Because life is a series of edits

Today I Become My Students’ Least Favorite Teacher

In Wildwood on September 20, 2006 at 2:00 am

In case you've been following along, you know we've made it through the Pentateuch and are almost to the Promised Land (not bad for a month). Here's what I'm handing out to my high school students today at the end of Bible class (papers are due November 1st, so mark your calendars and get to writing if you want full credit):

Wildwood Bible Class
Israel in the Old Testament: Research Paper
Instructor: Mr. Dunham
Fall 2006

The assignment
Explain how Deuteronomy serves and shapes Old Testament Israel in becoming and being a blessed people who are to be a blessing to others. For instance, what does Deuteronomy’s renewal of the covenant mean for Israel’s relationship with God? How does Deuteronomy’s reiteration of God’s laws for worship and conduct determine the direction of Israelite civilization? Why is the reminder of God’s blessings and curses in relation to Israel’s obedience or disobedience significant in light of the nation’s past? What does any of this have to do with Israel’s interactions with other nations, cultures, and peoples? What applications are we to make from God’s dealings with Israel? Simply put, why does Deuteronomy matter – then and now?

Preliminary step: Pray and propose. (Notecard)
Prayerfully re-read/skim Deuteronomy and identify no more than 2-3 main ideas/texts you wish to focus on in order to fulfill the assignment. Important: Students are to submit a 3×5 card on Wednesday, September 27th, on which you have written your name and initial 2-3 idea/text outline (this is simply to ensure that you get started within a week’s time).

Step one: Examine texts with guidance towards their original significance. (2 pages)
Keeping CAPTOR in mind, clarify and summarize your understanding of the original setting and purpose of the texts. How do your texts serve the overarching purpose of God’s intention for Israel? How do the texts address opportunities and needs in the original audience? End step two by writing a 1- or 2-sentence summary of the original significance of the story.

Step two: Come under coaching of Christian interpreters who have studied the texts. (1 page)
Examine the ways in which significant interpreters have commented on the texts. Although not of the same authority as biblical elaborations, legitimate applications of Scripture have been made throughout the history of the church as God’s people have summarized the teaching of Scripture to face the problems and opportunities of their day. It’s always good to read others.

Step three: Summarize texts’ original significance and suggest modern application. (2 pages)
Drawing upon your summaries – of the texts’ original significance, its place in the overall story of the Pentateuch, and applications of its teaching about the character of God and his people – how would you summarize Deuteronomy’s value in addressing Israel’s needs? How might your study apply to New Testament Israel (i.e. the Church) today?

Specs and use of sources
Research papers should be typed in a standard 12-point typeface and double-spaced, with one-inch margins, and approximately 5 pages in length. Overall neatness, spelling, grammar, pagination, etc. counts, so proofread your paper (or have someone else proofread it) and staple in the upper lefthand corner.

Students are to consult a minimum of 3 outside sources (see the syllabus or Mr. Dunham for recommendations). Please document your sources and any quotations Turabian style in either footnote or endnote form and include a “works cited” sheet/bibliography. Do NOT use or include website research, as Internet sources are transient and difficult to assess.

You have six weeks to complete your research paper. Papers are due at the beginning of class on Wednesday, November 1st, and worth 25% of your overall grade.

(Note: Hermeneutical process paper steps borrowed and adapted from Covenant Seminary).

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  1. I’m glad I don’t have to do this paper, although, I do wish I had learned that stuff when I was in high school. It will serve them well.

  2. Bless you for making your students do this! I especially like the way you worded Step 2.

  3. Wish I had learned this years ago, too. They may hate you now, but they’ll thank you later. I like that you make it not just a dull paper, but an interacative, living, breathing process of becoming a true student – which implies learning – which in turn means application and transformation.

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