Archive for the ‘Chiasmi: Book Length’ Category



A while back, Lindsay Kennedy, who authors the blog My Digital Seminary did a series of interviews with Joel Wingo, who teaches at Calvary Chapel Bible College, on the book of Job.  Lindsay and Joel think that the book of Job may have been written as a chiasmus.  Following is Linday’s series of posts and the outline of Joel’s chiasmus.  I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet (the longer a chiasmus, the more time and effort it takes to check out), but I thought the series intriquing enough to post anyway.  I’ve mentioned Lindsay and his blog before, in regard to a chiasmus for Job 1 :


–  Is Job a chiasm?

–  Joel Wingo interview on Job: part 1

–  Joel Wingo interview on Job: part 2

–  Joel Wingo interview on Job: part 3

–  Joel Wingo on the book of Job: summary


A. Prologue: Job blessed and righteous

B. Prologue: Job accused by Satan and destroyed

C. Dialogue: Job Laments (de-creation, order to chaos)

D. Dialogue: Preventative chastening (Eliphaz’s first speech)

E. Dialogue: Sin & retribution (three friends)

F. CENTRE: Wisdom is with God, not men (Job ch. 28)

E’. Dialogue: Sin & retribution (Job)

D’. Dialogue: Preventative chastening (Elihu)

C’. Dialogue: The LORD speaks (creation, chaos to order)

B’. Epilogue: Job vindicated by the LORD and restored

A’. Epilogue: Job blessed and righteous


A couple additional diagrams of the chiasmus can be found in part 2 of Lindsay’s interview with Joel


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Here’s a proposed chiasmus for the book of James by Cristina Conti.  I found it on Peter J. Leithart’s web site

Conti’s article is translated here by Google.

(To be honest, I haven’t thoroughly checked it out – but it looks like it has potential!)


A. Joy in trial, 1:2-8

B. Rich fade, 1:9-11

C. Lustfulness, 1:12-15

D. Perfect Gift, 1:16-25

E. Restraining the tongue, 1:26

F. Religion in deed, 1:27

G. Distinctions of rich and poor, 2:1-13

F’. Faith in works, 2:14-26

E’. Restraining the tongue, 3:1-12

D’. Wisdom as perfect gift, 3:13-18

C’. Lustfulness and sin, 4:1-12

B’. Ways of the rich, 4:13-5:6

A’. Patience in suffering, 5:7-20

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From here, with some changes.


A    1 The elder to the chosen lady

B    and her children,

C    whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 for the sake of the truth which abides in us / and will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

D    4 I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth,

E    just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. 5 And now I ask you, lady, not as writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning,

F    that we love one another.

F’   6 And this is love,

E’   that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning,

D’   that you should walk in it.

C’   7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, / he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

B’   (12 Having many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that your joy may be made full.) 

13 The children

A’ of your chosen sister greet you.

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I came across a chiasmus for Philemon at the blog “studywithme” the other day.  It was posted by Joey Wulf.  It inspired me to take a look at Philemon myself.  Joey’s chiasmus has 10 parts and a double center.  My attempt has 17 parts and a single center.

John Paul Heil has also produced a chiasmus for Philemon, which can be found here and here.  John’s chiasmus has 9 parts and a single center. 

It seems to me that, at the very least, Philemon is chiastic. 

Like it. 

Interesting center.


A    1   Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved brother and fellow worker,  2  and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:  3  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

B    4  I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers,  5  because I hear of your love, and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints;  6  and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. 

C    7  For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.

D    8  Therefore, though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do that which is proper, 

E    9  yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you— since I am such a person as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus–

F    10  I appeal to you for my child, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, Onesimus,  11  who formerly was useless to you,  /  but now is useful  /  both to you and to me

G    12  And I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart,

H    13  whom I wished to keep with me, that in your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel,

I    14  but without your consent I did not want to do anything, that your goodness should not be as it were by compulsion, but of your own free will.

H’   15  For perhaps he was for this reason parted from you for a while,

G’   that you should have him back forever, 

F’   16  no longer as a slave,  /  but more than a slave, a beloved brother,  /  especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

E’   [Me: The appeal:]  17  If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me.  /  18  But if he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account;  19  I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand, I will repay it

D’    (lest I should mention to you that you owe to me even your own self as well).

C’   20  Yes, brother, let me benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 

B’   21  Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I know that you will do even more than what I say.  22  And at the same time also prepare me a lodging; for I hope that through your prayers I shall be given to you.

A’   23  Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you,  24  as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers.  25  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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I think I agree with the following from Donald E. Curtis at Bible.orgI’ve often thought the Song of Songs was chiastic – in much the same way:

…  the Song of Songs has a chiastic structure, but one that is freer and looser. By this I mean that it is hard to draw an unambiguous line separating the parts. You can step back and see it, but when you get close, it almost disappears. What you see from a distance is this:

A. Home in the king’s court

B. Developing love

C. Dream Sequence

D. Consummation

C’. Dream Sequence

B’. Developing love

A’. Home in the country



David A. Dorsey in his book “The Literary Structure of the Old Testament” breaks down the Song of Songs like this:

A    Opening words of mutual love and desire (1:2-2:7)

B    Young man’s invitation to the young woman to join him in the contryside (2:8-17)

C    Young woman’s nighttime search for the young man (3:1-5)

D    CENTER:  The wedding day (3:6-5:1)

C’   Young woman’s nighttime search for the young man, and their speeches of admiration and longing (5:2-7:11  [5:2-7:10])

B’   Young woman’s invitation to the you man to join her in the countryside (7:12-8:4  [7:11-8:4])

A’   Closing words of mutual love and desire (8:5-14)

David Dorsey’s 15 page chapter 21 is dedicated to explaining his Song of Spongs chiasmus in greater detail.  Each of the sections given above, except for B’, is broken down into a smaller chiasmus.  If you’re interested in further exploring the Song of Songs as chiasmus I would highly recommend David’s treatment.

