Faith in Genesis

One of the main themes throughout the Bible is that of faith. It is key to our salvation in Christ Jesus. Our faith is something that is almost constantly under attack. We are faced with trials, tribulations, struggles and doubts. Sometimes we prevail. Sometimes we fail. At times in our lives, we will be called to take a leap of faith. we do not know where we are going or what we will do, but we know that God the Father is calling us to something more. Just like Indiana Jones had to take the “leap of faith” to get to the Holy Grail, so we will be faced with similar situations.

The book of Genesis is a story of beginnings. The world had its beginning, sin was introduced into this world, mankind almost completely destroyed and began again, Abraham had his beginning, as did Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Through this line the nation of Israel had its beginning. Almost every page in the book of beginnings displays the theme of faith. A person is called to faith. A person faith is tested. Faith in the Almighty is kept or a lack of faith is displayed. Faith is also a beginning. We begin our life with Christ by faith in Him and His finished work for us. Faith is not easy as Genesis shows, but even with the patriarchs are faithless, God is always faithful. Genesis has many storylines, but faith is one of the overarching themes. The faith of the people and the faithfulness of God.

This post is the main message of Genesis in this writers eyes and a high level summary outline of Genesis. I will also look at the faith of one of the patriarchs, how they lived a life of faith and finally how modern believers can learn from this life of faith.

FAITH IN GENESIS

  1. The main message of Genesis
    1. The book of Genesis displays creation and God’s covenant with the patriarchs to develop faith in His chosen people.
  2. Outline of Genesis
    1. The creation of the world and history of the earliest ages (chs. 1-11).
      1. God establishes His existence and His creation of all things (chs. 1-2).
      2. Mankind falls into sin and the progression throughout creation (chs. 3-5).
      3. God judges the world and His covenant with the lone faithful man named Noah (chs. 6-11).
    2. God makes covenants of promise with the chosen patriarchal fathers of faith (chs. 11-50).
      1. God establishes a covenant with Abraham and his journey of faith (chs. 11-25).
      2. God’s covenant is confirmed with Isaac and Jacob (chs. 25-36).
      3. The covenant of God is displayed through the life of Joseph for the future protection of the chosen people (chs. 37-50).
  1. How did Joseph model faith?

Joseph modeled faith even in facing reoccurring adversity, he did not compromise his integrity or faith in God. No matter what position he was in, he did not lose heart but instead willingly submitted and did all that was asked of him to be faithful, honoring, and glorifying to God. Through all the struggles and tribulations of Joseph’s life, when life was the bleakest, he continually trusted and had faith that God would not only work in those circumstances, but work them out for good. When others would have given up, Joseph was patient and endured the hardships. Joseph’s patient endurance through the struggles modeled faith because he focused on God’s big picture and trusted in God’s promises. He knew that there was a reason for these hardships and God was using him for a greater purpose to provide for his family, but more importantly ensure the protection for future generations of God’s people.

  1. How does the narrative of Joseph apply to the 21st century believer?

As the modern believer experiences and is faced with their own difficult hardships and circumstances, the story of Joseph is one that can be looked to for encouragement. His life was filled with trials and tribulations as it seemed it was one thing after another; the modern believer can look to the story of Joseph as an example of perseverance, endurance, patience, trust and faith. Honoring God, Joseph lived out his faith and refused to give in to the depression of his circumstances or succumbing to the temptations of the flesh. The story of Joseph translates through the centuries because when everything seems to be going wrong, Joseph displays a hope and faith that never submits to despair. His story reminds all of us that we must hold on to the promises of God, because God can use that for good to do something beyond our understanding. Joseph’s story shows that God will walk with us through the darkest valleys of life as we trust and remain faithful to Him.

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Abiding Truths from John 3:16

The practice of correlating and applying Scripture to one’s life is very important. The Scriptures provide us insight into our lives but more importantly insight about a heavenly father that deeply loves and cares for His children.

