The purpose of this paper is to provide students with valuable background information for use in their own understanding of the Bible and future Bible teaching ministries.

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The purpose of this paper is to provide students with valuable background information for use in their own understanding of the Bible and future Bible teaching ministries.

Complete a 10-12 page research paper on a specific historical, theological, or cultural difficulty. Front and back matter (such as title page, abstracts, and references list) do not count toward the page limit.
This is not a reflection paper, but a research paper filled with citations from at least six (6) high quality academic sources. Citing the Bible itself, study Bible notes, or class notes does not count toward the use of at least six (6) required academic sources, as these are assumed. Public websites should be used cautiously, though journal articles obtained through TIU library online databases are highly encouraged. The paper must demonstrate awareness of the key interpretive issues involved, interaction with current scholarship (course textbooks, Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias, exegetical commentaries, theological journals, etc.), awareness of biblical/theological themes, and the students conclusions about the above items.
The paper topic must be approved by the instructor at the beginning of the fourth class session, and a tentative reference list must be approved by the instructor at the beginning of the fifth class session. This tentative reference list should provide complete publication data and be formatted according to APA guidelines. Since the instructor will provide immediate feedback during session five about the strength or weakness of proposed sources (i.e., whether or not they are acceptable for use in the research paper), students are encouraged to propose at least 10 bibliographic sources for potential use in the paper.
Potentially helpful resources for use in selecting a topic and writing the paper include Hard Sayings of the Bible by Walter C. Kaiser, Peter H. Davids, F. F. Bruce, and Manfred Brauch (InterVarsity Press, 1996); Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties by Gleason Archer (Zondervan, 1982); and When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties by Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe (Victor Books, 1992).
Write a paper on a topic from one and only one of the following areas:
1. Address A Difficult Historical Issue
a. Select a significantly difficult historical issue such as the archaeology of Jericho, the date of the
conquest, the size and significance of Solomons kingdom, the consistently higher numerical figures in Chronicles compared to Samuel or Kings, the identity of Sheshbazzar in Ezra, or statistical discrepancies between Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7.
b. Explain the difficulty briefly but carefully, citing at least one critic who concludes that the Bible is flawed in some way due to this difficulty.
c. Clearly list and summarize the various evangelical viewpoints on the difficulty.
d. Explain your own conclusions about the matter and how you would answer a person who was
struggling with his or her faith due to this issue.
2. Address A Difficult Theological Issue
a. Select a significantly difficult theological issue such as the divine command to destroy the
Canaanites, the identity and activity of the spirit of the Lord in Judges and Samuel, the repentance of God in 1 Samuel 15, or the question of whether or not God condones acts of lying and deceit on the part his chosen servants (e.g., David and Samuel in 1 Samuel 16). Since the focus of this course is on the OT historical books, and not on biblical theology as a whole, the theological issues must be restricted to those raised within the OT historical books themselves and not issues of Christological interpretation raised in the New Testament (e.g., parallels between Joshua and Jesus, David and Jesus, etc.).
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b. Explain the difficulty briefly but carefully, citing at least one critic who concludes that the Bible is
flawed in some way due to this difficulty.
c. Clearly list and summarize the various evangelical viewpoints on the difficulty.
d. Explain your own conclusions about the matter and how you would answer a person who was
struggling with their faith due to this issue.
3. Address A Difficult Cultural Issue
a. Select a significantly difficult cultural issue such as the sacrificing of Jephthahs daughter, levirate
marriage in Ruth, why Israel was tempted to worship at pagan high places, Solomons many wives and concubines, Elishas severe curse upon the young men who mocked him in 2 Kings 2, or the condemnation of intermarriage in Ezra.
b. Explain the difficulty briefly but carefully, citing at least one critic who concludes that the Bible is flawed in some way due to this difficulty.
c. Clearly list and summarize the various evangelical viewpoints on the difficulty.
d. Explain your own conclusions about the matter and how you would answer a person who was
struggling with their faith due to this issue.
In addition to research and interpretive conclusions, your ALP should have at least two pages of application. Ideally, you should make three to five points of application. It is not necessary to wait until the end of the paper to make applications to contemporary milieu. Obviously some topics listed above may be more amenable to application than others; for example, questions about cultural practices, and even theological questions, are more open to discussion than are hard-and-fast historical questions.
Choose wisely, understanding that the university is moving towards more emphasis on application in the ALP than in the past.