It seemed like I was drowning at the time, but perhaps the single course that has had the deepest influence on me was a Greek class at Liberty University. It was my third year of college and my fourth semester of Greek. Dr. Paul Fink not only took us verse-by-verse through 1 Peter, he introduced us to Diagrammatical Analysis. Diagramming paragraphs is still my favorite method for studying and meditating on the Word.
The final project for that class required that we put together all the work we’d done into a completed commentary, along with our diagrams and outline of the book.
I happen to be taking my current class of Comeford College students, who happen to be in their fourth semester of Greek, through 1 Peter as well (though I have not assigned them any diagramming).
Our elders are teaching through 1 Peter during our evening services, and I’m up next this coming Sunday night. I assigned myself 1 Peter 3:18-22, and we just talked about it at our last Greek class. It is regularly regarded as the most difficult passage in the New Testament to interpret. While the main point is unmistakably clear and comforting, a lot of the details are debated.
It brought to mind the only comment written by a teacher/professor on any of my tests or papers that I remember. In 1995 I took a position in my commentary that (I think) I no longer hold. Dr. Fink wrote: “You can be wrong if you want to.” Ha!
Of course, that doesn’t apply to the nature of Christ or the way of salvation; some truths must be defended not disputed. When it comes to 1 Peter 3:19, well, there are reasonable disagreements. Take heart, you too can be wrong if you want to.
Here’s my diagram for Romans 3:27-31. The words in grey are grammatically assumed, meaning that they are not actually in the Greek text, and most English translations also reflect the sentence fragments. But when all the expected words are included, especially in verse 27, it really seems to be making a point about boasting (spoiler: boasting is right out).
And the English block/outline (also with grey as inserted for sake of complete sentences):
If you had to pick just one paragraph from the New Testament, it would be hard to do better than Romans 3:21-26. Here is the righteousness of God manifested, not by works but by faith (alone), as God justifies sinners through the redemption and propitiation of Jesus Christ.
I’m here for your grammatical-meditation-edification again with a block diagram in English as well as a line-diagram in Greek for Romans 2:5-11. This is another one of those not whether but which issues, and the storehouses are eternal.
I really do get that not only does not everyone judge line-diagramming to be as fun and fruitful as I do, most grok even less with the Greek. So last week I went back and added a block diagram in English, and this week I’m leading with it. There’s even some overlap with colors, which, might help show the connections, but you can judge for yourself.
I haven’t posted any of my line diagramming in a while. In fact, since the previous one, I’ve finished studying/preaching through Revelation and am now into Romans. But this is still more unveiling, not of God’s eschatological/telos wrath, but of abandoning/trajectory wrath.
Here is the final paragraph of Romans 1, showing not only the cognitive bias men have against acknowledging God, but also the cultural disobedience that He gives them over to.
Here is a block diagram in English that attempts to show some of the same dependencies and relationships.
So as we wait for the return of the King and His rewarding of the small and great saints who fear His name (Revelation 11:17-18), here’s my diagram for Revelation 12:13-18 (note: most English translations include verse 18 as part of verse 17).