THST 110: Introduction to the New Testament
Felix Just, S.J.

Guidelines for Written Exercises

Exercise #1  |  Exercise #2  |   Exercise #3  |  Exercise #4  |  Exercise #5
Extra Credit A  |  Extra Credit B

See also the page of  GENERAL GUIDELINES AND TIPS  FOR  WRITTEN  EXERCISES, including proper format for BIBLICAL REFERENCES.

Exercise #1 - Initial Impressions of the Gospel according to Mark  (due Monday, 1/22/01)



Read the entire Gospel according to Mark quickly, but carefully, if possible at one sitting:

Right after you've read the whole Gospel, make some notes about your overall impressions of this text:
  1. What did you notice that surprised or impressed you about the way JESUS is portrayed here?
  2. How would you summarize the main message that MARK wanted to give his original readers?
  3. What major images and themes stood out as most important for YOU as you read this Gospel?
Note: If you have read all of Mark's Gospel before, or have heard most of its material in small pieces in the past (e.g. in church services), then please contrast your new impressions with your previous perceptions.

Writing Assignment:

Write 1½ pages about your initial impressions of Mark, addressing all three of the questions above (about JESUS, about MARK, about YOU):

Exercise #2 - The Christology of the Gospel according to . . .   (due Monday, 2/19/01)


1) Choose either the Gospel according to Matthew, or Luke, or John as your focus text. As you read this entire Gospel, pay attention to the four ways in which your Evangelist expresses his Christology: 2) For overviews and background material, read and study the following secondary sources: 3) Use the "Bibloi" program from the LMU Library Reference Area computers to find out how often and exactly where the various Christological titles are used in the entire Bible (OT & NT!), but especially in your Gospel. Written Assignment:
Write a short but detailed paper (1½ to 2 pages) describing the Christology of the Gospel you chose: As always, pay attention to the quality of your writing and the format of your paper, and make sure that you back up what you say with specific examples from the Bible (citing exact chapter & verse references).

At the end of your paper, briefly list the bibliographical information for the specific dictionary articles you used (not just the dictionary itself). Use the proper format for these bibliographical references, as explained on the "Writing Guidelines" webpage.  Do not list the HCSB, Perkins, my webpages, or the Bibloi program, but only the articles from the Bible Dictionaries you used.

If possible, in order to save paper, please print on both sides of the same page (if you can adjust your printer settings). Use either double-spacing or 1½-line spacing, but not single-spacing, to leave room for the professor's comments.

Exercise #3 - The Geography of the New Testament (due Monday, 3/12/01)



1) Choose ONE of the following Roman Provinces with its cities [signup on the list in class - first come, first served!]:

2) Study Maps 12 and 17 in the back of your HCSB; to see exactly where your region and its cities are located. See also my NT Geography webpage.

3) Use the Bibloi program to find out exactly where this province (and its important cities - listed in parentheses above) is mentioned in the New Testament. Then look up those passages in your Bible, especially but not only in the canonical Acts of the Apostles, to see what happens in that province and/or its cities in the first Christian century.

4) For information about the geographical location and political history of your province, look up all of the appropriate articles in at least two of the following standard references: the Anchor Bible Dictionary (6 vols.), the Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible (3 vols. plus Supplement), the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, the Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, or the Illustrated Bible Dictionary (all in the reference area of the LMU library). Do not use online sources for this assignment!


Write a report (2-2½ pages, slightly longer than usual) on the region/cities you selected:

Make sure you write well, proof-read carefully, check your grammar and content, and do a good job on this paper!

REMINDER on Bibliographical Format: Be specific! Give credit where credit is due!
List not only the names of your two Bible dictionaries, but the exact authors, titles, volume & page numbers of all the articles you used.

    Author's last name, first name. "Article Title." Dictionary Title (editor; city: publisher, year), vol. & pp. #s.

See the "Writing Guidelines" webpage for examples.

Exercise #4 - Pauline Teachings Then and Now (extended deadline: Friday, 4/6/01)



Choose one of the following passages from Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians:  5:1-13; 6:1-11; 7:1-24; 7:17-40; 11:1-16; 12:1-31
Read it closely and carefully, and reread it in several different modern English translations.

Analyze carefully what is stated, what is implied, and what is presupposed in your passage:

  1. What do the Corinthian Christians to whom Paul is writing seem to be saying and doing?
    Why? Why do they think their thoughts and actions are compatible with their Christian faith?

