Home  |  Biblical Interpretation Seminar Main Page  |  Seminar Notebook Table of Contents  |  Previous Section  |  Next Section  |



I. First reading


A. The overarching theme or purpose of the whole book is: (brief description)


B. This theme is exemplified in (choose one):

1. Verse

2. Paragraph

3. Chapter


C. The type of literary genre is:


II. Second reading


A. The major literary units or content divisions are:






B. Summarize the subject (in a declarative sentence) of each major division and note their relationship to each other (chronological, logical, theological, etc.)


C. List the places you checked your outline


III. Third reading


A. Internal information concerning the historical setting (give chapter and verse):

1. Author of the book




2. Date of its writing or date of event




3. Recipients of the book




4. Occasion of the writing


B. Fill in your working content outline by adding the paragraph divisions. Compare translations from the different translation theory groups, especially from the literal and idiomatic (dynamic equivalent). Then write out your own outline.


C. Summarize each paragraph in a declarative sentence.


D. List possible application points with each major division and/or paragraphs.


IV. Fourth reading


A. Make note of significant parallel passages (both positive and negative). Observe these concentric circles of significance:

1. Same book or literary units

2. Same author

3. Same period, subject or literary genre

4. Same Testament

5. Entire Bible


B. Check systematic theology books.


C. Develop specialized lists in order to discern structure.

1. List the major and minor characters.

2. List key terms (theological, recurrent or unusual terms).

3. List the major events.

4. List the geographical movements.


D. Make note of difficult passages.

1. Textual problems

a. from margin of your English Bible

b. from comparing English translations

2. Historical problems and uniqueness

3. Theological problems of uniqueness

4. Those verses that cause you confusion


V. Application truths


A. Write your detailed outline on the left side of a sheet.


B. On the right side write down (in pencil) possible application truths for the major literary units and/or the paragraphs.


VI. Use of Research Tools


A. Read research tools in appropriate order. Take notes on a "work sheet." Look for:

1. points of agreement

2. points of disagreement

3. new thoughts or applications

4. record possible interpretations on difficult passages


B. Analyze insights from research tools and develop a final detailed outline with application points. This master outline should help you to discern the original author's structure and purpose.

1. Do not major on minors.

2. Do not forget the context.

3. Do not read into the text more than, or less than, the original author intended.

4. Application points should be done on three levels:

a. theme of the whole book—first reading

b. major literary units—second reading

c. paragraphs—third reading

5. Allow parallel passages to confirm and clarify your interpretation as the final step. This allows the Bible to interpret itself. However, doing it last safeguards us from allowing our overall systematic theological understanding of the Bible from silencing, ignoring, or skewing difficult passages.


VII. Theological Insight


A. Use systematic theology books to find how your text relates to the major truths of the Bible.


B. Describe in your own words the major truth(s) of your passage. Your sermon or teaching lesson should reflect this truth!




