Archive for November, 2011


A    [Me:  The Christian Walk (Steadfast):]    9  For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,  10  so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;  11  strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously  12  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.


B    [Me:  Salvation Accomplished:]    13  For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,  /  14  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 C    15  And He is the image of the invisible God,

D    the first-born of all creation.

E    16  For by Him all things were created,

F    both in the heavens

G    and on earth

G’   visible

F’   and invisible,

E’   whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things through Him and for Him have been created.

D’   17  And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  18  He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.

C’   19  For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him,

B’   [Me:  Salvation Accomplished:]    20  and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on (b’)  earth or things in  (a’)  heaven.


21  And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,  22  yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death,  /  in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach —

A’   [Me:  The Christian Walk (Steadfast):]    — 23  if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

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Here’s a rather nice chiasmus from Acts 2 in which Peter preaches Jesus’s resurrection at Pentecost.  It’s from Kenneth E. Bailey‘s book, “Poet and Peasant“.  I have made one change.  I’ve changed his I/I’ into an I, J / J’, I’. 

This chiasmus immediately follows another chiasmus, outlining Pentecost, which can be found here.

Update:  Bailey’s chiasmus can be found on-line here.  Note that he thinks the chiasmus can be divided into 2 smaller chiasmi!



14  But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them:

A    22  “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know–

B    23  this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

C    [Me:  Jesus glorified and vindicated:]  24  “And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.


E    regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

F    30  “And so, because he was a prophet,



I    31  he looked ahead and spoke

J    of the resurrection

K    of the Christ,



K’   32  “This Jesus

J’   God raised up again,

I’   to which we are all witnesses.

H’   33  “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God,

G’   and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit,

F’   He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.

E’   34  “For it was not  /  David  /  who ascended into heaven,

D’   [Me:  OT quote from David:]   but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,  35  UNTIL I MAKE THINE ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR THY FEET.”‘  36  “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain

C’   that God has made Him both Lord and Christ

B’   this Jesus whom you crucified.”

A’   37  Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart,

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Nice Center!


1  The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  2  Now it will come about that In the last days, The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills;  And all the nations will stream to it.  3  And many peoples will come and say,

A     “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,

B    to the house of the God of Jacob;

C    that He may teach us concerning His ways, And that we may walk in His paths.”  For the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem

D    4  And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples;

E    And they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.

D’   Nation will not lift up sword against nation,

C’   And never again will they learn war.

B’   5  House of Jacob,

A’   come, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.

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Here’s an interesting Psalm.  The center is a chiasmus which lays out the pros and cons (blessings and punishments) of a covenant God made with David.  Both the beginning and end (A/A’) and the center (F/F’) of the chiasmus present strong contrasts – the good and the bad.  As well, the beginning (A:  vss. 1-26) and end (A’:  40-51) of the overall Psalm additionally present similar contrasts – the good vs. the bad.  There’s some strong contrasts here which are meant to be seen by the reader.  Here’s a brief overview of the Psalm:


A:  The Good: God’s promise of blessing on David and his descendants (vss.  1-26)

B:  The Central Chiasmus (vss. 27-39):

A:  Good

F:  Bad

F’:  Good

A’:  Bad

A’:  The Bad:  ‘David’ in trouble (vss. 40-51).

Interestingly, the entire Psalm is surrounded (included) with praise!




1  A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite:      

A    I will sing of the lovingkindness of the LORD forever; To all generations I will make known Thy faithfulness with my mouth.  2  For I have said, “Lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens Thou wilt establish Thy faithfulness.” 

3  “I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant,  4  I will establish your seed forever, And build up your throne to all generations.” Selah.  5  And the heavens will praise Thy wonders, O LORD; Thy faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.  6  For who in the skies is comparable to the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty is like the LORD,  7  A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him?  8  O LORD God of hosts, who is like Thee, O mighty LORD? Thy faithfulness also surrounds Thee.  9  Thou dost rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, Thou dost still them.  10  Thou Thyself didst crush Rahab like one who is slain; Thou didst scatter Thine enemies with Thy mighty arm.  11  The heavens are Thine, the earth also is Thine; The world and all it contains, Thou hast founded them.  12  The north and the south, Thou hast created them; Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Thy name.  13  Thou hast a strong arm; Thy hand is mighty, Thy right hand is exalted.  14  Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Thy throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before Thee.  15  How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O LORD, they walk in the light of Thy countenance.  16  In Thy name they rejoice all the day, And by Thy righteousness they are exalted.  17  For Thou art the glory of their strength, And by Thy favor our horn is exalted.  18  For our shield belongs to the LORD, And our king to the Holy One of Israel.  19  Once Thou didst speak in vision to Thy godly ones, And didst say, “I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people.  20  “I have found David My servant; With My holy oil I have anointed him,  21  With whom My hand will be established; My arm also will strengthen him.  22  “The enemy will not deceive him, Nor the son of wickedness afflict him.  23  “But I shall crush his adversaries before him, And strike those who hate him.  24  “And My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him, And in My name his horn will be exalted.  25  “I shall also set his hand on the sea, And his right hand on the rivers.  26  “He will cry to Me, ‘Thou art my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ 


A    27  “I also shall make him  [Me:  David]  My first-born, The highest of the kings of the earth.

B    28  “My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall be confirmed to him.

C    29  “So I will establish his descendants forever, And his throne  / as the days of heaven.

D    30  “If his sons forsake My law, And do not walk in My judgments,

E    31  If they violate / My statutes, And do not keep My commandments,

F    32  Then I will visit their transgression with the rod, And their iniquity with stripes.

