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Judges Gavel

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The following chiasmus is from Douglas Moo’s commentary, “Romans: The NIV Application Commentary: From Biblical Text to Contemporary Life”.  The commentary can be found here at Google Books, and here at Amazon.  Douglas’ website is here.

Here’s a quote:

God Judges Every Human Being Impartially on the Same Basis (2:6-11)

This important paragraph supports a point that is implicit, but vital, to Paul’s indictment of self-righteous Jews in 2:1-5:  God assesses Jews and Gentiles on the same basis.  In effect, Paul argues, there is a level playing field when it comes to God’s ultimate verdict.  The Jew, therefore, simply by virtue of being a Jew cannot claim immunity from judgment.  The argument of these verses is clear and logical, following a pattern we label chiasm.  This word comes from the name for the Greek letter that looks much like our “X”.  It describes a structure in which the basic sequence follows an A-B-B’-A’ pattern.  Note how verses 6-11 fall into such a pattern:

A   God will judge everyone according to his works (v. 6)

B   People who do good will attain eternal life (v .7)

C   People who do evil will suffer wrath (v. 8)

C’  Wrath for those who do evil (v. 9)

B’  Glory for those who do good (v. 10)

A’  God judges impartially (v. 11)

Sometimes in a chiasm, the main point comes at the center.  In this case, however, the main point appears at the outer edges.

Moo’s last point is worth considering.  The main point is not always at the center.  In the end, it’s up to the discretion of the writer.  The chiastic writer has options.

I’ve refined Moo’s chiasmus a little bit by adding the following lower-case connections:  a bb’ a’, a bb’ a’, a bb’ a’.

I would also like to point out the phrase, “of the Jew first and also the Greek”, which occurs twice in the chiasmus.  Interestingly, the phrase appears at the end of the two matches: B/B’ (regarding good) and C/C’ (regarding evil).  Even though the two occurrences of the phrase do not appear chiastically balanced overall, they are still reasonably / logically placed within the chiasmus.

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2:1  Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.  2  And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.  3  But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?  4  Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?  5  But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment

A

a    5  of God,

b    6  who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS:

B

a    7  to those who by perseverance in doing good

b    seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;

C

a    8  but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness,

b    wrath and indignation.

C’

b’   9  There will be tribulation and distress

a’   for every soul of man who does evil – of the Jew first and also the Greek,

B ‘

b’   10  but glory and honor and peace

a’   to everyone who does good – to the Jew first and also the Greek. 

A’

b’   11  for there is no partiality

a’   with God.

 

 

 

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Business colleagues shaking hands

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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A   

a    9  …  if you confess

b    with your mouth

–  Jesus as Lord,

B   

a    and believe

b    in your heart

–  that God raised Him from the dead,

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C    you shall be saved!

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B’

b’   10  For with the heart

a’   man believes,

–  resulting in righteousness,

A’

b’   and with the mouth,

a’   he confesses,

–  resulting in salvation.

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[Me:  The context for the chiasmus is the mystery of Israel’s rejection of their Messiah, Jesus:] 

1  I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.  2  God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?  3  “Lord, THEY HAVE KILLED THY PROPHETS, THEY HAVE TORN DOWN THINE ALTARS, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY ARE SEEKING MY LIFE.”  4  But what is the divine response to him? “I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.”  5  In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice.  6  But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.  7  What then? That which Israel is seeking for, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened;  8  just as it is written, “GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY.”  9  And David says, “LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A TRAP, AND A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A RETRIBUTION TO THEM.  10  “LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED TO SEE NOT, AND BEND THEIR BACKS FOREVER.”  11  I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.  12  Now if their transgression be riches for the world and their failure be riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!  13  But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,  14  if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.  15  For if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?  16  And if the first piece of dough be holy, the lump is also; and if the root be holy, the branches are too.  17  But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,  18  do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.  19  You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”  20  Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;  21  for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you.  22  Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.  23  And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again.  24  For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more shall these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?  25  For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in;  26  and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.”  27  “AND THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.”  28  From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers;  29  for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.  30  For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience,  31  so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy.  32  For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.

A    33  Oh, the depth of the riches

B    both of the wisdom

C    and knowledge of God!

D    How unsearchable are His judgments

D’   and unfathomable  /  His ways!

C’   34  For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD,

B’   OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR?

A’   35  Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN?

36  For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

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In this entry I’ll be placing lots of small chiasmi.  Small chiasmi are not my primary focus so it may take some time to ‘fill this up’.

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Old Testament:

Genesis:

1:27a

A    God created man

B    in His own image,

B’   in the image of God

A’   He created him

2:4

A    This is the account of the heavens

B    and the earth

C    when they were created,

C’   in the day that the LORD God made

B’   earth

A’   and heaven.

6:8-9

A    8  But Noah  /  found favor

B    in the eyes of the Lord

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

D    Noah was a righteous man,

D’   blameless

C’   in his time  [Me: ‘among his peers’];

B’   with God

A’   Noah  / walked

9:6a

A    “Whoever sheds

B    the blood

C    of man

C’   by man

B’   his blood

A’   shall be shed …”

12:16

Therefore he  [Me: Pharoah]  treated Abram well for her  [Me: Sarai’s]  sake; and gave him

A    sheep and oxen

B    and  [Me: male]  donkeys

C    and male  [Me: servants]

C’   and female servants

B’   and female donkeys

A’   and camels.