In an effort to provide more encouragement and help in the correlation and application process of Scripture, I wanted to provide an extra post on this subject. This is an examination of the classic verse John 3:16. My hope in providing this is to encourage all of you in taking time to not only read the Bible, check off a box and move on with your day. But to examine Scripture, go deep, learn from it, and see what God is teaching and telling you. This may be one option or possibility in trying to discern a principle or truth that God wants you to hear in your current season of life.

 

So let’s begin by looking first at John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

 

CORRELATION OF JOHN 3:16

Step 1 – Six Interrogative Questions

Who? (Subjects and objects. Who are all the who’s in the passage?)

 God (subject)

 The world (object of “loved”)

 God’s only-begotten Son (object of “gave”)

 Whoever believes in Him (subject of “believes”, “shall not perish” and “have eternal life”).

 

What? (Main verbs. What topics, what actions, what subjects, what issues?)

 God loved the world.

 God gave His only begotten Son.

 Whoever believes in Him.

 Whoever believes in Him shall not perish.

 [Whoever believes in Him shall] have eternal life.

 

When? (Temporal indicators. Any time references?)

 God so loved the world. (past)

 God gave His only begotten Son. (past)

 Whoever believes in Him. (present)

 Whoever believes in Him shall not perish. (future)

 [Whoever believes in Him shall] have eternal life. (future)

 

Where? (Locative indicators.)

 Whoever believes “in Him”. (adverb/locative)

 

Why? (Reasons, causes, purposes/results.)

 “For God so loved” the world. (Gives reason for what was stated in the preceding context.)

 “That He gave…” (Describes the result of God loving the world.)

 “That whoever believes in Him.” (Describes the two results – one positive (“[shall] have”) and one negative (“shall not perish”) – of God giving His only-begotten Son, Jesus.

 

How? (Manner, means, instrumentality.)

 “God so loved” (Describes how, or the manner in which, God loved the world.)

 “Whoever believes in Him” (The means for not perishing is by believing in Him; the means for having eternal life is by believing in Jesus.) (How does one not perish but have eternal life?)

 

In Scripture study, we never stop observing the text. Avoid making comments about the paragraph that weren’t there or summarizing the text in your modern words. Avoid putting words into the mouths of the author. The key is the mechanical layout: the forms, functions, and explanations of the various words, phrases, and clauses. The truths should come from the layout and from Step 1.

 

Step 2 – Here are the truths of John 3:16

Notice that we have created nothing. We let the passage speaks for itself. Observe that the passage answers our questions (Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?) and thus reveals these truths.)

 

 God loved the world. (Whom did God love?)

 God gave His only-begotten Son. (Whom did God give?)

 The manner in which God loved the world was that He gave His only-begotten Son, Jesus. (How did God love the world?)

 The result of loving the world was that God gave His only-begotten Son, Jesus. (Why did God give His Son?)

 God gave Jesus so that those believing in Jesus would not perish.

 God gave Jesus so that those believing in Jesus would have eternal life.

 A result of God giving Jesus is that whoever believes in Him shall not perish.

 A result of God giving Jesus is that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life. (Why can those who believe in Jesus not perish but have eternal life?)

 The reason God gave His only-begotten Son, Jesus, was because He loved the world.

 The means by which one shall not perish is by believing in Jesus. (How does one not perish?)

 In contrast, the means by which one has eternal life is by believing in Jesus. (How does one have eternal life?)

 

Step 3 – Group truths together based on topics

From Step 2, we discover three ideas: Love, Giving, and Believing. Now, re-organize all of these truths under these three ideas. (NOTE: Use all the truths from Step 2. Don’t change the wording. Use them “as is”. Don’t add new truths. Simply organize the truths you listed in Step 2.)

 

LOVE

 God loved the world.

 The manner in which God loved the world was that He gave His only-begotten Son, Jesus.

