Sample Student Theses

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Below are downloads (PDF format) of the M.A. (Religion) theses of some of our graduates to date.

Note: Certain requirements for current thesis students have changed since earlier theses were completed.

Gregory Cline 2020
Hikari Ishido 2020
Jeffrey Johnson 2020
Elizabeth Krulick 2020
Peter Vaughn 2020
Jason Burns 2019
Jonathan Herr 2019
David Lange 2019
Steven Neighbors 2019
Nancy Nolan 2019
Kevin D. Pagan 2019
Ronald A. Cieslak 2019
Scott Davis 2018
R. Shane Hartley 2018
Chadwick Haygood 2018
Brian Mesimer 2018
Dave Perrigan 2018
Shane Prim 2018
Michael Prodigalidad 2018
Craig Riggall 2018
Viktor Szemerei 2018
Sam Webb 2018
Charles Betters 2017
Jeffery Blick 2017
Aaron Johnstone 2017
John Kidd 2017
Dean Klein 2017
Matthew Lanser 2017
Michael Pettingill 2017
Tyler Prieb 2017
James Rosenquist 2017
Adam Sinnett 2017
Andrew Warner 2017
Jeffrey Chipriano 2016
Ryan Dennis 2016
Eric Fields 2016
Dianne Geary 2016
Richard Gimpel 2016
Robert Holman 2016
Steven Johnstone 2016
Ben Jolliffe 2016
Paul Y. Kim 2016
Paul LeFavor 2016
Adam Mabry 2016
Christopher Smithson 2016
Jason Jolly 2015
Eric Mitchell 2015
Kevin Shoemaker 2015
Pei Tsai 2015
Tina Walker 2015
Maria Colfer 2014
Paul Hamilton 2014
Thomas Harr 2014
Phillip Hunter 2014
Jon Jordan 2014
Jeff Lammers 2014
David Reichelderfer 2014
Clell Smyth 2014
Jordan Vale 2014
Glenn Waddell 2014
William Cron 2013
Andrew Hambleton 2013
Ian Macintyre 2013
Brian Ruffner 2013
Paul Schlehlein 2013
John Spina 2013
Geoffrey Stabler 2013
Nathan Carr 2012
Joe Chestnut 2012
Christopher DiVietro 2012
Alicia Gower 2012
Matthew Harlow 2012
Robert Huffstedtler 2012
Matthew Lukowitz 2012
Matthew Monahan 2012
Robert Olson 2012
Sam Sinns 2012
Michael Chipman 2011
Keith Elder 2011
Robert Getty 2011
Aaron Hartman 2011
Christopher Haven 2011
Frederick Lo 2011
Scott McManus 2011
David Palmer 2011
Steven Saul 2011
Frank Sindler 2011
Bruce Smith 2011
David Stiles 2011
Linda Stromsmoe 2011
Ying Chan Fred Wu 2011
Patrick Donohue 2010
Chuck Goddard 2010
Steve Hays 2010
David Herding 2010
Samuel Masters 2010
Landon Rowland 2010
Jason Wood 2010
Gerald L. Chrisco 2009
J. L. Gerdes 2009
Joseph C. Ho 2009
Dan Jensen 2009
Michael H. McKeever 2009
Michael Newkirk 2009
Andrew Sherrill 2009
Anthony R. Turner 2009
Jason Webb 2009
Mark A. Winder 2009
Renfred Errol Zepp 2009
Daniel A. Betters 2008
Lynnette Bond 2008
Claude Marshall 2008
Robinson W. Mitchell 2008
James W. Ptak 2008
Randy C. Randall 2008
Ken Stout 2008
Shin C. Tak 2008
Daniel A. Weightman 2008
Ronald S. Baines 2007
Erick John Blore 2007
Phillip Gene Carnes 2007
Kevin Chiarot 2007
J. Grady Crosland, M.D. 2007
Natalie P. Flake 2007
Dante Spencer Mably 2007
Jim Maples 2007
Daniel Millward 2007
Timothy James Nicholls 2007
Greg Schneeberger 2007
Steven Walker 2007
Michael Winebrenner 2007
Andrew Young 2007
Richard G. Abshier 2006
Dennis Di Mauro 2006
Jeffrey Hamling 2006
Jonathan Ray Huggins 2006
Bradley D. Johnson 2006
Ronald A. Julian 2006
Noah Denver Manring 2006
Daniel Craig Norman 2006
James Mark Randle 2006
Garry M. Senna 2006
Joseph Olan Stubbs 2006
Young C. Tak 2006
Stephen R. Turley 2006
Jeremy Alder 2005
John Gordon Duncan 2005
Mary Lyn Huffman 2005
Gregory Perry 2005
Taylor Wise 2005
Joshua Guzman 2004
Trevor C. Johnson 2004
Michael Munoz 2004
Yaroslav Viazovski 2004
Jack Williamson 2004
Dale Courtney 2003
Bruce Etter 2002

thesis for theology

Digital Commons @ Luther Seminary


Master of Theology Theses

Theses/dissertations from 2024 2024.

Theological Foundations for Shobi's Table Extending Hospitality in Hunger Ministry , Esther Kristianti Sianipar

How Can Pastors Who Are Working with Youth in Tanzania Help Youth Resolve Christian-Muslim Tensions? , Ombeni Martin Ulime

Theses/Dissertations from 2021 2021

Poverty Alleviation in the Rural Areas of Kunene Region in Namibia: The Role of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) , Jeremia Ekandjo

Theses/Dissertations from 2020 2020

Missional Discipleship Within the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria , Innocent Webinumen Anthony

Empowering Laity to Engage in Pastoral Care Ministry: A Proposal for Capacity Building and Supervision for Larger Congregation with Special Reference to Kohima Ao Baptist Church, Nagaland, India. , Tsuwainla Jamir

The Social Role of Worship: A Reading of Micah 6:1-8 , Khin Win Kyi

Murmuring Met with Mercy and Grace: An Examination of the Pre-Sinai Wilderness Wanderings Traditions , Anna Rask

Theses/Dissertations from 2019 2019

A Reinterpretation of Chin Christian Spirituality Beyond One Century in the Light Of Martin Luther's Freedom Of a Christian , Bawi Dua

New Every Morning: Epectasy as a Theology for Innovation , Joel Hinck

The Church’s Call to Minister to Refugees: A Case Study on Liberian Refugees in Minnesota , Rufus Kudee

Apostolicam Ecclesiam: Socio-Liturgical Interpretation of the Mission of the Church in the Perspective of Friedrich Nietzsche's "Antichrist" , Sebastian Ryszard Madejski

Developing Adaptive Leaders: An Initial Intervention for Transforming a Church Culture , Molly Schroeder

Theses/Dissertations from 2018 2018

The Need for Older Adults’ Ministry in the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) , Bitrus Habu Bamai

Luther's Understanding of Grace and Its Implications for Administration of the Lord's Supper in the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria (LCCN) , Yelerubi Birgamus

Living the American Dream: Faith Formation and the Missio Dei Dilemma among Seventh Day Adventist African American Immigrant Families , Enock Ariga Marindi

Lakota Cultural Fusion and Revitalization of Native Christian Identity , Kelly Sherman-Conroy

The Word-of-God Conflict in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in the 20th Century , Donn Wilson

The Rupture That Remains: A Trauma-Informed Pastoral Theology , Eric Worringer

Theses/Dissertations from 2017 2017

The Challenge of Being in the Minority: Palestinian Christian Theology in Light of Christian Zionism Post-1948 , Medhat S. Yoakiem

Theses/Dissertations from 2016 2016

Towards Beloved Community: Racial Reconciliation through Multiracial Missional Churches , Gray Amos Kawamba

Sanctification in Adolescence: How Karl Barth’s Two-Fold Critique of the Church Could Influence Youth Ministry Practices Today , Joel Vander Wal

Theses/Dissertations from 2015 2015

The Absolving Word : Luther's Reformational Turn , Matthew W. McCormick

The Defiled Imago Dei and Forgiveness: The Tensions Between Ethnicity and Humanity in the Image of God in the Context of the Ethiopian Churches , Wondimu Legesse Sonessa

Theses/Dissertations from 2012 2012

Widowhood Care and Empowerment in 1 Timothy 1:3-16: A Case Study of the Evangelical Methodist Church of Christ as a Paradigm for African Instituted Churches , Millicent Yeboah Asuamah

Theses/Dissertations from 2008 2008

Understanding the Nature and Impact of Alcoholism : Implications for Ministry in Kenya , Margaret Kemunto Obaga

Theses/Dissertations from 1963 1963

An Approach to the Interpretation of the Self-Designation of Jesus: The Son of Man , Marlin Eugene Ingebretson

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Open Access Dissertations and Theses


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The Open Access Dissertations and Theses Collection consists of electronic versions of dissertations and theses produced by students of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The Boyce Digital Library search box searches the full text of these dissertations.

The dissertations within this collection are available to all researchers, however some of the dissertations are only available after the expiration of an embargo period.

Recent Submissions

Strengthening the partnership between the church and parachurch in the calling and care of cru’s international interns , devil’s devices: william perkins and the integration of spiritual warfare and pastoral counseling , augustine’s understanding of the human soul: origin, life, and end , a powerful word: on defining and responding justly to abuse , application for the sake of transformation: a study of thomas manton’s categorical approach to sermon application , a mixed methods multiple case study of church-based multiethnic leadership development programs , there is a light that never goes out: the shining face of moses in exodus 34:29−35 , the role of female biblical counselors in complementarian churches , put on the new man: embodied sanctification in ephesians 4:22-24 , the black church as context for the formation of black institutions of higher education: a case study of simmons college , salvation as victory: a study on divine grace and human responsibility in salvation in the book of revelation through the lens of the conquering motif , from this day forward: new covenant inauguration in hebrews , utilizing a reformed sanctification framework to assess and evaluate c. peter wagner’s doctrine of sanctification , how should we then respond a christian philosophical and theological response to transgender ideology , paul’s gospel approach to the athenians: a missional implication for contemporary nepalese hindu contexts , the serpent and the sainte-chapelle: the genesis and iterative development of a writing pedagogy for christian colleges and seminaries , "their peculiar redeemer": robert sandeman and the doctrine of the atonement , “the steady obedience of his church”: the ecclesial spirituality of joseph kinghorn and the communion controversy, 1814–1827 , covenant and identity formation in the second century , the impact of open theism on c. peter wagner's philosophy of discipleship .


Home > Academic Departments > School of Theology and Seminary > Graduate Papers/Theses

School of Theology and Seminary Graduate Papers/Theses

School of Theology and Seminary Graduate Papers/Theses

Submissions from 2022 2022.

(Graduate Paper) The Role and Characteristic of Love in 1 Corinthians 13 , Ninh Van Nguyen

(Master's Thesis) Synodality as the Listening Church: Pope Francis Continues and Expands Vatican II's Teaching on Collegiality , Toan Van Phan O.Cist

Submissions from 2021 2021

(Graduate Paper) Pauline Theology: The Interdependently Called Body of Christ , Katryna Bertucci

(Master's Thesis) The Glory of the Lord Whose Likeness is as the Appearance of a Human Being/Adam: A Study of Ezekiel’s Son of Man/Adam Anthropology , Timothy R. Schmeling

(Graduate Paper) The Power, (Problem), and Potential of Prayer , Meghan E. Stretar

Submissions from 2020 2020

(Graduate Paper) How Can Catholic Youth Programs Improve the Youth’s Connection To the Mass? , Elizabeth Cook

(Graduate Paper) Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall: A Glimpse Into the Theme of Righteousness Through the Anthropology, Theology, and Spirituality of the Psalms , Elizabeth Cook

(Graduate Paper) Introducing Queer Theology , Cole Epping

(Graduate Paper) Taking Care of the Forgotten: A Pastoral Response to the Hospice Care Professional , Constance Friebohle

(Graduate Paper) A Global Church in the Local Parish: Fostering Intercultural Competency for Indonesian Catholic Ministry in the United States , Janice Kristanti

(Graduate Paper) The Indispensability of Inculturation For Effective Evangelization: Revisiting The Evangelization of Sub-Saharan Africa , Mark Obeten

(Graduate Paper) Seeking a New Paradigm for Youth Ministry of Waegwan Abbey, South Korea , Cyprian Ji-Eung Ryu

(Graduate Paper) The Catholic Church and the Turn of the 20th Century: An Anthropology of Human Flourishing and a Church for Peace , Maria Siebels

(Graduate Paper) The Wounded Body of Christ: Social Trauma in Pastoral Care , Kelsi Watters

Submissions from 2019 2019

(Graduate Paper) A Non-Dualistic Reading of Body and Soul in the Gospel of Matthew: Focusing on Matthew 10:39 in the Context of Discipleship , Alexander Blechle

Submissions from 2018 2018

(Graduate Paper) Catholic Social Teaching and the Christian Responsibility to the Poor , Rose Aspholm

(Master's Thesis) Not Quite Calvinist: Cyril Lucaris a Reconsideration of His Life and Beliefs , Stephanie Falkowski

(Graduate Paper) Life or Death and Other False Dichotomies: A Theology of Hospice , Kayla Stock

Submissions from 2017 2017

(Master's Thesis) On Dionysian Theological Methodology , Joseph Arrendale

(Graduate Paper) The Transcendence of the Apprehension of Beauty , Mary Abigail Coleman

(Graduate Paper) The Paradox of Remarkable/Unremarkable Julian of Norwich , John P. Fitzgibbons

(Book Chapter) Agape Unbound in Silence and Deep River , Elizabeth Cameron Galbraith

(Graduate Paper) Formed for Diverse Communion: Toward Developing An Ecumenical Formation Process for New Members of Holy Wisdom Monastery’s Sunday Assembly , Rosy Kandathil OSB

(Graduate Paper) A Garden Enclosed, A Fountain Sealed Up: Paradoxical and Generative Metaphors of Enclosure in Medieval Female Anchoritism , Cody Maynus Obl.S.B.

