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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Looking for... 4

Intermittently we have been looking at some things that will help us observe more in our Bible study.  We have said that repetition is and important clue to what is important to the writer.  Further, we stated that we need to look beyond the repetition to see how the word or phase is used or modified as it is repeated.  Let me illustrate...
When a writer changes the way they repeat a term or concept we need to pay attention...
Look at John 15:1-16 again.  Look at how many times the word "fruit" occurs.  In the NASB I count eight occurrences.  But look at the words that modify or describe fruit in the text:
Verse Description
2 does not bear fruit
bears fruit
bear more fruit
4 bear fruit
5 much fruit
8 much fruit
16 bear fruit
would remain fruit

John's repetition and description of fruit in this passage is a rich source both of observation and of questions we can ask the text.  Questions like:
"What is said about abiding and fruit that is similar?  Different?
"What is the relationship between abiding and fruit?"
"What is the fruit to which Jesus is referring here?  What are the options?"

To give you one more taste of this, look at 2 Peter 1:1-10.  Note the word "knowledge."  In the NASB it occurs five times.  Look at how it is modified:
2 knowledge
3 true knowledge
5 knowledge
6 knowledge
8 true knowledge

The way Peter changes the way he modifies "knowledge" here raises at least one question, "Is there a difference between 'knowledge' and 'true knowledge?'"  Here another skill can come into play.  Even if you do not know Greek, you can check it and increase your observations...  But this is getting long, we will explore how to check Greek easily in the next "Looking for..." post.

Other posts in this series:
  1. Looking for…What?
  2. Looking for… 2
  3. Looking for... 3