 The result of loving the world was that God gave His only-begotten Son, Jesus. (You can place this truth here or under GIVING.)

 The reason God gave His only-begotten Son, Jesus, was because He loved the world.

 

GIVING

 God gave His only-begotten Son.

 The result of loving the world was that God gave His only-begotten Son, Jesus. (You can place this truth here or under LOVE.)

 God gave Jesus so that those believing in Jesus would not perish.

 God gave Jesus so that those believing in Jesus would have eternal life.

 

BELIEVING

 A result of God giving Jesus is that whoever believes in Him shall not perish.

 A result of God giving Jesus is that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life.

 The means by which one shall not perish is by believing in Jesus.

 In contrast, the means by which one has eternal life is by believing in Jesus.

 

Step 4 – Here, we take away the minor truths from the passage, which leaves the major truths. (NOTE: Don’t change the wording or add new truths at this stage. Simply list the major truths under their respective headings). These are the major points of the passage. All other “truths” support these points; they are subordinate to these “truths.” Notice that these are the main points of the mechanical layout; they are the phrases and clauses closest to the left margin and so highest in the grammatical and syntactical hierarchy. (Remember, no 1st or 2nd person pronouns!)

 

LOVE

 The reason God gave His only-begotten Son, Jesus, was because He loved the world.

 

GIVING

 God gave Jesus so that those believing in Jesus would not perish.

 God gave Jesus so that those believing in Jesus would have eternal life.

 

BELIEVING

 A result of God giving Jesus is that whoever believes in Him shall not perish.

 A result of God giving Jesus is that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life.

Step 5 – Then, re-word these major truths into 3-5 theological principles. (NOTE: Do not use 1st or 2nd person pronouns. Keep these principles simple: no compound or complex sentences. Use timeless names. Seek to keep these principles at 13 words or less.)

 Christians should love others in a manner that reflects God’s love and sacrifice.

 People should believe in Jesus so that they will not perish.

 People should believe in Jesus so that they can have eternal life.

Step 6 – Finally, represent the main theme or theological proposition in one simple statement from the theological principles above. (This can also be referred to as a timeless principle. See NOTE in Step 5 above for guidelines.)

Because God loved the world, He gave Jesus so that by believing in Jesus believers might not perish but have eternal life.

Theological proposition for personal application: I believe in Jesus, Whom God gave because He loved the world, so that I might not perish but have eternal life.

Credit to Terry Hebert, John Contoveros and the DTS Bible Exposition department

The Practice of Correlation of Scripture

The study of Scripture is not complete until one understands the main point of the passage and its relationship to their lives. Therefore, you will want to derive the main principle or theme from the text.

In order to accomplish this, the five principles of correlation will need to be used. The final result should be 3-5 principles stating timeless theological truths and a simple (non-complex) statement of the main theological proposition of the passage in Philemon 4-7.

The five prohibitions of extracting correlation principles are:

  1. Don’t state as a question
  2. Don’t state negatively
  3. Don’t use names unless they are eternal or everlasting
  4. Avoid compound or complex sentences
  5. Don’t use first or second personal pronouns

The five procedures for extracting correlation principles are:

  1. Ask the six interrogative questions – Answer the six interrogative questions (who, what, where, why, when, how) based on the understanding of the passage you gained from the mechanical layout.
  2. Record all truths, great and small – Record all truths of the passage, great and small. Some will be more demanding than others in terms of personal application.
  3. Combine related truths into statements – Group truths together based on topics (e.g. thanksgiving, prayer).
  4. Concentrate on major truths – Set aside all non-demanding truths and retain those that require personal application.
  5. Reword paragraph into 3-5 simple sentences in principle format – Reword the remaining truths into 3-5 theological principles. Five is the maximum number of acceptable principles.

Next, represent the main theme, or theological proposition, of the text in one simple statement. This theme should clearly express the main point of the passage to anybody who reads it.

