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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Questions from Structure

Yesterday I shared how structure has helped me come up with a better set of questions with which to pepper the text (by the way I forgot to include the link to the list of structural markers, I fixed that it is in the post now.)
You can use the structure of the text to come up with questions that will help you go deeper.
Let me give you an example of how that works.  Look at Romans 12:3.  First I note the structural markers and what they indicate, in this case:
  • For – reason or substantiation, Paul is using this thought to substantiate, or expand a previous thought.
  • Through – agency (this category is not on the list but one that I have seen more and more in the past few years) how is Paul making this statement, what is driving it.
  • Not, but – contrast
  • As – comparison usually but in this case used more like “because” or “for” which is offered as a substantiation of what has just been offered.
Then one can take each of these and begin to ask questions that will help you with further observation and understanding.  For example let’s look at the contrast, questions you could ask are;
  • What is being contrasted?
  • What is the meaning of each of the elements being contrasted?
  • How are they similar?
  • How are they different?
  • Why is the contrast used here?
  • How does this contrast move Paul’s argument further?
  • Why use the contrast at this point in the development of the argument?
You can probably come up with more.  You may not answer every question, but through the process of developing these questions you are essentially thinking through the implications of what the Holy Spirit through Paul has chosen to say in this section of scripture.  As you do that you will begin to notice other relationships and the process continues.

Admittedly, at some point you have to move on.  This will help you make the most of the time you have to get the most out of the passage you are studying.

If you have questions or a comment leave a comment and I will respond.

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