Here’s a review of Dorsey’s book.

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A    1:1  Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,   2  in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,   3  but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior;   4  to Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.  

B    5  For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,  6  namely, if any man be above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.   7  For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,   8  but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled,   9  holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.  

C    10  For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,   11  who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain.   12  One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”   13  This testimony is true. For this cause reprove them severely that they may be sound in the faith,   14  not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.   15  To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.   16  They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed.

D      a    2:1  But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.   

b    Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.   

c    Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behaviour, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,  4  that they may encourage   

c’    the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,  5  to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonoured.   

b’    Likewise urge the young men to be sensible. 

a’    7  In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified,  8  sound in speechwhich is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. 

E    9  Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,   10  not pilfering, but showing all good faith that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.   11  For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,   12  instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,   13  looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;   14  who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds

F    15   These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority.  LET NO ONE DISREGARD YOU!!!

E’    3:1  Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,   2  to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.   3  For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.   4  But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,   5  He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,   6  whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,   7  that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

D’    8  This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.  

C’    9  But shun foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law; for they are unprofitable and worthless.  10  Reject a factious man after a first and second warning,   11  knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.

B’    12  When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.   13  Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them.   14  And let our people also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, that they may not be unfruitful.  

A’   15  All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith.  Grace be with you all.




A/A’:  These sections are concerned with Greetings (A:  Paul greets Titus;  A’:  Paul’s ‘group’ greets Titus’s ‘group’).  Both sections mention ‘grace’ as part of their greeting.

B/B’:  These sections refer Paul’s directions regarding geography/travel (B:  Crete, Titus presumably travelling to “every city” in Crete;  B’:  city of “Nicopolis”, sending Artemas/Tychicus to Titus, Titus to come to Paul, helping Zenas and Apollos on their way) and leaders/leadership issues (B:  “appoint elders” throughout Crete, “overseer” qualifications;  B’:  Established leadership in Paul’s ministry:  Artemas, Tychicus, Zenas the lawyer, Apollos). 

C/C’:  These sections refer to those people who are causing problems in the church.  Each section makes broad reference to some of the underlying issues (C:  “Jewish myths and commandments of men”; C’:  “foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law”).  C’ contains a final comment regarding how to deal with “a factious man”:  Reject him after a first and second warning. 

D/D’:   These sections contain instructions for the Christian church.  Note the ABCCBA chiasmus in D (Titus, men, women, women, men, Titus).  D’ seems to contain a final generalized comment regarding church conduct:  “those who have believed in God” (the church) should “be careful to engage in good deeds.  These things are good and profitable for men”.  Both sections refer to Titus’ ‘speech’ (D:  at the beginning and end of the ABCCBA chiasmus;  D’:  at the beginning of the section). 

E/E’:  These sections begin by referring to the need for obedience to the various authorities (E:  slaves to masters;  E’: everyone to rulers and authorities).  These sections relate the theme of salvation (in the context of Christian history: Jesus’ appearance, salvation, return/hope for future salvation) with the theme of good and bad deeds.

F:  This is the center of the chiasmus.  It contains a specific instrution to Titus:  “These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority.  Let no one disregard you!!!”  …  It’s a nice center.  It focuses on Titus.  It empowers and encourages him.  I especially like the last line.  “LET NO ONE DISREGARD YOU!”  It’s strong.  It makes a good, solid, focused center.

Sidenote:  It’s important to note how ‘good deeds’ relate to a number of these sections – weaving in and out.  It’s a very important – perhaps primary – theme.


Here I thought I would describe how this chiasmus could have been written.  In essence, it talks about the order of the writing.:

1) Writes a greeting to Titus (A).  A obvious place to begin.  The greeting is fairly typical of Paul.  

2) Writes about Titus’s overall task (an obvious and reasonable place to go after the greeting – Paul gets down to business):  to appoint leadership in every city in Crete.  Qualifications for those leaders are also then given.

3) Next Paul turns to the issue of those people who are disturbing the peace in the various Cretian churches.  He describes them in unflattering terms (e.g., “detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed”).  It may be that the problems caused by these “rebellious men” is the reason that Paul sent Titus to appoint elders/overseers in the various churches.  The appointment of leadership may have been considered an important step in quelling the problems being experienced with certain people within the church.

4) Having dealt with the pressing issue of problematic people in the church, Paul now turns to the church at large.  In particular he wants to emphasize the importance of the church acting properly.  He arranges this section as a chiasmus (Titus, men, women, women, men, Titus).  Titus is included in this chiasmus, and so, is included in this ‘pocket’ of church instrution.

To be continued:

*** Importance of ‘good deeds’ throughout, beginning in B.

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