Sentence Diagramming – The 8 Parts of Speech

Here is the second part of the sentence diagramming tutorials. In this video, we will cover the 8 parts of speech. Although not glamorous, knowing the parts of speech is vital in understanding sentence structure and being able to break a passage down. The video is below.

Sentence Diagramming – Resources

In my last post, I mentioned sentence diagramming as a way to help read and understand the bible. I am starting a sentence diagramming series to aid bible readers to do just that. The first video in the series is below. Also, check out the downloads section to download relevant resources.


English Grammar Revolution

Let’s Diagram web app

How Do I Rightly Divide?

This site focuses on interpreting and apply God’s word correctly. Over on the Study Aids page, you will find resources to help you do just that. But the question that may come to mind is, “How do I know I’m doing it right?” This post seeks to answer that question. Here are some practical ways to start learning how to rightly divide!

Read well

This involves more that just a perusal of our daily reading. Most of us are guilty of rushing through our morning readings in order to check off our daily Bible reading list. We miss so much when we do this. Though it’s good to read as much Scripture as possible, it really pays big dividends to slow down and notice things. For example, why did the author use a specific word? How does this paragraph fit in with the rest of the book? When we slow down, we begin to notice much more than we would with a rushed reading. Try to focus on transitional words like conjunctions. Take the time to notice the action verbs in each sentence. Read the introductions in your study Bible to get a quick overview of the who, what, when, where, and why of the book. Introductions also give us the themes of the book many times. The main theme is something that needs to be kept in mind with each verse we read. In other words, slow down when you read. Take a deep breath and breathe in the gospel air.

Learn grammar

Photo courtesy of Nenad Stojkovic

This kinda goes along with my last post. If we’re gonna slow down and notice the conjunctions, prepositions, and participles, we need to know what they are. More importantly, we need to know how they function. I’m not suggesting going back to school and becoming a grammar teacher. I’m simply saying that it would take your reading to the next level to refresh your grammar skills. If you’re not sure where to start, just follow this link. It’s a great site and it’s well-organized to help you with each topic.

Write notes

Photo courtesy of Rawpixel

Notice I said ‘notes’ not your own thoughts. We often confuse the two. Why is this so important? Because we often inject the text with our interpretations instead of letting the text speak. Instead of writing down what we think the text means, simply use the 5WH method–who, what, when, where, why, and how. When we prematurely interpret a passage, we miss what the real reason the author was trying to convey to his audience. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that the interpretation of any given text will be the same as it was to the biblical audience. All we need to note, are the things the author said. Anything beyond that, at that point, is simply conjecture.

Learn Greek

Logos Bible Software Greek Tutor

This may sound a little high and holy, but with the amount of resources we have, there is really no excuse for not at least learning the basics of Greek. The internet abounds with free resources to learn the biblical languages. One such site is Biblical Training. They offer videos of Bill Mounce’s Basic Greek Grammar lectures. And the videos are absolutely free to watch. You won’t become a Greek scholar, but at least you’ll get a grasp on the basics of the language. Biblical Training also offers several other classes, all free. There are also paid options to take certificate training classes. So hop on over there an increase your biblical knowledge by enrolling in one of their many course.

Bible Software

A screenshot from my Logos Bible Software

I’m a huge advocate for bible software–especially for Logos Bible Software. Bible software really streamlines your study. But there is a catch: it can be pricy–very pricy! However, there are a number of benefits that it offers that you just can’t beat. First, most bible software pulls resources from your library that is relevant to the passage you are already studying. This means saving tons of time trying to flip through commentaries, dictionaries, and map books trying to find the relevant passage. Most resources will pop open to the passage that you type into the search box. “But what about the price?” you ask. Luckily, there are a number of free bible software packages and websites that allow you to gain significant insight into your chosen passage. Of course, paid software will always be better, but if you’re on a tight budget, check out the free stuff below:

The Word – this software is excellent for free software! There are several download options and there is even a repository to download user created modules. All-in-all, you download hundreds of resources for absolutely free.

E-Sword – E-Sword is much like The Word. I’ve used both, but in my opinion, The Word trumps this software. Much like its counterpart, there is a site where you can download additional modules. Be aware that only the PC version is free. If you’re on a Mac, there is a Mac version that costs $10 to download.

Bible Hub – this site is very helpful with several English bibles, commentaries, and original language helps. I used this site pretty extensively before committing to buy software. It was a real life-saver as I studied in preparation for my Sunday School classes.

Study Light – this site is comparable to Bible Hub. There are few slight differences such as the ability to listen to audio bibles. In my opinion, it doesn’t offer as much, but nonetheless, it is still helpful for studying.

Olive Tree – Olive Tree was originally designed for the mobile platform, but also has a free desktop version. There are several free modules you can download, but to get the most out of the software, you need to purchase their Bible Study Packs.

