The hardest class I have taken in seminary is Greek Exegesis of James. This was the capstone class for the Biblical Greek classes and includes creating narrative flows, taking weekly quizzes, a Final exam, and writing the “notorious” exegesis paper plus panel discussion.
Your seminary will likely have a Greek capstone class like this and I want to offer some insight on my experience that may help you.
The exegesis paper and panel discussion are by far the most difficult aspect of the class as the paper itself has to be around 40 pages long consisting of detail analysis of a passage from the New Testament and is followed by a panel discussion where you present your paper and facilitate discussion. The panel can take anywhere from 1.5 hours to 3 hours long depending on your passage, the size of your panel, the number of students in the class that ask questions, and the preferences of your professor. This class is typically taken in the last year of seminary and culminates a lot of the tools and information you have learned in seminary up to that point.
As this is this is likely one of the most difficult classes to take in seminary in my opinion, allow me to offer some tips to ensure you do well in the class.
Start the paper immediately!
The moment you have access to the syllable you should begin working on the paper. More than likely, in the previous semester Greek class, you will have chosen a passage to exegete for this class. Accordingly, you will know in advance what passage of the New Testament you will have to work on. Additionally, the course syllabus should be accessible prior to the semester starting, which means you will know what is expected from the paper. I suggest working on the paper as soon as possible.
Work in your group well
At Denver Seminary the panel discussion consists of 2-4 people. If the seminary you are attending functions the same way, then be sure to schedule time to meet with your team. I recommend meeting 3-4 times during the semester to organize the panel discussion and paper presentation. I suggest assigning sections of the paper for presentation to the different members of your team or having every member of your team present their findings for each section of the paper with the caveat of keeping the discussion brief.
Be prepared for questions and discussions
The paper is typically due a week before the panel discussion, giving the professor enough time to digest and critique your paper. Once you turn in your paper, get together with your group and brainstorm possible questions that the professor may ask as well as questions the class may pose. I suggest sharing with each other the main theme of the passage, which each of you came up with and difficulties you noticed within the passage such as textual variants, interpretive issues, and areas in the passage where you noticed disagreements between different commentaries. Share these findings with the group and make sure you are well aware of these issues before the panel discussion and perhaps have an opinion on which interpretation is better or which commentary seems to have it right.
If possible, use media such as PowerPoint to organize, outline, and present your papers
Organization is critical and having a clear flow of the presentation helps the class understand where you are going. The more organized the group is the better the presentation will be and the more likely you will be prepared to answer questions since you took the time to organize the data of your papers.
By Joseph Siacunco. Joseph is a Masters of Divinity Student at Denver Seminary located in Littleton, CO. He currently works at Mission Hills Church in the Finance Department and is a Certified Public Accountant. He has worked in Accounting since 2004 but also serves at his church in other ways including teaching and preaching.