How to write Exegesis

Biblical studies classes ask you to undertake exegesis on a chapter of Scripture from a redemptive-historical, biblical-theological standpoint. Some tasks will emphasize exegesis more while others will put greater weight on biblical theology. This guide focuses on exegesis, and it tackles the writing and research concerns that students often experience. While experts here at AssignmentGiant offers you unrivalled guidance, please confer with your lecturer about the subject and approach of exegesis.

Theological students often compose an exegetical essay as part of their assessment while undergoing theological school. However, we discovered that many are disappointed for not knowing how to create an exegetical essay that gets them a good mark. It is difficult to write an exegetical paper since you have to begin with doing a proper exegesis and then write the outcomes of your exegesis. Often, this is too much work. In the first instance, you just read the text. However, in the second phase, you have to apply what you have found out contextually. For example, you can apply your results in a sermon, private study, or compose an essay. In simple terms, exegesis is interpreting a text and extracting meaning. So, when writing an exegetical paper, you dive into a text and derive meaning out of it.

This exegetical paper guide covers the main methods to utilize while doing an exegesis and how to create an outstanding exegetical essay, including an exegetical paper example. If you are seeking for someone to write your exegetical essay or research paper, you can hire an essay writer from our website. We are a custom writing website that will write your exegetical paper from beginning, guaranteeing that it is completely original and devoid of any instances of plagiarism.

Creative Context


An exegesis is a critical analysis of your composition, and it is used in the field of Creative Writing. In an exegesis, you explain the rationale behind your thought process, as well as the themes and literary approaches that you chose to utilize in your piece. When you produce a creative article, you are frequently obliged to submit an exegesis with it. The exegesis is your opportunity to justify the artistic choices you made when writing your article. You can explain your thought process and why you chose specific themes or literary methods to include.

Exegesis is a term that refers to the methodical process of arriving at a reasonable and coherent understanding of the meaning and message of a biblical verse. A smart exegete knows what questions to ask of a text to get at this sense and how to locate the answers. Because the proper questions differ based on the type of literature involved, and discovering them is more of an art than a science, a guide like this is not definitive, but rather a rough tool.

An exegetical paper’s objective is to open up the meaning of the text in such a way that it reflects the specificities (e.g. “feel,” plain sense, issues, ambiguities, context, potential theological sensus plenior, etc.) of that text alone. The reader should be left with the idea that the student did not do anything new or original with the book, but that he or she comprehended it thoroughly, including mirroring aspects such as its aesthetics (or lack thereof) and issues.


An exegesis is significant because it demonstrates to the reader that you have considered what effect you want your creative piece to have on them and what creative strategies you have utilized to achieve that effect. Markers do not have time to analyse each work as well as read it, but the exegesis gives them a peek inside the writer’s mind.

what are the essentials OF AN EXEGETICAL PAPER?

An exegetical paper is not a report, but rather an essay. A report is a presentation of research-based material, whereas an essay is a reasoned inquiry that makes specific claims and supports and defends those claims. Clarity of speech, rigor in arguments, correctness in form, balance in judgment, fairness in addressing competing perspectives, and breadth of coverage, discipline in focus, and plausibility of findings in light of all relevant information are some characteristics of a good paper.

The exegetical paper adheres to typical academic writing practices (this does not mean it must be boring). This means that the paper is written entirely in your own words, with correct attribution given whenever you quote or refer to the words or ideas of another person. The document should also be written in Standard English, with excellent spelling and punctuation, as well as writing free of colloquial English (slang, appeals to the reader, contractions, etc.). The text should be as clear, coherent, and brief as possible—wordiness does not imply scholarship.


An excellent exegesis explains the literary strategies and other creative decisions you made when writing your article. It also provides an in-depth explanation of your project’s goal, as well as how the techniques and decisions you made relate to the general theme(s) and underlying message(s) of your piece.


