The best part about knowing the biblical languages is tracing the argument.
The main tool we use for this at Bethlehem College & Seminary is Biblearc.
Biblearc initially focused exclusively on tracing the argument by a method called arcing. It is a method that John Piper and Tom Steller developed after learning it from Dan Fuller.
Last year Biblearc added bracketing.
And this year it added phrasing. Phrasing is my favorite method for tracing the argument because it’s so intuitive and clear.
Phrasing goes by many names:
- block diagramming
- causal layout
- grammatical diagramming
- phrase diagramming
- propositional displays
- propositional outlines
- sentence flow
- text hierarchy
- thought-flow diagramming
Phrasing is a flexible and easy-to-use Bible study tool that allows you to visually trace a passage’s argument: simply indent to subordinate. The Biblearc phrasing feature has all sorts of mark-up features from arrows to relationship comments to Dot Notes.
My colleagues Jason DeRouchie and Brian Tabb teamed up with Andy Hubert to show how it works in these five videos:
This sort of exegetical work is behind my little article “Don’t Worry, Be Casting.”
- Fee, Gordon D. “The Structural Analysis.” Pages 41–58 in New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors. 3rd ed. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2002.
- Guthrie, George H., and J. Scott Duvall. “How to Do Grammatical Diagramming” and “How to Do Semantic Diagramming.” Pages 27–53 in Biblical Greek Exegesis: A Graded Approach to Learning Intermediate and Advanced Greek. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998.
- Huffman, Douglas S. “Phrase Diagramming.” Pages 83–106 in The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek: Grammar, Syntax, and Diagramming. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2012.
- Keaton, Mark. Logos 6 Propositional Outlines. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2014. See my interview with the author.
- Mounce, William D. Greek for the Rest of Us: The Essentials of Biblical Greek. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013. See chs. 14, 21, 26, 30. Cf. Mounce’s website on phrasing, including this video lecture.
- ———. “Track Two: Phrasing” and “Phrasing.” Pages xii–xiii, xv–xxiii in A Graded Reader of Biblical Greek. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996.
- Poythress, Vern S. “Propositional Relations.” Pages 159–212 in The New Testament Student and His Field. Edited by John H. Skilton and Curtiss A. Ladley. The New Testament Student 5. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1982.
- Schreiner, Thomas R. “Diagramming and Conducting a Grammatical Analysis” and “Tracing the Argument.” Pages 69–124 in Interpreting the Pauline Epistles. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011.
- Smith, Jay E. “Sentence Diagramming, Clausal Layouts, and Exegetical Outlining.” Pages 73–134 in Interpreting the New Testament Text: Introduction to the Art and Science of Exegesis. Edited by Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning. Wheaton: Crossway, 2006.
- Young, Richard A. “Diagraming.” Pages 267–77 in Intermediate New Testament Greek: A Linguistic and Exegetical Approach. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1994.
Update on 3/31/2017: In my latest attempt to explain how to interpret and apply the Bible, I include a chapter on argument diagrams with a focus on phrasing (pp. 121–61).