Scripture & Theology Essay Competition

Image: Schelte Adamsz. Bolswert. The Conversion of Saint Paul, 1621/33. The Art Institute of Chicago. 

Current undergraduate and graduate students from any academic institution are invited to enter our 2023 Scripture & Theology Essay Competition on the topic of, “What is the heart of Paul’s gospel?” This competition reflects Wycliffe College’s commitment to excellence in the study of both the Bible and theology, as well as the leading role which Wycliffe plays in revitalizing the theological interpretation of Scripture. We especially encourage essays which engage the contours of both theological and biblical thought.

Note: Contestants interested in our May 2023 Colloquium may choose to write their essay on the colloquium's topic. Contestants are permitted to enter the same (or a similar) essay in both the essay competition and the colloquium Call for Papers, so long as it adheres to the requirements of both. Competitors are also welcome to address the competition topic from a different angle.

Essay topic: What is the heart of Paul’s gospel?

Deadline: Wednesday, March 1, 2023 by 11:59pm ET 

Eligibility: Current undergraduate or graduate students of any denomination, discipline, or background are welcome to apply (please read full eligibility and submission criteria in the dropdown tab below)

Questions: Contact us at

Awards: In each category (Undergraduate/Graduate): 1st: $1000 | 2nd: $500 | 3rd: $250
First place winners will be invited to Wycliffe College for our spring Scripture and Theology colloquium. A travel subsidy will be provided.

Eligibility and Submission Criteria

Note: Students are permitted to enter the same (or a similar) essay in both the essay competition and the colloquium Call for Papers, so long as it adheres to the requirements of both. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • Author must be a graduate or undergraduate student in an academic degree program at a recognized institution of higher learning.
  • Only one essay may be submitted per competition cycle.  An author cannot receive 1st prize in the same category (Undergraduate or Graduate) two years in a row.
  • Submission must be an original, unpublished essay.  Modified versions of essays submitted to a class are acceptable.

Submission guidelines

  • Essays must be no more than 3000 words, excluding footnotes and bibliography.  Essays will be trimmed at the 3000th word and referees will not read beyond that point.
  • Include a title page which contains:
    • The essay title
    • The author’s name and current institution and program of study
    • The author’s contact information, including permanent postal address, email, and telephone number
  • Do not include your name on any page of the essay body.  It should only be on the title page.
  • Essays should be in Times New Roman font, 12pt, double-spaced. 
  • Submissions must be received by 11:59pm ET on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 .

Evaluation criteria

Essays will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Clarity of thought and articulation, including a clear thesis and argumentative structure, as well as proper grammar and syntax
  • Scholarly excellence, including engagement with properly referenced primary and secondary sources
  • Originality, including fresh approaches to the question posed
  • Theological commitment, including demonstrated engagement with Christian Scripture, history, faith, and/or tradition(s)

Essays will be read in light of Wycliffe College’s principles and commitments.


Winning essays may be published on our website.  By submitting an essay, you consent to its online publication.

Previous Winners

Congratulations to the winners of Wycliffe's 2022 Scripture & Theology Essay Competition!

Essay Topic: Theophany: Theological implications of God’s manifestations in Scripture



Congratulations to the winners of Wycliffe's 2021 Scripture & Theology Essay Competition! 

Essay Topic: Blurring the Lines Between Biblical Studies and Theology: What are the advantages and disadvantages of approaching biblical interpretation through a theological framework?



  • 1st Place – Undergraduate
    Theological Interpretation of Scripture: The Reformation of Modern Biblical Scholarship” by Ethan Skinner, Heritage College and Seminary
  • 2nd Place – Undergraduate  
    “Love is Key” by Shawn Martens, Millar College of the Bible“‘Commitment than Which One Cannot Have a Greater’: Creation as Vow in Curs Deus Homo.”  
  • 3rd Place – Undergraduate  
    “Approaching Biblical Interpretation Through a Theological Framework” by Kseniya Parsons, Southeastern Theological Seminary