I. The Text (minimum one paragraph in English)


A. Establish the original text (manuscript variants)


B. Translation options

1. Word for word (KJV, ASV, NASB, RSV, NRSV)

2. Dynamic equivalent (NIV, NEB, Jerusalem Bible, Williams, TEV)

3. Other ancient translations (LXX, Vulgate, Peshita, etc.)

4. No paraphrase translations at this stage 


C. Check significant variables in translations and why

1. Greek manuscript problem(s)

2. Difficult word(s)

3. Unique construction(s)

4. Theological truth(s)


II. Exegetical items to be checked


A. Note immediate contextual unit (literary unit and paragraph)


B. Note structural elements

1. Parallel structures

2. Quotes/Allusions

3. Figures of speech

4. Illustrations

5. Poem/Hymn/Song


C. Note grammatical elements (syntax)

1. Verbs or verbals (tense, voice, mood, number, gender)

2. Special construction (conditional sentences, prohibitions, etc.)

3. Word or clause order


D. Note key words

1.  Give full semantical field

2. Which meaning(s) fit the context best

3. Be careful of set theological definitions


E. Note significant Biblical parallels of words, topics or quotes

1. Same context

2. Same book

3. Same author

4. Same genre

5. Same period

6. Entire Bible




I. How the specific occasion of the writing effects the truth statements.


II. How the cultural milieu effects the truth statements.


III. How recipients effect the truth statements.



I. Theological truths


A. State clearly the author's theological assertion:

1. Special terminology

2. Significant clause or phrase

3. Central truth of sentence(s) or paragraph(s)


B. How does this relate to the subject or truth of the literary unit?


C. How does this relate to the subject or truth of the entire book?


D. How does this relate to the subject or truth as revealed in Scripture?


II. Special points of interest


III. Personal insights


IV. Insights from commentaries



I. Application truth of literary unit


II. Application truth(s) of paragraph(s) level


III. Application truth of theological elements within the text




I. Establish the basic meaning and semantic field

Use A Greek-English Lexicon by Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, Danker


II. Establish the contemporary usage (Koine Greek)

A. Use The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament by Moulton, Milligan for Egyptian papyri

B. Use the Septuagint and Redpath's Concordance of the LXX for Palestinian Judaism


III. Establish the semantic domain

Use Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament by Louw, Nida or Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words by Vine


IV. Establish the Hebrew background

Use Strong's Concordance with its numbers linked to the Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament by Brown, Driver, Briggs; New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, edited by Van Gemneren (5 vols.) Or Synonyms of the Old Testament by Girdlestone


V. Establish the grammatical form of the word in context

Use an interlinear Greek-English New Testament and an analytical lexicon or Analytical Greek New Testament by Timothy and Barbara Friberg


VI. Check the frequency of usage by genre, authors, subject, etc.

Use a concordance


VII. Check your study with:

a Bible encyclopedia

use Zondervan's Pictorial Bible Encyclopedia (5 vols) or The International Bible Encyclopedia (five vols)


a Bible Dictionary

use Anchor Bible Dictionary or Interpreter's Bible Dictionary


a theological word book

use The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (3 vols) edited by Colin Brown,

or Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (abridged) by Bromiley


a systematic theological book

use Systematic Theology by Berkhof; A Theology of the New Testament by Ladd; New Testament Theology by Stagg; or a number of others


VIII. Write out summary of significant interpretive findings



I. The Bible


A. Understanding the process of translating.

1. J. Beekman and J. Callow, Translating the Word of God

2. Eugene Nida, God's Word in Man's Language (William Carey, N.D.)

3. Sakae Kubo and Walter Specht, So Many Versions (Zondervan, 1983)

4. F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Revell, 1963)


B. History of the English Bible

1. F. F. Bruce The English Bible: A History of Translations From the Earliest Versions to the New English Bible (Oxford, 1970)

2. Ira Maurice Price, The Ancestry of our English Bible (Harper, 1956)


II. How to do Research


A. Walter J. Clark, How To Use New Testament Greek Study Aids (Loizeaux Brothers, 1983)


B. F.W. Danker, Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study (Concordia, 1970)


C. R.T. France, A Bibliographic Guide to New Testament Research (JSOT Press, 1979)


D. D. W. Scholer, A Basic Bibliographic Guide for New Testament Exegesis (Eerdmans, 1973)


III. Hermeneutics


A. James Braga, How to Study the Bible (Multnomah, 1982)


B. Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (Zondervan, 1982)


C. Richard Mayhue, How to Interpret the Bible for Yourself (Moody, 1986)


D. J. Robertson McQuilkin, Understanding and Applying the Bible (Moody, 1983)


E. A. Berkeley Mickelsen, Interpreting the Bible (Eerdmans, 1963)


F. John MacArthur, Jr., Rediscovering Expository Preaching (Word, 1992)


G. Bruce Corley, Steve Lemke, and Grant Lovejoy, Biblical Hermeneutics (Broadman & Holman, 1996)


H. Robert Stein, A Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible


IV. Basic Introductions


A. Old Testament

1. R.K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament (Eerdmans, 1969)

2. William Sanford LaSor, David Allen Hubbard and Frederic Wm. Bush, Old Testament Survey (Eerdmans, 1982)

3. Edward J. Young, An Introduction to the Old Testament (Eerdmans, 1949)

4. T. Arnold and Bryan E. Beyer, Encountering the Old Testament (Baker, 1998)

5. Peter C. Craigie, The Old Testament: Its Background, Growth and Context (Abingdon, 1990)


B. New Testament

1. Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (IVP, 1970)

