How the Genesis story about Jacob is structured

See if this organization of Genesis 28.10—32.2 holds water for you. If so, it’s a beautiful picture of some important emphases in the book.

A: 28:10-12 – Jacob encounters angels
—B: 28:13-19 – A covenant and a stone pillar
——C: 28:20-22 – God watches over Jacob
———D: 29:1-12 – Jacob journeys and meets Laban
————E: 29:13-14 – Laban lauds family ties with Jacob
—————F: 29:15-30 – Jacob negotiates wages with Laban
——————G: 29:31-30:24 – Rachel and Leah compete for children
———————H: 30:25-26 – Joseph is born & Jacob is ready to leave Laban
——————G: 30:27-43 – Jacob and Laban compete for sheep
—————F: 31:1-13 – Laban renegotiates wages with Jacob
————E: 31:14-16 – Laban repudiates family ties with Jacob
———D: 31:17-32a – Jacob journeys and is pursued by Laban
——C: 31:32b-43 – God watches over Jacob
—B: 31:44-55 – A covenant and a stone pillar
A: 32:1-2 – Jacob encounters angels

via Soil from Stone: A Chiasm: Until the Time of the Gentiles Is Complete

#chiasmus #Genesis #Bible-structure

Impoverished souls see nothing of value in the Bible

Some people look at the Bible and stand amazed at “the wealth of [God’s] kindness, forbearance, and patience” Rm 2.4 NET. It’s a humbling experience, one that, as Paul says, ought to lead us to the change of repentance.

Other people look at the Bible and see a bunch of stories with no meaning. It speaks more of the poverty of their souls than about the content of Scripture.

Some days ago I ran across a website that listed a huge, huge number of the greatest literary sentences of all time. Not a single Bible verse was included. If you can’t find at least one great literary sentence in all of the Bible, not only is your soul impoverished, but your sense of literature as well. Continue reading

#bible-as-literature, #chiasmus, #corollaries, #doxology, #praise, #self-organization

When a Bible verse waved at me

bible-verse-waveMatthew’s version of the Lord’s prayer presents a seven-element chiasmus. I’m still chewing on it, but the central element is the daily-bread request. Surrounding it are two “as” statements (elements 3 and 5). Then elements 2 and 6 include movement or direction. The first and last elements contrast God and the evil one, both perhaps containing the idea of separation: regarding the Name as sacred or special; being removed from the influence or danger of the evil one (don’t quote me on that, yet). I’m amazed to see this.

I popped open my Bible Monday night in the car while waiting on The Missus and the MIL as they picked up a couple of items in the grocery store. The structure just waved at me.

As did Mt 6.24, with a nice chiasmus as well. Note that the verbs in the middle two phrases are mirrored: hate/love and devoted/despise.

• Here’s a short list of books recently received, purchased, or oogled. Only the last one is not by brothers in Christ.

  • Graceful Reason: Studies in Christian Apologetics, by Dick Sztanyo (Vienna, WV: Warren Christian Apologetics Center, 2012)
  • Practical Guide to Bible Study: An Easy-to-Use Outline Format, by Jon Gary Williams (LaVergne, TN: Williams Brothers Publishers, 2011)
  • Except One Be Born from Above, by Mac Deaver (Sheffield, TX: Biblical Notes Publications, 2013)
  • Concise Bible Commentary, by David S. Dockery, ed. (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2010)

• For one who doesn’t like driving an automobile, I’m doing a lot of it and have been over the past several trips to the US. I’m thankful to be doing it, however, and grateful for those who have lent us vehicles. I would like driving a buggy and feeding and grooming a horse much less. All for the Mission.

Some speakers, plus one, at the 8th annual Preachers Files Lectures

Some speakers, plus one, at the 8th annual Preachers Files Lectures

• At this link, a little lesson of mine, “You Can Be Sure of the Power of the Gospel,” delivered at the Preacher’s Files Lectureship this past Saturday. (The introductory text needs editing, and the brother says he’ll get to it.) The time at the Rodgers Springs congregation, just outside of Middleton TN, was a blessing. All sessions should be added online before long, including a Questions-and-Answers session hosted by Dick Sztanyo and myself. Continue reading

#chiasmus, #corollaries, #ephesians, #matthew

Amazing structure of a list

I’m getting on up there in years, and had never noticed that the seven-fold list in Matthew 19.29 has a very tight and meaningful structure. I was reading Psalm 10 this morning and the reference to the fatherless in v. 14, I guess it was, toggled a thought. From there it just seemed to fall into place. I’ve not investigated any commentaries or reference works on chiasmi, but I am so confident in this, since the correspondences seem clear, that I’ve written on it today in my devotional thought.

