how do interpreters read “no one who is born of God sins” in 1 John 3:9? Do they think that means Christians never sin again after baptism? Or that Christians don’t sin in a particular way?).

First, pick a biblical passage from Hebrews-Revelation that you are interested in learning more about. This can be a single verse, or a larger set of verses that share the same idea (no more than ~10 verses), but not a whole chapter. After picking a biblical passage, narrow down the top 1-2 aspects of this passage that you are most interested in researching (e.g., how do interpreters read “no one who is born of God sins” in 1 John 3:9? Do they think that means Christians never sin again after baptism? Or that Christians don’t sin in a particular way?). Do not proceed into your research without narrowing down what most interests you about the passage you have chosen.
• Second, research three different interpretations, one each from the periods listed above. Look for interpretations that address what you are most interested in about your passage. Look for interpretations that are significantly different from one another, not interpretations that all say exactly the same thing. Use the resources listed below to find each interpreter’s own words on the biblical passage (don’t read some modern person talking about how Gregory the Great interpreted the passage – go read Gregory the Great’s own words). A good place to start is with the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture or Reformation Commentary on Scripture volumes.
• Third, write up your paper:
o Start with a brief introductory paragraph which tells me which biblical passage you are studying in this project and why (why is it interesting to you? What is at stake for you?). Be as specific as possible. In this paragraph also tell me which three interpreters you have investigated.
o Then, for each interpreter, you will provide the following information in three paragraphs (~500-600 words for each interpreter):
▪ (1) Give a biographical description of the interpreter, including his/her name, date, geographical location, occupation, and any historical data you can find that is relevant to their biblical interpretation. Use good quality sources for this, like the Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters volume, as well as the appendices at the back of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture volumes. Cite your sources.
▪ (2) Give a summary of their interpretation of your chosen biblical passage. If you are using the ACCS or RCS volumes, go and find the original work of
your interpreter (listed in these volumes), and read beyond just the snippet given (using library sources or the internet). For example, if you are reading John Calvin’s commentary on Hebrews 8:13, read what Calvin says on the whole of chapter 8, to be sure you get a good taste of what he thinks. Feel free to quote from your interpreter, but most of this paragraph needs to be your summary, not just a big quote. Cite your sources as needed.
▪ (3) Give an analysis of the interpretation. Explain in detail how one aspect of the interpretation is helpful for understanding the meaning of the biblical passage today (an aspect that in your view helps the church to read this biblical passage well). Also offer a critique: explain in detail how one aspect of the interpretation might obscure the meaning of the biblical text and thus hinder the church’s ability to read this text well. Do not criticize a given interpreter for living in a different time-period than you do (e.g., they use hard-to-understand language, or make references to things you don’t understand) – that is your problem, not their problem.
o Finish with a brief concluding paragraph, which states the most important things you learned from investigating these three interpreters.
Suggested research resources:
• Christian Classics Ethereal Library (; Free, online; Calvin’s works are here)
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