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Monday, February 18, 2013

Looking for... 2

Three days ago I started an intermittent series on what to look for in Bible study.  The best Bible students are best because they are looking for the right things.  The second thing one should look for is repetition.  Repeated words, phrases, structural elements (more on structure in a later post), literary devices (again, more on this later), concepts, or themes.  Repetition is like the teacher pounding their foot on the ground at the front of the class to let you know something is going to be on the test…  It is a primary means of emphasis.
Repetition in a passage of Scripture is a clue to what is important in that passage.
We will start with a word.  For this example we will stay in John.  Remember from the last post John 13 – 17 is an emphasis for John.  The middle of a section is sometimes the key of the section, not always but it is worth looking at.  In this case John 15 is in the middle of this section.  For most believers this is a very familiar section of scripture.  Read through it and look for repeated words.

If you have the NASB like the picture above you counted 10 times the word abide in verses 1 – 16.  In verse 16 you see I highlighted the word “remain.”  That is because it is the same root word in Greek, meno (μένω).  So 11 times in these 16 verses the Holy Spirit, through John, repeated the idea of "abide."  That is a lot.  It suggests that the concept may be important in John 15.

What else do you see repeated in this chapter?  Also look for differences in the way words are repeated, that is are they modified differently as the passage progresses?  Looking for repetition will unlock some major themes for you as you study your Bible.

More of what to look for coming.