2. Bruce M. Metzger, The New Testament: Its Background, Growth and Content (Abingdon, 1965)

3. D. A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo, and Leon Morris, An Introduction to the New Testament (Zondervan 1992)

4. Walter A. Elwell and Robert W. Yarbrough, Encountering the New Testament (Baker 1998)

5. Robert H. Gundry, A Survey of the New Testament (Zondervan, 1994)


V. Bible Encyclopedias and Dictionaries (multi-volume)


A. M. Tenney, ed., The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Encyclopedia, 5 vols. (Zondervan, 1976)


B. G.A. Buttrick, ed., The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible and Supplement 5 (Abingdon, 1962-1977)


C. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 5 rev. ed. (Eerdmans, 1979-1987)


D. Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight and J. Howard Marshall editors, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (IVP, 1992)


E. Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin and Daniel G. Reid editors, Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (IVP, 1993)


VI. Commentary Sets


A. Old Testament

1. D.J. Wiseman, ed., The Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (InterVarsity, 1970)

2. A Study Guide Commentary Series (Zondervan, 1977)

3. R.K. Harrison, ed., The New International Commentary (Eerdmans, 1976)

4. Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., The Expositor's Bible Commentary (Zondervan, 1958)


B. New Testament

1. R.V.G. Tasker, ed., The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Eerdmans, 1959)

2. A Study Guide Commentary Series (Zondervan, 1977)

3. Frank E. Gaebelein, The Expositor's Bible Commentary (Zondervan, 1958)

4. The New International Commentary (Eerdmans, 1976)

5. Bob Utley, You Can Understand the Bible Study Guide Commentary Series (Bible Lessons International, 1997-2006)


VII. Word Studies


A. Old Testament

1. Robert B. Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament (Eerdmans, 1897)

2. Aaron Pick, Dictionary of Old Testament Words (Kregel, 1977)

3. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr. and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Moody, 1980)

4. William A. Van Gemeren, editor, Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, 5 vols. (Zondervan, 1997)


B. New Testament

1. A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Broadman, 1930)

2. M.R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament (MacDonald, 1888)

3. W.E. Vine, Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Revell, 1968)

4. William Barclay, A New Testament Wordbook, (SCM, 1955)

5.  More New Testament Words (Harper, 1958)

6.  C. Brown, t. al., The New Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 5 vols.(Zondervan, 1975-1979)


C. Theological

1. Alan Richardson, ed., A Theological Word Book of the Bible (MacMillan, 1950)

2. Everett F. Harrison, ed., Baker's Dictionary of Theology (Baker, 1975)


VIII. Cultural setting


A. Customs

1. Adolf Deissman, Light From the Ancient East (Baker, 1978)

2. Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 2 vols. (McGraw-Hill, 1961)

3. James M. Freeman, Manners and Customs of the Bible (Logos, 1972)

4. Fred H. Wright, Manners and Customs of Bible Lands (Moody, 1953)

5. Jack Finegan, Light From the Ancient Past, 2 vols. (Princeton University Press, 1974)

6. Victor H. Matthews, Manners and Customs in the Bible (Hendrickson, 1988)


B. Histories

1. John Bright, A History of Israel (Westminster, 1981)

2. D.J. Wiseman, ed., Peoples of Old Testament Times (Oxford, 1973)

3. P.R. Ackroyd and C.F. Evans, ed., The Cambridge History of the Bible, vol. 1 (Cambridge, 1970)


C. New Testament

1. Adolf Deissmann, Light From the Ancient East (Baker, 1978)

2. F.F. Bruce, New Testament History (Doubleday, 1969)

3. Edwin M. Yamauchi, Harper's World of the New Testament (Harper and Row, 1981)

4. Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Eerdmans, 1971)