#chiasmus, #gospel-of-matthew

Bible reading — Revelation 21

One author believes that Revelation 21 is organized in symmetrical form, as a chiasmus:

Chaistic form of Rev. 21The seventh and final vision begins in this chapter and concludes in chapter 22. The war is won, the vanquished are removed, and the reward is bestowed upon the conquerers.

21:1-4. In the place of the old universe appears an entirely new one, with God’s dwelling. The new Jerusalem is from God and prepared by him for himself. The image of the bride comes from the OT, as does the language about God residing among men. With the old age the pains and trials have also ceased to exist.

21:5-8. The renewal of all things is the deed of the one seated on the throne (5), who may well be both God and his Lamb (v. 22). He announces the renewal and orders John to write it down, for this is the great revelation in which suffering Christians may rejoice. His declaration, “It is done!” indicates the certainty of his deed, echoing the words of Christ on the cross. Because of who he is, he is able to quench the thirst of the weary and bestow the inheritance of his presence upon the faithful (6-7). With every promise comes a warning. At the head of the list of those whose place is in the lake of sulphurous fire are the cowards, who quail before the threats of the Roman Empire. The second death is final, eternal, definitive, far from God’s presence.

21:9-14. Both punishment and reward come from the same hand. The angel who meted out the seven plagues also introduces John to the wife of the Lamb, which is the holy city of the new Jerusalem. Because God is there, it possesses his glory (11). If at the Fall, a cherubim kept man away from the garden, here twelve angels stand as guards at the twelve gates as protection for God’s people (12). The number 12 stands for the people of God, as the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel and the twelve apostles attest. The three gates on each side of the city recall the distribution of the twelve tribes around the tabernacle when acamped in the desert.

21:15-21. The measurement of the city, its foundation stones, and its walls indicates its perfection. The description of the foundations, decorated with every kind of precious stone, highlight its beauty and preciousness. Though the measurements and descriptions, are hard to visualize – whoever saw transparent gold or a single pearl large enough to form a city gate? –, they are meant not so much as pictures but figures. Revelation is not a visual book, but an associative unveiling, as it ties themes, metaphors, and concepts together for its powerful message of hope and faith. It lays down a series of metaphors to cushion the harsh treatment received at the hands of the imperial government.

21:22-26. Also missing from this city, conspicuously so, is a temple. Both the tabernacle and the temple served as places where God made himself present in the midst of the people. But, now, a temple is rendered unnecessary because God himself and his Lamb are present. Though John sees a vision, it describes the reality of heavenly existence, more real and more precious than the first Jerusalem and the physical temple, which, by this writing, had been destroyed. It is the “land of fadeless day,” where shines the effulgent and constant glory of God. With the banishment of night, there is no need to close the gates to protect its inhabitants, as was done in earthly cities. An unceasing stream of regal glory enters, but never any unclean thing to spoil its beauty and purity, only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. They are guaranteed that the might of Rome cannot follow them nor disturb their true home. Even the power and wealth of the nations will be subservient to the All-Powerful.

#chiasmus, #daily-bible-reading, #revelation

Re: Ephesians 4

Ron, from the suggested chiastic structure below, to which I’ve added the markers, from this site, Ephesians 3.14-21 and 4.1-6 are the heart of the letter.

And the seven ones are also, it would appear, in chiastic form, which I’ll just put in regular text:

A.  one Body
B.  one Spirit
C.  one hope
X.  one Lord (Jesus)
C’. one faith
B’. one baptism
A’. one God

I don’t have any scholar to quote on this one, but it seems to me that the corresponding items match very well, A with A’ and so forth. These are not just fun for mapping out when we have nothing to do. They point out real emphases and textual focal points that enrich the meaning of the text and our understanding of the message.

All that to say, you’ve honed in on one of those focal points in today’s post, which I amen with Stephen.

Now back to 1 Cor.

#bible-reading, #bible-study, #chiasmus, #ephesians-4, #structure-of-ephesians