Old Testament:


1  (Creation Week)      2:4 and 2:15-3:7  (The ‘Second’ Creation Story and The Fall)      6:5-7:1  (~Noah)     6:10-9:19  (The Flood Story)      17:1-17

Exodus:      6:2-8      33:12-17

Leviticus:      14:49-53      24:17-21

Numbers:      11:4-34      12:1-16

Deuteronomy:      9:6-13  (The Giving of the Law)      12:1-32

Joshua:      1

2 Samuel:      1:19-27

2 Kings:      22:1-23:30

2 Chronicles:      5:11-6:3

Job:       The entire book?      1      32:6-10


3      12      18      19:1      22      37:1-7      49      52:1b-5a      58      62      67      70      76      89:27-39      103:1      150      Robert Alden’s ‘Chiastic Psalms’

Proverbs:      1:20-33      11:19-20      26:10-19      31:10-31  (The Virtuous Woman)

Song of Songs:      The entire book      2:8-17

Ecclesiastes:      11:1-12:2


1:18      1:21-26      2:3-5      3:1-8      5:20      6:10      28:15-18     56:1-8      56:9-12      60:1-3

Jeremiah:      5:1-31      10:1-11      17:1-3

Hosea:      13:14

Joel:      1:5-14      3:2-8

Amos:      2:11-12      5:1-17      5:24      8:11-9:15

Obadiah:      10-14


New Testament:

Matthew:      5:3-10  (The Beatitudes)     7:16-20      23:12      13:10-19


The entire book      1:1-13      1:21-28      2:1-3:6      2:27      3:20-35      3:22-30      5:1-6      10:17-31      10:35-41      12:28-34      12:35-37      12:38-40      13:4-23  (The Little Apocalypse)      13:24-27      13:4-37

Luke:      1:68-79      16:13      22:42

John:      5:19-30      17:1-5  (The Beginning of “The High Priestly Prayer”)

Acts:      2:1-21  (Pentecost)      2:22-36  (Peter Preaches on Jesus’ Resurrection at Pentecost)

Romans:      10:9-10      11:33-35      14:13-23

1 Corinthians:      1:19-29      7: 20-24      11:3-7 and 8-11      13:8-13  (Paul on Love)      15:1-20      15:35-44

2 Corinthians:      8:9      12:1-5

Galatians:      3:5-14      4:1-7      5:16-26  (The Fruit of the Spirit)

Ephesians:      1:2; 6:23-24      2:8-9      2:11-22      3:1-13      3:14-21

Philippians:      1:15-17

Colossians:      1:3-9      1:9-23

1 Thessalonians:      1-2  (Paul’s earliest writing)     5:23

2 Thessalonians:      3:6-12

1 Timothy:      3:16

2 Timothy:      1:15-18      2:8-10

Titus:      The entire book

Philemon:      The entire book

Hebrews:      12:1-2

James:      The entire book

1 Peter:      2:17

1 John:      3:9

2 John:      The entire book

Revelation:      3:7      12:1-17      21:1-5a


Examples of Small Chiasmi:

Tiny Chiasmi - ‘Here a Chiasmus, There a Chiasmus …’

Chiasmus Excerpt – “Narrative Criticism of the New Testament”


Additional Materials:

Recommended Readings and Sites

Chiasmus Verification Criteria


Business colleagues shaking hands


This chiasmus is from Grant R. Osborne’s book, “Romans”.  The chiasmus can be found here at Google books, page 366.  The book can also be found here at Amazon.

I’ve creating a new center, F. 

