This will be your road map, keeping you on track and taking you to your destination. However you do not need to follow it slavishly: it is a guide. If you find an interesting detour and have time to explore you may wish to modify your original plan. Keep an open mind and remember that you can always re-write your outline to suit any changes you make.
Try it. Write your working outline for “The Life and Career of the Prophet Amos” and save it. When you have finished you may look at mine. You will find it here: “Steven’s Working Outline”.
Note that, at this point, the Outline is still a collection of bullet points, not a numbered sequence. Some points could be combined or used as subsidiary points, depending on where our research takes us. The Early Life and Call could be combined, for example, or The Nature of Prophecy could be developed as a separate topic.
Introduction / Sources will tell the reader what the essay is about and where our information comes from. This information is the primary data (i.e., the Biblical references). Secondary research (from reference books and / or Internet) will be listed at the end in our Bibliography (literally “Book List” which will include all forms of material, e.g., CD-ROMs, Internet, magazines, etc.)
The two major sections are The Ministry of Amos and The Book of Amos. Between them, these two will make up the bulk of the essay – at an estimate, 75 – 80%.
The Death of Amos and Amos in the New Testament may yield much information or very little. Until we start looking we cannot know. Even if there is little or no information it is still worth saying so. Speculating as to why there is none is less important.
Lessons For Today could be worthwhile, if we have space. Our essay title is “Life and Career” not “Message”, which would be a different essay. It could still be useful to outline any significant application and come back to it another day.