Bible Study Tools

Eight Benefits of Greek New Testament Sentence Diagramming

by Randy Leedy

For Starters

Let’s make sure at the outset that I’m clear about what I mean by “sentence diagramming.” Of the variety of forms of mapping out sentences visually, by “sentence diagramming,” I mean a method that at least roughly approximates the one developed by Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg and published in the 1870s, hence known as the Reed-Kellogg method. Here is an example, from Matthew 1:21. The running text reads, τέξεται δὲ υἱόν, καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν· αὐτὸς γὰρ σώσει τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν (And she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins).

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Review - Visual Outline Charts of the New Testament

Gaining understanding of something often requires that we take apart what we usually experience as a unit. We have to analyze. But we often fail to truly understand until we also do the reverse—until we take bits and pieces we usually experience separately and fit them together into a whole. We have to synthesize.

The combination of analysis and synthesis is nowhere more vital than in the study of Scripture. Sadly, synthesis is sorely neglected. What keeps sound preachers and teachers of the Bible out of the interpretive ditches is often not how well they do word studies and grammatical analysis, but how well they relate the passage at hand to the flow of the chapter, section, book, testament, and Bible as a whole.

Given the general neglect of synthetical Bible study, I was delighted to hear of Scott Bashoor’s recent publication of Visual Outline Charts of the New Testament (VOCNT). This study tool makes an important contribution to correcting the analysis-synthesis imbalance.

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