Literary Analysis - Bible

Research Assignment 2: Literary Analysis

Research Assignments

Scripture of my choice 1Timothy 2:12

The purpose of the two research assignments is to allow you to apply principles of interpretation to a passage of your choice. Both research assignments are applied to the selected passage. For these two assignments, choose a passage of Scripture that interests you, such as the one you have found to be encouraging, difficult, or even controversial. For prose, the passage should be one paragraph in length (approximately 3–5 sentences). For poetry, the passage should be one stanza (approximately 6–8 lines). Papers should be double spaced, 12-pt. standard font with 1-inch margins, and 2–3 pages in length. Include in-text documentation and bibliography.

Part 2: Literary Analysis

This paper examines four areas of literary analysis: literary context, genre, grammar, and word studies. Use the outline provided below to guide your research. The paper itself, however, should be written in paragraph form. The final paper should include a reference page as well as in-text documentation to acknowledge sources.

Literary Context

1. What is the subject matter of the passage immediately preceding your passage? What does the author say about this subject matter? What is the subject matter of the passage immediately following your passage? What does the author say about this subject matter? How does your passage fit into this literary context? Why did the author place your passage within this particular context?

2. What does the rest of Scripture say about this subject matter? (Use the cross-references in for this question.) How does this canonical context help to understand your passage?

Literary Genre

1. What is the genre of the book in which your passage occurs? How is this genre defined? How should this genre be interpreted?  This information can be found in Robert Stein’s book.

2. What is the literary form of your passage as a whole? How is this literary form defined? How should it be interpreted?

Grammatical Relationships

1. What are some critical subordinate clauses in the passage? Be sure to identify the type of clause and to explain the importance of this clause for interpretation.  See Appendix A.

2. What are some critical prepositional phrases in the passage? Be sure to identify the type of phrase and explain the importance of this clause for interpretation.

Word Studies

1. Identify Key Words. Choose 3–4 keywords in your passage. Focus on content words (i.e., verbs, nouns, adverbs, adjectives) rather than structure words (i.e., articles, prepositions, conjunctions). Choose words that are theologically loaded, such as faith, righteousness, or justify. You may also choose words that significantly impact the meaning of the passage.

2. At least one of these keywords must be a verb.  For the verb/s you will need to parse the verb (see BLB Demonstration for Research Assignment 2).

3. Look at Other Translations (Versions) of the Passage.  This is found in a tab of’s “Bible” section.  Compare versions and notice if there are any differences.  How important are those differences?  Why do you think there are differences?  A quick word study in the “Interlinear” then “Strong’s” sections should give you the answers you need.  This was all explained elsewhere in the course.

4. Interlinear

a. Look up each word found in’s “Interlinear” section for your verses.

b. Identify Strong’s number associated with the word.

c. You will need to study at least one verb.  What is the Parsing Information of the verb? (All verbs have a tab to click on called “Parse”)  See BLB presentation for this information.

d. Click on words inside the “Parse” section to find further definitions for your verbs.  How does parsing help define the meaning for the verse?  For example, in the Parsing section of the word “was” in Genesis 1:2 – when I click on Perfect, it explains, “The Perfect expresses a completed action.”  Some have suggested that the earth became formless and void at one point in time after a tragedy wiped out the dinosaurs of a past era.  So parsing one word can make a huge difference in the Bible.  Using the parsing of that one word, many Old Earth Christians have made their stand that the Bible supports an older earth.

e. Going into Strong’s Concordance by clicking Strong’s number:

· Record the transliteration of the word.

· What Is the Part of Speech?

· If you are in the New Testament, what does Vine’s Expository Dictionary say about the word?

· If you are in the Old Testament and if it is available, what does the Theological Workbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) say?  As of the day of writing this, it is not yet available.

· What is the list of possible meanings in the Outline of Biblical Usage?

· How many times is the Greek or Hebrew word used in the Bible?

· What are some ways the word is used in other places in the Bible?

f. Determine the Contextual Meaning of Each Word. Consider carefully the list of possible meanings. Through a process of elimination, identify the word(s) that makes the best sense in this specific context. 

Arthur, K. (1994). How to study your Bible: The lasting rewards of the inductive approach. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers

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