Let’s continue to lay out the ground work.
Keeping in mind that the four areas of importance that we spoke about in inductive study which when understood are able to lay out a framework that provides a platform from which a foundation can be established.
- Literary Form
Structure. This is the funnest part of the Inductive method. When you look at a book of the Bible keep in mind that it is written in a certain literary form. That will come later. For now just keep in mind most of the books have a normal dividing system that you are familiar with called paragraphs. A paragraph is made up of sentences, and in turn sentences are made up of words. This is where your study of ‘terms’ obviously will come in handy. Think about this: Words or terms dont really have any helpful meaning in themselves until they are linked with others. A sentence isnt just a random group of words or terms. Rather a sentence is a grouping of certain words or terms to convey a specific idea or thought. The words share a relationship that communicate an idea. Those groupings of words, that share a relationship with each other to communicate an idea are set next to other groupings of words, that also share a relationship with each other to communicate an thought. Think of two sentences together side by side, they both mean something, and chances are they might not mean the same thing. You with me? When they are set together they communicate a single idea that may or may not be equivalent to the ideas of each sentence. One means One, but when One is placed next to another One it means Eleven. Make sense? Its the same in Scripture. This is where structure comes in.There are basically two types of Structure that will help you in your Bible Study. Now this is a very simplistic explanation, yet the most helpful.
- Grammatical Structure– Basically, this is structure within a paragraph
- Literary Structure – And this would be structure between paragraphs.
Not to complicate things but there are also levels at which structure appears. Robert Traina calls it Surface Structure and Subsurface Structure. Meaning simply that some structure will be obvious and some will be implied.
So here is your basic list of Structural Laws.
Repetition – same words used over and over in one or more paragraph. eg. ‘God’ in Genesis 1 – tells you that the 1st portion of Genesis might have something to do with God.
Continuity – Basically Synonyms. In three paragraphs you might find ‘Mad’, ‘Angry,’ ‘Upset,’ ‘Grrr.’ They would at least tell you that in those paragraphs there is an emotional atmosphere.
Causation – Cause & Effect. Look out for words & phrases like ‘Therfore,’ ‘So that,’ ‘For this reason,’ ‘Then(not always),’ ‘So.’ What comes before these flag words is the cause and follows them is the effect. A great example might be Romans 12:1 which starts with a ‘Therefore’ in the case of 12:1, the entire first eleven chapters of the book are the cause and the remainder of the book shows the effect.
Substantiation – Effect & Cause, or Effect & Support of it. Look out for the words ‘For,’ & ‘Because.’ A really neat example of this law is found in John 3:16, which of course begins with the word ‘For.’ This tells us that verse 16 is only a supporting verse for the more important material that precedes it.
Comparison – Bringing two things different things into comparison with each other. Look out for ‘As,’ & ‘Like as.’
Contrast – Bringing two similar things into contrast with each other. Look out for ‘However,’ & ‘But.’ Galatians 5:22 is an example of Contrast, where the deeds of the flesh, beginning in verse 19 are contrasted with the fruit of the Spirit beginning in 22.
Particularization – is where the General idea is stated and then the particulars follow it. Like in John 5 where Jesus says, “The son can do nothing of Himself.” After he says that, he explains the particulars in the following verses.
Generalization – This one’s easy. The particulars are stated as they lead up to the general idea.There are many more but its best to not get overloaded right now.