5. A.N. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament (Oxford, 1963)

6.  J. W. Shepard, The Christ of the Gospels (Eerdmans, 1939)


D. Archaeology

1. Jack Finegan, Light From the Ancient Past, 2 vols. (Princeton University Press, 1946)

2. H.T. Vos, Archaeology of Bible Lands (Moody, 1977)

3. Edwin M. Yamauchi, The Stones and the Scriptures (Holman, 1972)

4. K.A. Kitchen, Ancient Orient and the Old Testament (InterVarsity Press, 1966)

5. John H. Walton, Ancient Israelite Literature in Its Cultural Context (Zondervan, 1989)


E. Geography

1. C.F. Pfeiffer and H.F. Vos, The Wycliffe Historical Geography of Bible Lands (Moody, 1967)

2. Barry J. Beitzel, The Moody Atlas of Bible Lands (Moody, 1985)

3. Thomas V. Brisco ed., Holman Bible Atlas (Broadman and Holman, 1998)


IX. Theologies


A. Old Testament

1. A.B. Davidson, The Theology of the Old Testament (Clark, 1904)

2. Edmond Jacob, Theology of the Old Testament (Harper & Row, 1958)

3. Walter C. Kaiser, Toward an Old Testament Theology (Zondervan, 1978)

4. Paul R. House, Old Testament Theology (IVP, 1998)


B. New Testament

1. Donald Guthrie, New Testament Theology (InterVarsity, 1981)

2. George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Eerdmans, 1974)

3. Frank Stagg, New Testament Theology (Broadman, 1962)

4. Donald G. Bloesch, Essentials of Evangelical Theology, vol. 2 (Harper & Row, 1978)


C. Entire Bible

1. Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology (Eerdmans, 1948)

2. L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Eerdmans, 1939)

3. H. Orton Wiley, Christian Theology (Beacon Hill Press, 1940)

4. Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology second ed. (Baker, 1998)


D. Doctrine—historically developed

1. L. Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines (Baker, 1975)

2. Justo L. Gonzales, A History of Christian Thought, vol. 1 (Abingdon, 1970)


X. Apologetics


A. Norman Geisler, Christian Apologetics (Baker, 1976)

B. Bernard Ramm, Varieties of Christian Apologetics (Baker, 1962)

C. J. B. Phillips, Your God Is Too Small (MacMillan, 1953)

D. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (MacMillan, 1978)

E. Colin Brown, ed., History, Criticism and Faith (InterVarsity, 1976)

F. F. F. Bruce, Answers to Questions (Zondervan, 1972)

G. Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Peter H. Davids, F. F. Bruce and Manfred T. Brauch, Hard Sayings of the Bible (IVP, 1996)


XI. Bible Difficulties


A. F. F. Bruce, Questions and Answers


B. Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Zondervan, 1982)


C. Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe, When Critics Ask (Victor, 1992)


D. Walter C., Kaiser, Jr., Peter H. Davids, F. F. Bruce and Manfred F. Baruch, Hard Sayings of the Bible (IVP, 1996) and More Hard Sayings of the Bible


XII. Textual Criticism


A. Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration (Oxford, 1964)


B. J. Harold Greenlee, Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism (Eerdmans, 1964)


C. Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, (United Bible Societies.)


XIII. Lexicons


A. Old Testament (Hebrew)

1. Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon, (Clarendon Press, 1951)

2. Bruce Einspahr, Index to Brown, Driver and Briggs Hebrew Lexicon

3. Benjamin Davidson, Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (MacDonald)

4. Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, 2 vols.


B. New Testament (Greek)

1. Walter Bauer, William F. Arndt, F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon (University of Chicago Press, 1979)

2. Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida, eds., Greek-English Lexicon, 2 vols. (United Bible Societies, 1989)

3. James Hope Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament (Eerdmans, 1974)

4. William D. Mounce, The Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament (Zondervan, 1993)


XIV. Available websites to buy used and discounted books


A. www.Christianbooks.com

B. www.Half.com

C. www.Overstock.com

D. www.Alibris.com

E. www.Amazon.com

F. www.ChristianUsedBooks.net



I. First Reading


A. The overarching purpose: How is man right with God, both initially and ongoing?


B. The key theme: 1:16-17


C. The literary genre: letter


II. Second Reading


A. The major literary units

1. 1:1-17

2. 1:18-3:21

3. 4:1-5:21

4. 6:1-8:39

5. 9:1-11:36

6. 12:1-15:37

7. 16:1-27


B. Summary of the major literary units

1. Introduction and theme, 1:1-17

2. The lostness of all men, 1:18-3:21

3. Justification is a gift, 4:1-5:21

4. Justification is a lifestyle, 6:1-8:39

5. The Jews' relationship to justification, 9:1-11:36

6. How to live out justification in daily life, 12:1-15:37

7. Closing greetings and warnings, 16:1-27


III. Third Reading


A. Internal information concerning the historical setting

1. Author

a. Paul, 1:1

b. Bond servant of Christ Jesus, 1:1

c. An Apostle, 1:1, 5

d. To Gentiles, 1:5, 14

2. Date

a. After Paul's conversion and call, 1:1.

b. After time of the start of the church in Rome and its influence to grow, 1:8.