F focuses on peace with both God and man.  The new center reminds me of Jesus’ words in Mark 12:29-31, where the two social spheres of God and man (‘the vertical and the horizontal’) are emphasized:

28  And one of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”  29  Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;  30  AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’  31  “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”



A    Judging (v. 13a)

B    Stumbling block (v.13b)

C    Clean/unclean (v.14)

D    Destroying (v. 15)

E    Peace and unity (vv 16-18)

E’   Peace and unity (v. 19)

D’   Destroying (v. 20a)

C’   Clean/unclean (v. 20b)

B’   Stumbling block (v. 21)

A’   Judging (vv. 22-23)

… Several have noted a chiastic pattern here.  Perhaps the most comprehensive is Dunn (1988b:816 …

This section addresses the strong, who should be leading the way to establishing unity in the church by opening themselves up to the “weaker” brothers and sisters.  Neither side should stand in judgment over the other, for God alone is the judge of all, and he has accepted both groups (vv. 3, 10).  In a terrific play on words, Paul tells the strong that instead of “judging” (krino) the weak, they must “decide” (krino) not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in … [the] way of the “weak” Christians.  Rather than negative judgment, they must be characterized by positive discernment.  The two words are virtually synonymous.  A stumbling block is that which causes someone to fall into sin.  Similarly,an obstacle derives from the concept of “trapping something in a snare” and therefore is used in the LXX of falling into sin.  So it came to mean “an obstacle in coming to faith and a cause of going astray,” a transgression that leads to destruction, thus something that destroys faith and causes apostasy.



A    13  Therefore let us not judge one another anymore,

B    but rather determine this– not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block  /  in a brother’s way.

C    14  I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

D    15  For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.

E    16  Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil;  17  for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

F    18  For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.

E’   19  So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

D’   20  Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food.

C’   All things indeed are clean,  /  but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense.

B’   21  It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother  /  stumbles.

A’   22  The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God.  Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.  23  But he who doubts is condemned if he eats – because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.



I think this is a chiasmus.  It requires some commentary, but for now I thought I would just post it.  :-)



1  (For the choir director. A Psalm of David; for a memorial.)

A    a  O Godb  hasten to deliver me!

B    a  O LORD,  /  b  hasten to my help!

C    2  Let those be ashamed and humiliated

D    Who seek my life;

E    Let those be turned back and dishonored Who delight in my hurt.

E’   3  Let those be turned back because of their shame Who say, “Aha, aha!

D’   4  Let all who seek Thee

C’   rejoice and be glad in Thee – And let those who love Thy salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified.”

B’   5  But I am afflicted and needyb’  Hasten to me,  /  a’  O God!

A’   b’  Thou art my help and my deliverera’  O LORDdo not delay.


The end of the chiasmus also appears to be a small chiasmus:

a    5b  Hasten to me,

b    O God!

c    Thou art my help and my deliverer;

b’   O LORD,

a’   do not delay.



By Kai Ziehl.

More of his pics are here.


Empty Tomb Resurrection


A   [Me: a positive beginning assertion:]    15:1  Now I make known to you, brethren,

a    the gospel  /  which I preached to you,  /  which also you received,

b    in which also you stand,

b’   2  by which also you are saved,

a’   the word  /  which I preached to you,  /  if you hold fast

B    [Me: a negative alternative:]   unless  [!!!]  in vain  [Me: Greek -'eikay']  you believed!

C    3  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

D    4  and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,  5  and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  6  After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;  7  then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;  8  and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.


1    9  For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.   10  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain  [Me: Greek = 'kenos'].

2    But I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.  11  Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.


a    12  Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead,

b    how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

b’   13  But if there is no resurrection of the dead,

a’   not even Christ has been raised;


14  and if Christ has not been raised,

1′    then vain  [Me: Greek = 'kenos']  is    2′    our preaching

1′    and vain  [Me: Greek = 'kenos']  is    2′    your faith.


a    15  Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God :

b    that He raised Christ,

c    whom He did not raise,

d    if in fact the dead are not raised.

d’   16  For if the dead are not raised,

c’   not even Christ has been raised;

b’   17  and if Christ has not been raised,

a’    your faith is worthless;

C’   [Me: D' a' continued:]  you are still in your sins.

B’   [Me: a negative possibility:]  18  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  19  If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

A’   [Me: a positive ending assertion:]  20  But  [!!!]  now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep !!!




This chiasmus is fairly straight forward.

I like the double center.  It demonstrates that there are two ‘balanced’ parts to the covenant.  God plays a part (land and ‘being their God’), and Abraham and his descendants play a part (circumcision).