(Graduate Paper) The Gospel of Mark , Nancy McCabe

(Master's Thesis) A Theological Retrieval of Communal Parenting as a Moral Response to Baby Stealing and Childlessness in Nigeria , Henry U. Omeike

(Graduate Paper) Do This, in Memory of Me! , Joseph Qiu-Lin Zhang

Submissions from 2016 2016

(Master's Thesis) A Church Built on Charity: Augustine's Ecclesiology , Michael J. Clinger Jr

(Graduate Paper) A Story of Identity in the Christian East , Manya Gustafson

(Graduate Paper) Jude's Enochian Apocalypse , Lucian López OSB

(Graduate Paper) Matthew's Least Brothers and It's Application in the Catholic Church , Runbao Zhang

Submissions from 2015 2015

(Electronic Book) Illuminating Christ , Jessie Bazan

(Master's Thesis) Gifting Freedom to the Samaritan: Considerations on access to both the sacramental event and salvation for those who, for whatever reason, find themselves outside the Church, and the consequences of identity for the Church in gifting such access , C. A. Chase

(Graduate Paper) My Brother's a Jerk and Dad's Gonna Spank Him: Roles and Relations in Obadiah , Aletta Stumo

Submissions from 2014 2014

(Graduate Paper) Christology, Theology, & Evolution in Celia Deane-Drummond's Christ and Evolution , Trevor Beach SJ

(Graduate Paper) Joy as Illumination: Participation in God's Life-giving Trinitarian Love , Trevor Beach SJ

(Graduate Paper) Consideration of the Church's Identity and Mission, Predicated on the Church Be-ing 'Ligamen' (Bond) , C. A. Chase

(Graduate Paper) Observations on the Performative Force of the Qyama and the Ihidaye, and its Pertinancy Today , C. A. Chase

(Graduate Paper) Christ, the Meeting Point of Sacramental and Trinitarian Theology , Nathan Peter Chase

(Graduate Paper) The Christological Remnants within Eucharistic Prayers , Nathan Peter Chase

(Master's Thesis) With Eyes That See: The Role of Spiritual Vision in the Ascent of Nyssen Noetic Theology , Benjamin Rush

(Master's Thesis) St. John of the Cross and the Denudation of the Soul , Wesley Sutermeister

Submissions from 2013 2013

(Graduate Paper) A History and Analysis of the Missel Romain pour les Diocese du Zaire , Nathan Peter Chase

(Graduate Paper) The Development of the Epiclesis: Alexandrian or Syrian? , Nathan Peter Chase

Submissions from 2011 2011

(Graduate Paper) Short-Term Solution, Long-Term Problem: The Rite of Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest and its Use in the United States of America , Christopher Angel

(Graduate Paper) Welcome (Back): The Use of Initiatory Elements in the Reconciliation of Heretics to the Early Church , Christopher Angel

(Graduate Paper) The Gospel of Matthew: The Temple Cleansing in 21:12-17 , Kasey Devine

(Graduate Paper) The "Ladder" of the Lord's Plagues , Kasey DeVine

Submissions from 2010 2010

(Graduate Paper) St. John Chrysostom and His Message of Social Justice Today , Joel Cassady

(Graduate Paper) Trinitarian Christology: The Grammar of The Christian Faith and the Foundation for a Theology of Religious Pluralism , Eric Christensen

(Graduate Paper) Entering into the Profound Mystery: Yves Congar’s Via Media on the Salvation of People of Non-Christian Religions , Elizabeth M. Cunneen

Submissions from 2009 2009

(Graduate Paper) Ego Eimi Formula and a Sense of Continuity in John’s Gospel Chapter Sixth (Jn 6: v.20, vss.35-58) , John Changjin Bai

(Graduate Paper) Jesus the Christ as a Jun-Zi in Confucian Perspectives , John Changjin Bai

(Graduate Paper) An Exegesis of 1 Corinthians 12:31 - 13:1-3 , Gregory Congote OSB

(Graduate Paper) Gregory Palamas and Hesychasm , Gregory Congote OSB

(Graduate Paper) Modern Usury: The Moral Challenge of Credit Cards in Light of Catholic Teaching and Practice in the Past and the Present , David R. Smoker

Submissions from 2008 2008

(Graduate Paper) Community in the Theology of Søren Aabye Kierkegaard , Nicholas Coffman

(Graduate Paper) Jean-Luc Marion’s Theology of Eucharistic Presence , Nicholas Coffman

(Graduate Paper) Proclaiming the Truth of Beauty , Larry Fraher

(Graduate Paper) Augustine of Hippo and Elizabeth de la Trinite: A Conversation across the Centuries , Vernon W. Goodin

(Graduate Paper) "Who Do You Say That I Am?" The Role of Story in Christology , Vernon W. Goodin

(Graduate Paper) Sufficere, “It Is Enough”: Avarice vs. Simplicity and Detachment in the Rule of Saint Benedict , Arlen M. Hanson

(Graduate Paper) Stories in Stained Glass: An Analysis of the Stained-Glass Windows at Saint Norbert Abbey in De Pere, Wisconsin , Timothy A. Johnston

(Master's Thesis) Wittgenstein and Worship: Investigations of Liturgical Language-Games and Their Formative Role in Christian Identity , Michelle Kathleen Weber

Submissions from 2007 2007

(Graduate Paper) Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Prophet & Martyr , Fr. Michael Calhoun OSB

(Graduate Paper) Saint Basil: Monastic Reformer , Fr. Michael Calhoun OSB

(Graduate Paper) Looking at Conflict Diamonds Through the Lens of Catholic Social Teaching , Heather Cherpelis

(Graduate Paper) “Allegorical Typologies” of the Eucharist: An Analysis of Some Eastern Liturgical Commentaries , Nathaniel G. Costa

(Graduate Paper) “For All the Saints”: A Feast for All People and All Time , Nathaniel G. Costa

(Graduate Paper) Eternal Hope: The Story of Sr. Mary Luke Tobin and Other Women who Participated in Vatican Council II , Megan S. Enninga

(Graduate Paper) Vulgar and Ascetic Christians: the Myth of a Higher Spirituality The rhetoric of monastic profession as a second baptism , August L. Gothman

(Graduate Paper) Active Participation and the Song of the Assembly , William Griffiths

(Graduate Paper) Transforming both the gifts and the people: Eucharistic presence , William Griffiths

(Graduate Paper) “You Can Become All Flame”: Do the Desert Fathers Have Anything to Say to Us Today? , Arlen M. Hanson

(Graduate Paper) Toward a Domestic Ecclesiology: The "Domestic Church" Finds Articulation in Pope John Paul II's "Theology of the Body" , Craig James St. Clair

(Graduate Paper) Celebrating the Communion Rite , Jay Stimac

(Graduate Paper) Karl Rahner: On Grace and Salvation , Nicole Streit

(Graduate Paper) One Body, One Spirit, One Priesthood; Many Members, Many Charisms, Many Ministries: Reflections Anglican and Catholic , Cody C. Unterseher

(Graduate Paper) Arianism, Athanasius, and the Effect on Trinitarian Thought , Andy Witchger

(Graduate Paper) How the Parish and School of St. Agnes Creates Vocations , Andy Witchger

Submissions from 2006 2006

(Graduate Paper) How Paul and the Jerusalem Council Might Speak to Division in the Twenty-First Century Church , Mary Birmingham

(Master's Thesis) Becoming One Spirit: Origen and Evagrius Ponticus on Prayer , Hilary Case OSB

(Graduate Paper) Syncletica: Urban Ascetic and Desert Mother , Susan Dreyer OSB

(Graduate Paper) The Education of Heloise in Twelfth-Century France , Susan Dreyer OSB

(Graduate Paper) A Woman of the Reformation , Megan S. Enninga

(Graduate Paper) A Key and Classic Text: Ephesians 5:21-33 , Katinka Nadine Ellen Evers

(Graduate Paper) Concealing to Reveal: Modesty in Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body , Katinka Nadine Ellen Evers

(Graduate Paper) Sex in the City of God , Diana Macalintal

(Graduate Paper) The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ecclesial Discipleship and Redemption , Diane Draxler Pederson

(Graduate Paper) The Spiritual Potential of Poetry , Carl Schlueter

(Graduate Paper) Complicating the Poor Widow’s Gift: Exegesis on Mk. 12:41-44 , Timothy Traynor

(Graduate Paper) "We Should Glory in the Cross:" The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and its Contemporary Liturgical Significance , Cody C. Unterseher

Submissions from 2005 2005

(Graduate Paper) Hermeneutics and Liturgical Space: Interpreting the Domus Ecclesiae - Domus Dei , Gregory Reed Beath

(Graduate Paper) Eros: Human and Divine , Denae M. Fielder

(Graduate Paper) And the Question Became Flesh: Jesus the Catechist in the Gospel of John , Diana Macalintal

(Graduate Paper) Hesychast Prayer: Attending the Cosmic Banquet of the Heart , Tamara Ann Moore

(Graduate Paper) A Study in Spiritual Lineage: The "Influence and Noninfluence" of Pseudo-Dionysius on The Cloud of Unknowing , David M. Odorisio

(Graduate Paper) The Cistercian Spirit in Stone , David M. Odorisio

(Graduate Paper) Architectural Reforms of Eucharistic Reservation , Diane Draxler Pederson

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How to Write a Paper on a Biblical or Theological Topic

thesis for theology

Writing research papers is an excellent way to learn because it trains you to gather information, interpret it, and persuasively present an informed opinion. The process teaches you a great deal, but it also equips you to contribute to ongoing discussions on a given topic.

Here’s the basic process of writing a research paper on a biblical or theological topic, either for a class or for your own personal research. Start at the top, or skip to what topic interests you most.

  • Pick a topic
  • Research your topic
  • Construct an outline
  • Draft your paper
  • Revise and refine

Pick a Topic

Choosing the topic you want to research is often easier said than done. But perhaps the best advice to get the ball rolling is to narrow your scope. When your topic is too broad, you’ll likely find too much information (much of it unhelpful). But when your topic is appropriately focused, you can hone in on the information you need to gather and get down to the business of interpreting it.

For example, choosing to write a paper on the topic of sanctification is too broad to be helpful. But if you narrow your focus to a specific question about sanctification (for example: How do spiritual disciplines contribute to our sanctification?), you’ll find better direction for your research.

Remember, you don’t have to be an expert on the question you want to find an answer to—that’s what the research process will accomplish. You should, however, have an interest in the question and in finding an answer (or several!) to it.

For more on the process of researching and writing a paper, check out these resources:

  • The Craft of Research  – particularly chapter 3
  • Writing & Research: A Guide for Theological Students  by Kevin Gary Smith
  • Logos Academic Blog:   Work with Librarians to Help Students Write Better Papers

Logos Theological Topic Workflow

The Theological Topic Study Workflow in Logos guides you through the steps of studying a theological topic. It taps into the Lexham Survey of Theology and the built-in Theology Guide to give you the topic’s broader context, basic concepts, and issues associated with the topic. Review the biblical support and go deeper in your theological study by reading relevant sections from systematic theologies.

Research Your Topic

With your topic selected, it’s time to find the resources you’re going to use and dig into them. You may find that one resource offers the best discussion of your topic, but you can’t stop there! Researching well means considering opinions that differ from each other (and probably from your own). It’s in the conversation that emerges from engaging with multiple perspectives on a topic that real insight and understanding emerge.

Start the research phase by reviewing literature and building your bibliography, then consult standard sources and peer-reviewed journals.

1. Conduct a literature review and build your bibliography

The process of conducting a literature review and building a bibliography is an iterative process. It’s not a one-time step but a step you’ll return to repeatedly as you move through your research.

Essentially, in this step, you’re discovering what resources exist and cataloging them. As you begin to read the resources you discover, you’ll likely find references to other works that you’ll then want to read.

thesis for theology

Logos Topic Guide

The Topic Guide gathers information from your library about a topic or concept. Using the Logos Controlled Vocabulary dataset , the guide finds topics in your Bible dictionaries and other resources that correspond to the key term you enter.

2. Consult standard sources

Encyclopedias, commentaries, theological dictionaries, concordances, and other theological reference tools contain useful information that will orient you to the topic you’ve selected and its context, but their biggest help to you at this stage will in their bibliographies. Be sure to check the cross-references often.

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The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, rev. ed.  by E. A. Livingstone and F. L. Cross

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, since its first appearance in 1957, has established itself as the indispensable one-volume reference work on all aspects of the Christian Church. This Revised Edition, published in 2005, builds on the unrivaled reputation of the previous editions. Revised and updated, it reflects changes in academic opinion and Church organization.

thesis for theology

Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity (3 vols.)  by Angelo Di Berardino

The Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity covers eight centuries of the Christian church and comprises 3,220 entries by a team of 266 scholars from 26 countries representing a variety of Christian traditions. It draws upon such fields as archaeology, art and architecture, biography, cultural studies, ecclesiology, geography, history, philosophy, and theology.

thesis for theology

Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT) (10 vols.)  by Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, Geoffrey William Bromiley

This monumental reference work, complete in ten volumes, is the authorized and unabridged translation of the famous Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament, known commonly as “Kittel” and considered by many scholars to be the best New Testament dictionary ever compiled.

3. Consult peer-reviewed journals

Even if you’re writing on a single text (like John 15:1–8 or Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite’s The Divine Names), you need to see what your contemporaries have to say about it to situate your research in its context. This means consulting peer-reviewed journals. As you read, you’ll discover where scholars agree and disagree and how the study of that topic has advanced over time.

thesis for theology

Journal of Hebrew Scriptures (11 vols.)

The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures is an academic, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the study of the Hebrew Bible, and provides a forum for critical scholarly exchange. You’ll find hundreds of articles from top Hebrew scholars on trends in Hebrew and Old Testament scholarship, including historical, literary, textual, and interpretive topics.

Construct an Outline

This step is incredibly important, but it’s often overlooked. Start by refining your topic based on your research, then arrange your notes and research materials into a clear outline that will guide you toward a convincing and coherent argument.

See chapters 8 and 9 of  The Craft of Research  for more guidance on constructing your outline.

Draft Your Paper

You are now ready to draft your paper. Your initial focus is to expand your outline into paragraph form as straightforwardly as possible. While your outline will be essential as you draft, you don’t have to stick to it absolutely. You may discover as you write that a different structure or organization will better advance your argument. While you’re at it, add relevant quotations from your research to clarify your points or support your arguments.

Revise and Refine

Notice the word “draft” in the previous step. That word is intentionally selected because, arguably, the most important part of the writing process is in your revisions. Drafting gets the ball rolling, but revising is where you refine and revise your previous drafts, ensuring your argument is clear and forceful.

Before you send your final paper, you’ll want to make sure you’re writing clearly and using the right style. If you are in school, follow the rules of your academic handbook. If not, adopt a common style guide like APA, Turabian, or the  SBL Handbook of Style , and consult online guides like  EasyBib  or the  Chicago Manual of Style   for help. You can also find helpful writing advice in  The Elements of Style .

If there are multiple paragraphs, just add another paragraph tag. If you need more padding, use an additional text block section as you see below.

While this structure is helpful, you may find that some variation of it works better for you. Go with what works because, at the end of the day, a thoroughly researched and well-written paper is what you’re after.

