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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Structure in Psalms

In the Dads Teach the Bible Workshops one of the things we cover is structural markers.  We also cover literary relations in the Bible.  The purpose of this is to help us make more and better observations.
What do you do with structure when you see it in the Bible?  Thoughts at DTTB.
 Example of particularization moving from general to specific...
One of the literary relationships we discuss is particularization.  In particularization the writer makes a general statement and then expands it by detailing the elements of the general statement.  I found one of those this afternoon in Psalm 103:2 – 5.  Note that in the last half of verse 2, David tells us not to forget God’s benefits, a general statement.  Then in verses 3 – 5, David particularizes those benefits:
  • He parsons all our iniquities
  • He heals our diseases
  • He redeems our soul
  • He crowns us with lovingkindness and compassion
  • He satisfies our years with good things
David moves from the general statement that God has benefits, to the particular benefits about which he was thinking.

So what do you do with this?  Well there are a series of questions one can ask about this relationship, you may not be able to answer them all, but I find that the questions tend to lead to more observations:
  • What is the meaning of the general statement and of the particular statement(s)?
  • How does the general statement illuminate the particular statement(s)?
  • How does the particular statement(s) illuminate the general statement?
  • Why use such particularization/generalization?
  • What does it imply?
I saw a lot more in Psalm 103.  I may share some of that in the next day or so.

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