F’   33  “But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness.

E’   34  “My covenant / I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.

D’   35  “Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David.

C   36  “His descendants / shall endure forever, And his throne / as the sun before Me.

B’   37  “It shall be established forever like the moon, And the witness in the sky is faithful.”  Selah.

A’    (1)   38  But Thou hast cast off and rejected,   (2)   Thou hast been full of wrath against Thine anointed.   (1′)   39  Thou hast spurned the covenant of Thy servant;   (2′)   Thou hast profaned his crown in the dust. 

A’   40  Thou hast broken down all his walls; Thou hast brought his strongholds to ruin.  41  All who pass along the way plunder him; He has become a reproach to his neighbors.  42  Thou hast exalted the right hand of his adversaries; Thou hast made all his enemies rejoice.  43  Thou dost also turn back the edge of his sword, And hast not made him stand in battle.  44  Thou hast made his splendor to cease, And cast his throne to the ground.  45  Thou hast shortened the days of his youth; Thou hast covered him with shame. Selah.  46  How long, O LORD? Wilt Thou hide Thyself forever? Will Thy wrath burn like fire?  47  Remember what my span of life is; For what vanity Thou hast created all the sons of men!  48  What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah.  49  Where are Thy former lovingkindnesses, O Lord, Which Thou didst swear to David in Thy faithfulness?  50  Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Thy servants; How I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples,  51  With which Thine enemies have reproached, O LORD, With which they have reproached the footsteps of Thine anointed. 

52  Blessed be the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.



This is one of those chiasmi which I would like to revisit in the future.  It’s possible I’m missing something here.  E.g., perhaps the central chiasmus should be extended.  …  Hmmm.

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A few years ago I read the book, “The Shape of Biblical Language – Chiasmus in the Scriptures“, written by Father John Breck.  This morning I picked up John’s “Scripture in Tradition:  The Bible and Its Interpretation in the Orthodox Church“.  Chapter 5 is entitled, “Chiasmus as a Key to Biblical Interpretation”.  Below are a few select quotes from that chapter:


From the early nineteenth century through the middle of the twentieth, scholarly attention focused especially on the contributions and limits of historical-critical approaches to biblical interpretation.  In recent years, interest among exegetes has shifted to various forms of literary analysis.  Although the results have been mixed (much of the effort has been expended to correct false or one-sided conclusions drawn by other scholars), certain specific contributions have been especially helpful in clarifying the meaning of scriptural passages by locating the center of the author’s interest and thereby pinpointing literal sense of a given text.

The most significant of these, to my mind, is the contribution made by a small number of biblical scholars, beginning in the mid-eighteenth century with the works of the Anglican hierarch Robert Lowth and continuing today with studies by scholars such as John Gerhard, Charles H. Talbert, and especially Peter F. Ellis.  These studies base their interpretation of biblical texts on a form of literary analysis that investigates the concentric parallelism or chiastic (also called “chiasmis”) structures of biblical passages.

It seems obvious that any writing should be read according to its linear progression, from beginning to end, as we read a novel or newspaper article.  In antiquity, however, a linear reading of a text was very often complemented by another kind of reading.  This reading follows the laws of what is call “chiasm” or “chiasmus,” a rhetorical form based on concentric parallelism.

…  Chiasmus is a rhetorical form developed on the basis of parallelism.  But it takes parallelism an important step further by creating a movement that is in essence concentric.  Although any passage reads in linear fashion, from beginning to end, it can also incorporate another movement:  from the exterior to the interior, from the extremities toward the center.  In this way, meaning is developed from the beginning and end of the passage toward the middle.  Accordingly, the ultimate meaning of a chiastically structured passage is expressed not at the end, in what we understand to be the “conclusion.”  The real meaning or essential message of the text is to be found rather at its center.

This chiastic way of composing and reading a literary text, so that meaning develops from the extremities toward the center, seems to have originated in the Semitic world at least three thousand years before Jesus Christ.  It is found in ancient Akkadian and Sumerian texts, and it spread from these to the Greek world.  The epics of Homer, for example, are chiastically structured, as, presumably was much of the oral tradition that underlies them.  Writers of both the Old and New Testaments used chiasmus extensively   Although it seems not to have been taught in rhetorical schools after the beginning of the Christian era, chiasmus nevertheless appears throughout the ages, down to the present day.

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Pic from here.


Chiasmus from here:


…  7  Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And it came about, that everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp.  8  And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent.  9  And it came about, whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the LORD would speak with Moses.  10  When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent. 

11  Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.  12  Then Moses said to the LORD, “See, Thou dost say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But Thou Thyself hast not let me know whom Thou wilt send with me. 

A    Moreover, Thou hast said , ‘I have known you by name,

B    and you have also found favor in My sight.’

C    13  “Now therefore, I pray Thee,   (a)   if I have found favor in Thy sight,   (b)   let me know Thy ways,   (b’)   that I may know Thee,   (a’)   so that I may find favor in Thy sight.

   Consider too, that this nation is Thy people.”

E    14  And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”

F    15  Then he said to Him, “If Thy presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.

E’    16  “For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Thy sight, I and Thy people?  Is it not by Thy going with us,

D’   so that we, I and Thy people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”

C’   17  And the LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing of which you have spoken;

B’   for you have found favor in My sight,

A’   and I have known you by name.”

18  Then Moses said, “I pray Thee, show me Thy glory!”  19  And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.”  20  But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!”  21  Then the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock;  22  and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.  23  “Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”

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The fear of symmetry. 

Here and here.


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Sony Centre for the Performing Arts – Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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