See how Logos can power research and aid you in the writing process.

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Logos is the largest developer of tools that empower Christians to go deeper in the Bible.

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The Relationship of the Old Covenant to the Everlasting Covenant , Kumar Ashwani

Master's Theses from 2015 2015

Rita Nakashima Brock, Rebecca Ann Parker, and Governmental Atonement Theology , Andrew John Blosser

Master's Theses from 2014 2014

The Ethical Viability of Church Support of Moral Legislation , Jason Alexander Hines

Master's Theses from 2013 2013

Toward a Biblical View of Collective Responsibility for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Twenty-first Century , Miroslav Danihel

Master's Theses from 2012 2012

Protology and Eschatology in the Writings of John C. Polkinghorne: a Study of Contrastive Roles of Scripture , H. Nicholas De Lima

Socially Constructing God: Gender, Culture, and a Stratified Trinity , Landon P. Schnabel

Master's Theses from 2009 2009

The Doctrine of Sin in the Thought of George R. Knight: Its Context and Implications , Jamie Kiley

Master's Theses from 2008 2008

Reason in Theology: a Comparison of Fernando Canale and Wolfhart Pannenberg , Sven Fockner

Master's Theses from 1993 1993

Quantum Reality: Some Implications for Christian Theology , Charles Chinyoung Choo

Master's Theses from 1990 1990

Inerrancy and Sovereignty: a Case Study on Carl F. H. Henry , Joseph Karanja

Master's Theses from 1989 1989

The Final Generation: a Descriptive Account of the Development of a Significant Aspect of M.l. Andreasen's Eschatology as Related to His Treatment of the Sanctuary Doctrine Between 1924-1937 , Dwight Eric Haynes

Master's Theses from 1958 1958

An Investigation of the Concept of Perfectionism as Target in the Writings of Ellen G. White , F. W. Bieber

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Home > ARTSSCI > Theology > dissertations and theses

Theology Dissertations and Theses

The Theology Dissertations Series is comprised of dissertations authored by Marquette University's Theology Department doctoral students.

Theses/Dissertations from 2012 2012

Dominus Mortis: Martin Luther on the Incorruptibility of God in Christ , David Luy

The Church and the Mediation of Grace: A Reformed Perspective on Ordained Ministry and the Threefold Office of Christ , Michael Joe Matossian

From Cleansed Lepers to Cleansed Hearts: The Developing Meaning of Katharizo in Luke-Acts , Pamela Shellberg

Lonergan on the Historical Causality of Christ: An Interpretation of 'The Redemption: A Supplement to De Verbo Incarnato' , John Volk

The Christology of Theodoret of Cyrrhus: The Question of Its Development , Vasilije Vranic

Theses/Dissertations from 2011 2011

"Poor Maggot-Sack that I Am": The Human Body in the Theology of Martin Luther , Charles Lloyd Cortright

Intersex and Imago: Sex, Gender, and Sexuality in Postmodern Theological Anthropology , Megan K. DeFranza

Qoheleth: An Anti-apocalyptic Genre for a Message of Joy , Jerome Douglas

Renaming Abraham's Children: Election, Ethnicity and the Interpretation of Scripture in Romans 9 , Robert Bruce Foster

Lex Orandi, Lex Legendi: A Correlation of the Roman Canon and the Fourfold Sense of Scripture , Matthew Thomas Gerlach

The Way to God or God's Way to Us: The Theologies of Edward Farley and James McClendon in Critical Dialogue , Thomas W. Harrington

Early Christian Sex Change. The Ascetical Context of "Being Made Male" in Early Christianity , Jennifer Lynne Henery

The Trinitarian Theology of Irenaeus of Lyons , Jackson Jay Lashier

Renewing a Catholic Theology of Marriage through a Common Way of Life: Consonance with Vowed Religious Life-in-Community , Kent Lasnoski

Mercy, Justice, and Politics: John Paul II on Capital Punishment , Kevin E. Miller

The Assumption of All Humanity in Saint Hilary of Poitiers' Tractatus super Psalmos , Ellen Scully

Full, Conscious, and Active Participation: The Laity as Ecclesial Subjects in an Ecclesiology Informed by Bernard Lonergan , Mary Utzerath

The Metaphysics and Intellective Psychology in the Natural Desire for Seeing God: Henri de Lubac and Neo-Scholasticism , Christine Wood

Theses/Dissertations from 2010 2010

Chosen Nation: Biblical Theopolitics and the Problem of American Christian Nationalism , Braden P. Anderson

The Church's Unity and Authority: Augustine's Effort to Convert the Donatists , Gavril Andreicut

Word and Faith in the Formation of Christian Existence: A Study in Gerhard Ebeling's Rejection of the Joint Declaration , Scott A. Celsor

The Noetic Paschal Anthropos: Genesis 1:27 and the Theology of the Divine Image in Early Paschal Literature , Dragos Andrei Giulea

"The People Believe That He Has Risen from the Dead": The Gospel of Peter and Early Christian Apologetics , Timothy Henderson

The Septuagintal Isaian Use of Nomos in the Lukan Presentation Narrative , Mark Walter Koehne

The Body as Symbol: Bringing Together Theories of Sex/Gender and Race for Theological Discourse , Patricia Lewis

An Ecclesiology of Charisms in the Theology of Francis A. Sullivan , Michael Anthony Novak

The Enochic Watchers' Template and the Gospel of Matthew , Amy Elizabeth Richter

Visionary Ascents of Moses in Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum: Apocalyptic Motifs and the Growth of Visionary Moses Tradition , Kristine Johnson Ruffatto

Isaac of Stella, the Cistercians and the Thomas Becket Controversy: A Bibliographical and Contextual Study , Travis D. Stolz

Theses/Dissertations from 2009 2009

The Theology of the Holy Spirit According to Irenaeus of Lyons , Anthony A. Briggman

Wisdom Editing in the Book of Psalms: Vocabulary, Themes, and Structures , Steven Dunn

The Self-Donation of God: Gerhard Forde and the Question of Atonement in the Lutheran Tradition , Jack Kilcrease

Theological Hermeneutics in the Classical Pentecostal Tradition: A Typological Account , Louis William Oliverio Jr.

Inverberation - The Idiom of "God Among Us:" Karl Barth's Filial-Pneumatology as the Basic Structure of Theology , Aaron T. Smith

Pentecostal Theology According to the Theologians: An Introduction to the Theological Methods of Pentecostal Systematic Theologians , Christopher Adam Stephenson

"It seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us": Toward a Feminist Pneumatological Argument for Women in Ministry , Lisa P. Stephenson

Using "Chaos" in Articulating the Relationship of God and Creation in God's Creative Activity , Eric Michael Vail

Beyond Stewardship: Toward an Agapeic Environmental Ethic , Christopher J. Vena

Theses/Dissertations from 2008 2008

John Courtney Murray, S.J., and Incarnational Humanism , Richard S. Arndt

What the Law Cannot Do: Samuel DeWitt Proctor's Theological Response to An American Crisis, 1945-1997 , Adam L. Bond

A Great High Priest Who has Passed through the Heavens: In Quest of the Apocalyptic Roots of the Epistle to the Hebrews , James M. Carlson

The Breaking of the Tablets: A Comparison of the Egyptian Execration Ritual to Exodus 32:19 and Jeremiah 19 , Michael S. Donahou

The Mother of Christ As a Symbol of Christian Unity: A Case Study for Ecumenical Dialogue , Maura E. Hearden

Re-reading Yoder in Order to Conscientiously Engage Technology through the Practices of the Church , Paul C. Heidebrecht

The Catholic Church in Dialogue with Non-Christian Faith Traditions: Engaging Jacques Dupuis's Model of Religious Pluralism with Walter Ong's Concept of Dialogic Openness in Media Society , Marinus Chijioke Iwuchukwu

"Broken Nets": Augustine, Schisms and Rejuvenating Councils in North Africa , Fortunate Ojiako

The Sources of Ecclesiastes: The "Epic of Gilgamesh" as a Source Document for Ecclesiastes , Timothy Nalin Senapatiratne

The Sources of Ecclesiastes: The Epic of Gilgamesh As a Source Document for Ecclesiastes , Timothy Nalin Senapatiratne

A More thorough Trinitarian: Reconsidering Moses Stuart's Role in the Trinitarian Debate in New England, 1819-1850 , Jeffrey A. Wilcox

Theses/Dissertations from 2007 2007

Composition and Redaction in the Coptic Gospel of Mary , Ardyth L. Bass

The Angelomorphic Spirit in Early Christianity: Scripture and theology in Clement of Alexandria's Eclogae Propheticae and Adumbrationes , Bogdan G. Bucur

Roman Catholic social bioethics critiques secular bioethics: Fetal tissue research and vulnerable populations , Shawnee M Daniels-Sykes

Roman Catholic Social Bioethics Critiques Secular Bioethics: Fetal Tissue Research and Vulnerable Populations , Shawnee M. Daniels-Sykes

The Role of Human Creativity in the Theological Anthropology of Centesimus Annus and Its Implications for Christian Economic Practices , Kari-Shane Davis

The Mission Theology of the Irish Holy Ghost Fathers in Igboland, 1905-1970, in the Light of the Changing Face of Mission Today: Toward a Mission Theology for the Igbo Church , Charles Achunike Ebelebe

Matthew's Vision: The Unity of the Formula Citations in Matt 1:1-4:16 , Jeremy R. Holmes

Prophetic Catholicism: Appropriating John Courtney Murray, S.J., in Postmodern America , Jennifer Laske

Encounter - call - mission: Conversion in the writings of Hans Urs von Balthasar , Daniel W McGuire

The Harmony between the Right to Private Property and the Call to Solidarity in Modern Catholic Social Teaching , Constance J. Nielsen

Intersecting Narratives: The Quest for Identity in a Post-Traditional World and the Prophetic Message of Franz Kafka , Matthew T. Powell

ruah YHWH, ruah 'elohim: A case for literary and theological distinction in the Deuteronomistic History , John M Ragsdale

The Heart of Rahner: An Analysis of Karl Rahner's Theology Using Andrew Tallon's Theory of Triune Consciousness , Heidi Russell

Yahweh Will be My God "if": The Vow of Jacob and His Relationship to the God of His Fathers (Genesis 25-35) , Nathanael E. Schmiedicke

The Gate of Heaven Opens to the Trinity: The Trinitarian Mysticism of Adrienne von Speyr , Matthew Lewis Sutton

Theses/Dissertations from 2006 2006

The Trinitarian Ecclesiology of Dumitru Staniloae and Its Significance for Contemporary Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue , Radu Bordeianu

A Critical Assessment of Sacrament and Ethics in the Thought of Louis-Marie Chauvet , Timothy M. Brunk

Who Are the Wise? : A Critical Analysis of Film and Papal Social Teaching for Those Who Can Reclaim and Revitalize the Vision of a More Just America , Alejandro Crosthwaite

Tradition in Transformation: The Celebration of the Lord's Supper in the Reformed Church in America , Christopher Dorn

The Costly Witness of the Church: The World Council of Churches' Study on Ecclesiology and Ethics , John A. Jones

When Faith Judges History: The Anglo-American Religious and Political Experience, and Public Theology, As Missing Elements in Political and Liberation Theology , Ramón Luzárraga III

"Let Us Sing to the Lord": The Biblical Odes in the Codex Alexandrinus , James A. Miller

Nicholas of Lyra's Use of St. Thomas Aquinas' Expositio Super Iob Ad Litteram in His Postilla on Job , Troy P. Pflibsen

Rethinking Christian Salvation in the Light of Ghandi's Satyagraha , Terrence J. Rynne

The trinitarian theology of Marius Victorinus: Polemic and exegesis , John T Voelker

Modern Mormon Use of Patristic Sources to Validate the Utah-Mormon Church , Chris Welborn

The Challenge of Modern Inter-Orthodox Rapprochement and Reconciliation , Kenneth F. Yossa

Theses/Dissertations from 2005 2005

The Relevance of Bernard Lonergan's Notion of Self-Appropriation to a Mystical-Political Theology , Ian Bell

Moses, Adam and the Glory of the Lord in Ezekiel the Tragedian: On the Roots of a Merkabah Text , Silviu N. Bunta

Catholic Theology As a Means of Evangelization: The Witness of Francis Joseph Sheed , Christopher M. Carr

Aphrahat the Persian Sage and the Temple of God: A Study of Early Syriac Theological Anthropology , Stephanie K. Skoyles Jarkins

God so Loved the World: The Experience of Salvation in the Theological Project of Edward Schillebeeckx , Michael J. Marigliano

Narrating self, Narrating Other: A Pneumatological Approach to Apophatic Anthropology , Matthew John McKinnon

The Significance of Bernard Lonergan's Work on Bias for the Ethnic and Religious Conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa , Cyril Orji

The Subjective Dimension of Human Work: the Conversion of the Acting Person According to Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II and Bernard Lonergan , Deborah Savage

Theses/Dissertations from 2004 2004

Christine de Pizan and Biblical Wisdom: A Feminist-Theological Point of View , Bonnie A. Birk

A Reexamination of Nathan Scott's Literary Criticism in the Context of David Tracy's Fundamental Theology , William Donald Buhrman

Personal being: Polanyi, ontology, and Christian theology , Andrew Thomas Grosso

Solidarity in a Global Age: Bringing Forward the Vision of Populorum Progressio , Mari Rapela Heidt

The Human Son of God and the Holy Spirit: Toward a Pentecostal Incarnational Spirit Christology , S. D. L. Jenkins

Job As Proto-Apocalypse: Proposing a Unifying Genre , Timothy Jay Johnson

The Private World As Alienated: Economic Justice in a Culture of Privatized Individualism , Michael D. Lopez-kaley

Acting (Economic) Persons: Adam Smith and Karol Wojtyła/John Paul II As Sources for Economic Personalism , Megan Maloney

From Patriarch to the Youth: The Metatron Tradition in 2 Enoch , Andrei A. Orlov

The Question of the Church in North American Lutheranism: Toward An Ecclesiology of the Third Article , Cheryl M. Peterson

"Truly This is the Savior of the World": Christ and Caesar in the Gospel of John , Lance Bryon Richey

The Vow of Obedience As Decision-Making in Communion: Contributions from Ecclesiology and Psychology , Judith Katherine Schaefer

The Polemical Context and Background of Hilary's Trinitarian Theology , Mark Weedman

Theses/Dissertations from 2003 2003

The Lukan Kingship Parable: Luke 19:11-27 in Literary Perspective , Garwood P. Anderson

The Theological Ethics of Contemporary Prophetic Acts , Randall K. Bush

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Jesuit School of Theology Dissertations

Theses/dissertations from 2023 2023.