I also rather like the progressive build-up at the end of A, B, and C.  It goes from A, “I will multiply you exceedingly”, to B, “… you will be the father of a multitude of nations, to C, “… and kings shall come forth from you.”

I also like that C/C’ seems to bring out an equality between Abraham and Sarah.  They both have their names changed, and they both are given the same promise.  …  It’s a partnership.  Nice.


A    17:1  Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.  2  “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.”

B    3  And Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying,  4  “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.

1    5  “No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham;

2    For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations.  6  “And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you.

D    [Me:  God's part:]


7  “And I will establish My covenant  /  between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.

2    8  “And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession – and I will be their God.”

D’   [Me:  Abraham's part:]

1    9  God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant,  /  you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.

2    10  “This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you:  every male among you shall be circumcised.  11  “And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.  12  “And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants.  13  “A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.  14  “But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”


1    15  Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.

2    16  “And I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations;  /  kings of peoples shall come from her.”

B    17  Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed,

A    and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”


[Me:  A question concerning Ishmael (fatherly concern):]    18  And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before Thee!”  19  But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.  20  “And as for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.  21  “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.”  22  And when He finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham.

[Me:  Abraham obeys his God:]    23  Then Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all the servants who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s household, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the very same day, as God had said to him.  24  Now Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.  25  And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.  26  In the very same day Abraham was circumcised, and Ishmael his son.  27  And all the men of his household, who were born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

Suffering Christ on the Cross, modern, bright colors


This chiasmus has a bit of complexity to it – which I like.  Clearly some effort and time has been put into it.

Here’s the basic outline:

A/A’:  The ‘wisdom of the world’ will be “destroyed” [Greek: destroyed completely], “set aside”, “nullified” [Greek: abolished].  These are strong words, indicating complete defeat or elimination.  (A/A’ use stronger terms than those found in the next sections, B/B’.)

B1/B’1:  A triple-list is used in each of these sections (a triple-list consists of a grouping of three words or phrases).  The ‘wise’ begins the triple-list in each section.  Similar words are used prior to each word or phrase in each triple-list:  ‘pou’ comes before each word/phrase in the triple-list in B1, while ‘polus’ comes before each word/phrase in the triple-list in B’1. Both words begin with ‘p’, offering a match via alliteration.

B2/B’2:  The same idea is found in each of these sections:  ‘foolishness defeats the wisdom of the world’.  In both these sections, it is God who accomplishes the act (“Has not God …? / God has …, God has …).

C/C’:  C has ‘wisdom’ before ‘foolish‘., while C’ has ‘foolish‘ before ‘wisdom’.  C and C’ are chiastically arranged.

D:  The ideas in these sections are arranged chiastically – a b c b’ a’.  The well known line, “Christ crucified:  to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness” forms the very center of the chiasmus (c).  In Paul’s mind, “Christ crucified” represents the power and wisdom of God (D, Intro (v. 18)).


In my opinion, the beginning and end of the chiasmus (the complete destruction of the world’s wisdom) should be understood in light of the center (Christ crucified).  It is “Christ crucified” – the cross – that ultimately makes the world’s wisdom (the world’s understanding of life) ‘destroyed, set aside, and nullified’.


Note:  Personally, I think this chiasmus should be read helically.  I.e., from A to A’ to B to B’ to C to C’ to D.  In other words, in the order of its matches.


18  …  the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

A    19  For it is written, ”    a    I WILL DESTROY    b    THE WISDOM OF THE WISE,    b’   AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER    a’   I WILL SET ASIDE.”


1    20  Where is  [Me: "Where " = Greek: "pou"]  the wise man? Where is  [pou]  the scribe? Where is  [pou]  the debater of this age?

2    Has not God made foolish / the wisdom of the world?


a    [Me:  emphasis on wisdom:]  21  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom / did not come to know God,

b    [Me: emphasis on foolishness:]  God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached / to save those who believe.


a    22  For indeed  1  Jews ask for  2  signs  [Me: "signs" = a demonstration of the power of God], and  1′  Greeks search for  2′  wisdom;

b    23  but we preach

c    Christ crucified: to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness,

b’   24  but to those who are the called,

a’   both  1  Jews and  1′  Greeks, Christ the  2  power of God and the  2′  wisdom of God.


