Have you ever attempted diagramming Scripture? It’s tough! There are run-on sentences. With clause after clause, some sentences may go on for multiple verses. The key to diagramming Scripture is to break it down into pieces. I am creating a workbook that helps break down the verses into clauses and helps identify the parts of speech.
Why diagram Scripture?
- Clarity and Understanding – because verses are so long, it is helpful to recognize how the clauses and phrases fit together.
- Slowing down in reading the Scripture to answer questions that will lead to deeper understanding.
- Identifying purpose and context. Is the verse an imperative (command)? Who is giving the command and to what audience? Are there questions? Is there conversation, poetry, sarcasm, metaphors? Who or what are the pronouns in the verse referring to?
- Aids in interpretation.
Sample from Lesson 1 (Titus 1:1-3)
- When did God promise and manifest life? Before the ages began
- When did God promise this life? at the proper time
- How did He manifest this life? through preaching [of Paul]
Some tips for diagramming Scripture
- Let go of perfectionism. The goal is not a perfect diagram. There may be more than one right way to approach a verse. Also, it is not important to use all the right connections for difficult sentence structures.
- Break long sentences into smaller chunks. The NIrV does this – each clause becomes its own sentence to make the Scripture more readable for a younger audience.
- Rephrase a verse that is giving you difficulty. For example, change the order of phrases or clauses. Change “able to” to “can” so as to avoid diagramming an infinitive.
- Add words that seem to be implied. Adding a be verb is acceptable in most cases without changing the meaning. Sometimes you need to add “who is” or “which is” or “that” when it is implied.
- Don’t worry about connecting each clause and having it all fit nicely onto one page. Focus on segments. Ask yourself how the segments fit together, but don’t feel as though you have to show all of the clauses together on one diagram.
- You don’t have to be an expert in grammar or know all the terms. The important thing is to slow down enough to gain understanding of God’s truth.
Each Lesson contains:
- Three verses in ESV, from the book of Titus
- Questions to help you break apart the sentences
- Blank diagrams or blank spaces to attempt diagramming each section of Scripture (a verse or just a clause)
- Filled in diagrams (answer key)
- Questions for each word, with answers
- This helps identify part of speech and also gives questions to meditate on to focus on what the Scripture is saying.
Sample Verse, Questions, Blank Diagram
Sample Question Section
Don’t let the first page overwhelm you!! Use it as a reference and move on to page 2 to start breaking down the Scripture.
For more Workbook Lessons,
“Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”