3. Recipients

a. Saints, 1:7

b. At Rome, 1:7

4. Occasion

a. Their faith is well known, 1:8.

b. Paul prays often for them, 1:9-10.

c. Paul wants to personally meet them, 1:11.

d. Paul wants to impart spiritual gift to them, 1:11, 15.

e. Their meeting would encourage both of them, 1:12

f. Paul prevented from coming, 1:13.

5. Historical Setting

a. Written to the church in the capital of the Roman Empire.

b. Apparently Paul had never been there, 1:1-13.

c. Apparently the Roman Empire, and particularly Rome itself, was very immoral and idolatrous, 1:11ff.

(1) Idols, 1:21-23

(2) Homosexuality, 1:26-27

(3) Depraved mind, 1:28-31

d. Apparently there was a large Jewish population in Rome, 2:17-2:31; 9-11 (possibly a growing tension between believing Jews and believing Gentiles.)


B. Various Paragraph Divisions


Jerusalem Bible
1st unit, 1:1-17

2nd unit, 1:18-3:31
1st unit, 1:1-17
2nd unit, 1:16-3:31

1st unit, 1:1-17

2nd unit

3rd unit

4th unit

5th unit

6th unit

7th unit

C. Content Outline with Summaries

1. Introduction and theme, 1:1-17

a. Introduction of author, 1:1-2

b. Introduction of recipients, 1:3-7

c. Introductory prayer, 1:8-15

d. The theme, 1:16-17

2. The lostness of all men, 1:18-3:21

a. Lostness of pagans seen in their acts, 1:18-32

b. Lostness of Jews seen in their acts, 2:1-11

c. Their national hope, 2:12-3:8

(1) Their Law will not deliver them, 2:12-24

(2) Their circumcision will not deliver them, 2:25-29

(3) Their heritage will not deliver them, 3:1-8

d. The lostness of all men, 3:9-20

e. The hope of all men, 3:21-31


IV. Fourth Reading (sample, 1:1-3:21, focal text only)


A. Specialized list

1. (Although this sample is limited to 1:1-3:21 a good example of specialized lists is found in the term "therefore," 2:1; 5:1; 8:1; 12:1, which is used as a way of summarizing the flow of Paul's thought.)

2. Use of "gospel"

a. 1:1, set apart for the gospel of God

b. 2:9, the gospel of His Son

c. 1:15, to preach the gospel

d. 1:16, I am not ashamed of the gospel

e. 2:16, according to my gospel

[From this list and context much about the gospel itself can be ascertained.]

3. References to God's wrath and judgment

a. 1:18, wrath of God

b. 1:24, 26, 28, God gave them over

c. 2:1, the judgment of God falls upon those who practice such things

d. 2:3, the judgment of God

e. 2:5-6, (both verses)

f. 2:12, will perish

g. 2:16, the day. . .God will judge the secrets of men

h. 3:6, God judges the world


B. Key Words or Phrases (p. 35 D)

1. 1:1, apostle

2. 1:1, gospel of God

3. 1:4, Son of God

4. 1:5, grace. . .faith

5. 1:6, the called

6. 1:7, saints

7. 1:11, spiritual gift. . .some fruit (v. 13)

8. 1:16, salvation

9. 1:17, righteousness

10. 1:18, wrath of God. . .judgment of God (2:2)

11. 2:4, repentance

12. 2:7, immortality, eternal life

13. 2:12, the Law

14. 2;15, conscience

15. 3:4, justified

16. 3:24, redemption

17. 3:25, propitiation


C. Difficult Passages

1. Textual or translational

- 1:4, "Spirit of holiness" or "spirit of holiness"

2. Is the proper translation of Hab. 2:4 found in Rom. 1:1-7?

3. Historical

- 2:21-23, "you who preach that . . ." (when, how and where did the Jews do these things?)