Paid Software – there are only three main software packages that one can purchase. Before downloading, I would strongly caution one to examine the specific needs. If you are simply wanting to enrich your personal study, one of the free options will do just fine. If you are a theology student or in a pastoral or regular teaching position, you may want to consider one of the paid options.

Logos Bible Software – in my opinion, this is the best software hands-down. It’s pricy, but if you’re into original languages, ancient texts, and Greek grammars, this software is for you! It has a variety of tools that are useful and saves tons of time by pulling from your entire library only the resources that are relevant for your passage. Be aware, there is a steep learning curve. But that it is to be expected with any purchased software.

Accordance – this was originally a Mac-only version, but the developers eventually came out with a native PC version several years ago. It is inferior to Logos, in my opinion. But you certainly do get a bang for your buck in the number of resources that come with each package. I’m not as familiar with the interface as I am with Logos, but it is clean and pretty simple to use.

Bible Arc – this is not a download as much as it is a web app, but the site is working on a downloadable version. The cost is relatively cheap, $5/monthly, and you get a number of modules along with tutorials on how to use each one. They also offer classes on certain courses for a fee. The site focuses on methods of analyzing entire paragraphs as opposed to the other software packages that focus solely on the text. Biblearc’s real strength is in its ability to do Discourse Analysis, which is very important in determining the overall context of a passage. It focuses mainly on the relationships between sentences and paragraphs. Still, it is a very helpful site that will help you study God’s word.

Everyone of the the things listed, is what this author has used at one time or another. I can attest to the validity of the usefulness of each tool. I hope you will be encouraged to dig deeper into God’s word as you examine these resources and decide which one is most beneficial to you.

I’ll Take Hermeneutics for $1,000, Alex: 5 Bible Study Principles for Interpretation

Bible reading is profitable for the soul. Cracking open your Bible every day is essential and necessary to understand and hear God’s word. But let us not confuse it with Bible study. Study is much different than reading. Studying a passage forces us to slow down and ask questions of the text, whereas reading simply informs us of general things in the text. Over the next several weeks I hope to present some Bible study tips to help you get the most out of your study. Note that I said study–not reading! There are five general principles I believe can aid your study of the word. They will be presented below and over the next several posts will be dealt with in a more comprehensive fashion.

bow to your king, King context

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Context is king,” on more than one occasion. It is absolutely true and vital for both the interpretation and the application of Scripture. In our post dealing with context, we will explore three main areas of context: (1) the immediate context – this is the surrounding verses of the passage you are studying. (2) the book context – this deals with the reason behind the author’s writing of the book. It speaks volumes on interpretation. (3) other author writings – authors had particular phrases, words, and concepts that they used in their writings. Most New Testament authors wrote more than one book and so their language may have spilled over in these other writings. It is important to look at these other writings when determining how certain words are used.

the background information station

Like context, background information is vital for correctly understanding Scripture. As Westerners, we have the habit of reading Scripture through our cultural lenses. This tends to be a great travesty in the area of hermeneutics and yields false interpretations. In our post dealing with background, we will consider the cultural nuances that help us interpret Scripture accurately, particularly in the Gospels and parables.

Discover Diagramming joys

They’re hard, they’re a lot of work, and no one likes to diagram—ever! But diagramming a passage will help you understand the syntax like nobody’s business. When you understand the main subjects and verbs of a clause you will have a better overall understanding of the structure of a passage. And seeing a visual representation takes a step further, especially as you are dealing with multiple sentences. In our post on diagramming, we will examine three different types of visuals that will help understand the syntax of a passage: line diagramming, text flow diagramming, tracing (AKA, arcing, or bracketing).

Original language blues

The Bible was written in three different languages. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic, and the New Testament in Greek. The goal, therefore, is to get back to the original authorial intent. What did the author mean when he used this particular word? Why did he choose to use that particular structure? These are questions that good word studies can answer. But be careful not to fall into the pit of word study fallacies. All of this will be discussed in our post on word studies.

structural masonry

Applying the hermeneutical principles can often be a daunting task. As overwhelming as it can seem, there are rules, or a structure, if you will, that guide these principles. When the proper foundation is laid the rest of the rules are a bit easier to manage. In our microwave-instant generation, we have tendencies to skip straight to the results without actually preparing the ingredients. Imagine a construction company attempting to build a skyscraper without a blueprint! It would all be guesswork and disaster would certainly follow. Interpreting God’s word is a much more serious thing and skipping the instructions results in spiritual disaster. For more on bad hermeneutical principles, see my earlier post on ways you may be interpreting Scripture wrong. In the final post, we will see how this structure works and how each of the principles is built upon each other.

Bible study is work. No great Bible teacher got to be great or understand the things he understands without first putting in the work. As we embark on this journey together it will be important to keep in mind that the methods presented are not exhaustive. They are simply there to get you started and hopefully continue to spur you more and more towards deeper study.