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Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Influence of Structure

I have written about the use of structure in the Bible to help us observe more effectively about 41 times in this blog; type structure in the search bar above to see the posts.
The Influence of Structure
This morning I was reading through 2 Timothy 1 and was reminded again how helpful structure can be.  I am not a literary person.  The college English courses that required me to evaluate literature were baffling to me.  I was an engineering major, I get math, soil, concrete, rebar – grammar and structure were foreign, and in my opinion back then, relatively useless soil.  Boy was I wrong.

Reading and studying the Bible since I came to Christ has been the main source of my growth and understanding of Christ.  But one of the things that hampered my grasp of the Scripture was my engineering background and disdain for those “useless” English courses.  All of the guidance I received in learning to study my Bible told me to pepper the text with questions.  Problem – I quickly ran out of questions.

After the basic W’s I was out of gas.  Enter structure.  About 1985, there was a staff conference at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.  For five days he walked us through how to use structure to make better observations.  Additionally, he shared a full set of questions based on that structure.  It was life changing for me.  I went from having six questions, to literally hundreds in 5 days.

When I got to Dallas Seminary in 87, Prof had Traina’s book as one of the textbooks for his course on Bible study methods (my relationship to that course is a long story that will not be told here).  Being one of the reasons I was at Dallas in the first place, Prof’s validation of Traina’s instruction, further reinforced the need to master these tools.

Bottom line?  Structure is a tool to help us observe more than we can see without it.  It helps us to view the Word with fresh and different eyes.  It acknowledges that the Holy Spirit was intentional in the use of vocabulary, grammar, and syntax in His guiding the creation of the text.

It is good stuff.

In the next few days I will share how I used it this morning in 2 Timothy 1.  You can get a head start by looking at the list of structural markers here and the list of associated questions here.  Further, I have done some of this in the series starting here.

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