First, let’s look at Philemon 1:4-7 to start the process of correlation

4 I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints; 6 and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. 7 For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother. (NASB)

CORRELATION OF PHILEMON 1:4-7 – Please note, this is just one of many variations of truths and applications that one could get out of this passage.

Step 1 – Six Interrogative Questions

  • Who?
    • I (Paul, subject, part of “I thank” and “I pray”)
    • Of you (object of Paul’s mention in prayers, Philemon, “brother”)
    • My God (object of whom Paul thanks)
    • Lord Jesus (object of Philemon’s love and faith)
    • All the saints (A second object of Philemon’s directing his love and faith)
  • What?
    • Because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have (Describe subject/topic of what Paul is hearing.)
    • Because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have (Describe subject/topic of what Paul is hearing.)
    • For I have come to have much joy. (Describes the action that has come to Paul.)
    • For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love (Describes the subject of what Paul has.)
    • For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love (Describes the subject of what Paul has.)
    • I thank my God (Describes the action Paul is taking toward God.)
    • Because I hear of your love (Describes the action of Paul in relation to Philemon’s love)
    • And I pray that the fellowship… (Describes Paul’s action because of Philemon’s faith.)
    • [That the fellowship of your faith] may become effective… (Describes the action of faithful fellowship.)
    • For I have come to have much joy and comfort… (Describes the action of Paul in having joy and comfort.)
    • [Because the hearts of the saints] have become refreshed… (Describes the action of the saint’s hearts.)
  • When?
    • I thank my God always. (temporal, present)
    • I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become (future)
    • The hearts of the saints have been (past)
  • Where?
    • Making mention of you “in my prayers”. (Adverb/locative, describes where Paul makes mention.)
    • Of every good thing which is “in you” for Christ’s sake. (Adverb/locative, describes the location of every good thing residing.)
    • For I have come to have much joy and comfort “in your love” (adverb/locative, describes the place of Paul’s joy and comfort.)
  • Why?
    • “Because I hear” of your love (Gives the reason for Paul giving thanks to God.)
    • And I pray that the fellowship of your faith “may become effective” (Describes the purpose and content of Paul’s prayer.)
    • Knowledge of every good thing which is in you “For Christ’s sake.” (Describes the purpose of becoming effective or describes the cause of every good thing which is in you.)
    • For I “have come” to have much joy and comfort (Describes the reason for Paul thanking God.)
    • Because the hearts of the saints “have been refreshed” through you, brother. (Describes the reason Paul has joy and comfort.)
  • How?
    • “Making mention” (Describes how, or the manner of which, Paul thanked God.)
    • “Through the knowledge” (Describes in what way the fellowship of faith becomes effective.)
    • “Through you” (Describes the manner their hearts were refreshed.)

Step 2 – The Truths of the Passage

  • It is good to thank God.
  • The manner in which it is appropriate to thankfully make mention of others is in prayers to God.
  • Thank God always when faith and love of others is heard about.
  • The manner in which faithful fellowship becomes effective is through knowledge of every good thing.
  • The result of brotherly love is the refreshing of other’s hearts.
  • The result of a life exemplifying love and faith can cause others to be thankful.
  • The result of Christ living in a believer is having knowledge of every good thing.
  • The means of having knowledge of every good thing is faithful fellowship with Christ.
  • The reason knowledge becomes effective is by having faith in fellowship with Christ.
  • The result of loving others causes joy and comfort in other believers.
  • The means to refreshing believer’s hearts is by having love.
  • Pray for others faith to become effective
  • It is possible to have knowledge of every good thing because of Christ.
  • The direction of faith and love should be toward Christ and all believers.
  • Thank God for others faith and love in prayer.
  • Love and faith in Christ leads to loving others.
  • A life of love and faith can be an effective example to other believers.
  • A contrast between the physical body and the spiritual is by having Christ in us.
  • Knowledge can be good.
  • A joyful and comforting heart is refreshing.
  • Christianity gives a sense of family and friendship.
  • A person can have a significant and joyful impact on the lives of many through love.
  • Prayer includes thanksgiving.
  • Prayer should include requests for others.
  • Having fellowship with faith can lead to a more effective communion with Christ.
  • Love is joyful, comforting and refreshing to others.