(1)   25  Because the    b’    foolishness of God    a’    is wiser than men,

(2)    and the    b’    weakness of God    a’    is stronger than men.


1    26  For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many  [Me: "not many" = Greek: "polus"]  wise (according to the flesh),  /  not many  [= polus]  mighty,  /  not many  [= polus]  noble;


(1′)    a    27  but God has chosen    b    the foolish things of the world  /  to shame  [Me: Greek: "kataischunw"]  the wise,

(2′)   a    and God has chosen    b    the weak things of the world  /  to shame  [Me: Greek: "kataischunw"]  the things which are strong,


I    b’    28  and the base things of the world and the despised,    ii    a’   God has chosen -  

i’   the things that are not,   ii’   that He might nullify the things that are   [Me: "nullify" = "katargew" = to render inoperative / to abolish].




“Noah’s Ark”, by Edward Hicks, 1846


I read the Bible’s story of Noah and the flood the other day, in part because of the movie Noah coming out this weekend, and noticed that it might be a chiasmus. 

Here’s a simplified break-down:

A1/A’1:  Man is very evil.

A2/A’2:  (Therefore) God will destroy man. 

A3/A’3:  (But) Noah found favor with God   /  = Noah will build and escape in an ark.

B/B’:  These are the generations of Noah  /  =  3 sons.

C/C’:  Noah was righteous  /  = walked with God.

D:  Noah was blameless among his peers (ie., among mankind; among his generation).

If this is a chiasmus, then what is being emphasized is Noah’s righteousness … since it’s at the center. 

I like the image this chiasmus portrays.  In the chiasmus, Noah is surrounded by the evilness of the world – surrounded by evil men.  In a sense, this chiasmus – at least for me – evokes both a sense of danger (surrounded by evil mankind), and a sense of safety (the safety of the center; the safety of the coming ark?; perhaps foreshadowing the ark?).  Interestingly, in the chiasmus, Noah’s family (3 sons) are mentioned in-between the ‘outside’ and the ‘center’ of the chiasmus.  They are caught in no-man’s land, if you will.  Fortunately for them, they will get pulled into the center with Noah; into the safety of the ark.

The small chiasmi in A2 has God’s grief on the outside, with his plan to destroy the world in the center (it could also be structured as an  aba’b’  parallelism).  The small chiasmi in A’2 has the destruction of the world on the outside, with the reason for that destruction at its center.

I like the way the center and end of the chiasmus match, mentioning the righteousness of Noah compared to the rest of mankind.  I also like the contrast between the beginning and the end of the chiasmus – the continual evilness vs. the only one righteous. 

I guess the reason I first thought that this passage might be a chiasmus is the odd way the text went from the subject of the ‘evilness of man’ to the subject of ‘Noah’ and back to the subject of the ‘evilness of man’.  That back and forth didn’t seem quite ‘normal’.  It signaled at least the possibility that the writer was doing something chiastic.


Another possible ‘flood’ chiasmus – for Genesis 6:10-9:19 – can be found here.



1    5  Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually


a    6  And the LORD was angered that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart

b    7  And the LORD said,  /  “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land – from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky;

a’   for I am sorry that I have made them.”

3    8  But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

B    9  These are the records of the generations of Noah.

C    Noah  /  was a righteous man,

D    blameless  //  in his time    [Me:  Hebrew: towledah];

C’   Noah  /  walked with God.    [Me:  "with God Noah walked"]

B’   10  And Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.



11  Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.  12  And God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.


a    2    13  Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me;

b    for the earth is filled with violence because of them;

a’   and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.

3    14  “Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch.  15  “And this is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.  16  “You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.  17  “And behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.  18  “But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark– you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.  19  “And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.  20  “Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind shall come to you to keep them alive.  21  “And as for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them.”  22  Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.  7:1  Then the LORD said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household; for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me // in this time    [Me:  Hebrew: towledah].


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