African Spirituality for Ecological Conversion: The Case of Mining in the Western Region of Ghana , Nana Kofi Agyapong

La Oración Contemplativa Cristiana a la Luz de la Psicología y Neurociencia: Propuesta de un Enfoque Interdisciplinar Desde la Terapia Sistemas de Familia , Manuel Santamaría Belda

The Nigerian Tiv Concept of Ya Na Angbian as a Corrective to the misinterpretation of Subdue and have Dominion in Genesis 1:26 , Christopher Terhemen Bologo

Expanding Catholic Social Teaching on Wealth, Money, and Entrepreneurship , Jean Claude Havyarimana

Life and the Renewal of the Christian Community: Infant Baptism and Inculturation in the Context of the Democratic Republic of the Congo , Héritier Ofabwe Kinzamba

Towards a Holistic Reconciliation in Africa , N’Guessan Kouacou Augustin Koffi

Biblical and African Proverbs as a Framework for Studying Spirituality: Exploring the Role of Proverbs Among the Gῖkữyữ People of Kenya , Patrick M. Ng'ang'a

Theological Foundations of Nonviolent Communication in the Christian Lived Experience , Edward Khoa Ngô

Cultivating Social Media Technomoral Virtues: Toward a Moral-Character Education for African Youth , Tégawindé Basile Ouedraogo

The Role of Women Religious (1882-1974) in the Work of Evangelization Among the Fijian People , John Pickering

Reading Matt 14:13-21 in the Roman Empire First-Century Context as a Counternarrative , Wossoyam Elie Yoda

Theses/Dissertations from 2022 2022

“A New Face of Loreto”: Mission and Transformation in the Post-Vatican II Church , Sudha Arul

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Contemporary Youth Ministers in Korea , Han Hyun Bai

Dust to Dust: Ritualization of an Ongoing Relationship with the Land in Shona Christian Burial Practice , Emmanuel Banda

Chaplaincy and Expansive Spiritual Care , Brianna Deutsch

Ubuntu Ethics: A Frame for an Ethical Analysis of Environmental Migration of Unaccompanied Minors Through the Mediterranean Sea , Deogratias K. Fikiri

The Not So Minor Character in the Book of Judith Judith’s Maid in the Spotlight , Lisa Hui

Christian – Muslim Dialogue on Hospitality: A Case of Somali Refugees at the Dadaab Refugee Complex in Kenya , Oscar Angaga Nduri

The Son of Man Film as a Cry for Justice: A Cross-Cultural Convergence of Film and the African Theological Struggle for Liberation , Mark Ngwenya

Responding to "Eucharistic Deprivation" in Rural Western Nigeria: Toward an Inculturated Theology and Celebration of the Eucharist , Michael Abiodun Oluwadare

Eucharistic Communion in a Time of Pandemic: Insights From Ubuntu in an Extended African Family , Peter Linus Omondi

The Resilient Apostle: Paul’s Sufferings in 2 Corinthians Through the Lens of Resilience , Marko Pavlič

Reframing Reproductive Rights: Pope Francis’ Genius of Women as a Paradigm of Conversation Between Filipina Women and Church Leadership , Alfonso P. Suico Jr

Integral Ecological Education: Exploring Intercultural Bilingual Education for Indigenous Students in Guyana , Joel D. Thompson

Ignatian Spiritual Conversation and Digital Communication Culture , Park Soo Young Theodore

Theses/Dissertations from 2021 2021

Is Cyrus of Persia, My Shepherd, His Anointed, an Anticonqueror of Judah? Toward a Postcolonial Reading of the Cyrus Oracle in Isaiah 44:24-45:13 , Ablam Atsikin

Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30): Resistance and Critique of Wealth Accumulation , Gabriel Kunonga Biatiakana

Restlessly Seeking for God: Towards an Integration of Contemplation and Practice as Proposed by Henri Nouwen for a Spirituality of Priesthood in a Contemporary Korean Church Context , Hong-Rak Chae

Jeremiah and the Conflicting Interpretations of the Exile: Religious Identity in the Context of Religious Diversity , Sijo George Chirayath

Reframing Liturgical-Pastoral Discourse: Exploring Parish Online Programs in a Time of Pandemic , James P. Ferus S.J.

The (Im)Possibility of Forgiveness: Just Peace and Reconciliation in a Culture of Sexual Violence , Ellen Jewett

Exploring the Insights of Science Within the Context of Asian Christianity Through the Work of William R. Stoeger, S.J. , Lawrence Ng Yew Kim

When Worship Becomes ‘Mission:‘ A Living Witness to the Vulnerable Santo Niño and the Broken Nazareno in Filipino Catholic Devotions , Aris Pilapil Martin

A Rereading Of Σταυρώστε Αυτον In John19:1-16: An Exegetical Study on Power and Powerlessness In Jesus’ Death Sentence from a Nigerian Praxis , Modestus Osinachi Mgbaramuko

Healing of Violence and Violence of Healing: Mark’s Hybrid Jesus in Mark 5:1-20 , Pierre Célestin Musoni S.J.

Jon Sobrino and Aloysius Pieris in Dialogue: Towards a Christological Model for Praxis of Liberation , Thang N. Nguyen

A Sacred Story to Tell: Missiological Insights for the Continued Contemporary Discussion on Inculturation Based on a Theological Investigation of Muirchú’s Vita Patricii , Sara Postlethwaite

In Search of an Integral Ecology: Engaging Liberationist Concepts and Methodology as Tools for the Construction of a Pastoral Response to the Global Environmental Crisis , Lluís Salvador Salinas Roca S.J.

Reading the Book of Daniel as a Storytelling Community’s Response to Trauma , Tae Eun Taelor Kim

A Spirituality of Struggle for Dismantling Cameroonian Tribal Hostilities. Isa 54: 11-17 as a Grounding Text , Fabrice Nazaire Kameni Tcheumaga S.J.

Theses/Dissertations from 2020 2020

The Oracle Against Israel (Amos 2:6-8): In the Context of the Oracles Against The Nation (Amos 1:3--2:8) , Alfred Emeka Amos

Discovering the Role of Desire in Ignatian Spirituality for Discernment of Vocation in the Jesuit Candidate House of Vietnam , Pham Dinh Cu

A Tale of Two Stories: Defamiliarization of the Acts 6:1-7 Hellenist—Hebrew Squabble in View of Reframing the Anglophone Problem in Cameroon , Ngema Wilson Enow

Towards a Pastoral, Apologetic Approach to La Santa Muerte Devotion , Henrry Christopher Mendez Fajardo

A Fearful Warning: J.B. Metz’s Memoria Passionis in response to Western Culture’s Discomfort with Dying, Death and Grief , David R. Ford

Latin American Biblical Hermeneutics & Popular and Community Reading of the Bible: Some Inputs from Race and Ethnicity Criticism within the Hellenistic and Jewish Culture of the First Century , Diego Salazar Galvis

Education, Religious Experience, and Conversion : on Pedagogy and the Possibility of Critical Communities of Religious Praxis , Yu-Ming Stanley Goh

The Contribution of the Catholic Church to Post-Civil War Conflict Resolution in Chad , Rimasbé Dionbo Jean Claude

Rethinking Healing and Reconciliation Process in the Postgenocide Rwanda: A Response from Ignatian Spirituality , Innocent Kamanzi

De Dios Habita a Dios Labora A Mission of Caring for Our Common Home in the Ecological Crisis of India , Anthony Louis Lava S.J.

Thomas Aquinas’ Notion of Natural Theology and the Challenge of Religious Experience: The Beginnings of a Conversation , Quang Quoc Le

Jesuit Priesthood and the Ministry of Reconciliation: A Theological Examination of U.S. Jesuits in the Public Square , Alex Anthony C. Llanera S. J.

Remembering Who We Are: Liturgical Memory in the Symbolic Language of Louis-Marie Chauvet to Combat the Bifurcation of the Body of Christ , Keith A. Maczkiewicz

Embodying the Face of the Merciful God: Towards a Christological Discipleship for Vietnamese Catholics , Do Thi Tuyet Nhung Maria

Living a Good Death or Dying for a Life Well Lived: Theological Understanding and Pastoral Applications on Issues Regarding Death and Afterlife Issues Among Vietnamese-American Catholics , Tuan Ngo

The Dynamics of Conversion of Ignatius of Loyola as a Contribution to the Novice Formation in the Context of Vietnam , Tang Van Nguyen

Catholic- Buddhist Encounter at Interfaith Marriage: Strengthening Harmony and Indissolubility of Matrimony in Contemporary Vietnam , Tuan Minh Nguyen

Ecological Crisis in the Light of Laudato Si’: “Everything is Connected”: Toward Friendship as an Ecological Virtue , Toan Ninh

Re-Imagining an African Family Ecclesiology in Dialogue with Ratzinger’s Christo-Pneuma Communion Ecclesiology , Tegha Afuhwi Nji

The Catholic Church and the Zimbabwean Crisis: A Critical Reflection on the Catholic Church’s Response to the Plight of the Oppressed , Nelson Virimayi Nyamayaro

Evolution Science and Imago Dei: A Richer and More Robust Treatment of Theological Anthropology , GANSA Tchétongbé Cathérin Paterne

Reclaiming the Dynamics of Ignatian Spiritual Conversation: Towards Constructing a Spiritual Conversation Paradigm for Ongoing Apostolic Discernment in Bihar, India , Perianayagam Seluvannan

The Question of Method in Theology: An African Response to Bernard Lonergan Using Bantu Theological Anthropology , Andrew Simpasa

kāḇôḏ (Glory) rû a ḥ (Spirit) and yaḏ (Hand) Divine Presence and Activity of Ezekiel (Ezek 1-3; 8-11; 40-48) Thirdspacing the Exile and its Implications to the Theology of Divine Presence , Malachy Udochukwu Theophilus

The Mother or the Baby: Moral Implications of the Treatment Procedures of Tubal Pregnancies in the Philippines in a Catholic Perspective , Christopher P. Villa

Encountering “Joy” in the Consecrated Life in Vietnam Through Ignatian Consolation , Cuong Duy Vu

Jesus as a Healer in the Gospel of Luke: A Paradigm for Malagasy Healing , Jean Fleurys Espérence Zezikà S.J.

Theses/Dissertations from 2019 2019

Equity and Justice in health Care: A Critical Ethical Reflection on Healthcare Provision, Distribution, and Accessibility in Nigeria , Chidube Joseph Chukwu

The Virtue of Solidarity Will Save the Environment of Haiti: A Path to Heal the Crisis of Soil Erosion , Germain Clerveau S. J.

Fostering Dialogue and Engagement: The Role of the Catholic Church in Nigeria , Tony Terwase Famave

Depicting the Incarnation: Theodore the Studite and Engelbert Mveng on the Particularity and Universality of Christ , Oke Marien Robert Gbedolo

The Role of the Laity in Exercising Munus Regendi in the Church: A Theology of Co-Responsibility , Michael K. Grace KM

The Inculturation of Taiwanese Catholicism: The Yanshui Holy Spirit Church , Aloysius Ming-Te Hsu

Development-induced Displacement: An Ethical and Theological Reflection on protection of the Rights of the Adivasis of Chhotanagpur, India , Amit Roshan Lakra

Exploring the Impact of an Ethics of Disclosure on Privacy in Computer-Based Communications Technologies , Benedict Ozaveshe Mayaki

Towards A Northern Ugandan Church as "Field Hospital": For A Pastorally Attuned Appropriation of Church Teaching , James Moro

The Church and the Awakening of Faith: Towards a Christian Reconciliation for Peace and Justice in Rwanda , Emile Nsengimana

The Dynamic of Belief and Unbelief as Developed in Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment and its RThe Dynamic of Belief and Unbelief as Developed in Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment and its Relevance for Contemopary Life elevance for Contemopary Life , Santiago García Pintos

College Ethnic Catholic Communities: Ethnoreligious Pathways for an Intercultural Church , Kyle Ko Francisco Shinseki

The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults: Its Potential of Revitalizing The Basic Ecclesial Communities of Bontoc-Lagawe , Bento F. Tamang

Theses/Dissertations from 2018 2018

Knowing the Transcendent God: Theological Epistemology in Gregory of Nyssa and Karl Rahner , Ala Nadim Hanna Alalamat

Ruth: A Spiritual Role Model for the Religious Women of Southwest China , Xiaoqiong Chen

Promoting a Cosmotheandric Ethic of Virtue in Congo Brazzaville: Resolving Social Conflict Amidst Crises of Ecology and Migration , Cyrano Emde Dimeni

Marriage as a Covenant: Towards an in Culturated Pastoral Approach on Marriage and Family in Mozambique Today , Virgílio Arimateia Domingos

Eucharist as Fruit of the Earth and the Environmental Degradation in the Niger Delta: Implication of Louis Mariechauvet’s Tripartite Cycle of Gift, Reception and Return Gift for an Ecological Conversion , Michael Edomobi

Towards a Contextual Christology: Sub-Saharan African Models and Songs in Dialogue with Patristic Tradition , Benedict B. Ehinack

Spiritual Conversation: An Important Tool for Discernment of One’s Vocation in the Diverse Context of India , Francis Joseph Fernandes

The Contemplative-Prophetic Spirituality of Thomas Merton: Its Relevance for the Consecrated Life in India , Fabian Jose

“The Female Face” of Hiv/Aids as an Ethical Challenge to the Catholic Church in Uganda: Lessons of Catholic Social Teaching , Athanasius Kikoba

“Pilgrimage in Service of Mission in the Context of the Contemporary Korean Church” , Min-Hwi Kim

Toward a South Sudanese Church-As-Family: Reflections for a Contextual Ecclesiology for Reconciliation, Justice, and Peace , Oscar Momanyi

Towards a New, Praxis-Oriented Missiology: Rediscovering Paulo Freire's Concept of Conscientização and Enhancing Christian Mission as Prophetic Dialogue , Rosalia Meza Moreno

Dominican Prayer for Young Vietnamese Americans , Phuong Nguyen

Embracing an Ecological Conversion: Addressing the Effects of the Ecological Crisis on the Poor and the Earth Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation , Emmanuel Oyediran Ogundipe

A Pastoral Approach to the Topic of Sexuality in Priestly Formation Programs in Parts of Eastern Europe , Vitaliy Osmolovskyy

Belief in a Secular Age: Charles Taylor, John Henry Newman, and the New Evangelization , David C. Paternostro

Impact Evaluation Under the Banner of the Cross: An Integrated Approach to the Evaluation of Poverty Alleviation Programs , Stephen M. Pitts

Towards a Renewed Theology of Personal Agency: Origen’s Theological Vision and the Challenges of Fatalism and Determinism , Bernard B. Poggi

The Synodal Church: The Significance of Pope Francis’s Ecclesiology for the Indian Church , Th Shantharaj

Virtues/Pāramitās: St. Ignatius Of Loyola and Sāntideva as Companions on the Way of Life , Tomislav Spiranec

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Scholarly Resources from Concordia Seminary

Home > Concordia Seminary Scholarship > Doctor of Theology

Doctor of Theology Dissertation

Theses/dissertations from 1998 1998.

