Overarching what?

chiasmusSeveral weeks ago, during our Bible study, we were listening in class to an online lecture by Dr. James Grier.  I forget exactly which one it was, but he spoke of the “Overarching Chiasmus of the Bible.”  He explained the meaning during the lecture, but I still had to look up the meaning of the word chiasmus later that night.  For those of you who don’t mind a bit of extra reading, you can find a decent description on Wikipedia.  However, for those who don’t like reading assignments, here’s the basic concept.  There are various events all throughout the Bible that work themselves out in a criss-cross fashion as you study them.  For example, a simple one would be this, from Matthew 19:30 (KJV):

1. "But many that are first 
    2. shall be last
    2’. and the last
1’. shall be first."

While there are several of these throughout the Bible, there is one that is the main event, or the “overarching” one (as you can find in Dr. Grier’s slides).  He calls these the “bookends of the Bible”.

1.Creation/Perfection –Genesis 1 & 2
    2. Sin/Judgment –Genesis 3 & 4
        3. Old Covenant Redemptive Event
        3′. New Covenant Redemptive Event
    2′. Judgment/Removal of Sin –Rev. 18-20

1′. Consummation/Perfection –Rev. 21-22

The reason I bring this up, other than it would be a fun rabbit hole to go down during further study (how many more could we find?), is that while reviewing the Logos Bible software blog I went down another rabbit hole starting at one of their employee’s blogs, eventually ending up on the website of someone else who creates visualizations.  If you don’t know what those are, a person takes a huge collection of data and creates some sort of graphic detailing all the data in a really cool way, helping you to wrap your head around it, or even examine it in a new light.  The first one I saw on Chris Harrison’s website immediately reminded me of the Dr. Grier lecture.

 

BibleVizArc7small

 

Chris and another guy, Christoph Römhild, took a set of data containing over 63,000 cross references throughout the Bible and turned it into the stunning visualization above.  Here is how he summarizes it:

The bar graph that runs along the bottom represents all of the chapters in the Bible. Books alternate in color between white and light gray. The length of each bar denotes the number of verses in the chapter. Each of the 63,779 cross references found in the Bible is depicted by a single arc – the color corresponds to the distance between the two chapters, creating a rainbow-like effect.

If you want to see more detail, head over to his website and check out this visualization in larger file sizes, among the other cool ones he’s created.

 

What better way to see the “Overarching Chiasmus of the Bible”?  Even more, what better way to see how coupled the entirety of Scripture is within itself?  Do you still see a hodge-podge of disjointed books by random authors, or can you see God behind a single book written over more than a thousand years?

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6 thoughts on “Overarching what?”

  1. Wow… that is just… SO cool. So neat, so amazing. Yah, all good adjectives I’ve ever learned in my life have flown the coop. Regardless… thanks for posting this.
    erin

  2. Nice work. Just to help out a little bit:

    In rhetoric, chiasmus is the figure of speech in which two or more clauses are related to each other through a reversal of structures in order to make a larger point; that is, the clauses display inverted parallelism. Chiasmus was particularly popular both in Greek and in Latin literature, where it was used to articulate balance or order within a text. As a popular example, the Greek and Hebrew texts of the Bible also contain many long and complex chiasmi.

  3. Jeff, I enjoyed your “rambling”. Thanks for sharing. We’re praying for God’s mercy and grace for you to help you through your trial.

  4. Consider Dr. Grier’s discussion re: the beauty of Biblical texts along with their truth–as represented by this graphical illustration. This graphic is beautiful because it illustrates the beauty of the scriptural text in the physical realm.

  5. seriously…. have you ever thought about leading a bible study? i’m totally interested in signing up when you do. loved this post.

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