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.