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Exegetical Papers: Introduction & Overview


Be certain that you fully understand your professor’s instructions for your paper (often an exegesis of a text), since there is room in the process for individual variations. Needless to say, always follow your instructor's requirements and advice!

The typical steps involved in doing exegetical work can include the following:

  • Establish or orient the context of the pericope in the Biblical book as a whole
  • Examine the historical context or setting
  • Analyze the text.  This can involve literary, textual, grammatical, and/or lexical analysis
  • Critical analysis: employing various critical methods to ask questions of the texts
  • Theological analysis
  • Your analysis and/or application

Writing & Exegesis

Biblical Studies & Exegetical Helps


Although your professor may have specific instructions that differ from what this guide presents, here are the basic steps common to most exegesis papers. You may go step-by-step, or jump to the topic of interest to you.

1. Choose a Passage

2. Examine the Historical, Cultural, and Literary Background

3. Perform Exegesis of Each Verse

4. Offer an Overall Interpretation

5. Provide an Application of the Passage

There is an additional thing you need to consider:

* Document Your Sources Correctly (See Citing Materials tab above).

First, Choose a Passage.


A pericope comes from the Greek language, meaning, "a cutting-out".  It is a set of verses that forms one coherent unit or thought, thus forming a short passage suitable for public reading from a text, that usually refers to sacred scripture.


Cambridge Companion Guides

Oldest Relatively Complete Manuscript of the Bible

Biblical Studies Organizations

Other Research Guides that May Help You

Online Sources

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IBS-STL launched a new identity, including a new name—Biblica—to reflect its expanding vision and focus for transforming lives through God's Word. The new name is part of a rebranding process that began with the merger of International Bible Society and Send the Light in 2007. 

The New Testament Gateway is a comprehensive directory of academic internet resources related to the New Testament. The New Testament Gateway focuses on resources that will be of interest to both scholars and students of the New Testament. 


    Bibles and Added Resources

    Giving Credit

    This guide was adapted from a Research Guide at University of St.Thomas by Curt Lemay, Director and Theological Librarian, Archbishop Ireland Memorial Library. Mr. LeMay had adapted it from an Azuza Pacific University research guide. Azuza's guide was created by Dr. Kenneth D. Litwak, Reference Instructor, University Libraries, October, 2008, and posted by Michelle Spomer of Azuza Pacific.