4. Theological

a.  1:4, ". . . who was declared with power to be the Son of God. . ." (or was Jesus born divine?)

b.  2:14-15 (2:27), "Gentiles who do not have the law do instinctively the things of the law, are a law to themselves. . ." (What about those who never heard the law but perform some of it?)

c.  3:1, "What advantage has the Jew?"


D. Significant Parallels

1. Same book

- 1:18-3:21 is one literary unit

2. Same author

- The book of Galatians expounds the same doctrinal truths.

3. Same period - no direct parallels.

4. Same Testament - no direct parallels.

5. Entire Bible - Paul uses Hab. 1:4. (He will major on Old Testament characters in chapter 4.)


E. Theological Uniqueness

1. Natural revelation

a. In creation, 1:18-23

b. In inner moral consciousness, 2:14-16

2. All humankind is lost


V. Application (sample 1:1-3:21)



  Detailed Content Outline     Application Points

Introduction and theme (1:1-17)
1. Introduction of author,  1:1-2
2. Introduction of recipients, 1:3-7
3. Introductory prayer, 1:8-15
4. The theme, 1:16-17

The lostness of all men, 1:18-3:21
1. lostness of pagans seen in their acts, 1:18-3:21
2. lostness of Jews seen in their acts, 2:1-11
3. Their national hope, 2:12-3:8
a. their Law will not deliver them, 2:12-24 
b. their circumcision will not deliver them, 2:25-29
c. their heritage will not deliver them, 3:1-8
4. the lostness of all men, 3:9-20
5. the hope of all men, 3:21-31

God's free grace through Christ is the calling both Paul and the Romans have believed and received. This offer is open to all.

All men regardless of their outward religious life, or lack of it, need to be saved by trust in Christ's finished work, not their own.

The key summary passage of 1:18-3:31 is 3:21-30.



I. First Reading


A. The overarching purpose of this biblical book is:

While in the process of establishing local churches with their elders, the continuing need for orthodoxy and orthopraxy is emphasized.


B. The key theme:

1. Establishing local churches and elders, 1:5.

2. Emphasizing the need for:

a. orthodoxy - 1:9-11, 14; 2:1

b. orthopraxy - 1:16; 3:8


C. The literary genre: letter

1. Opening 1:1-4

2. Closing 3:12-15


II. Second Reading


A. The major literary units or content divisions:

1. 1:14 5. 2:10b-15

2. 1:5-9 6. 3:1-11

3. 1:10-16 7. 3:12-15

4. 2:1-10a


B. Summary of the themes of the major literary units or content divisions.

1. Traditional Christian introduction to the letter, 1:1-4

2. Guidelines for elders, 1:5-9.

3. Guidelines for determining false teachings, 1:10-16

4. Guidelines for believers in general, 2:1-10a.

5. Theological basis for the guidelines, 2:10b-15

6. Guidelines for those who could cause problems, 3:1-11

7. Traditional Christian close to the letter, 3:12-15


III. Third Reading


A. Internal information concerning the historical setting of the book:

1. Author

a. Paul, 1:1

b. Bond-servant of God, 1:1

c. Apostle of Jesus Christ, 1:1

2. Date

a. Written to Titus, 1:4

(1) He is not mentioned in Acts at all

(2) He was apparently converted and recruited on one of Paul's missionary journeys, Gal. 2:1.

(3) He was an uncircumcised Gentile, Gal. 2:3.

(4) He became Paul's trouble shooter, II Cor. 2:13; II Tim. 4:10; Titus 1:4.

b. Paul left him in Crete, 1:5

(1) Because the travel itinerary of the Pastoral Epistles does not fit into the chronology of Acts, this is probably Paul's fourth missionary journey.

(2) It is assumed that Paul was released from prison after the close of the book of Acts. However, he was rearrested and killed under Nero who died in a.d. 68.