Step 3 – Group Truths Together based on Topics

  • Thanksgiving
    • A life of love and faith can be an effective example to other believers.
    • Love and faith in Christ leads to loving others.
    • Thank God for others faith and love in prayer.
    • The direction of faith and love should be toward Christ and all believers.
    • The result of a life exemplifying love and faith can cause others to be thankful.
    • Thank God always when others faith and love that is heard about.
    • The manner in which it is appropriate to thankfully make mention of others is in prayers to God.
    • It is good to thank God.
    • Prayer includes thanksgiving.
  • Prayer
    • Knowledge can be good.
    • A contrast between the physical body and the spiritual by having Christ in us.
    • It is possible to have knowledge of every good thing because of Christ.
    • Pray for others faith to become effective
    • The reason knowledge becomes effective is by having faith in fellowship with Christ.
    • The means of having knowledge of every good thing is faithful fellowship with Christ.
    • The manner in which faithful fellowship becomes effective is through knowledge of every good thing.
    • Prayer should include requests for others.
    • Having fellowship with faith can lead to a more effective communion with Christ.
  • Refreshment
    • Christianity gives a sense of family and friendship.
    • A person can have a significant and joyful impact on the lives of many through love.
    • A joyful and comforting heart is refreshing.
    • The means to refreshing believer’s hearts is by having love.
    • The result of loving others causes joy and comfort in other believers.
    • The result of brotherly love is the refreshing of others hearts.
    • Love is joyful, comforting and refreshing others.

Step 4 – Major Truths Requiring Personal Application

  • Thanksgiving
    • A life of love and faith can be an effective example to other believers.
    • Love and faith in Christ leads to loving others.
    • The result of a life exemplifying love and faith can cause others to be thankful.
  • Prayer
    • The reason knowledge becomes effective is by having faith in fellowship with Christ.
    • Prayer should include requests for others.
    • Having fellowship with faith can lead to a more effective communion with Christ.
  • Refreshment
    • A joyful and comforting heart is refreshing.
    • The result of brotherly love is the refreshing of others hearts.
    • Love is joyful, comforting and refreshing to others.

Step 5 – Theological Principles

  • Christian love is exemplified by bringing a refreshing comfort and joy to others lives.
  • Be thankful for those who live a life of love and faith.
  • People should have faith in Christ so that they may have a more effective knowledge.
  • Christians should remember that we are all one in Christ
  • Christians should always pray for other believers to show Christ’s love to those around them.

Step 6 – Main Theme or Theological Proposition

Faith in Christ results in a life of love that is thankful and prayerful.

Hebrew Parallelism in Psalm 19

As a follow up to the previous post, here is an example of Hebrew Parallelism taken from Psalm 19. This is just one way that it could be done as some verses could have slight identification difference.

HEBREW PARALLELISM IN PSALM 19

  • Psalm 19:1

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;

And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

[Synonymous]

  • Psalm 19:2

Day to day pours forth speech,

And night to night reveals knowledge.

[Synonymous]

  • Psalm 19:3

There is no speech, nor are there words;

Their voice is not heard.

[Synthetic]

  • Psalm 19:4

Their line has gone out through all the earth,

And their utterances to the end of the world.

[Synonymous (lines 1-2)]

In them He has placed a tent for the sun,

[Synthetic (lines 1/2-3)]

  • Psalm 19:5

Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;

It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.

[Emblematic Synonymous]

  • Psalm 19:6

Its rising is from one end of the heavens,

And its circuit to the other end of them;

[Synonymous (lines 1-2)]

And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

[Synthetic (lines 1/2-3)]

  • Psalm 19:7

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;

The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

[Synonymous]

  • Psalm 19:8

The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;

The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

[Synonymous]

  • Psalm 19:9

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;

The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.