It is highly recommended that you take notes as you compose your creative piece if you are aware that you will be required to write an exegesis. This way, rather than having to go back over your work and try to remember why you made the decisions you did, you will have something to go to as you plan and write your exegesis. Consider the literary strategies you’re employing (even if you are not aware of it), the effect you want them to have on the reader, and how this suits the objective of your article. You can ask yourself things like:

  • Why did I write this piece?
  • What do I want the reader to think after reading it?
  • What themes am I exploring?
  • What messages am I trying to convey?
  • What literary methods (for example, characterisation, point of view, voice, themes, symbolism) did I employ?
  • Why did I select these methods?
  • How did I apply them to investigate my chosen theme(s) or message(s)? You can also discuss what literature inspired you, how you made your piece similar or different from these texts, and why you chose to do so.
structure of exegesis


An exegesis can be organized similarly to an essay, with an introduction, many body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each paragraph focuses on a specific concept. For instance, how a particular work influenced you to characterize your protagonist in a particular way, or how you employed symbols to explore a particular issue. For more information on how to prepare, arrange, and write an essay, see Writing Essay,’ ‘Introductions and Conclusions,’ and ‘Paragraph Writing.’ If you cite from other sources (for example, articles that inspired you), make sure to properly reference them following the referencing system specified by your marker.

Steps of Conducting a proper Exegesis

The basic steps to carry out a proper exegesis is handled in the “New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors”, by Gordon Fee (Westminster John Knox Press, 2002). To begin, keep in mind that most exegetical papers require you to apply what you’ve studied about hermeneutics to a specific chapter. Second, it entails analyzing the passage using a method acquired in class and comparing your interpretation to that of scholars. Finally, you employ critical thinking to develop your own opinions on a given passage, present a pragmatic application of your interpretation, and explain it to your audience. Here is a summary of Gorman’s definition of successful exegesis. More on how to get the information can also be gotten from Getting the Message: A Plan for Interpreting and Applying the Bible, by Daniel Doriani (P & R Publishing, 1996) and Old Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors, by Douglas Stuart. (Westminster John Knox Press, 2009).

1. Study the Text

Reading is an important part of preparing an exegetical essay or research report. First, read the text or paragraph, possibly from many translations. Reading the material several times allows you to comprehend, assimilate, and think on it. As a result, read the entire chapter, book, or letter rather than just the portion if feasible. To create a well-informed summary of what you believe the passage implies, as well as some critical questions you must answer. Use every method you know to try to understand the text in prayerful reliance on the Holy Spirit. Perform word studies, discourse analysis, and so forth. Write down everything you notice, as well as any questions you have, in a word doc (your “notes” doc). This will assist you in developing ideas for your introduction, which will incorporate the basic direction of the section as well as essential highlights from the passage. Write notes as you read to help you organize ideas, thoughts, and concepts into sentences and paragraphs. Do not try to order your thoughts too much.

2. Contextual Analysis

The second stage is to look for essential details that will help the reader understand the context of the text. As a result, as you read, make a note of the key terms, individuals, and places. Use a bible dictionary if possible to assist you uncover more facts. When portraying the experiences and Bible times, consider the historical, socio-political, and cultural background, as well as the distinctive literary environment. Finally, take into account the rhetorical and literary background. It can be contextualized in both the immediate and wider contexts.

In a broader sense, consider the following:

  • What has happened so far in the novel, and what happened later?
  • What appears to be the purpose of the text in the section and throughout the book?
  • How does the text appear to suit the book’s gist or agenda?
  • Where does this section fit into the overall structure of the book? What main section is it a part of? What is the significance of this position?

To get insights on the immediate context, ask yourself:

  • Does the content following the passage relate directly to the topic at hand?
  • Does the emphasis passage function in concert with its immediate setting to achieve a specific rhetorical goal?
  • What is the topic of the paragraph or two preceding the focus passage?
  • How do these paragraphs introduce the passage?