3. Recipient: Paul's faithful co-worker, Titus, but also to be read to the local congregations.

4. Occasion: Continuing the ministry of establishing local churches on the Island of Crete.

a. Appointing elders, 1:5

b. Refuting false teachers, 1:9-11, 14-16; 3:9-11

c. Encouraging the faithful


B. Various paragraph divisions

1. Paragraph divisions


Literal Dynamic Equivalent

1st Unit 

2nd Unit

3rd Unit

4th Unit

1st Unit

2nd Unit

3rd Unit
4th Unit
Jerusalem Bible

1st Unit

2nd Unit

3rd Unit
4th Unit

5th Unit 

6th Unit
7th Unit

8th Unit

1st Unit

2nd Unit

3rd Unit
4th Unit
5th Unit

1st Unit

2nd Unit

3rd Unit

2. Various translations content summaries.

a. Jerusalem Bible

(1) 1st Unit, "address," 1:1-4

(2) 2nd Unit, "the appointment of elders," 1:5-9

(3) 3rd Unit, "opposing false teachers," 1:10-14, 15, 16

(4) 4th Unit, "some specific moral instructions," 2:1-10

(5) 5th Unit, "the basis of the Christian moral life," 2:11-14

(6) 6th Unit, "general instructions for believers," 3:1-3, 4-8a

(7) 7th Unit, "personal advise to Titus," 3:8b-11

(8) 8th Unit, "practical recommendations, farewells and good wishes," 3:12-14, 15

b. New International Version

(1) 1st Unit, salutation, 1:1-4

(2) 2nd Unit, "Titus' task on Crete," 1:5-9, 10-16

(3) 3rd Unit, "what must be taught to various groups," 2:1-2, 3-5, 6-8, 91-0, 11-14, 15

(4) 4th Unit, "doing what is good," 3:1-2, 3-8, 9-11

(5) 5th Unit, "final remarks," 3:12-14, 15

c. Williams Translation

(1) 1st Unit, "God's people distinguished by actions," 1:1-4, 5-9, 10-16

(2) 2nd Unit, "God's people called to righteousness," 2:1-10, 11-14, 15

(3) 3rd Unit, "believers are to do good," 3:1-2, 3-7, 8-11, 12, 13-14, 15


C.  Summaries of paragraph divisions

1. Traditional Christian introduction to the letter, 1:1-4

a. From whom, 1:1a

(1) Paul

(2) A slave of God

(3) An apostle of Jesus Christ

b. Why, 1:1b-3

(1) To stimulate faith

(2) To lead them to full knowledge

(a) In hope of eternal life which God promised

(b) At the proper time God made known

(c) By the message entrusted to Paul by God's command

c. To whom, 1:4a

(1) To Titus

(2) My genuine child in the common faith

d. Prayer, 1:4b

(1) Spiritual blessing

(2) Peace

(3) From

(a) God our Father

(b) Christ Jesus our Savior

2. Guide for elders, 1:5-9

a. Above reproach, 1:6, 7

b. One wife

c. Believing children

d. Not accused of reckless living

e. Not accused of disobedience

f. Not stubborn

g. Not quick-tempered

h. Not addicted to strong drink

i. Not pugnacious

j. Not addicted to dishonest gain

k. Hospitable

l. Lover of goodness

m. Sensible

n. Upright

o. Pure life

p. Self-controlled

q. Continue to cling to the trustworthy message

r. Competent to encourage others with wholesome teaching

s. Convict those who oppose him (2:15)

3. Guidelines for determining false teaching, 1:10-16

a. Insubordinate

b. Mere talkers with nothing to say

c. Deceivers of their own minds

d. Jewish elements

(1) Circumcision, 1:10

(2) Jewish myths, 1:14

(3) Pedigrees, 3:9

(4) Wrangles about the law, 3:9

e. Upset whole families' teaching what they ought not

f. For the sake of dishonest gain

g. Their minds and consciences are impure

h. Their actions disowns Him

i. Detestable

j. Disobedient

k. Useless for anything good

4. Guidelines for believers, 2:1-10a, 12

a. For older men, 2:2

(1) Temperate

(2) Serious

(3) Sensible

(4) Healthy in faith

(5) Healthy in love

(6) Steadfast

b. For older women, 2:3

(1) Reverent in deportment

(2) Not slanderers

(3) Not slaves to heavy drinking

(4) Teachers of what is right

(5) Trainers of younger women

c. For younger women, 2:4-5

(1) Be affectionate wives

(2) Be affectionate mothers

(3) Serious

(4) Pure

(5) Homekeepers

(6) Kind

(7) Subordinate to their husbands

d. For younger men, 2:6-8

(1) Sensible

(2) Set a worthy example of doing good

(3) Sincere

(4) Serious in your teaching

(5) Wholesome message

(6) Unobjectionable

e. Believing slaves, 2:9-10

(1) Practice perfect submission to their masters

(2) Stop resisting them

(3) Stop stealing from them

5. Theological basis for the guidelines, 2:10b-15; 3:4-7

a. To adorn, in everything they do, the teaching of God our Savior, 2:10b.

