All posts by SJD

2 Thessalonians 1

The central passage C (vs 5-10) describes the righteous judgement of God contrasting believers to unbelievers. I have divided this section up based on who it is referring to: C1 ‘ye may be counted worthy’, C2 ‘them that trouble you’, C3 ‘you who are troubled’, C4 ‘them that know not God’, and C5 ‘all them that believe’. The continual change of focus from believer to unbeliever is also strengthened by the use of a linear chain-like structure – here a keyword/phrase from one section is repeated in the following section which also introduces another keyword/phrase which is in turn taken into the next section and so on. The word chain is – “righteous-trouble-Lord Jesus-glory”.

A 1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:  2 grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

B 3  We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; 4 so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:

C1 5 which is a manifest token of the righteous (dikaios) judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

C2 6 seeing it is a righteous (dikaios) thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble (thlibo) you;

C3  7  and to you who are troubled (thlibo) rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

C4 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory (doxa) of his power;

C5 10 when he shall come to be glorified (endoxazomai) in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

B’ 11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

A’ 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Exodus 4:22-23

A (22) And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:

B (23a) and I say unto thee, Let my son go,

C (23b) that he may serve me:

B’ (23c) and if thou refuse to let him go,

A’ (23d) behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

1 Chronicles 5:1-3

A  (1a) Now the sons of Reuben  the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn;

B  (1b) but, forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.

C  (2a) For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler;

B’  (2b) but the birthright was Joseph’s🙂

A’  (3) the sons, I say, of Reuben the firstborn of Israel were…

Matthew 4:28-8:1

Jesus’ ‘Sermon on the Mount’,  Matthew chapters 5-7, is given as a single literary structure. It lies within two small passages that act as bookends/inclusio (4:25-5:2) and (7:28-8:1) . The  main body of the sermon (5:17-7:12) comprises of Jesus’ moral teachings and commandments.

This is preceded by a prologue of blessings (5:3-16) and followed by an epilogue of warnings (7:13-27). Both prologue and epilogue deal with the mutual theme of ‘works’. Jesus begins with a list of those who are blessed for carrying out the works of the kingdom of heaven and then, instructing his followers to be the salt of the earth and a light to the world, he proceeds in revealing these ‘good works’ to be the works of our Father in heaven. Moreover in the epilogue the warning against false prophets is centred in identifying their works or fruit – they are those that work iniquity.

The main body of the sermon is introduced by a passage (5:17-20) in which Jesus teaches he has come to fulfil the law and the prophets, explaining this means exceeding the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. The sermon concludes with a final reference to the law and the prophets (7:12). The main body is divided up into three sections; the first section (5:21-48) is on exceeding the teaching of the scribes; the second section (6:1-18) is on exceeding the practices of the scribes; the third section (6:19-7:11) deals with seeking the righteousness of the Kingdom of God. We find that as we move through the sermon there is a progression of spirituality, from understanding the laws of morality, to the manner in which a person should practice righteousness and then concluding with seeking the righteousness of the kingdom and total dedication of ones life and well-being to God.

Literary Structure of ‘The Sermon on the Mount’

1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:13

from FHD

A  (2:17a)  But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart,

B  (17b-18)  endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.

C  (19-20)  For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.

D  (3:1-2)  Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:

E  (3)  That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.

E’  (4)  For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

D’  (5-7)  For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:

C’  (8-9)  For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. 9 For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;

B’  (10) Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

A’  (11-13)  Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

Ephesians 2:1-10

(Note: In this proposed structure the suggestion is that the repeated phrase ‘by grace you have been saved’  is not forming a parallel with the central clause but rather returns to bring to light a new point – it is of faith not of a person’s doing that you have been saved. This seems to form an ironic parallel with verse 3 where we read of the description of what ‘a person’s doing’ achieves without God. The spirit that works disobedience in B contrasts with God working good in a believer in B’. The ultimate point of the passage being that salvation is all down to God’s grace.)


A  (1-2a)  And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked,

B  (2b)  following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—

C  (3)  among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

D  (4)  But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,

E  (5a)  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ

X  (5b)  —by grace you have been saved—

E’  (6)  and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

D’  (7)  so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

C’  (8)  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

B’  (9-10a)  not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,

A’  (10b)  which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Exodus 15:22-17:7

Broad outline of the LORD’s miraculous provision of water and food for Israel in the wilderness. The chiasm of 16:1-3 focuses on Israel complaining against Moses and Aaron. The chiasm of verses 6-12 explains at the centre that in reality  Israel were complaining against Yahweh. The chiasm of verses 13-21 focuses on the daily sharing out of the manna that is quoted in the 2 Corinthians 8:15, but verses 22-31 focus on the serious error of  breaking the Sabbath.