3. Formal Analysis

In this phase, there is determination of the text’s form, structure, and movement. The genre (prophetic word oracle, parable, sermon, or mourning hymn, for example) that you are reading, the elements that make up the section of scripture, and the various types of texts placed together as your passage are all determined here. You can also detect the use of keywords and analyze whether the text flows naturally. You should cover the introduction, development, climax, falling action, and resolution/closure in your formal analysis notes. If the text has arguments, explain them. Furthermore, you must explain why the author presents their story in the manner that they do. Explain and clarify any terminology or concepts that are unclear.

4. Detailed Analysis

You must study numerous components of the text when executing the most difficult task, meticulous analysis. The purpose of this stage is to avoid making incorrect conclusions as a result of word research. As you go deeper into the content, you will be able to generate and interpret concepts. Throughout the deep analysis stage, you must connect the pieces by summarizing how the text fits together.

5. Synthesis

In this phase, you must consider the entire text. What is the topic of the text? Skimming through the material can assist you in understanding what it is about. When synthesizing the text, you must create a focus statement, which is a two-sentence summary of your text’s message for the original audience. This is the step where you will spend the most time.

6. Reflection

At this point, you must determine the original meaning of the text to its original readers. Furthermore, it would be beneficial if you evaluated what the passage means to the religion community today. Be cautious when providing interpretation because people’s normative attitudes inevitably lead to different conclusions, which can lead to conflict. This is where you explain theology, such as what the text says about God’s nature, obeying God, or living in a Godly manner. You should write a sequence of paragraphs explaining theological insights. Show how these theological ideas are given in the text, as well as how they relate to the remainder of the text and the Bible. What is the main point of the rest of the book, and does the Bible support the passage?

7. Expansion and Editing of the initial Exegesis

Finally, reading commentaries will help you obtain a better grasp of the text. It is important to note that you cannot include comments when writing a formal exegetical essay. However, when conducting research, the remarks can assist you in developing a viewpoint. You’ve taken your notes and studied. However, as you write the exegesis, you can include the thoughts of others.

Examine theological concepts and consider how they can be applied to an individual or the church today. If you are investigating the theological understanding that “Obadiah argues in this chapter that God is deeply concerned for social justice,” include several paragraphs evaluating how the contemporary church is committed to social justice. Then examine the activities that reflect commitment.

You have already formed ideas after reading, rereading, and taking notes. It’s now time to start writing the first draft. However, you must first create a detailed exegetical paper outline that breaks down each element. Let’s see how that turns out.

Outline of an Exegetical Paper or Essay

When writing a formal exegetical essay, you must adhere to a specific plan in order to produce a complete, comprehensive, and finest exegesis paper.

Title Page

The first page of your paper is the title page. You should format it in accordance with the formatting guidelines. Stick to APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago title page conventions, for example. When selecting a style, exercise extreme caution. Only use a style that is consistent with the rubric and the instructions.

Table of Contents

You should create your table of contents using the built-in capability in Microsoft Word. Make sure your paper’s sections and subsections are adequately emphasized.


The purpose of the beginning section of any exegetical writing, such as essays or academic papers, is to familiarize the reader with the contents of the piece. The beginning seizes the attention of the reader and places the topic of your paper in its proper context, outlining both the breadth and depth of its coverage. You are free to utilize the following line as your purpose statement: “This paper follows the exegetical process to determine the fundamental meaning of this text for its original audience, identify the theological themes, and suggest its significance in today’s Christian journey/life.”

Make sure you leave some wiggle room when you’re drafting your thesis because it’s possible that it will shift as you review and improve the paper. You are able to develop your ideas further and compose a more in-depth exegetical essay if you begin by formulating a working thesis statement and then modify it as the paper progresses.

On the other hand, it possesses a number of characteristics that are distinctive. When beginning an exegetical paper, in addition to writing the conventional introduction (background information of the text, hook, and thesis statement), you also need to introduce the text itself. In addition to this, you must provide a clear statement of the passage’s literal translation, as well as its literary context and flow of thought, a literary genre (for both the larger text that the passage is taken from and for the passage on its own), literary forms that appear within the passage, and the organization of the passage.