The Mission and Ministry to German-Speaking Lutherans in Western Canada 1879 - 1914 , Richard Kraemer

Theses/Dissertations from 1997 1997

Postliberal Approaches to the Theology of Religions: Presentation, Assessment, and Critical Appropriation , Joel Okamoto

Orality as the Key to Understanding Apostolic Proclamation in the Epistles , Thomas Winger

Theses/Dissertations from 1996 1996

Isaiah's Damascus Oracle: Responding to International Threats , Harald Schoubye

Genre and Outline: The Key to the Literary Structure of Hebrews , Harald Tomesch

Theses/Dissertations from 1995 1995

The Lord's Prayer-Its Interpretation and a Reassessment of an Eschatological Orientation, Favoring the Prayer's Primary Application as Being for the Present Gospel Age , David Fielding

Law and Gospel in Luther's Antinomian Disputations, with Special Reference to Faith's Use of the Law , Jeffrey Silcock

Theses/Dissertations from 1994 1994

Marriage and the Image of God as it is Reflected in Paul's Understanding of Women and the Ministry in Four Passages: 1 Cor. 11:2-16; 14:33b-36; Eph. 5:22-33; 1 Tim. 2:11-15 , Lane Burgland

Integrity and Integration in Ecclesiastical Historiography: The Perspective of Mosheim and Neander , Paulo Buss

When God Becomes Your Enemy- The Theology of the Complaint Psalms , Ingvar Floysvik

The Missiological Significance of the Doctrine of Justification in the Lutheran Confessions , Klaus Schulz

Theses/Dissertations from 1993 1993

Reading 2 Corinthians 3:4-18: An Exercise in Exegesis , Vilson Scholz

A Proposed Prolegomenon for Normative Theological Ethics with a Special Emphasis on the Usus Didacticus of God's Law , John Tape

Theses/Dissertations from 1992 1992

The Arminian Libertarian Doctrines of Freedom and Responsibility Evaluated According to Biblical-Reformed Doctrine of Sin , Carlos Heber de Campos

Theology of the Pain of God: An Analysis and Evaluation of Kazoh Kitamori's (1916- ) Work in Japanese Protestantism , Akio Hashimoto

The Bestowal of the Benefits of the Real Presence the Early Eucharistic Works of Martin Chemnitz as a Contribution Toward the Formula of Concord Article VII , Brynjulf Hoaas

Jesus and the Gentiles in the Gospel of Matthew: A Historical Study of the Redemption Motif , Young Jin Kim

Propter Absolutionem: Holy Absolution in the Theology of Martin Luther and Philipp Jacob Spener A Comparative Study , Gerald Krispin

The Theology of Spiritual Gifts in Luther and Calvin: A Comparison , Robert Wetmore

Theses/Dissertations from 1991 1991

Mystical Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Soteriology , James Breckenridge

The Home Mission Work of the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference: A Description and Evaluation , George Gude

The ΛΟΓΟΣ-Christology in the Prologue of the Gospel of John as a Bridge Concept Between the Old Testament Shekinah Events and Johannine Christology , Chul Hae Kim

Theological Nuance in the Synoptic Nature Miracles , Mark Schuler

Theses/Dissertations from 1990 1990

Presbyterian Missions to Indians in Western Canada , James Codling

The Theology of Israel's Sea Crossing , Rodger Dalman

Gadara of the Decapolis , Lee Maxwell

The "I" in the Storm: Paul's Use of the First Person Singular in Romans 7 , Michael Middendorf

Theses/Dissertations from 1989 1989

The Nature and Function of the Lutheran Confessions in Twentieth Century American Lutheranism , Charles Arand

Current Models in Roman, Lutheran, and Reformed Prolegomena: Exposition, Analysis, and Programmatic Assessment , David Lumpp

Theses/Dissertations from 1988 1988

The Apostolic Tradition- A Study of the Texts and Origins, and its Eucharistic Teachings with a Special Exploration of the Ethiopic Version , Eshetu Abate

A Theological Assessment of Minjung Theology, Systematically and Biblically , Yong Wha Na

Theses/Dissertations from 1987 1987

Biblical Authority in the Westminster Confession and its Twentieth Century Contextualization in the Reformed Presbyterian Testimony Of 1980 , John Delivuk

An Historical Analysis of the Doctrine of the Ministry in the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod Until 1962 , John Wohlrabe

Theses/Dissertations from 1986 1986

An Examination and Evaluation of A. H. Strong's Doctrine of Holy Scripture , Myron Houghton

Jesus' Teaching on "Entering the Kingdom Of Heaven" in the Gospel According to Matthew (Interpretation of Selected Matthean Texts and Parables) , Caleb Huang

Millennialism in American Lutheranism in Light of Augsburg Confession, Article XVII , Francis Monseth

Watchman Nee and the Priesthood of all Believers , Wai Man Ng

Imputatio Iustitiae Christi, Liberum Arbitrium in Renatis, and Tertius Usus Legis in Melanchthon's Later Loci , Richard Osslund

A Scriptural Stance Toward Undocumented Hispanics and Selected Methodologies for Reaching them with the Gospel , Fred Pankow

The Hermeneutics of Liberation Theology: A Lutheran Confessional Response to the Theological Methodology of Leonardo Boff , Jacob Preus

Theses/Dissertations from 1985 1985

The Hermeneutical Principles of Theodore Laetsch with a Focus on the Relationship Between the Old and the New Testaments , James Bollhagen

An Investigation of Contemporary Feminist Arguments on Paul's Teaching on the Role of Women in the Church , Hershel House Wayne

The Nature and Significance of Christ's Death as Reflected in Selected General and Pauline Epistles , Masao Shimodate

Theses/Dissertations from 1984 1984

The Last Testaments of Jacob and Moses , Joel Heck

The Theological Argument of Hebrews 11 in Light of its Literary Form , Merland Miller

Dr. H. C. J. Leupold, The Man and his Work --Especially His Exegesis , David Schreiber

Theses/Dissertations from 1983 1983

Judgment and Grace in the Wilderness Narratives , Martin Buerger

The Preaching of Clovis G Chappell- A Study of the Published Sermons in Light of the Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel as Articulated by C. F. W. Walther , William Carpenter

The Conflict of Krishna and Yahweh as Warrior: A Comparison of the Conflicts of Krishna in the Puranas and of Yahweh as Warrior in the Old Testament, with Special Emphasis on the Themes of History, and Salvation, and their Relevance to Human Life , Arockiam Rajaian

A Search for the Archetype of the Greek Gospel Lectionary , Karl Rutz

Theses/Dissertations from 1982 1982

The Historical-Critical Method- Dividing Wall Between Moderates and Conservatives in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Controversy , Jose Fuliga

Uemura Masahisa (1857-1925) First Generation Pastor, Christian Leader and Instinctive Proponent of Indigenized Christianity in Japan , Addison Soltau

Theses/Dissertations from 1981 1981

Predestination: A Comparative Analysis of the Theology of A. W. Pink in Relation to the Westminster Confession of Faith , Richard Belcher

Was Jesus the Priestly Messiah A Study of the New Testament's Teaching of Jesus' Priestly Office Against the Background of Jewish Hopes for a Priestly Messiah , Jonathan Grothe

The Cosmic Christ of Colossians , Victor Raj

Theses/Dissertations from 1980 1980

The Preservation and Restoration of Creation with a Special Reference to Romans 8:18-23 , Robert Neff

Theses/Dissertations from 1979 1979

Covenant and Kingdom as Fulfilled in the Synoptics , Marvin Middendorf

A Critical and Exegetical Analysis of Exodus Twenty-Four with Special Attention to Covenant Ratification , Peter Talia

The Role of Psalm 89:6-19 in Israel's Cult , Ronald Vahl

Theses/Dissertations from 1978 1978

The Doctrine of God in African Traditional Religion , Tokunboh Adeyemo

The Doctrine of the Church in the Writings of Dr. C. F. W. Walther , John Martin Drickamer

Theses/Dissertations from 1975 1975

The Passion Predictions in the Light of Hebrews 2:5-9 , E Clark Copeland

Theses/Dissertations from 1973 1973

A History of the Research of Exodus 18:1-12 with a Critical Evaluation and Suggestions for Further Progress , Andrew Chiu

The Theology of Justus Menius , Alvin H. Horst

The Return-to-Origins Motif in Pauline Theology and its Significance for a Theological Interpretation of Messianic and Millenarian Movements in Melanesia , John Gerhard Strelan

Public Doctrine in the Lutheran Church --Missouri Synod , Waldemar Wehmeier

Theses/Dissertations from 1972 1972

The History of the Attitudes within the Missouri Synod Toward Life Insurance , James W. Albers

A Study of Some Lucan Parables in the Light of Oriental Life and Poetic Style , Kenneth Ewing Bailey

The Theology of Divine Anger in the Psalms of Lament , Thomas Dixon Hanks

An Analysis of the Structure and Traditions of Zechariah 7 and 8 , John Henry Miller

The Relation of the Servant Songs to Their Contexts in Isaiah 40 to 55 , Gyoji Nabetani

Theses/Dissertations from 1971 1971

The Significance of 1 Chronicles 22, 28, 29 for the Structure and Theology of the Work of the Chronicler , Roddy L. Braun

The Pauline Understanding of "The Law of Christ" , Keith Arnold Gerberding

A Case Study in Exegetical Methodology George Stoeckhardt and Johann Philip Koehler on Ephesians , William John Hassold

A Study of the Hermeneutical Principles Involved in the Interpretation and Use of Psalm 22 in Biblical and Extra-Biblical Sources , Harvey Donald Lange

The Implications for Christology of the Idenity of the Poor Man in the Teaching of Jesus , Adrian Max Leske

A Systematic-Historical Study of the Policy of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod with Respect to Fraternal Organizations in the Past Fifty Years , George F. Lobien

Richard Taverner (1505?--1575) and the English Reformation , James Herbert Pragman

The Role of the Old Testament in High School Level Curricula of the American Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church in America, and the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod 1964-1970 , Harold W. Rast

Theses/Dissertations from 1970 1970

The Diakonis Function of the Church in Hong Kong , Manfred Helmuth Berndt

The Doctrine of the Church in American Presbyterian Theology in the Mid-Nineteeth Century , David Clyde Jones

The Fear of God as Ethical Motivation in Pauline Theology , Walter A. Maier

Movements in the Church of England as Reflected in English Prose Fiction of the Eighteenth Century , William H. Traugott

Theses/Dissertations from 1969 1969

The Role of the Symbols in Australian Lutheranism , Elvin Janetzki

A Comparative Study of the Prolegomena in Karl Barth's Christliche Dogmatik of 1927 and the Kirchliche Dogmatik of 1932-1938 , Heino Olavi Kadai

Division and Reunion in the Presbyterian Church in Korea 1959-1968 , Bong Rin Ro

The Controversy Provoked by William Perkins Reformed Catholike- A Study in Protestant--Catholic Relations in the First Quarter of the Seventeenth Century in England , Robert E. Webber

Theses/Dissertations from 1968 1968

Relations Between the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia 1846-1965 , John Koch

The Origin and Meaning of the Axiom- Nothing has the Character of a Sacrament Outside of the Use, in Sixteenth-Century and Seventeenth-Century Lutheran Theology , Edward Peters

Jesus as the True Israel According to the Passion Narrative of Saint Mark , Roy Schroeder

Theses/Dissertations from 1967 1967

Paul's Source and Use of Tradition as Reflected in his Writings to the Corinthians , Paul Andrews

Psalms 2 and 110: A Comparison of Exegetical Methods , Herbert Hohenstein

A Study of Applications Used in the Sermons of the Concordia Pulpit of the Years 1955-1964 , Erwin Kolb

Characteristics of Southeast Asian Islam as Factors in A Theology of the Christian Mission to Philippine Muslims , Robert McAmis

Via Propria and Via Mystica in the Theology of Jean Le Charlier De Gerson , David Schmiel

Ezekiel 40-48 , Gerald White

Theses/Dissertations from 1966 1966

The Temptation of Jesus in Matthew , Paul Bretscher

The Voice in the Wilderness and the Coming One-- The Old Testament as the Link Between John the Baptist and Jesus Christ , Walter Rosin

Theses/Dissertations from 1965 1965

The Meaning of DIKAIOŌ , William Beck

Lutheran Theology in the Tranoscius with Special Attention to the Doctrine of the Church , Samuel Boda

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Theology Master's Thesis: Style & Format

  • Getting Started
  • Style & Format
  • Thesis Defense

Normally, a thesis will be between 15,000 words (roughly 60 pages, assuming double-spacing and 12 pt. font for body text) and 30,000 words (roughly 120 pages), including notes and bibliography. 

Submitting Your Thesis to the Library

To submit a thesis or dissertation to Loyola Notre Dame Library for inclusion in the  Loyola Notre Dame Library Digital Collections :

  • Consult your university or department’s guidelines for official requirements regarding formatting, font size, spacing, and citations.
  • Format the document as either an MS Word, RTF, or PDF file. (Note: All documents will be converted to PDF for the library’s archive) 
  • Include a completed Signatures Page,  Electronic Thesis/Dissertation Access Form , and an Abstract.
  • Submit to the library using the  Electronic Thesis/Dissertation Submission Form . 

Questions? Please contact us at  [email protected] .

Style and Format

Theses must use standard Greek and Hebrew/Aramaic fonts for quotations in those languages; abbreviations, pagination, citation, and all formatting in the thesis should follow the guidelines in the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) Handbook of Style , available at PN147 .S26 in the Reference shelves of the Loyola Notre Dame Library. 

Careful attention to matters of style are crucial for citation, inclusion of foreign (especially ancient) language, and formatting. The latter will be especially consequential when submitting the post-defense, archival copy to the Loyola Notre Dame Library.

Further guidelines and standards for Loyola University Master's theses are available here .

NOTE: The Theology Department theses standards supersede those of the university. Please contact your advisor for details.