 Job

32:6-10

6  So Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite spoke out and said,

A    “I am young in years and you are old; Therefore I was shy and afraid to tell you what I think.

B    7  “I thought age should speak, And increased years should teach wisdom.

C    8  “But it is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.

B’   9  “The abundant in years may not be wise, Nor may elders understand justice.

A’   10  “So I say, ‘Listen to me, I too will tell what I think.’

Psalms

19:1

A    The heavens

B    declare

C    the glory of God

C’   the work of his hands

B’   proclaim

A’   the sky.

 72:1-2

A    1  Give the king Your justice, O God,

B    and Your righteousness to the king’s son. 

B’   2  May he judge Your people with righteousness

A’   and Your afflicted with justice.

103:1

A    Bless, O my soul,

B    the Lord

C    And all that is within me,

B’   the name of His holiness,

A’   bless, O my soul.

Proverbs

10:15

A    The wealth

B    of a rich man

C    is his fortress;

C’   the ruin

B’   of the poor

A’   is their poverty

11:19-20

A    19  He who is steadfast in righteousness will attain to life,

B    And he who pursues evil will bring about his own death.

B’   20  The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD,

A’   But the blameless in their walk are His delight.

Isaiah

5:20

A    Woe to those who call evil

B    good,

B’   and good

A    evil;

A    Who substitute darkness

B    for light

B’   and light

A’   for darkness;

A    Who substitute bitter

B    for sweet,

B’    and sweet

A’    for bitter!

6:10

A    “Render the hearts of this people insensitive,

B    Their ears dull,

C    And their eyes dim,

C’   Lest they see with their eyes,

B’   Hear with their ears,

A’   Understand with their hearts,

And return and be healed.”

Jeremiah

17:1-3

A    1  The sin of Judah

B    is written down

C    with an iron stylus;

C’   with a diamond point

B’   it is engraved upon the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars,

A’   2  As they remember their children, So they remember their altars and their Asherim By green trees on the high hills … 3 … your high places for sin

Joel

2:28-29

A    28  It will come about after this

B    That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;

C    And your sons and daughters will prophesy,

D    Your old men  /  will dream dreams,

D’   Your young men  /  will see visions.

C’   29  Even on the male and female servants

B’   I will pour out My Spirit

A’   in those days.

Hosea

13:14

A    Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?

B    Shall I redeem them from death?

B’   O Death, where are your thorns?

A’   O Sheol, where is your sting?

Amos

2:11-12

A    11  “Then I raised up some of your sons to be prophets

B    And some of your young men to be Nazirites.

C    Is this not so, O sons of Israel?” declares the LORD.

B’   12  “But you made the Nazirites drink wine,

A’   And you commanded the prophets saying, ‘You shall not prophesy!’

5:24

A    Let roll down

B    like waters

C    justice

C’   and righteousness

B’   like a stream

A’   ever flowing

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New Testament:

 Matthew

19:30

A    “But many who are first

B    will be last;

B’   and the last,

A’   first.”

23:12

A    “And whoever exalts himself

B    shall be humbled;

B’   and whoever humbles himself

A’   shall be exalted.

Mark

8:35-38

34  And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 

A    35  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 

B    [Me: question:]  36  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul  /  ? 

B’   [Me: question:]  37  For what will a man give in exchange for his soul  /  ? 

A’   38  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

10:29b, 30, 31

28  Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.”  29  Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left

A    house

B    or brothers or sisters

C    or mother

C’   or father

B’   or children

A’   or farms,

for My sake and for the gospel’s sake,  30  but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age,

A   houses

B    and brothers and sisters

C    and mothers

B’   and children

A’   and farms,

along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.  31  But many

A    who are first

B    will be last,

B’   and the last,

A’   first.”

11:9b-10

And many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields.  9  Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting:

A    “Hosanna!

B    Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord

B’   10  Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David;

A’   Hosanna in the highest!”

Luke

16:13

A    “No servant can serve two masters;

B    for either he will hate the one,

C    and love the other,

C’   or else he will hold to one,

B’   and despise the other.

A’   You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Romans

8:38-39a

38  For I am convinced that

A    neither death,

B    nor life,

C    nor angels, nor rulers,

D    nor things present,

D’   nor things to come,

C’   nor powers

B’   39  nor height,

A’   nor depth,

nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians

8:9

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

A    that though He was rich,

B    yet for your sake He became poor,

B’   that you through His poverty

A’   might become rich.

Ephesians

2:8-9

A    8  For by grace you have been saved through faith;

B    and that not of yourselves,

C    it is the gift of God;

B’   9  not as a result of works,

A’   that no one should boast.

Philippians

1:15-17

A    15  Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife,

B    but some also from good will;

B’   16  the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;

A’    17  the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.

1 Thessalonians

5:23

A    Now the God of peace Himself,

B    sanctify you completely

C    and entirely your spirit and soul and body

B’   without blame

A’    at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 John

3:9

A    No one who is born of God

B    practices sin,

C    because His seed abides in him;

B’   and he cannot sin,

A’   because he is born of God.

Revelation

3:7

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David,

A    who opens

B    and no one will shut,

B’   and who shuts

A’   and no one opens,

says this …

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