[Synthetic]

  • Psalm 19:10

They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;

Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.

[Synonymous]

  • Psalm 19:11

Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;

(Your servant) In keeping them there is great reward.

[Synonymous]

  • Psalm 19:12

Who can discern his errors?

Acquit me of hidden faults.

[Synonymous]

  • Psalm 19:13

Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;

Let them not rule over me;

[Antithethical (lines 1-2)]

Then I will be blameless,

And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.

[Synthetic (lines 3-4)]

[Synonymous (lines 1-4)]

  • Psalm 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

Be acceptable in Your sight,

[Formal (lines 1-2)]

O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

[Formal (lines 1/2-3)]

What is Hebrew Parallelism

What is Parallelism? “Parallelism is the use of components in a sentence that are grammatically the same; or similar in their construction, sound, meaning or meter. Parallelism examples are found in literary works as well as in ordinary conversations” (Literarydevices.net). The parallelism can add a sense of increasing importance as one reads a piece of literature. Or think about music and how a piece of music can start low and soft and then build into this vibrant and loud crescendo. It can be used as a way of showing two or more ideas have the same importance or building upon that importance.

“Recognizing parallelism as a poetic feature can sometimes aid in understanding or interpreting a passage.  For example, the use of parallelism usually means that the message of the text is in the larger passage and its overall point or impact rather than individual words or single lines.  Also, specific words that may be ambiguous or used in unusual ways can be clarified or more narrowly defined by seeing them in the context of a parallel structure” (http://www.cresourcei.org/parallel.html). These are mostly found in Psalms and Proverbs. The following post will show Hebrew Parallelism in Psalm 19.

Hebrew Poetry: Parallelism
• Parallelism is the statement and re-statement with art, style, and imagery.
• Parallels exist in concepts, ideas, or thoughts.
• Parallelism is found not only in couplets (two lines), but also in triplets and quatrains (three and four lines), and sometimes in whole stanzas.

The various types of Parallelism are:

SYNONYMOUS
• 2nd line repeats the thought of the 1st line in different words.
• Harmonious
• Complementary
• Watch for inclusio (ABB’A’)
• Possible Markers: “and,” “moreover.”

Psalm 2:4
He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.

Psalm 2:9
‘You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware.’ ”
ANTITHETICAL
• 2nd line affirms the 1st line with the opposite or contrasting statement.
• Markers include adversative conjunctions, e.g. “but,” or negation, e.g. “no,” “neither,” “nor.”
• The B-line states the notion of the A-line in opposite terms.

Psalm 1:6
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.

Psalm 4:4
Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.

Psalm 5:5
The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes;
You hate all who do iniquity.

Psalm 6:5
For there is no mention of You in death;
In Sheol who will give You thanks?

Proverbs 10:1b-c
A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish son is a grief to his mother.

CLIMACTIC
• 2nd line repeats the 1st line with the exact same words plus a conclusion.
• Climactic parallelism combines synonymous and formal parallelism. The B-line echoes part of the A-line, then adds a phrase that develops the meaning and completes the sense.
Psalm 29:1
Ascribe to the Lord, O sons of the mighty,
Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

SYNTHETIC
• 2nd line repeats the thought of the 1st line in different words plus adds a conclusion or completes the sense of the 1st line.
• The relationship is supplementary.
• “Consists only in the similar form of construction, in which word does not answer to word, and sentence to sentence, as equivalent or opposite; but there is a correspondence and equality between different positions in respect to the shape and turn of the whole sentence and of the constructive parts; such as noun answering to noun, verb to verb, member to member, negative to negative, interrogative to interrogative.” (Lowth)
• AKA: chain figure or staircase parallelism

Psalm 95:6
Come, let us worship, and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
Here, the Psalmist adds “before the Lord our Maker” to “worship, and bow down.” You could treat this as an ellipsis too. “Let us worship and bow down before the Lord our Maker.” In this case, the parallelism is synonymous.

