trace a theological idea thesis
The old testament CHRI 3301
Students will write a theological essay of 3,000 to 3,500 words in which they trace a theological
idea or theme through its development in the Old Testament and how it relates to the New
Testament (choose one of the six topics listed below). Considering 12-point Times New Roman
font and double-spaced with one-inch margins, typically such a word count will produce 11-13
pages of text (not including the title page). For a sample title page, see the “Theological Essay
Title Page Example” document.
For an example of tracing a theological theme, consider how Waltke develops a theology of land
in An Old Testament Theology, Chapters 19-20, or of kingship in Chapter 24. This essay will not
be as detailed as these treatments, given the space constraints of the assignment.
The goal of this assignment is not to survey the secondary literature (i.e., what other people say
about the Bible) on these topics; rather, it is to enable students to practice engaging in theological
analysis of the biblical texts themselves (the primary sources/literature). Consequently, the main
source for this paper should be the Bible, and the lion’s share of the
writing should involve reflections/ideas about the Scriptures being considered and their
implications for developing a theological perspective on the theme. Citations of writings from
others should be kept to a minimum unless citing is necessary to avoid plagiarism. Furthermore,
since this is a course in Old Testament theology, resist the urge to stay with the familiar by
turning this assignment into a New Testament theology paper.
At least two-thirds of the paper must be devoted to the theological theme’s Old Testament
development before getting on to the New Testament development of it. Finally,
students will submit the Final Draft of their essay
through SafeAssign in Blackboard.
When looking for passages that deal with one of these themes, students should not restrict
themselves to simply searching for the individual word that represents the topic. For example, if
the theme is king/kingship, look up occurrences in the Bible not only for king-related words (like
king, kingship, kingly, kingdom), but also for related concepts like throne, reign (noun and verb),
dominion, royal, etc.
Also, students should pay attention to the historical, literary, and theological contexts of the
passages being used to develop the essay theme.
Finally, in order to find suitable material on the topic, students are encouraged to consult the
following resources (or resources like them):
CHRI 3301 | Old Testament Theology Page 3 of 3
Kohlenberger, John R., III. The NIV Exhaustive Bible Concordance. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids,
MI: Zondervan, 2015. [Keyed to NIV]
Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: World
Publishers, 1994. [Keyed to KJV]
Thomas, Robert L., The Lockman Foundation. New American Standard Exhaustive
Concordance of the Bible: Updated Edition. Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc.,
1998. [Keyed to NASB]