  2. What is Paul himself arguing that they ought to do and/or think instead?
    Why? What reasons does he give in trying to convince them to change their ways?

  3. What is the continued relevance of this passage for our world today?
    Is any situation in our own society the same or similar today? Do Paul's arguments still apply? How?
    Is the situation today different? How? What aspects of Paul's arguments no longer apply? Why not?


Write a short paper (2 to 2 pages) explaining the results of your analysis of the passage you selected.

Exercise #5"The New Testament and. (Your College Major or Other Field of Interest)"
(extended deadline: Friday, April 20, 2001 - but proposals due Friday, April 6)



  1. Choose any topic you wish that is somehow related to the New Testament and another field of interest to you, preferably your college major here at LMU, or some other academic area.
  2. Think about the interconnectedness between the two. How does our study of the NT affect your understanding of the other field? How does the other field affect your understanding of the NT?
  3. Think about how you would like to present the results of your research. It could be in the form of a written paper (2-3 pages), but could also be an academic or creative project of some other kind.
  4. Use some additional reference works for your research - but which ones will depend on what topic you propose.


  1. Write up a brief (one full page) but sufficiently detailed outline or proposal of what you would like to research and write about. Turn this in by Friday, April 6 (or earlier), so that I can look it over and give you some feedback.
  2. Turn in your completed project or paper by Friday, April 20 (one week before classes end).

Extra Credit Opportunity A - Films and Videos about Jesus and His Times
(due on or before Friday, 2/23/01, the day of our midterm exam - worth up to 20 extra points, depending on the quality of your analysis!)


Watch one of the films or videos about the life of Jesus listed below (most are available in the Media Dept. of the LMU library). Pay special attention to which episodes the film/video includes from which of the four Gospels (take notes as you are watching). To help you recall which Gospels contain which stories or scenes from Jesus' life, use the Bibloi program to search for distinctive keywords, or look at the "Table of Parallel Passages in the Four Gospels" in your HarperCollins Study Bible (pp. 1841-55). Writing:
Write a report (2-3 pages) in which you analyze the film from the perspective of our study of the four Gospels, answering the questions posed above.  Conclude with your impressions about how this film portrays Jesus overall.  Is the presentation fairly close to one or more of the Gospels, or how is the film different from the biblical portrayals of Jesus?  Please write succinctly and carefully, with plenty of explicit biblical references.  Spell-check and proof-read your paper before turning it in, so that you can earn the maximum number of extra points.  I encourage you to watch/discuss the film with some of your classmates, but obviously each student must write his/her own paper.  Do not plagiarize from online film reviews!

Videos Available in LMU Library:
(Hints: first check the library's online catalog for descriptions of each one;  most of these productions are about two hours long; if they are significantly longer, you should cover about a 2-hour portion, as indicated below;  the library has a few other videos that are too old, too boring, or too short, so only use the ones listed here):

Extra Credit Opportunity B - Films and Videos about the Growth of the Early Church

(due on or before Friday, 4/27/01, the last day of classes - worth up to 20 extra points, depending on quality!)


Watch a video related to the Early Christian Church. You may either choose one of the videos listed below (available in the Media Dept. in the LMU library) or another video that you have access to elsewhere (family, rental store, etc.).
As you are watching the video, have your Bible open and follow along in the text (the Acts of the Apostles or whatever other biblical books are most closely related to your video). Analyze which episodes of the biblical text are stressed in the video and which are omitted. Note also what portions of the film are not based directly on the Bible. Use the "Pause" button occasionally to stop and think about portions of the film as you are watching it! Also, to help you find where the particular stories or scenes are in the Bible, use the Bibloi program to search for distinctive names or keywords.


Write a report (slightly longer than usual: about three pages) in which you analyze the film from the perspective of our study of the New Testament:
As always, remember to back up your claims with lots of specific references to the biblical texts (cite chapter & verse numbers).
And obviously: Write carefully, and make sure you proof-read the entire paper before you turn it in for credit.

Videos Available in LMU Library:
(Hints: first check the library's online catalog for descriptions of each one;  most of these productions are about two hours long; if they are significantly longer, you should cover about a 2-hour portion, as indicated below;  the library has a few other videos that are too old, too boring, or too short, so please ask the professor if you wish to use any video not listed here):

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This page was last updated on  10/01/01.