Main Body

Your exegetical paper’s introduction and body together account for 80 percent of the total word count. Since you already have your notes, this section is where you present the findings that you’ve gathered. The information contained in this part provides an answer to the statement of the problem. You can consider including elements such as:

  • Text in Hebrew and its English Translation – You will now be responsible for writing the English translation of the passage.
  • Discuss the historical context, including who the primary characters were, what happened, where it took place, and when it happened.
  • Remote context – When bolstering the important points that you are going to cover, provide intriguing information about the text to support your claims. Consider the line in the context of the entire book or letter, for instance, or think about what else is going on in the world at the same time.
  • The passage’s position within the current circumstances, as well as what is happening on either side of the text. This is referred to as the proximal context. What words tell you the beginning of the paragraph and what terms tell you it’s over?0For instance, if you were given the assignment to exegete verses 7:3-10 in a specific biblical book, you would wonder how a reader would know that verse 7:3 marks the beginning of a new thought and verse 7:10 marks the conclusion of that thought.
  • The Text: In this step, you will analyze the portions of the text that are significant for the ideas that you are developing or that support the assertion that you made for your thesis. I must emphasize once more that you are not producing a whole new commentary. You are drawing attention to the fact that the passages have the same theological insights that are used to support your emphasis statement.
  • The literary context of your writing, which includes both the immediate context as well as the greater context.
  • Literary genre – determine the literary genre that the piece or work belongs to. It could be in the form of a discourse, hymn, song, psalm, prophesy, dialogue, genealogy, parable, poetry, or narrative.
  • The outline of the structure, as well as any literary qualities, such as chiasms, repetitions, parallels, etc., that are included in the piece should be taken into account.
  • The study of grammar, which includes becoming familiar with the specific vocabulary, play words, allusions, accents, rhetoric, rhythm, and so on.
  • Intertextuality, which involves locating instances of the selected text appearing elsewhere in both the Old and New Testaments.
  • Theology and message (application) – investigate the primary theological discoveries and problems that are brought up or handled through the course of the book. Find the text’s applications and determine how they are relevant.

Summary and conclusion

Similar to the opening, the word count for the conclusion is equal to ten percent of the total. You need to summarize the entire body paragraph here, highlighting the most important results from the exegesis, restating your modified thesis statement, and providing a summary of the entire paragraph. In conclusion, you should emphasize how your exegesis essay responds to the problem statement.

Bibliography/References/Works Cited

Depending on the format, include a list of all the books, papers, and other materials used in your research. List them in alphabetical or A-to-Z manner. Use the chosen citation format according to your rubric precisely.

Format of an Exegesis essay or Exegetical paper

Unless your institution, professor, or teacher asks other formats, the typical structure for an exegetical paper is:

  • One-inch margin all-round the paper’s
  • The page numbers should be present in all the pages – preserve consistency in their location.
  • The titles of books and other lengthier terms must be italicized, not underlined.
  • The names of essays, articles, comments, portions of longer works, or other shorter works must be surrounded in quotation marks.
  • Use double-spacing in your work.
  • The paper should be typeface 12-point with the footnotes being 10-point
  • The paper should be typed and double-spaced using a clear, non-ornamental, serif font. Examples of suitable fonts include Times New Roman or Palatino. The text of the document should be set in 12-point type with footnotes in 10-point.
  • Page numbers should be supplied on all pages in a place that remains consistent throughout the publication (i.e., top right on every page, bottom center on every page, etc). (i.e., top right on every page, bottom center on every page, etc.).
  • Only one space (not two) should be put after the terminal punctuation of a sentence.
  • Titles of books and other lengthy works should be italicized, not underlined. Titles of articles, essays, portions of longer works, or other shorter works should be surrounded in quotation marks.
  • The bibliography page should be on a distinct page from the main page, but the same paper
  • Use MS-word generated table of content and footnotes/endnotes
  • Have an average of 2-3 footnotes per page
  • In most cases, the papers are written in APA, Harvard, or Chicago (CMS)/Turabian styles, retain the formatting consistencies associated with each referencing style.
  • Your table of content, bibliography, and title page are not part of the total word count.

