Sunday, April 19, 2015

Do You Know What A Chiasm Is?

As I was studying yesterday, I came across an unknown word to me in one of my commentaries.  It was describing one of the methods many of the prophets used when they spoke to the people to get across their main point or to emphasize something. It sounded simple, like a take off of when things are mentioned 3 times, but I was curious to see if there was more to it then that, so I looked it up. I'm so glad I did because it opened up a whole new way of looking at God's Word!  Some of you may be familiar with this already.  It's called a chiasm.  Rather then try and explain it myself though, I'd like to just share a bit from the article about it that I read and then give you the link so you can read it yourself as well.  The author shares several verses and shows exactly how it's done so you'll be able to recognize them and have a try at getting a deeper meaning from the verses yourself as well.

Those of you who know me, know I would never go in for something that would change the meaning of God's Word, and this does not do that.  It's not looking for "hidden meanings" that you wouldn't find otherwise.  What it can do though is clarify what the person was really getting at with what they said, and by doing so may change your perception of what you thought was "most important" about a verse or verses, or what their main thrust was about. Or of course, it could also be a confirmation for you that what you thought was correct.  I've found it to be a really fascinating and exciting way to view scripture and a great aid to understanding too.  Like all study of scripture though this should be done with the Holy Spirit guiding and teaching you.  So always ask Him to help you first.  The Lord has already used this idea to link a number of scriptures together for me and show me their intended theme and how it linked them even closer together.  It was a theme I was already aware of to some extent, but didn't realize just how obvious and clear it was in those scriptures, or how they were linked together.  Here's a bit from the article now and a link:

What is a Chiasm (or Chiasmus)?

by Thomas B. Clarke

A chiasm (or chiasmus if you rather) is a writing style that uses a unique repetition pattern for clarification and/or emphasis. Chiasm is pronounced ky′-az-um. Often called the chiastic (ky′-az-tic) approach or the chiastic structure, this repetition form appears throughout the Bible yet it is not well known. The way you approach the Scriptures should be dramatically enhanced as you learn what a chiasm is, how to recognize chiasms, and how to glean a fresh application from these New or Old Testament passages.

Chiasms are structured in a repeating A-B-C ... C′-B′-A′ pattern:

   As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you  (5b)

   Be strong and courageous … be strong and very courageous  (6,7a)

C    Be careful to obey all the law … that you may be successful  (7b)

D    Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth  (8a)

D′ Mediate on it day and night  (8b)

C′ Be careful to do everything written in it … you may be prosperous and successful  (8c)

B′ Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged  (9a)
A′ for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  (9b)

(Joshua 1:5b-9)
Simply put, a chiasm is a repetition of similar ideas in the reverse sequence. The importance of the chiastic structure is found in its hidden emphasis. (See Being an Overcomer for an interpretation of the above chiasm, adapted from my book). And it is not insignificant – I suspect there are more than two thousand examples in the Bible!

The above is taken from the following page: 
Please see the second page to get a clearer idea of this as there are some other types that you may not recognize otherwise:
 See Two Examples That Help Explain Chiastic Structures 

May God bless you as you have fun digging for the many treasures of God's Word as you study it together with Him! 

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