A. 15: 22-27  So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea …  and found no water

B. 16:1 – Israel enter wilderness of Sin.

C. (2-3) – murmuring for food – yearning for Egypt

D.  (4-5) – God promises food with  two conditions

 4 Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you;  (condition 1) and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no . (condition 2) 5 And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily .

E. (6-12) – Israel told of promises of food and see God’s glory – they learn that their murmuring are  against God not Moses and Aaron

D’. (13-31) – Promise comes true but some of Israel fail each condition.

C’ .(32-36) – future generations to  learn of God’s provision of food after bringing out of Egypt and feeding them for 40 years in the wilderness.

B’. 17:1 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin

A’. 17:1-7 … and there was no water for the people to drink. 


A. 1 And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai,

B. on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.

C. 2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:

B’. 3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full;

A’. for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.



A. 6 And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the LORD hath brought you out from the land of Egypt:

B. 7 And in the morning,  then ye shall see the glory of the LORD;

C. for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us? 

D. 8 And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.

C’. 9 And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings.

B’. 10 And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.

A’. 11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 12 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel:  speak unto them, saying,  At even ye shall eat flesh,  and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread;  and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.


A. 13 And it came to pass,  that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp:  and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. 14 And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. 15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was.

B. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.  This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded,

C. Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.

D. 17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. 18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack;

C’. they gathered every man according to his eating.

B’.  19 And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.  20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. 

A’. 21 And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted. 


A. 22 And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. 23 And he said unto them, 

B. This is that which the LORD hath said,  To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. 24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field. 26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.

C. 27 And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. 28 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?

B’. 29 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.

A’. 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. 31 And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.


A. 32 And Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commandeth,   Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations;

B. that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt.

C. 33 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the LORD, to be kept for your generations.

C’. 34 As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.

B’. 35 And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.

A’. 36 Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.



Exodus 11-12

This structure has at its centre surprisingly the feast of unleavened bread. This section itself is a chiasm. The point of the structure we think is to draw attention to the need to leave Egypt behind spiritually as well as physically.

A. Exodus 11:1-3 Pharaoh gives in and the spoiling of the Egyptians

B. Exodus 11:4-8 The death of the firstborn

C. Exodus 11:9-10 The work is done

D. Exodus 12:1-14 The passover lamb

E. Exodus 12:15-20 Unleavened bread

D’. Exodus 12:21-27 The passover lamb

C. Exodus 12:28 The work is done

B. Exodus 12:29-30 The death of the firstborn

A. Exodus 12:31-36 Pharaoh gives in and the spoiling of the Egyptians.

Job 36:26-37:24

(Note: Elihu’s final speech describes God’s greatness seen in His control of the weather and its purpose. In this passage there are three different words all translated ‘clouds’. The chiastic structure remarkably pairs up these different types of cloud. Section C deals with the voice of God as thunder and is contrasted to the voice of man in C’. The stormy frost of D is contrasted to the warm calmer weather of D’. The central clause gives us an insight into how God uses these wonders – they are for correction, for His land, or for mercy.)

A  (26)  Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.

B  (27-33)  For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly. Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle? Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea. For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance. With clouds he covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt. The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.

C  (1-8)  At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place. Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth. He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth. After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard. God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend. For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength. He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work. Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places.

D  (9-10)  Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north. By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.

E  (11a)  Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud:

F  (11b-12a)  he scattereth his bright cloud: And it is turned round about by his counsels:

G  (12b-14)  that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy. Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.

F  (15)  Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine?

E’  (16)  Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?

D’  (17-18)  How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind? Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?

C’  (19-20)  Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness. Shall it be told him that I speak? if a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up.

B’  (21-22)  And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them. Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.

A’  (23-24)  Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict. Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.

Job 36:1-25

(1)  Elihu also proceeded, and said,

A  (2-4)  Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf. I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker. For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.

B  (5-7)  Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom. He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor. He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted.

C  (8-10)  And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction; Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded. He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.

D  (11-12)  If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.

E  (13-14)  But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he bindeth them. They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean.

F  (15-16)  He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression. Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness.

E’  (17-18)  But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee. Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.

D’  (19-20)  Will he esteem thy riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength. Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place.

C’  (21)  Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction.

B’  (22-23)  Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him? Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?

A’  (24-25)  Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold. Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off.