Psalm 92:9
For, behold, Your enemies, O Lord,
For, behold, Your enemies will perish;
All who do iniquity will be scattered.

Psalm 93:3
The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
The floods have lifted up their voice,
The floods lift up their pounding waves.

Psalm 96:1-2a
Sing to the Lord a new song;
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;

EMBLEMATIC
• A figure of speech is explained in the 2nd line.
• The second line elevates the idea in the 1st line.
• Sometimes you may combine this with the previous four, e.g. emblematic synonymous, emblematic antithetical, emblematic synthetic, or emblematic climatic.
Psalm 42:1
As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God.
(Some might call this Emblematic Synonymous. Others might consider the vocative “O God” as a conclusion and thus, label this as emblematic synthetic. Furthermore, they might consider the “So” as a marker for concluding material to follow. But in this context, “So” serves as a marker of the simile “as.” You could understand it as “in the same way.” I consider this simply Emblematic because the second line elevates the meaning of the first line. The first line is stated as a simile explained or elevated in the second line.)
FORMAL
• 1 idea, thought, sentence, and, thus, 1 statement in meter.
• The couplet forms a complete sentence, idea, or thought without parallelism.

Proverbs 25:18
Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow
Is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor.

Psalm 52.4
You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.
Formal parallelism will confuse you because you will see the vocative of address (O Deceitful Tongue) and consider that separately from the main clause. But “O Deceitful Tongue” is the subject “You” to the verb “love.” It’s not a conclusion. Moreover, and semantically speaking, formal parallelism is non-parallel.

Courtesy of DTS BE101 documentation

A Mechanical Layout of Scripture

 

 

 

Outlining the Bible is the primary means to prepare one to understand the precepts of Scripture in a clear and logical way. This is intended for the Bible student to learn how to examine the text and then draw out what is there in a logical and systematic way. In this way, well refined studies that are personally edifying and impactful can be had for the individual. Outlining will enable one to “exegete” and then write out what the Bible is saying.

“Exegesis” is examining the passage and discovering the principles and ideas that are represented there. This helps prevents someone from adding their own thinking, prejudices, and ideas into the mix that would take away from what God is actually saying. Our responsibility is to observe, study, interpret, correlate, and apply God’s Word from what is there, not add in something that is not there. Also, we should not leave out what we do not want and thus miss what God has clearly described for us. Exegesis is a tool that helps one stay focused and centered upon God and His precepts and then be edified that in turn could edify others.

The Mechanical Layout

What is a mechanical layout? A mechanical layout involves the rewriting of the text in a form that will reveal the grammatical structure of that text.

“There are to marks which characterize the efficient observer:  awareness and thoroughness.  He is not mechanical in his observation.  Rather he is alive to the contents of a passage.  He perceives, he actually sees.  And he sees all the components of a passage.  He takes nothing for granted.  He disciplines himself to absorb consciously the entire unit.  He marks attentively each term, because he knows that any artist who is worthy of the name makes a thoughtful and purposeful selection of terminology.  He also notes carefully the relations and interrelations between terms.  He keeps his eyes open to the smallest as well as the largest connections.  He pays close attention to the general literary form and atmosphere of a passage.  In brief, all the constituents of a Biblical unit become part of the consciousness of the proficient observer.”[1]

The mechanical layout is a phrase-by-phrase chart of the text to show the grammatical relationships. To begin, copy the text phrase by phrase, placing independent clauses (complete subject/predicate constructions) toward the left, with the subordinate phrases more to the right. Usually set the connecting words (and, but, etc.) off to themselves and line up ideas that are equal in weight.