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  • Biblical Studies
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  • History of Christianity and Church History
  • Historical and Systematic Theology
  • Liturgical Studies and Sacramental Theology
  • Moral Theology/Ethics
  • Pastoral Studies
  • Spirituality

School of Theology and Religious Studies

  • Faculty and Staff
  • Theses and Dissertation Proposals
  • Area and Degree Tracking Sheets
  • Graduation and Commencement
  • Admission to Candidacy for the Doctoral Degree
  • Student Advising
  • Preparing the Doctoral Defense
  • Comprehensive Exams

M.A. Proposals

A reader for the thesis is assigned from the faculty; the director and reader are responsible for approving the proposal and placing it in the student's file. The student, with the help of a faculty member who serves as director, will prepare a one-page thesis proposal that presents the background, purpose, method, and contribution of the thesis. The proposal with a selected bibliography will be submitted to the Director of the Academic Area for approval and will then go to the M.A. Committee for final approval.

S.T.L. Proposals

The S.T.L. candidate will work in conjunction with the Director and Reader of the thesis in preparing the proposal. When the Director and Reader approve the proposal, it will then be submitted to the faculty of the Academic Area for approval. Subsequently the proposal is submitted to the members of the Ecclesiastical Degree Committee for approval. The proposal is kept in the student's file.

Doctoral Proposals

These regulations apply to PhD and STD proposals. A student, who has been formally admitted to candidacy, is eligible to submit a doctoral proposal. The following guidelines for the dissertation proposal must be carefully followed:

The Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal Approval Process

Initial steps of the process.

The student is responsible for securing a director and two readers who will form the dissertation committee. Generally, the committee members should be STRS faculty and hold the degree of Ph.D. or D.Phil. The readers may hold the D.Min. degree if they bring relevant experience to the committee.

The Ph.D. Proposal Committee will use a rubric for evaluating proposals that specifies the instructions articulated in the university guidelines for proposals. The proposal should be organized as follows:

  • Background / state of the question
  • Methodology
  • Contribution / Originality
  • Apended biography (additional two pages)

Evaluation of the Proposal by the Ph.D. Proposal Committee

  • Once the director has determined that the proposal is ready to be evaluated, the proposal must be approved by the student's academic area.
  • The student must send the Chair of the Ph.D. Proposal Committee an electronic copy of the proposal.
  • The student must provide the Chair with two forms: a. Doctoral Dissertation Topic and Committee Request for Approval Form (signed by the area director, the dissertation advisor, and the student) b. Ph.D. Proposal Recommendation by the Academic Area Form (signed by area director)
  • When the Chair has received both forms and the electronic copy of the proposal, the proposal will go before the Ph.D. Proposal Committee. The Ph.D. Proposal Committee meets on the 4th Tuesday of every month. The Chair should receive all documents by the Wednesday prior to the meeting.
  • At the Committee meeting, the student's director is asked to be present to answer any questions the Committee may have. The proposal may be approved by the Committee either "as is" or on the understanding that small-scale emendations will be made. In the latter case, it is the responsibility of the director to communicate the requested emendations to the student and to ensure that these are made by the student. Once the emendations have been made to the director's satisfaction, the student should submit the revised proposal to the Ph.D. Proposal Committee Chair. The Committee may also decide that the proposal requires major reworking and needs to be resubmitted to the Committee after revision. In this case as well, the director is responsible for conveying the Committee's remarks to the student and ensuring that the student makes the recommended revisions. Once this has been done to the director's satisfaction, the student should forward the revised proposal to the Ph.D. Chair who will bring it before the Committee at its next meeting.

Final Stages of the Dissertation Proposal Approval Process

Once the Ph.D. Proposal Committee Chair has the student's proposal as approved by the Committee (or revised in accordance with the Committee's comments) as well as the two required documents listed above, the Chair will write the student a letter officially informing them that the proposal has been approved by the Committee. A copy of that letter will be included in the student's file, which the Chair will submit to the STRS Dean. The Dean will either approve the proposal as submitted and sign the "Request for Approval Form" or ask for changes, which the Dean will communicate to the director and the student. The director and student will make changes and resubmit the proposal to the Dean.

Once the Dean has signed the proposal, he will transmit the student's file to the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies. The Dean of Graduate Studies will have the proposal assessed by an evaluator outside STRS. On the basis of that evaluation, the Dean of Graduate Studies will either approve the proposal as submitted or ask that it be revised in minor or major ways, and will so inform the student and director. If revisions are necessary, they will need to be made by the student in consultation with the director. The revised proposal must then be resubmitted to the Dean of Graduate Studies, who, in all cases, makes the final decision regarding the approval of the proposal.


Theological Research and Writing: Research Question and Thesis

  • 1. Research
  • 2. Theological Information
  • Research Question and Thesis
  • Bibliography
  • Information Retrieval
  • 5. Evaluating Sources
  • 7. Use the Tutor

Research is:

thesis for theology

Research Questions

You can develop a research question by applying these interrogatives:

A Good Thesis Statement:

A good thesis statement accomplishes the following:

  • Expresses a main idea.
  • Warrants discussion (the paragraphs of the paper).
  • Specifically states what the paper will discuss.
  • States the writer’s conclusions.

Developing a Research Question

S cholarship is all about reaching new conclusions.  A paper that simply describes the events of the Protestant Reformation is not a work of scholarship.  A paper that presents conclusions regarding the cause or the outcomes of the Reformation, on the other hand, is scholarship.  Such a paper will certainly contain a description of the events of the Protestant Reformation, but asking and answering questions involves critical thinking about a topic and the conclusions of other scholars.

Once you have the right topic nailed down, you can turn that topic into a question with ease.  A research question will give you a starting point and a finish line.  You will know where to start looking for information and you will know when you are done.

You have finished your paper when you have answered your research question!

T opic:   "Jesus’ fulfillment of Messianic Prophecies according to the Gospel of Matthew"

R esearch Question:   How does the Gospel of Matthew use Messianic prophecies from the Old Testament to show that Jesus is the Messiah?

Short answer:   Your Thesis Statement

Long answer:   Your research paper.

Your Thesis Statement

Your thesis statement is the short answer to your research question!

Topic:   Jesus’ treatment of gentiles in the gospels.

Research Question:   What is Jesus’ attitude toward gentiles according to the gospels?

Thesis Statement:   The gospel writers used the words of Christ and narrative accounts of His deeds to show that Jesus saw gentiles as outsiders who were being drawn near with the coming of the Kingdom of God.

Your thesis statement will vary depending upon the kind of paper you are being asked to write:

Expository:   Generally, you will write expository papers, which means you will be explaining something to your reader, such as when you explain the main message of a book of the Bible. In your thesis be sure  to sum up your paper with one main-idea.  It can be hard to unite the content of an expository paper under one main idea.

Analytical:  examine an issue and determine the cause and effect relationships before presenting evidence for what you discovered. A thesis for this kind of paper will state the results of analysis.

Argumentative: position papers where you  state where you stand on an issue, backing it up with evidence for your claims. A thesis for this paper will specify the position and how the writer will argue in the paper.

A good thesis will do more than simply account for what is in the paper; it will entice the reader to continue reading!

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Systematic Theology

  • Do a Systematic Theology Paper
  • Reference Works
  • Systematic Theologies
  • Prolegomena
  • Doctrine of Scripture
  • Doctrine of God
  • Doctrine of Christ
  • Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
  • Doctrine of Man
  • Doctrine of Sin
  • Doctrine of Salvation
  • Doctrine of the Church
  • Doctrine of the Last Things

Resources on How to Write a Research Paper

We've all been there. We know (sort of) on what we want to write, but we don't really know how to write it, how to organize our thoughts, or how to organize our research. It's fun to read, but it's another thing to articulate, analyze, and synthesize our thoughts.

Here are some ideas/resources that might help you along the way:

  • John Frame, professor of Philosophy and Systematic Theology at RTS, wrote a helpful step-by-step process for how to write a theology paper.  You can access it for free here .
  • Michael Jensen (D.Phi. at Moore Theological College) has written a short, topically-arranged book, How To Write a Theological Essay (78+pages), available on reference at SBTS.  Find it here .
  • The Craft of Research, accessed here , gives a book-length treatment of the subject.
  • The Writing Center , located in the library, has a staff dedicated to helping you craft an excellent paper.

Here is some advice regarding Systematic 1, 2, or 3 class papers specifically:

  • Start Early. Begin planning your paper the day before the first day of the class. You'll get first crack at the books, you'll get to ask the professor about any research "snags" you hit along the way, you'll get plenty of time to edit and refine, you'll learn more about the subject, and you'll finish the assignment stress-free.
  • Define the question. Every paper seeks to answer a question. The sooner you discover what that question is and the more specific you can make your question, the better off your paper will be. Once you have your question, the answer to that question can be your beginning thesis statement. This thesis statement, with refining, will begin your writing effort on a good foot to having a strong paper.
  • Discover the lead, competing positions regarding your particular question. This requires reading, and sometimes reading broadly.  You want, in this step, to be able to summarize precisely the arguments/positions regarding your research subject.
  • Pick a position. Which available position wins out and why? Is there one that is "the best"?
  • Defend it against the best objections. One common problem of bad theology papers is that students fail to treat their objectors fairly. It doesn't do you or the world any good to argue against a position nobody actually holds. Moreover, it's disingenuous and academically uncouth.

Your paper should not look like your research. It's feasible that your actual paper will look something like this:

  • Introduction (define the problem), Thesis (state your solution), Methodology (preview how you will demonstrate your Thesis).
  • Summarize the available and most persuasive positions (including your own).
  • Support your position.
  • Defend your position against the best objections.
  • Conclusion. Restate your position in light of your paper. This is not a simple "copy" and "paste" of your Introduction. It is the final appeal to your readers for why your position is superior in view of all you've just said.

Remember, you are not done until you have edited your paper. Read through it again, editing as you go, and then have someone else read through it so you have another set of eyes looking at what will be the finished product.

Distinction between Primary and Secondary Sources

It is often the case that when doing theological research, it will be important to examine Primary Sources .  A primary source is an author's first-hand account of the event being studied.  Examples include: diaries, letters, journals, memos, interviews, manuscripts, newspaper articles of current events, photographs, records of government agencies like birth or death certificates, and minutes of conferences or agencies.  Secondary Sources interpret/analyze the event in question.

Here's a clarifying example from the ATLA website : "A letter from a Union soldier to his wife during the Civil War would be considered a primary document.   A book written by a historian that discusses letters written by soldiers during the Civil War would be a secondary source, even if it includes those letters we consider primary sources. "  The distinction is relevant for researchers because interpretations of primary sources may be incorrect.  If you rely only on secondary sources, your own conclusions may be, consequently, skewed.

For Systematics:

A primary source would be the original (or definitive) edition of a work. Examples (again from the ATLA site) would include:

  • Ausgewahlte Werke —the 1883 or “Weimar” edition of Martin Luther’s works. (Also available online as a subscription database by Proquest.)
  • Institutio Christianae Religionis —John Calvin’s Institutes ( definitive version in 1559) although the 1560 French edition is also considered definitive.
  • Grundkurs des Glaubens —Karl Rahner’s   Foundations of Christian Faith in German.
  • Systematische Theologie— Wolfgang Pannenberg’s Systematic Theology in German.
  • Kirchliche Dogmatik— Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics in German.
  • While not a “definitive” edition of their works, many theological librarians use the Christian Classics Ethereal Library to look at the works of the    early church fathers, originally published in print as Early Church Fathers series.

A secondary source would be a later, non-definitive edition, a non-definitive translation, or an examination of a particular facet of the primary source.  For example, Paul Helm's John Calvin's Ideas is a secondary source because it is an analysis of Calvin's works; Balthasar's The Theology of Karl Barth is a secondary source for the same reason.

If you're unsure what an author's primary works are, you can peruse the Enclopedia of Christian Theology by Lacoste or The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought to get an idea of particular theological thinkers and their primary works.  These are helpful, but not comprehensive guides to theological research.  If you ever have trouble finding primary literature, contact a research expert at the library or attempt to dialogue with a researcher in your field of interest.

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Georgetown University.

College of Arts & Sciences

Georgetown University.

Senior Honors Thesis

The option of writing an honors thesis is offered to qualifying majors in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies who wish to conduct in-depth research under the guidance of a faculty member.  To qualify, the students must have achieved, by the end of their fifth semester, a 3.5 grade-point average or better, both in Theology/Religious Studies courses and as a general GPA.

Students pursue the thesis project during their final three semesters, usually but not always the spring of the student’s third year and the fall and spring of their fourth year.  Students who plan to graduate early or whose education extends beyond four semesters should adjust the text below to match the three semesters that will culminate in their graduation.  Students who are studying abroad during the spring semester of their third year should consult the information in the associated FAQ sheet.

In the first semester, the student seeks an adviser, develops a prospectus (general description of the project), and secures the requisite permissions; no academic credit is earned for this preliminary work.  In the second semester enrolls in a 3-credit tutorial reading course, carries out research, and writes a preliminary draft of the thesis.  In the third semester, the student enrolls in a 1.5 credit thesis completion tutorial, during which the student revises, completes, submits, and defends the thesis.  After the thesis is accepted and defended, an honors thesis notation is placed on the student’s transcript.  To facilitate depth of inquiry, students are encouraged to choose topics that will enable them to draw upon established skills and previous coursework.

    Semester #1 (normally the spring of the student’s third year)

Responsibilities of the student:

  • The student initiates conversation with one or more faculty in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies about the possibility of writing an honors thesis. In order for a thesis proposal to be approved, the student must secure the full support of one faculty member who agrees to act as a mentor for the project. This faculty member will oversee the research tutorial (THEO 4998), as well as the thesis completion tutorial (THEO 4999), and will read and evaluate the thesis that is submitted.
  • In consultation with this faculty member, the student develops a prospectus or general description of the project. This will normally include (a) the question or thesis to be investigated, (b) the significance of the issue, (c) a general research plan, and (d) a preliminary bibliography.
  • Once the faculty mentor has approved the prospectus, the student submits the prospectus to the student’s concentration advisor and to the Director of Undergraduate Studies to notify them of the student’s intent to compose an honors thesis. No formal departmental approval of the project is required beyond that of the faculty mentor, but notice of intent does need to be given to the concentration advisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  • The student registers for a three-credit tutorial reading course (THEO 4998) to be taken with their mentor in the following semester.
  • As soon after registration as possible, the student files a “Tutorial Registration Form” with the dean’s office. Normally, this form will be filed no later than the end of spring semester finals; where there are extenuating circumstances, it can be filed later, but in all cases must be on record before the start of fall classes. The course description and bibliography can be drawn from the prospectus; the student will work out answers to questions about the structure of the tutorial with the faculty mentor.  Note that the Dean’s office requires the signature of both the faculty mentor and the department chair.  The Tutorial Registration form can be obtained here.

