the sources you consult for your paper must be published sources. That is, they are published by reputable academic publishers as opposed to private essays, blogs, student papers, etc. Second, it is essential that you consult research-oriented sources. These are works that directly relate to your thesis and the biblical text you are exegeting. Avoid the practice of writing that “so and so quotes so and so” except in those instances in which you are referring to a work in a foreign language and you are consulting the translation of that work. Third, your sources must be scholarly/academic. These are works composed by reputable scholars in their given fields of study. They are research oriented and targeted to an academic audience. These include not only books, but peer-reviewed journal articles. For example, scholarship related to the book of Romans would include works by Douglas Moo, Thomas Schreiner, James D. G. Dunn, N. T. Wright, F. F. Bruce, and the like.
Quality In addition, your paper will be evaluated according to the following criteria: Structure/Organization – The paper must be well-organized. Use subheadings to indicate major topics. Build your paper on topical paragraphs. Paragraphs must be coherent and lead to the overall cohesiveness of the paper, building upon one another and leading to a strong/persuasive conclusion. Format the paper according to the current edition of Kate Turabian’s Manual for Writers. Content – The paper must meet the minimal criteria of 9-10 pages (see next section below). It must demonstrate serious and critical interaction with scholarly, research-oriented sources. It must clearly focus on the topic at hand and demonstrate an acute understanding of the topic as it is presented in the book of Romans. It must coherently present and discuss the topic at hand. It must demonstrate an awareness of the assumed reader/audience. It must maintain a consistent argument and line of reasoning throughout the paper. Each premise must be substantially supported. Grammar/Mechanics – This includes sentence fluency; sentences must be coherent, unified, and varied. Be sure your sentences are complete and make use of excellent grammar. Also, vary sentence style so that the paragraphs are not wooden, stiff, and monotonous. Be aware of verb-noun agreement, tense agreement, etc. Be sure spelling, punctuation, and grammar are correct and consistent.
Style The style of the research paper must follow the current edition of Kate Turabian’s Manual for Writers. The use of footnotes is required. For students unfamiliar with the Chicago Manual of Style that Turabian explains, the School of Divinity has provided a very good resource, including an example paper, that covers the necessary issues. Access it here: HYPERLINK “https://www.liberty.edu/divinity/writing-guide/” https://www.liberty.edu/divinity/writing-guide/.The 9-10-page length requirement refers to text only (i.e., it does not include the title page, contents/outline, bibliography, appendices, etc.). Type your paper using double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins. Students who pad the paper with irrelevant material, large fonts, blank spaces, wide margins, etc., will experience a grade reduction. Plagiarism Avoid plagiarism at all cost. Consult whatever sources necessary to ensure adequate knowledge, but one might begin with the HYPERLINK “http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=18202&printpage=y” Student Expectations page. Your professor may send additional guidance.
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