Posts Tagged ‘Paul and Chiasmus’


The following chiasmus is from Kenneth E. Bailey‘s book “Poet and Peasant“.  Another nice center:  “The righteous man shall live by faith”.  As with the center, the chiasmus also ends with “faith”.  :


A    5  Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?  6  Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.

B    7  Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.  8  And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE BLESSED IN YOU.”  9  So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.

C    10  For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.”

D    11  Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident;


D’   12  However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.”

C’   13  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us– for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”–

B’   14  in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles,

A’   so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit / through faith.


Here’s Bailey’s comment on the above chiasmus:

The parallels in the above inversion are as follows:

A    Spirit, Faith, Righteousness

B    Gentiles, Blessing of Abraham

C    Curse

D    Law

E    Righteousness by Faith

D’   Law

C’   Curse (Christ)

B’   Gentiles, Blessing of Abraham (Christ)

A’   Spirit, Faith, Righteousness

All the parallels are strong and unmistakable.  The climax is in the center.  The center is related theologically to the beginning and the end.  This is particularly clear when the two quotes in A and E are compared.  The second half introduces Christ, who is the significant missing element in the first half.

Bailey’s book, the above chiasmus, and many other chiasmi can be viewed online here.


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