b. The grace of God has appeared to all mankind, 2:11.

c. Waiting for the blessed hope (the second coming), 2:13

d. Jesus purchased a people to reveal God, 2:14

e. Goodness and loving-kindness of God has been revealed, 3:4

f. God saved us not based on our deeds, 3:5.

g. God saved us based on His mercy, 3:5.

(1) Through a bath of regeneration

(2) Renewal of the Holy Spirit

(3) Both given through Christ

(4) We have right standing with God

(5) We are heirs of eternal life

6. Guidelines for those who could cause problems, 3:1-11

a. Be subject to those in authority, 3:1-2.

(1) Ready for any good enterprise

(2) Stop abusing anyone

(3) Be peaceable

(4) Showing perfect gentleness to everyone

b. Be gentle toward all mankind because, 3:3-8

(1) Believers were once:

(a) Without understanding

(b) Disobedient

(c) Misled

(d) Habitual slaves to all sorts of passion

(e) Spending our lives in malice

(f) Spending our lives in envy

c. Beware of, 3:9-11

(1) Foolish controversies

(2) Pedigrees

(3) Strife

(4) Wrangles about the law

(5) A man who is factious

(a) crooked

(b) sinful

(c) self-condemned

7. Traditional Christian closing to the letter, 3:12-15

a. Titus' replacement is coming, 3:12

(1) Artemas (or)

(2) Tychicus

b. Titus come and meet me at Nicopolis, 3:12

c. Encourage the believers to help, 3:13-14

(1) Zenos (and)

(2) Apollos

d. Final greetings and close, 3:15


D. List applicable application points: With this detailed outline on the far left of a page(s) write in possible application truths for every major literary unit and every paragraph division. State the application truth in one short declarative sentence. This outline will become the points of your sermon.


IV. Fourth Reading


A. Significant parallels (other Pastoral Epistles)

1. I Timothy (esp. chapter 3:1-13)

2. II Timothy


B. Specialized lists

1. Use of the title "Savior"

a. God our Savior, 1:3; 2:10; 3:4

b. Christ our Savior, 1:4; 2:13; 3:6

2. Doctrinal truths of the Gospel used as basis for our Christ-like lifestyle: (cf. III., c.5.)

a. 2:10b-14

b. 3:4-7

3. List of qualifications for elders, 1:7-9 (cf. III., c.2. compare I Timothy 3:1ff)

4. List of characteristics of false teachers: (cf. IV., c.3.)

a. 1:10-16

b. 3:9-11


C. Difficult passages

1. Textual - Does the phrase in 1:6b refer to the elder or his children?

a. Elder - NASB and NRSV

b. Children of elder - NIV and Williams

2. Historical - Is there any biblical or historical evidence for a fourth missionary journey?

a. Biblical

(1) Paul wanted to go to Spain, Rom. 15:24, 28

(2) Paul's travel itinerary in the Pastoral Epistles does not fit his travel itinerary of the book of Acts.

b. Historical

(1) Eusebius in his book, Ecclesiastical History, 2:22:2-3 implies that Paul was released from prison after the close of Acts.

(2) Other early church traditions that Paul took the Gospel to the far west of the Mediterranean Sea

(a) Clement of Rome

(b) Muratorian Fragment

3. Theological - is the doctrine of baptismal regeneration supported from 3:5?

4. Verses that cause confusion - elders not total abstainers, but "not addicted to much wine," 1:7. The same thing expressed for older women, 2:3.


Home  |  Biblical Interpretation Seminar Main Page  |  Seminar Notebook Table of Contents  |  Previous Section  |  Next Section  |