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Pastor Michael Huffman | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Nov 16 2011 12:33 PM

How would one use the opentext or any of the other syntax graphs to figure out the context or thought divisions in a given portion of Scripture?

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 16 2011 1:16 PM

What level of thought divisions are you looking for? The standard criteria for determining the pericope boundaries are broader than syntax. The discourse grammar tools are the best for this purpose as they follow the flow of the text at a level higher than a sentence.

Logos4catholics Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Pastor Michael Huffman | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 16 2011 1:40 PM

MJ. Smith:

What level of thought divisions are you looking for? The standard criteria for determining the pericope boundaries are broader than syntax. The discourse grammar tools are the best for this purpose as they follow the flow of the text at a level higher than a sentence.

I am trying to find the resource that will best give to me the context of a particular "chunck" of the section that I am preaching. For example, I am preaching this Lord's Day in John 16. What is the best resource to determine that the context of the section is verses 12-15, instead of 12-16 and so on? I know that Runge has that "white space" in his discourse books. Is that the best guide? Thanks!

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Rick Brannan | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 16 2011 1:48 PM

Michael Huffman:
I am trying to find the resource that will best give to me the context of a particular "chunck" of the section that I am preaching. For example, I am preaching this Lord's Day in John 16. What is the best resource to determine that the context of the section is verses 12-15, instead of 12-16 and so on? I know that Runge has that "white space" in his discourse books. Is that the best guide? Thanks!

Yes, Runge's LDGNT is a good look. You could also look at Dean Deppe's Lexham Clausal Outlines of the Greek New Testament., which has section headings based on an outline of the entire book. Deppe would give a better sense of the hierarchy than most Bible section headings.

Rick Brannan | Twitter: @RickBrannan
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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 16 2011 1:52 PM

My unbiased view on the topic.Smile

For any Bible study you must determine the boundaries of the text you are going to study. While it is easiest to use verses, chapters, books … as the boundaries, these often are not logical boundaries. A prime example? Start reading at Genesis 1:1; go to the end of the story which is … where?  Translations lack consensus regarding the end:

[ESV treats Gen 2:1-3 as a separate unit, independent of either the preceding or following creation story.] The chapter end is an uncommon choice for the boundary and is more difficult to defend than other proposals.

Because the text has elements that divide the text into discreet portions as well as elements that tie the text together, one can speak  of strong vs. weak divisions, of sub-divisions and groupings. A simple example of one plausible unit being embedded in a larger unit is Luke 10:25-37 – the parable of the “Good Samaritan” is embedded in the encounter between Jesus and a lawyer.

The boundary markers Wim Weren notes in his Windows on Jesus: Methods in Gospel Exegesis fall into two categories: those dependent on the genre of the passage and those used as structural elements for the passage.

  • applicable to narrative
    • change of place
    • change of time
    • change of characters
  • structural elements
    • concentric pattern
    • chiasm
    • inclusion a.k.a. inclusio
    • parallelism

Some of the structural elements are unfamiliar to the “average Bible student.” All may be taught to the average reader. Even without formal knowledge of boundary markers, a student can gainfully examine the boundaries. The pertinent questions are:

  1. What do you propose as a boundary?
  2. What features indicate that it ends the preceding unit?
  3. What features indicate that it doesn’t end the preceding unit?
  4. What features indicate that it begins a new unit?
  5. What features indicate that it doesn’t begin a new unit?
  6. Does your analysis indicate that it is likely a strong or weak boundary marker?
  7. Can you build a stronger case for a different boundary?
  8. Does a different choice of boundary change your analysis of the passage?
  9. Can you subdivide the unit? or group the unit with other units?

An example of the application of  “Does a different choice of boundary change your analysis of the passage?” according to The Jewish Study Bible, Genesis 1:1-2:3 emphasizes the number 7 and, therefore, the Sabbath.

  • 7 days
  • 7 repetitions of “And God saw that [something created] was (very) good
  • 7 x 5 is the number of times the word “God” appears
  • 7 x 5 is the number of words used in the description of the 7th day
  • the 6 days parallel in groups of 3; the 7th day serves as a culmination

I recommend gaining confidence by analyzing boundaries that are already common. Then stretch yourself by analyzing alternate boundaries where the division is controversial. The Logos compare pericope  tool makes finding disputed divisions simple:

The Gospel of Mark chapter 1 Logos pericope comparison

The Gospel of Mark chapter 1 Logos pericope comparison

So why do I hate chapter and verse? They are useful for providing citations. However, they are easily misused as if they were logical divisions for reading and study.

==========

My serious answer: Use compare pericope, discourse analysis, various outlines of the text (commentaries, study Bibles, handbooks) and your own answers to the questions above.

Logos4catholics Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Pastor Michael Huffman | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 16 2011 2:00 PM

Thanks everyone for your very helpful information.

Pastor Michael Huffman, Th.A Th.B Th.M

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 16 2011 2:25 PM

Michael Huffman:
Is that the best guide?

It would be one person's opinion. Other "guides" would include:-

  • pericope divisions in your bible
  • divisions (articles) in bible commentaries

For the John 16 example you cite, my ESV bible (v. 4b-15) and EBC (v.5-15) + NAC (v.12-15) commentaries indicate that the discourse ends at v15; but they differ as to its beginning. However, the decision about the "context of the section" is entirely yours! I won't be there to say you were wrong...

Dave
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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 16 2011 2:50 PM

Dave Hooton:

Other "guides" would include:-

  • pericope divisions in your bible
  • divisions (articles) in bible commentaries

  • pericopes in your lectionaries - by far the oldest and most tested divisions

Logos4catholics Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 16 2011 3:39 PM

MJ. Smith:
pericopes in your lectionaries - by far the oldest and most tested divisions

What are lectionariesSmile

From the Index of Readings? More difficult to look up except by search  e.g.

Gospel NEAR  <John 16>

The lectionaries seem to support Jn 16:5-11 and 12-15, but some indicate 5-15.

Dave
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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 16 2011 4:42 PM

Dave Hooton:
More difficult to look up except by search 

Which is why I maintain my own tables of lectionaries and outlinesSmile

Dave Hooton:
The lectionaries seem to support Jn 16:5-11 and 12-15, but some indicate 5-15.

Which implies to me that the break at v 11 is less strong than the breaks at vv 4 & 15.

Logos4catholics Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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