Responsibilities of the faculty mentor:

  • To notify the Director of Undergraduate Studies that they are willing to supervise the student’s tutorial, receive and evaluate the thesis, and appear at the thesis defense meeting.
  • To assist the student in developing the thesis prospectus and to approve the prospectus as an adequate research plan for developing and composing an honors thesis.
  • To work out the structure of the tutorial (THEO 4998) with the student.
  • To review and sign the Tutorial Registration Form and follow up with the student to ensure that it has been signed by the Department Chair and submitted to the Dean’s office.
  • At the discretion of the faculty mentor, a second reader may be secured for the thesis.  This second reader must be a faculty member but may be from another department.  If there is to be a second reader, that individual would normally receive a copy of the prospectus for comment, prior to approval

    Semester #2 (normally the fall semester of the student’s fourth year)

Although the student conducts independent research during this semester, close collaboration between student and mentor is expected.

  • In the first week, the student meets with the faculty mentor to review (and, if necessary, adjust) the prospectus and the structure set out in the Tutorial Registration Form. 
  • Throughout the semester, the student and mentor will hold regular meetings to discuss the readings and research that the student is conducting independently.  Mentors may, at their discretion, require periodic submission of written work.  At or before the end of fall semester finals, the student should submit a coherent and comprehensive first draft.
  • The mentor will offer detailed comments and suggestions concerning this draft.  This assessment and guidance will provide the framework within which the student will revise and complete the thesis the following semester.
  • The mentor will usually enter a grade of incomplete at the end of the fall term, replacing that incomplete with a letter grade when the thesis has been submitted in the spring.  (For the rare case in which a student decides not to complete the thesis, consult the FAQ sheet.)
  • If the mentor regards the student’s progress as satisfactory when registration period opens in November, the student will enroll, for the spring semester, in a 1.5-credit thesis completion tutorial (THEO 4999), which will also be under the direction of the mentor.

    Semester #3 (normally the spring semester of the student’s fourth year)

Research for the thesis having been completed in the fall, the thesis completion tutorial (THEO 4999) provides the context for reviewing and refining the argument, developing appropriately supportive documentation, and revising the text in light of continuing dialogue and critique. The student normally submits three drafts as the thesis project moves to completion. The decision to accept or not to accept the final draft is made by the mentor, though the mentor may consult as needed with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, the Department Chair, and/or a second reader.

  • As indicated above, the first draft is submitted to the mentor at the end of the fall semester and receives a detailed response that provides the basis for revision and for any additional research that may be required. If for any reason the student is not able to submit a full draft by the end of the fall semester, such a draft must be supplied to the faculty mentor no later than January 15 so that the mentor can provide timely comments to guide the final stages of the project.
  • The second (and potentially final) full draft of the thesis is due to the mentor no later than February 28. This draft is normally expected to be 40 to 55 double-spaced pages (or between 10,000 and 14,000 words), including notes, bibliography, and an abstract. The mentor may either accept this draft or return it to the student for further revision. In the latter case, the mentor will state specific reservations or concerns and will provide clear expectations for the final revision.
  • If the manuscript is returned for further revision, a third and final draft is due no later than March 31. Normally, no further changes to the text can be made after this submission. Extensions of this deadline are not feasible and should not be requested.
  • In April (or earlier, if an acceptable draft is submitted before March 31), the manuscript will be circulated to a second reader (if one has been identified), the Director of Undergraduate Studies, the Department Chair, and any other interested faculty members. The mentor, in consultation with any other readers, will determine whether or not to accept the manuscript as a completed honors thesis.  In rare cases, at the discretion of the mentor, further specific revisions may be required in order for the thesis to be accepted by graduation.
  • When the faculty mentor formally accepts the final draft of the thesis, the mentor, in consultation with the student and the Director of Undergraduate Studies, will schedule a thesis defense at which the student will present their findings to other majors and faculty who are able to attend. If more than one student completes a thesis in a given term, the usual practice is to coordinate the defenses in one assembly.
  • Upon acceptance of the thesis, the mentor will submit a grade change form substituting a letter grade for the incomplete earlier submitted for THEO 4998. This will normally be the same grade that the mentor records at the end of the spring semester for the thesis completion tutorial (THEO 4999), although it lies within the discretion of the mentor to record different final marks for the two tutorials if there are persuasive reasons for doing so.

Upon being notified by the mentor of acceptance of the thesis and of a successful thesis defense, the Director of Undergraduate Studies will notify the College Dean’s office that a notation of “Honors Thesis” is to be added to the student’s transcript.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Senior Honors Thesis in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies

    can someone who does not major in theology and religious studies write an honors thesis in this department for example, are students who have completed a minor in theology and religious studies eligible.

No. Only those who are majoring in Theology and Religious Studies and have achieved the requisite GPA are eligible to write an honors thesis in this department.

    Does the concentration a student has chosen within the department have any effect on thesis eligibility?

No. Students in all the concentrations, if they have a qualifying GPA, are eligible to write an honors thesis, and the procedures are the same in all concentrations.

    If a faculty member from a different department or program (for example, JUPS, Catholic Studies, or the Berkley Center) is willing to supervise a thesis in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, is that permissible?

Some faculty with primary appointments in other units of the university have a secondary or affiliate appointment in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. A faculty member who has affiliate status would be eligible to supervise a senior honors thesis. To determine the eligibility of a faculty member, consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

    If a student does not have a 3.5 at the end of the fifth semester but does have the requisite 3.5 by the end of the 6th semester, would the student be eligible to write an honors thesis?

In such a case, the student may petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies for consideration in the 30 days after final grades for that semester are released. If the DUS determines the student to be eligible to write an honors thesis, all of the arrangements that normally happen during Semester #1 would need to be completed before the beginning of the semester in which the student registers for THEO 4999.

    What are the procedures for students who are studying abroad or are otherwise away from the campus during the spring semester of their third year?

Ideally, students who will be away from the campus during the spring semester of their third year would make all of the necessary arrangements in the fall semester before they depart. This is especially true if they will be studying abroad, since working out the prospectus early would allow the student to discuss with their mentor how they might use opportunities abroad to enrich their research. However, it is also possible for students who are away during the spring semester, to have the consultations and make the arrangements remotely—or to do so during the summer after they return. In any case, the mentor must be identified and the requisite permissions must be secured before the beginning of the fall semester of the year in which the student plans to graduate.

    If for any reason a student finds that they cannot complete the thesis or if the thesis submitted is not accepted, what happens?

If the student comes to this realization while the fall semester research tutorial (THEO 4998) is in progress, the student and the mentor should discuss whether the student should withdraw from THEO 4998 or whether the tutorial should simply be converted to a reading course with an appropriate finishing written assignment for an earned grade. If the student comes to this realization in the final semester while enrolled in the thesis completion tutorial (THEO 4999), after the research tutorial has been taken and still carries a grade of incomplete, the student will withdraw from the thesis completion tutorial. The mentor will then determine an appropriate retrospective grade for THEO 4998 which will accordingly appear on the transcript as a three-credit reading tutorial. If no written work was submitted during the research tutorial, the mentor may determine a grade that reflects the absence of written work or may provide the student the opportunity to submit the equivalent of a seminar paper based on the student’s independent research. No notation of any kind is made on the student’s transcript regarding an honors thesis.

If the student submits a manuscript by March 31 that is not acceptable as a senior honors thesis, the mentor will determine an appropriate letter grade for each of the two tutorials on the basis of the work that has been submitted. No notation of any kind is made on the student’s transcript (apart from the record of the two tutorials taken for credit) regarding an honors thesis.

    Can the thesis tutorials be counted toward the required number of courses (9 in addition to the 2 courses satisfying the core requirement) that the student must take to complete the major?

At the discretion of the concentration advisor, the thesis research tutorial (THEO 4998) can be incorporated into the student’s major program as an advanced course. Because the thesis completion tutorial (THEO 4999) carries only 1.5 credits, it cannot be counted as one of the students nine required courses toward the major.

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191 Interesting Theology Research Paper Topics For You To Try

theology research paper topics

Do you know how to write a theology paper? Well, first you will need to find and research the best topic that you are interested in. However, it can be frustrating to some extent when you are not sure of what is expected of you, and what to do your research on.

As students, you need to consult your professors in college to know the best topic to choose for your research. Hence, be assured that after you decide on a topic, we will provide online help from there.

It can be difficult to find the right research topic for your University project. However, we have made it easier for you! We have provided a variety of topics that you can choose from.

Theology Research Paper Topics

Most of these topics are based on Christianity research paper topics. They help you visualize more how religion and society correlate. They are based on the various values and evidence behind them.

  • The issues that cause immorality in the church.
  • The role of religious institutions in ensuring peace and harmony.
  • The influence of the different church doctrines on Education development.
  • The effectiveness of faith in Christian life and how it impacts people.
  • What are the major contributors to divisions in the church?
  • The Biblical examination of why there are divisions in the church.
  • The Christian model of living and how it impacts society.
  • The religious conflicts in different parts of the world.
  • How persistent violence affects religious institutions.
  • The principles of religious institutions funding.
  • The role of religious institutions in state politics.
  • The impact of transformational leadership on leader’s performance.
  • The impact of a church minister’s family relationship on the growth of the church.
  • The implication of the involvement of religious institutions in politics.
  • The leadership styles and welfare programs impact salvation.
  • The major effects of servant leadership on Pentecostal fellowship.
  • Evaluate the impact of church leadership on church growth.
  • How does leadership affect the growth of churches?
  • How do parental curses affect the spiritual growth of children?

Theological Essay Topics

These are topics that you can use for your theological essays. They are simple to comprehend and will help you to get a better understanding of religion. They are also based on the beliefs of society.

  • Factors responsible for the division of people in religious institutions.
  • The moral effect of premarital sex among young teenagers.
  • Evaluate the effect of the sectarian crisis in the church.
  • How does parenting affect spiritual growth in children?
  • The impact of church separation at different ages for spiritual growth.
  • The truth behind speaking in tongues and its influence on spiritual growth.
  • Evaluate the impact of the use of new technology in providing spiritual growth to individuals.
  • The influence of the relation between the laity and clergy in building the church.
  • The impact of corporate social responsibility on society.
  • The various Christian ethics and impact on the church growth.
  • Do churches contribute to healthy living in society?
  • Illustrate the cardinal dimension of the Christina CSR – Corporate social responsibilities.
  • Evaluate proliferation and its impact on religious institutions.
  • Nature and faith roles for a Christian.
  • How does the administration of a religious institution affect its growth?
  • The nature and role of faith in different religions.
  • The effect of different denominations in the growth of the church.
  • Evaluate the accepted Christian life and its impact on society.
  • Describe Christianity as a way of life.

More Theology Paper Topics

These are other topics that are broad enough for any research paper. You just need to do proper research, consult your university professor, and choose the best topic for you. It will create a better understanding of theology.

  • The principles that guide church finance in the New Testament.
  • Evaluate the Roman Catholicism.
  • The influence of the religious doctrines in the church.
  • Evaluate the impact of objectification of religion.
  • Evaluate the Russian factory and evangelical church.
  • The Church and theological concepts.
  • Evaluate the Biblical insight on sexuality.
  • Understanding hope, faith, and other theological virtues.
  • What is Eschatology? The role in the life of a believer.
  • Evaluate the Rule of St Benedict through Humility, obedience, and justice.
  • According to Boethius, what is the origin of evil?
  • Explain happiness according to Thomas Aquinas.
  • Analyze the Philosophical arguments against or for the existence of God.
  • Evaluate Augustine’s political and social opinions.
  • Evaluate the relationship between science and theology.
  • Show the life and science of Giordana Bruno.
  • The best response to trauma according to theology.
  • The best response to loss and betrayal is based on Theology.
  • Evaluate the temptation in the garden and its influence on current life.

Research Topics in Theology

Are you looking for the best research topics in theology? Why not start with these? They are based on modern society and religions.

  • Evaluate the two views of theology and their impact on current life.
  • Provide a comparison between Armenians and classic Calvinism.
  • Evaluate the triumph of Armenians and its dangers.
  • Examine the Christian doctrine of security.
  • Evaluate God’s foreknowledge and human freedom and the problems associated with it.
  • Examine God’s immutability aspect and influence on everyday life.
  • Provide a detailed paper on the Biblical perspective of the tension of the son of God’s death as predestined by God.
  • Evaluate the pre-existence of the Son of God.
  • Examine the existence of God’s son concerning the historical dimension of the Biblical witness to God.
  • Evaluate the modern inerrancy debate and its impact on the church.
  • Discuss the reflections on the Theology of Worship.
  • Distinguish between the scripture and culture and impact on the society.
  • Distinguish humans through atheism and secularism.
  • How is humanism portrayed in society?
  • Discuss the problem of natural evil and its impact on society.
  • Analyze the Biblical perspectives on the second coming of the son of God.
  • Provide the popular ideas on the second coming of Christ.
  • Discuss the nature of God and its relation with living beings.
  • What are the popular concepts surrounding the second coming of Jesus Christ?
  • What are the speculations on the end times?

In Depth Theology Essay Topics

These are other theology essay topics that you can use. They are based on real-life circumstances and the consequences of some occurrences. They will help you get a better understanding of what you learn at school.

  • Evaluate the two Biblical stories and their impact on human understanding of creation.
  • Evaluate the protestant principle of faith alone as traced through Habakkuk and Paul.
  • How does faith impact how people live with each other in society?
  • Evaluate homosexuality as shown in the Bible.
  • Evaluate God’s love and human love.
  • Discuss Nehemiah’s life and the question of identity.
  • Explain synergism in fulfilling the mission of the Church.
  • How do you understand the term born again in Christianity?
  • What are the different views that people have about God?
  • What is subjected as Holy Living?
  • What justifies someone living a Holy life?
  • What is the importance of Christian creed, confessions, and catechism in Christianity
  • How do creeds of reformation help in faith-building?
  • Discuss the collection of Biblical studies, and theological reflections that address Women in the Ministry.
  • The impact of historical theology on modern Christianity.
  • Evaluate the heritage of Holiness in Christianity.
  • Evaluate the Day of the Lord and related metaphors in terms of Biblical passages.
  • What is the difference between prophetic and apocalyptic eschatology?

Bible Thesis Topics

The Bible is a great book, however, you need great intervention to understand it fully. Here are some topics that you can start with to understand the basis of the Bible.

  • Evaluate the Old Testament in the Bible as twenty passage
  • What are the implications of the day of the Lord and related metaphors of accountability?
  • Provide a literary analysis of the Book of Genesis.
  • Evaluate the term, “Limited God” in terms of His level of knowledge about humanity – new things he learns about humans
  • Analyze the Old Testament’s concept of the Torah from the Biblical traditions.
  • Evaluate the theoretical analysis of the Old Testament practice of sacrifice and how it differs from appeasement of the gods or physical means to forgiveness.
  • Evaluate the social ethics in the revelation and experience of God in human history.
  • Analyze the 4 Old Testament passages that use “us” to refer to God.
  • Evaluate Psalm 51 and the transformation language.
  • Evaluate Nehemiah and the Question of Identity.
  • Write an essay on the role of the wisdom and psalm traditions which provide a basis on the realities of life from a basis of Faith.
  • Analyze using different Bible passages on whether Jesus had to die.
  • What are the assumptions based on the death of Christ?
  • Evaluate the self-understanding of Jesus and its impact on society.
  • Analyze the social relationship of Jesus and its implication on modern life.
  • What is the relation between Jesus, Religion, and Politics?
  • Retrace the journey of Jesus Christ during his whole life.
  • What were the implications of the death of the Messiah?
  • What were the tensions involved in the overcoming of the death of the Messiah?
  • Analyze various passages in the book of Psalms and their impact on daily living.

Theological Discussion Topics

These topics are mainly based on discussions. This is on the various phenomenon and beliefs associated with them. They are also based on different religions across the world.

  • Evaluate the effect of the church in society in the 21 st century.
  • Evaluate Buddhism in Japan as compared to the one in China.
  • What are the basic ideas and beliefs behind honor killings in some religions?
  • What are the major differences between parables in the Bible and fairy tales?
  • Evaluate the organizational structures of the Buddhists n Thailand and other parts of the world.
  • Why do priests in certain religions never marry and stick to celibacy?
  • How was Jesus different from other prophets in the Bible?
  • How is the Islamic and Christian religion-related?
  • Evaluate the rise of mega-churches
  • Why abortion is strongly disregarded in Christianity?
  • What are the reproductive rights for women in Islam?
  • State the effects of homosexuality in different religions.
  • Provide the Biblical account of how the World was created.
  • The various effects of Greek culture on Christian theology.
  • Early Christian fellowship and encounter with Jesus.
  • Evaluate the sacred ceremonies in Christianity and their significance.
  • Discuss our ancestors and their spiritual beliefs.
  • Which scientific research and proofs disagree with Christian theology
  • Evaluate our ancestors and their spiritual beliefs

Religious Research Paper Topics

Have you ever thought of doing a religious research topic? Why not try any of these!. The topics will also help you get a better understanding of the world and various phenomena.

  • Discuss the emergence of the new religion and its effects.
  • Evaluate world science and religion.
  • Is there a big difference between the Christian and Islamic history?
  • Evaluate world religions with no God – how did people live?
  • Discuss the phenomenon and implications of the trickster gods.
  • Examine the influence of religion in theocratic states.
  • What are the effects of the Greek religion and European culture myths?
  • What is the impact of religion on modern Japan’s culture?
  • What are the considerations that children are innocent souls in the religious discourse?
  • Evaluate the polytheistic religion and mythology
  • Discuss the similarities of images of god and myths associated.
  • The role of women in Islam.
  • How does religion impact people’s daily life?
  • Evaluate animalism and totemism in the manifestation in the modern world.
  • What are the Greek myths and religion’s impact on the European culture?
  • Describe the phenomenon of trickster gods.
  • The similarities and differences of monotheistic religions.
  • Evaluate how atheism is a religion.
  • Evaluate the theocratic states and their influence on religion.
  • Is there an existence of world religions that have no gods?
  • Provide the history of Christianity.

Expanded Religious Topics to Write About

Do you know the best religious topics to write on? With the various topics at hand, it can be hard to choose one. However, these topics are unique and will make you get a different perspective on life.

  • What is the concept of the soul in different religions?
  • Evaluate the history of Judaism.
  • Evaluate the Nordic mythology and religion in the modern world.
  • Describe religious counseling versus classical psychology.
  • What is the attitude of sex in different religions?
  • Evaluate whether children are considered innocent in all religions.
  • Do you think faith can help overcome the harshness of puberty?
  • Examine female clergy in different religions.
  • Evaluate the concept of reincarnation in world religions.
  • Explain the history of Hinduism and its impact on Indian culture.
  • What is the impact of the crisis of faith in the world?
  • Is yoga a health or religious practice?
  • How is the afterlife considered in different religions?
  • Evaluate religion and economics.
  • Evaluate Confucianism and its impact on the modern world.
  • Discuss female clergy in different religions.
  • Debate whether a world full of so much evil can exist with an all-loving omnipotent God.
  • How do all religions lead to the same mountaintop?
  • How do wars use politics as a mask when religion is the core?
  • Is the Great Flood story known across all religions?

World Religions Research Paper Topics

These topics are mainly based on world religions and their impact on the modern world. The topics are broad to ensure you get a better understanding of the various religions in the world.

  • Can atheism be considered a religion on its own?
  • How are animalism and totems manifested in the modern world
  • Discuss the various philosophies such as post-modernism, fatalism, nihilism, and relativism
  • How military action is ethically justified through religion?
  • Can the religious leanings of a politician led to him or her losing an election?
  • Compare the modern Egyptian religious traditions to those from the presynaptic period.
  • Evaluation of what Confucianism is and its impact on the world.
  • How does the Gnostic faith different from modern Christianity?
  • How do new religions cannibalize the rituals that were being used in past religions?
  • How is the Bible different from all other books?
  • How does pure land Buddhism purport to reform the current Buddhist religion?
  • Discuss how God only exists in the minds of people who follow him?
  • How do the various religions deal with the end of the world?
  • Discuss the hypostatic union.
  • What was the Egyptian’s understanding of divinity’s existence?
  • Evaluate the existence of guardian angels and how one can be?

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A Theology of Reproductive Technology

Review: ‘begotten or made’ by oliver o'donovan.

thesis for theology

More By Rob Smith

thesis for theology

More By Andrew Spencer

thesis for theology

For the last few decades, Oliver O’Donovan’s Begotten or Made? has been difficult to find and expensive to buy. Thanks to the foresight of the Davenant Institute, an organization aimed at renewing the intellectual life of contemporary Protestantism, that’s no longer the case.

This “New Edition for the 21st Century,” published some 38 years after the original, is now both readily available and affordable—at least on Kindle, and also in paperback for those in the U.S. and Canada. What’s more, it comes with a new introduction by Matthew Lee Anderson, which helpfully highlights the significance of the work, and a fresh afterword from O’Donovan himself.

Lectures on Reproduction

Begotten or Made? is the published version of the London Lectures in Contemporary Christianity delivered by O’Donovan in 1983. As he explains in the 1984 preface, he’d been invited to tackle a bioethical theme and, as IVF was still a novel technology, “it was not difficult to settle on the area of artificial human fertilization” (xiii). Importantly, however, he was less concerned about dealing with the technique of artificial reproduction than he was with the theology behind it.

Reproductive technology has developed considerably since that time. But by penetrating through the mechanisms of IVF to the ideas that enable it, O’Donovan produced a theoethical treatise that remains highly relevant today.

As Matthew Lee Anderson writes in his introduction, “O’Donovan’s work is both timeless and timely because he digs beneath the concrete practical questions into the manner of thinking embedded within the new technologies of ‘making’ human life” (iii).

Ethics, Theology, and Technology

In chapter 1, O’Donovan both explains and contrasts his use of the terms “begetting” (by which he means the natural generation of a being like ourselves) and “making” (the artificial creation of a being unlike ourselves) to prepare for later discussions of “particular technical undertakings which promise to transform our human begetting into making” (6). This leads to a consideration of the purpose of medicine and medical technique, which traditionally wasn’t thought to be that of “interfering in a healthy body” but of “curing a sick one” (8).

For Christians, the recognition of “limits to the appropriateness of our ‘making’” is a necessary entailment of our “faith in the natural order as the good creation of God” (15). This is important because it helps us differentiate the process of repairing that which God has created from attempts to alter or overcome his design. Much of the technology around artificial reproduction was devised to circumvent nature rather than to restore it.

Much of the technology around artificial reproduction was devised to circumvent nature rather than to restore it.

In chapter 2, “Sex by Artifice,” O’Donovan deals with what he calls “transsexual surgery” (now termed “sex reassignment surgery” or “gender confirmation surgery”). This, as he sees it, is another form of technology primarily oriented toward thwarting or changing nature rather than healing or restoring it. As such, it cannot be regarded as a form of medicine in any meaningful sense.

His discussion of this subject was primarily intended to show where divorcing reproduction from intercourse between a male and a female would lead and how, conversely, “the general program of artificializing procreation is furthered by the artificializing of sex” (22). However, O’Donovan’s analysis of the “philosophical decision” to collapse “the distinction between the physical sex and the psychological sex” of a person can now be seen as prophetic (27). Forty years on, his treatment of the subject remains one of the clearest and most penetrating yet written. Anderson agrees, describing it as “the single most incisive theological treatment of the subject to date” (iii). The book is worth reading for this chapter alone.

Chapter 3 explains why donor involvement in the procreative process is inherently unethical. O’Donovan outlines the moral deficiencies of replacing one of the parents within the family with (potentially) a stranger.

In making his case, he deals carefully with possible objections raised by the Old Testament practice of levirate marriage, which he argues is significantly different from the contemporary practice of AID—i.e., “artificial insemination by donor” (37). An analogy with adoption likewise fails. He writes, “To take another’s child into one’s family is a totally different kind of act from taking another’s gamete into one’s act of procreation” (45).

One aspect of this chapter that needs further development (due to the practice’s increasing popularity today, rather than any lack in O’Donovan’s reasoning) is the renting of wombs through surrogacy. But even here, he has provided the necessary groundwork for an ethical evaluation (and rejection) of this practice.

Chapter 4 wrestles with the meaning of personhood (in general) and the personhood of the embryo (in particular). Contemporary medical ethics requires the subject’s consent for experimentation, which an embryo obviously cannot give. And yet so much reproductive technology—from freezing embryos to genetically modifying them—is experimental and has at least some risk of damage or death.

Therefore, even if (contrary to the scientific evidence) one concludes the personhood of an embryo is ambiguous, the logic of Roman Catholic thought should prevail: “Declare ignorance about the beginnings of personal existence and then protect the child from conception on” (69). But instead, our generation has committed “the new and subtle crime of making babies to be ambiguously human, of presenting to us members of our own species who are doubtfully proper objects of compassion and love.”

In O’Donovan’s mind, this is “the clearest possible demonstration of the principle that when we start making human beings we necessarily stop loving them.” Why so? Because “that which is made rather than begotten becomes something that we have at our disposal, not someone with whom we can engage in brotherly fellowship” (79).

Contemporary medical ethics requires the subject’s consent for experimentation, which an embryo obviously cannot give.

The final chapter wraps up the book’s larger argument, making the case for nature and against artifice by means of an imaginative but highly instructive fairy tale. One of the most significant aspects of moral reasoning about artificial reproductive technologies arising from O’Donovan’s discussion is that many who participate in such techniques likely don’t consider the moral implications of their actions.

The clinical nature of IVF, for example, eliminates the mutual relationship and cooperation normally required for natural conception. It also seeks to overcome the element of “randomness,” which is “one of the factors which most distinguish the act of begetting from the act of technique” (87). While this may not invalidate all uses of IVF technology, it is, on the whole, something significantly different from natural procreation.

Compact and Cogent

Begotten or Made? is slender, with its five main chapters coming to a little over a hundred pages. But while compact, it is carefully and cogently argued, even if those not familiar with O’Donovan’s style of moral reasoning may find it dense and difficult at points. It’s a book that should be read slowly and pondered deeply. But it’s well worth the time it takes to read it and, as we’d recommend, reread it.

In producing a second edition of this increasingly important work, the Davenant Institute has performed a valuable service for the body of Christ. This is indeed, as Carl Trueman writes in his commendation, a book that “deserves to be widely read by a new generation of theologians, philosophers, and pastors.”

This article is adapted from Rob Smith and Andrew Spencer’s book review of Begotten or Made? that appears in Themelios 49, no. 1 (April 2024). Access the full journal online .

Rob Smith lectures in theology, ethics, and music ministry at Sydney Missionary & Bible College . He is the author of several books, including Come Let Us Sing: A Call to Musical Reformation (Latimer Trust, 2020) and The Body God Gives: A Biblical Response to Transgender Theory (Lexham Press, forthcoming 2024) and serves as ethics and pastoralia book reviews editor for Themelios .

Andrew Spencer (PhD, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as associate editor for books at The Gospel Coalition. He is the author of Hope for God’s Creation: Stewardship in an Age of Futility and Doctrine in Shades of Green: Theological Perspective for Environmental Ethics , editor of The Christian Mind of C. S. Lewis: Essays in Honor of Michael Travers , and a contributor to Baptist Political Theology . Spencer is an elder at CrossPointe Church . He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children and live in southeast Michigan.

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Modern Love

I Was Content With Monogamy. I Shouldn’t Have Been.

Can exploring polyamory both break you and make you?

An illustration of a woman with very long arms embracing a man and five other women.

By Jason Bilbrey

When my wife proposed that we stop being monogamous, she said it would make us stronger. I said it would make us divorce. We were both right.

She had planted the seed seven years into our marriage as I was finishing seminary. At the time, I was exiting a phase of my life perhaps best described as “worship pastor bro.” My Christian faith was undergoing a meticulous and scholarly deconstruction. I could begin to imagine a life without God, but with my new, expensive master’s degree in theology, I struggled to imagine a career without Him.

By contrast, Corrie’s turn away from religion a year earlier had been quick, uncomplicated and annoyingly joyful.

One night, seven years into our marriage, she said, “Do you ever wish we had slept around a bunch in college before getting married?” Corrie was a fiery social worker whose face could never hide what she felt — annoyance, attraction, embarrassment. Behind this question was an expression of excitement.

I stared at her in disbelief. By “college” she meant the Bible college where we met, both of us in student leadership. It was the kind of Christian university that prohibited dancing.

Like many of our peers, Corrie and I married the summer after graduation. We were in love, but we were also motivated by our desire to explore that part of the human experience marriage would finally sanction: sexuality.

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