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Dr. Danny's Teacher-to-Teacher Podcast

Feb 12, 2021

  • Why?: How can studying the structure of a Bible passage help us understand the purpose of the passage?
  • What?: A building is designed based on its purpose. If you can see the structure, you can understand its purpose. If you can observe rooms—or areas of rooms—and how they connect, you can understand what the designer had in mind for their use. The placement of doorways helps the designer move you through the building and the windows show you how the building fits in its environment. In some ways, the Bible is like a building. If you can understand the structure, you can understand the purpose of the passage. The author has small ideas that are connected to the whole. Through use of connecting words or phrases, the author moves you through the passage as he intended. Often there are windows into other parts of Scripture that show you how the passage fits into its context. Remember that the goal in studying is to understand what God said to the original recipients through the human author's writing and then to help your learners apply that truth to their lives. The structure helps you understand its purpose. Unfortunately, because it is often time consuming, study of the structure is neglected by many Bible teachers. After decades of teaching, studying the structure is still the most difficult part of my lesson preparation. It often consumes half or more of my study time. But, it is worth it… every time. Once I understand how the human author is saying what he is saying, I can be confident that I am covering what the divine author intended in my lesson. There are almost as many ways of studying the structure as there are people who study. You need to find the method that works for you. When you finish, you should understand the big idea of the passage and how every piece of that passage fits together to support the big idea. Then, you will know where to focus your learners when you teach them. If you have time, you can get into the weeds and show them minute details that are interesting. On the other hand, if your time is limited, you can be certain you are covering what they need.
  • So What?: There are links available at our website that can point you to resources that can help you learn how to understand the structure. Some software helps you make the task simpler. Some books can walk you through different methods that others have found useful.
  • So What Now?: Even though it is time consuming, understanding the structure of the passage is as important as understanding the structure of a building. The structure reveals the purpose. Will you commit to understanding the purpose of the passage you are teaching by understanding how the author structured it. If you do, I can promise that you will have more confidence as you teach.