In the past few posts, we have discussed the key themes to Leviticus and I showed how I would breakdown the book by sections. For this post, I want to provide you a visual tool of what my synthetic chart of Leviticus looks like. This will hopefully provide greater clarity on the two previous posts. Note, will many charts and outlines there are some small and minor variances, so others may see something different than I do.
First, at the top of the chart is the theme. This is a very short and concise statement on the book, almost think of it as a headline. Second, the Message Statement. This can come from the thematic outline that we did not too long ago. Basically, this expands the headline into a complete sentence about the books main message. To go with the message statement, we include the key verse for the book that supports our theme and message statement. For this example, since our theme was holiness, I used Leviticus 20:26 which says, “You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.”
Next, we try to break down the book into sections. These are the parts of the book that seem to go together, are continuous and do not touch on a different topic. For this book, we have seven different sections. As part of the sections, we want to do another message statement. This time we don’t have to include a key verse, but we do want to provide a good summary sentence that captures the main idea for that particular section.
Next, are the subsections which are the various different parts that make up the whole of that section. Many times this will be the paragraph headings in your Bible. With this, you will be able to focus on one certain topic and see how the other parts of that section all ties together. The next part of the synthetic chart is the verses that make up that subsection. Within that paragraph or subsection, the writer will pull together the ideas that make up that subsection. Think back to diagramming a sentence in your grade school days, this is essentially diagramming a subsection. For example, if we look at the first subsection under section 1 (Laws concerning offerings and sacrifices), which is titled “laws of burnt Offerings”, we see there are two parts to this. There is Moses being called by God, and God describing the burnt offering. Yet because they are cohesive, they are part of that subsection. This is one of the hardest things for me to do because I don’t always see a very clear distinction, or I think something should be a subsection on its own. This takes a lot of practice but will be very beneficial in seeing how the book ties together. Part of this, is also providing paragraph titles in your own words for that section of verses. This will help to see what those verses talk about and provide a short headline that describes that section.
Finally, the last phase of the synthetic chart is the various themes that are seen throughout the book. Not every chapter and verse will have the same theme and not every theme will be in all the chapters and verses. This tool provides a way to see the various themes throughout the book, where they appear and the frequency at which they appear. To do this, simply identify a theme for a particular passage, and note it under the paragraph titles and verses that are above. For example, Holiness seems to be predominant in chapter 2, verses 1 to 3 and verse 10. So we note it under the two verse sections that make up chapter 2. But, the Atonement them goes from chapter 4 to chapter 6 verse 7, so we have a long section that is noted under all of those verse sections. Part of doing the subsections, verses and paragraph titles is to help one see the themes that keep surfacing.
This is a very tedious and laborious process, but it is one that is so beneficial. It can really take your Bible study and community group teaching/Sunday school teaching to another level. This is a really great practice for getting more out of your Bible reading and helps to provide understanding to what you just read. Here is what the chart will look like: