Exercise 1: How Useful Might All This Material Be?

Identify a problem in your church or someone else's, or in your local context (family, neighborhood, home town, dormitory, etc.) for which the Bible and Christian theology have no immediate or easy answer (at least as far as you know). Make it a realistic one, and if possible an important one — the kind you might be called on to address, now or at some point in your future career.

Consider how the material we have already treated — readings in Hays and Fowl and Jones, presentations on outside readings, or even lectures — might point a way forward to a helpful response on your part. Consider all of it, not just what seems most relevant. Process the material: reflect; pray; discuss with classmates.

Then in writing, present what seems to you to be the most promising information, explaining why it might be helpful — and perhaps why it may not. Addressing problems and potential pitfalls is nearly as important as identifying a thing's potential.

Yes, I will be looking for signs that you are reading and engaging the course material, preferably widely and deeply. But do not force course material into your thinking about this problem in an artificial way. I am more interested in prodding you to consider material like this, constructively and critically, in the context of your service in the Kingdom.

Follow the SAIACS guidelines for writing. I especially like to see proper style, clear writing and reasoning, a thorough answer to the question, and explicit citations of course materials.

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