The mechanical layout is made up of the following components:

  1. The main statements of a paragraph (declarations, questions, or commands) should be placed at the extreme left-hand margin of the page.
  2. Each line contains only one main statement and its modifiers, provided — there is not more than one modifier in each clause AND the modifier is not of extraordinary length.
  3. Subordinate clauses and phrases are placed below the lines of the main statement to which they refer. In doing this, think about “Does this statement amplify or expand the statement above it, or does it begin a new thought?”
  1. Two or more modifiers, including subordinate clauses or phrases or plural subjects, are usually written beneath that on which they depend, unless they are so brief they can be retained conveniently in the original order of the text.
  2. Coordinate clauses (clauses connected by and, but, either, or, neither, nor, and for) are generally regarded as containing main statements and are therefore placed as far left as the statement that they are coordinating. NOTE: Lists of names, qualities, or actions should be tabulated in vertical columns for the sake of clarity.

You don’t have to be a grammarian to do this, by the way, but a brush-up on some basics will help, especially if you had to think hard to remember what a subject and a predicate are. A Bible with paragraphs clearly marked will also help keep the chunks bite-sized.

Stripping away all the details on the right side of the page, you can see the main thrust of the text.

[1] Robert Traina, “Methodical Bible Study,” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980), 79.

philemon mechanical layout chart

Epistolary Form (Genre) in Scripture

 

The Epistle is the dominant literary genre of the NT in terms of space. It is a mixed form that combines literary and expository features. The NT Epistles are, moreover, a combination of private correspondence and public address. They may lean in a literary or non-literary direction, depending on how a given writer on a given occasion treats the letter form.[1]

The NT epistle has a relatively fixed form, consisting of five main points: Opening, thanksgiving, body, exhortation, and closing. It typically follows this type of format:

  1. Opening
    1. Salutation
      1. Author
      2. Addressees
      3. Greeting
    2. Health wish
      1. Request of welfare of reader
      2. Report of welfare of writer
    3. Prayer formula
  2. Body
    1. Introduction of the subject
    2. Requests of the author for the readers
    3. Conclusion
  3. Closing
    1. Closing greeting
    2. Health wish
    3. Farewell salutation

This formal element in the NT Epistles satisfies the literary impulse for pattern and design, and proves that the writers self-consciously met certain understood conventions of letter writing when they wrote the Epistles.

The Epistles are occasional letters evoked by a specific situation, not formal essays on theological topics.[2] They consist of poetic language, figures of speech and have a rhetorical pattern. “They are a product of artistic and highly patterned prose. The NT Epistles employ a fixed form, incorporate smaller literary genres into the overriding letter form, and rely on poetic language and stylistic patterns to communicate their meanings with power. The corresponding skills that they require from readers are the ability to determind the overall structure of an epistle, to ‘think paragraphs’ in following the logical flow of ideas, to interpret figurative language, and to be sensitive to the effects of artistic patterning.[3]

Below is a an example of Epistolary form from the book of Philemon.

PHILEMON ACCORDING TO THE FORM OF EPISTOLARY GENRE

 

  1.     Opening (vv. 1-7)
    1.     Salutation (vv. 1-3)
      1.     Author (vv. 1a)
      2.     Addressees (vv. 1b-2)
      3.     Greeting (vv. 3)
    2.     Health wish (NA)
      1.     Request of welfare of reader (NA)
      2.     Report of welfare of writer (NA)
    3.     Prayer formula (vv. 4-7)
  2.     Body (vv. 8-22)
    1.     Introduction of subject (NA)
    2.     Requests of the author for the readers (vv. 8-16)
    3.     Conclusion (vv. 17-22)
  3. Closing (vv. 23-25)
    1. Closing greeting (vv. 23-24)
    2. Health wish (vv. 25)
    3. Farewell salutation (NA)

[1] Leland Ryken, “How to Read the Bible as Literature…and get more out of it,” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984), 155-158.

[2] Ibid, 157.

[3] Ibid, 158.