Using Secondary Sources
How and When To Use Secondary Sources
Secondary sources (what scholars have said about your text) are necessary for responsible exegetical study. By reviewing secondary source material you will benefit from the insights of many different exegetes.
Because the exegetical paper is primarily an exposition of the biblical text, your consideration of secondary research material should not overwhelm your own analysis and discussion of the text. Your paper must not merely recount what different scholars have said about your passage. Rather, your paper should be a sustained engagement with your passage that clearly communicates your own conclusions about it and only references secondary material in a way that supplements your own study. In this way the exegetical paper will be your own explanation of your text in dialogue with secondary material. A good rule of thumb is to consult commentaries only after you have completed your exegesis of the passage.