Well hopefully you’re Inductive studies have been enriched as you continue to review the material we have been exchanging. You probably already knew this, but within the Observation phase of your Inductive Bible Study you will come across, particularly as it pertains to you practice within the Psalms, literary structure that overpowers the grammatical structure. Just as within your analysis of Grammatical structure you will find a bit of competition between the structure as to which is the stronger of the passage, the same occurs between paragraphs.
For example, concerning Grammatical structure, you may have, within a paragraph, a causation that begins a verse or a sentence, and your instinct compels you to give that causation your focus, rather than the interior causation that appears halfway through the sentence. Perhaps the causation that you are giving the most attention to is a ‘Therefore,’ while the interior causation that you are not quite ignoring is a measly ‘so that.’ Thought it may shock you, there are cases where the ‘so that’ within the verse is actually the stronger of the two. We can return to this at a later time. This is only to say that as grammatical competition occurs within paragraphs, so too literary competition takes place between paragraphs.
You will inevitably encounter literary structure that will dominate a passage. By this, it means that the literary structure between paragraphs is competing with the grammatical structure within the paragraph. The whole idea is that the author is pointing something out and he is using the more dominant structure to do it.
- In John 3, as you are well aware, the sixteenth verse is a substantiation that points backwards to what comes before it. Consequently, as is the norm with substantiations, the author is focusing your attention to what precedes the sixteenth verse. One could even say that John 3:16 is not the most important verse in that passage. On the other hand, the fifteenth verse is really not an isolated verse – it is the end of a series of points Jesus is making. So here’s what you do… back up and away from the passage and notice that John 3:16 is the beginning of a six-verse paragraph, which tells us that the entire paragraph is actually substantiating, at the least the paragraph that precedes it, if not all three.
- In Psalm 13, the first paragraph is a series of questions. It is the law of interrogation at its fullest. the paragraph is making one single point with the use of five questions. The third and final paragraph begins with a Contrast. So paragraph 2 & 3 are being brought into contrast with each other. Again back away and take a bird’s-eye-view and you will find that the questions that are raised in the first paragraph bring out a contrast that is conveyed in the second two paragraphs.
- In Romans, the entire second segment begins with a substantiation while the entire third segment begins with a contrast. So the idea that is presented in segment 1 is being supported by a contrast between the following two segments.
So, it will be your task to figure out which of the structure is dominating the passage. You must ascertain whether the grammatical structure is the most powerful or whether the literary structure overpowers it, and if the literary structure, then does it go as far as to permeate even the relationships between the segments? By this, you will learn the point that the author is making. If this is occurring and is overlooked, you may be able to get something out of the passage but it has the potential to be something other than what the author was actually indicating. It sounds complicated and it is, but it can be loads of fun too, it just needs to be bathed in prayer. You already knew that. Have fun.