Old Testament Interpretive Commentary of Jonah –Overview
The following research assignment is an independent study meant to reflect your research, study, and work. The purpose of this assignment is for you to interpret the text from the original author to the original recipients within the historical and cultural context. Exegesis (interpretive analysis) engages the historical, grammatical, and literary meaning of the text.
This assignment is teaching you a basic method on how to prepare to teach Scripture from an exegetical hermeneutic. After the completion of this assignment, you will be able to prepare expository messages based on an exegetical method which is consistent with the meaning of the text from the original author to the original recipients.
Your commentary paper will evidence a combination of original thought and insightful comments from resources. The commentary paper will not be an extensive string of quotes from sources. You should avoid long quotes that exceed 5 lines and are required to be block quotes.
Week 2: Title Page and Bibliography (26 pts.)
Create your title page and bibliography. The title page and bibliography must conform to Turabian format. The bibliography should represent exegetical commentaries. The better your resources, the better your paper. You need a minimum of 5 good resources (more are certainly welcome). Good resources are less than 50 years old and provide exegetical comments based on paragraph or verse units. These resources should not be primarily devotional in nature. Websites and internet blogs that are not peer-reviewed are unacceptable. Journal articles are good, but understand that journal articles are often narrow in focus or propose unique views that are not universally accepted. It is best to use commentaries that focus on detailed exegesis of Jonah. These resources will make it easier for you to write a substantive commentary. Commentaries such as the Pulpit, Jamieson-Faussett-Brown, Weirsbe, McGhee, and Matthew Henry are too old or too devotional. Commentaries such as NICOT, Expositors Bible, MacArthur, New American Commentary, NIV Application and Word Biblical are good examples. You should consult with your pastor or others in your community to gather these sources. There are Bible software programs that provide many of these sources as e-books. Journal articles can be accessed through the Liberty University Library via the ATLA Religion databases. The LU library staff is available to help you. There are LU videos to teach you how to access the library.
Week 7: Jonah Commentary (200 pts.)
Submit your completed Interpretive Commentary by the close of Module Seven. Keep in mind that you are not writing a sermon; you are writing a commentary. You can produce sermons from the commentary, but the commentary is not sermonic. The application portion of this paper is at the end of the assignment; the commentary itself is interpretive. Read through your sources and highlight insightful comments that you want to include in your commentary. You will need to be selective so that the commentary is not primarily a string of quotes. If you are using digital media, you can cut and paste these comments into your outline. You should have 3-4 citations for each chapter of Jonah. Seek to have balanced research by having your citations evenly distributed throughout your commentary. Make sure that you provide proper citations and footnotes for all sources.
As you write your interpretive commentary, include the following 4 components: 1) an introduction to the historical setting (approximately 200 – 300 words); 2) an exegetical outline of the book (that provides structure for the commentary with content oriented subheadings); 3) an interpretive commentary on Jonah for chapters 1-4 (approximately 500 words per chapter); as well as 4) a conclusion that supports at least 3 applications to the Christian life drawn from the interpretive analysis performed in the commentary (approximately 300 – 500 words). It is recommended that you use subheadings or subtitles to organize your commentary. Regarding the outline, this provides structure and a framework for your commentary that is more detailed than the four chapter breaks alone. Look for breaks and transition in subject matter (setting, characters, etc.) and literary markers (genre, repetition, etc.) as you organize your outline. Paragraph breaks in the translation that you are using may provide the structural breaks for your outline.
See the Obadiah sample commentary for ideas on how your Jonah commentary might develop in structure, form, and content. This is only a sample—allow yourself some flexibility in how your Jonah commentary best reflects your own work, analysis, and creativity.