Questions to Ask When Reading Exegesis Text

1. Background Questions

a. Who wrote this text? What can you learn about the background of the writer?

b. To whom did they write it, in what historical circumstance, and for what purpose?

c. What sources did the author(s) use when composing the text? Does this develop, nuance, or expand your understanding of its meaning?

d. Does the text appear to have undergone editing or redacting process? Does this develop, nuance, or expand your understanding of its meaning?

2. Listening to the Text Questions

a. What is the text about?

b. What is the genre of the text? Does it contain a mixture of genres? (For example, a hymn within a letter, or a parable within a narrative)

c. Translate the text from the Hebrew or Greek. If working with an Old Testament text, compare the Hebrew text to the Septuagint, Targums, or other ancient versions as time permits. How does your reading of the ancient languages shed light on your understanding?

d. What key words do you need to investigate in order to clarify their meanings in the passage?

e. Describe the literary structure of your text. Is there a development of argument, an ironic twist in the narrative, a contrast of images, a metaphor or allusion? What literary devices does the author use?

f. What, if any, are the text-critical issues with your text? Are there any difficult readings you need to investigate?

3. Contextual Questions

a. How does your section of text “sit” in the surrounding text? How does it function within the entire book of which it is a part?

b. If your author has written other biblical books, how do those works inform your understanding of your text?

c. What relationship does this text have to the larger canon of Scripture? Does it allude to or explicitly reference another passage of Scripture? Is your text referenced or alluded to by another passage? If there are no apparent allusions to other biblical passages, what is the relationship between the content, subject, or theme of your passage to other portions of Scripture?

d. If your passage references other passages or is referenced by them, what hermeneutical strategy is employed by the Biblical writer? How does this help you understand that author’s perspective?

e. Given the progressive nature of revelation, how might this passage have functioned at the various stages in redemptive history? For an Old Testament text, how might Israel have understood and used this text at various stages in its history? How would Jesus, New Testament writers, and the first Christians have understood this text? For New Testament texts, how is your text related to the specific events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, to Pentecost and the expansion of the church? How does a New Testament text depend upon and relate to the Old Testament?

Exegetical Tools

Choose the most helpful tools for comprehending your passage from the options listed below.

1. Concordance- Some concordances are “extensive” (they include every reference to every term), while others are “condensed” or “abridged” (containing only some instances of selected words). The majority of Bible software programs include concordance features. By cataloging the occurrences of various words, concordances enhance your study of the Bible. They are accessible in numerous languages and variants. Verify that the concordance you are using corresponds to the Bible translation you are using.

2. Lexicon A lexicon is a dictionary for a language that conveys the meanings and forms of its words and expressions.

3. Bible Software (Bibleworks, Accordance, Logos, E-Sword)

4. Theological dictionaries

5. Bible atlas

6. Text critical apparatus For help analyzing difficult textual questions, see Bruce Metger’s A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament.

7. Commentary

  1. For help navigating Old Testament commentaries, see Old Testament Commentary Survey by Tremper Longman III.
  2. For help finding useful New Testament commentaries, see New Testament Commentary Survey by D.A. Carson.

8. Scholarly books

9. Journal articles


Utilize our guide to produce the best biblical exegesis paper if your professor has requested you to prepare a research paper on biblical exegesis but you do not know how to do it. We have discussed the structure of an exegetical paper, including its components and how to outline it. In this section, we will walk you through the seven steps of the process that you need to consider when writing your exegetical paper, and we will also provide you with an example of an exegesis essay. Therefore, go out into the world and demonstrate your exegetical prowess by earning the best marks.

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