TRS 201: Foundations of Theology

Theologian of the Day Instructions

TRS 201: Foundations of Theology

The Main Goal

  • This semester you are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to lead our class with a brief (~5 minute) presentation/discussion about a passage that only you have read.
  • The main goal is for your to practice being a theologian! You should learn what you can and then form some educated opinions about what you read. You are the expert!

Questions to Consider (Answer each main point using whatever subpoints you need)

  • 1) What is happening within the text? (Much of this will come from simply reading your passage.)
    • Who are the characters?
    • What are they saying/doing? What is going on? What’s the big idea?
    • What is notable about what they are saying or doing?
    • Are there any images, illustrations, parables, or phrases that stand out?
  • 2) What is happening around the text? (Most of this will come from research.)
    • What book is it in? Is that Old or New Testament? Is it Torah, History, Prophets, Gospels, Epistles, etc.?
    • Do the commentaries add any other unique insights into what is happening?
    • What genre does this seem to be? Is it a story, a song, a prophecy, wisdom, etc.?
    • How do you think people might have understood this in the past?
  • 3) What is interesting, unique, special, or challenging? (These are your thoughts on what you learned.)
    • What is important or interesting about what is happening?
    • How does your reading connect to the main reading for the day?
    • Is there anything that really strikes you about this passage or the comments you read about it? Is there anything you find interesting? Is there anything you disagree with?

Resources (Your Study Bible and one commentary are a good place to start. Don’t use more than 2-3 commentaries)

  • Use the comments in your Study Bible, as well as the Reader’s Guide before each book and in the beginning of the Study Bible. This should be the primary place that you look.
  • In addition, the following are available in our library or for free online (you can use other commentaries too!):
    • The New Collegeville Bible Commentary (The Catholic University Library has this online.)
    • org (Free online Bible Study tool)
  • Avoid just Googling stuff about your Bible passage. There’s a lot of dubious stuff out there.

Presenting (About 5 minutes [4-7] teaching your peers about this text.)

  • Make sure you tell the class what the text is!
  • This does not have to be written and read word-for-word, but make sure that you at least have noted!
  • You can use discussion questions for a portion of this, but they must have substance. “How might you react to this situation today?” is much better than “What do you all think about that?”
  • Post a summary or PowerPoint in the Discussion Board on BlackBoard.


The Paper (Due at the time of your presentation)

  • 1-2 pages on what is happening within the text
  • 1-2 pages on what is happening around the text
  • 1-2 pages on what you find unique, interesting, or challenging
  • Cite ideas that are not your own


  • Most people speak 125-150 words per minute. If you write your whole presentation, that is 600-750 words.
  • Consult Mr. xxx’s Guide to Writing Papers. See the last page of this instruction for grading rubric.
  • For your presentation: Imagine presenting, either visualizing the whole thing or reading it out loud.
  • For your paper: Write it, set it aside, read it later.
  • Go to the Writing Center with your paper. Turn in your Receipt for an extra 3%.

TL:DR: Read your passage. Learn what’s happening in and around it. Present it. Write it. Success!

Scoring Rubric for Papers*

Depth of research and reporting                                                          40%

Organization, style, mechanics                                                             30%

Integration of course material                                                                         20%

Appropriate notes and documentation (MLA, Chicago, Turabian)     10%