Types of Theological Writing Seminar in Theological Research (Courtesy of Mrs. Sally Shelton ) Meditation/Devotional

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Types of Theological Writing

  • Seminar in Theological Research
  • (Courtesy of Mrs. Sally Shelton )


  • a usually short “discourse intended to express its author's reflections or to guide others in contemplation” (M-W)


  • “a critical evaluation (as of a book or play)” (M-W);
  • “an evaluative account of … a newly published literary or scholarly work, usually written and signed by a qualified person, for publication in a current newspaper, magazine, or journal. The account can be descriptive, reportorial, comparative, or critical or serve as a vehicle for a lengthy essay in which the reviewer discusses several recently published works (omnibus review) or a broader topic for which the works reviewed serve as a springboard” (ODLIS).


  • “immoderate praise of a book or other creative work, usually in the form of a review or advertisement written by the publisher, author, or a copy writer, intended to influence opinion and promote sales. In book publishing, a puff is usually printed on the dust jacket or included in an advertisement in a review publication. A preliminary puff is written prior to publication for the use of sales representatives” (ODLIS)


  • “refers to the process of interpreting a text. It is to be distinguished from translation on the one hand and from inquiry into the principles of interpretation, or hermeneutics, on the other” (Irving Hexham's Concise Dictionary of Religion); “scholarly explanation or interpretation of a word, phrase, sentence, or passage in a written work, based on close study and critical analysis of the text, especially to clarify an obscure point in the Bible or some other sacred work” (ODLIS).


  • “the interpretation of a text (as of the Bible) by reading into it one's own ideas” (M-W)

Academic / Scholarly

  • “of, relating to, or associated with an academy or school especially of higher learning,” “of or relating to performance in academic courses,” “based on formal study especially at an institution of higher learning,” or “conforming to the traditions or rules of a school (as of literature or art) or an official academy” (M-W);
  • “having or showing knowledge, learning, or devotion to academic pursuits” (AskOxford.com);
  • usually takes an objective, reasoned approach, carefully considering various viewpoints; includes citations/ references to other scholarly works; not written in isolation
  • Dialogue, conversation

Theological Issue Paper

  • Define/describe the topic
  • Present a brief biblical presentation
  • Compare/Contrast at least two primary theologians or theological systems
  • Present and defend your view with Bible, History, and Theology
  • Insure proper documentation of sources - (footnotes/bibliographic citations)
  • Insure Paper is grammatically correct & proper use of Form & Style

Biblical Issue Paper

  • Address Introductory Matters of the Text (authorship, audience, genre, & dating)
  • Address the text within context (both immediate and universal)
  • Expound on the text (taking into account: grammatical issues, key word studies, textual problems, compare/contrast similar passages or theological issues)
  • Make appropriate applications
  • Insure proper form, style, & documentation of sources (footnotes & bibliographic citations)


  • “fit for, adapted to, or reflecting the taste of the people” (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed.)

Sermon / Homily

  • “a religious discourse delivered in public usually by a clergyman as a part of a worship service” (Merriam-Webster);
  • primary purpose is to inspire or exhort, to rouse to action or faith;
  • often contains an appeal to the emotions


  • to give a class lecture, a Sunday school class;
  • to present organized information and/or lead in activities for the purpose of informing or instructing;
  • to assist in learning a skill or set of skills; purpose is primarily didactic;
  • primarily appeals to the mind


  • “systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine)” or “a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity” (M-W);
  • purpose: to defend a belief against attempts to discredit it;
  • reasoned arguments defending a theory or doctrine (Compact Oxford English Dictionary)

Biblical Criticism

  • “Eventually orthodox scholars also accepted the validity of many methods created by the Biblical critics to answer such questions as: ‘What are the most reliable and trustworthy texts of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament? What is the relationship between the various books? When and by whom were the texts written and for what purpose? What are the sources, if any, the authors used? What is the relationship of these sources to other oral and written materials of the time?’” (Irving Hexham's Concise Dictionary of Religion).


  • Includes autobiography
  • the history of a person’s life


  • “a chronological record of significant events (as affecting a nation or institution) often including an explanation of their causes” (M-W);
  • an account of past events based on primary sources

Quantitative Research

  • gathering statistical data, often through the use of a questionnaire

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