Have you ever been reading the Bible and think to yourself, “Hey! Didn’t I just read that a couple of verses up?”, again and again in the same passage, like a literary déjà vu? God’s Word doesn’t waste words, so you can be sure that there’s a reason for that repetition.
Do any of these questions sound familiar?
- Why does this passage say the same thing that last passage just said?
- Why does it feel like this same series of events just happened to someone else in the story?
- Why is this weird statement in the middle of a completely different topic?
- Why is one story sandwiched in the middle of another one?
- Why does this story seem to end up in the same place it began?
- Why does this one phrase keep repeating in a passage?
If you’ve asked yourself some of these questions while reading your Bible, there’s a good chance that you were in the middle of a chiasm!
What’s a Chiasm?
A chiasm is a literary device used to highlight connections between different events or ideas or to highlight a central point in a story. Many ancient cultures used chiasms in their literature, but they are especially prevalent in the Hebrew Bible.
Since we know that everything in the Bible is there for us to learn something, we can also know that these structures aren’t there just by accident. Chiasms are like special gems hidden in a diamond mine, just waiting to be revealed, and I want to help you find and understand them!
The Chiasm Course represents hundreds of hours of study and preparation! You might think that something like this would cost at least two or three hundred dollars, but I’m not trying to get rich from this. The Chiasm Course is just one of the benefits you get as a member of Common Sense Bible Study for only $9.99/month or $99.99/year (a 17% discount)!
There are literary patterns embedded in the text throughout the Bible, and with a little patience and careful reading, you can find them and add new dimensions to passages that used to seem flat!
You don’t need a degree in ancient languages or any other college or seminary degree for that matter. This 5-part course will teach you how to find and connect related statements within a Bible passage to reveal new facets of meaning and make your Bible study more meaningful, more fascinating, and even more fun!
The Chiasm Course is just one of the many benefits of being part of the Common Sense Bible Study community, including…
- A Sabbath to YHWH, a course answering the What, Why, Who, and When questions of the weekly Sabbath.
- Future courses on how to read and understand the Bible. Who wrote it? Why? And who decided that this book stays and that one goes?
- Weekly live, interactive Bible studies with a focus on practical application. The Bible gives us rules for living, so why don’t we live by them?
- Moderated group conversations on all kinds of Bible topics. Everyone’s coming from a different place and has different questions. We’ll try to answer them together.
- Quests and challenges to find biblical answers and practical advice for fellow believers facing real difficulties.
Paid members of Common Sense Bible Study get access to all features and courses!
Frequently Asked Questions about The Chiasm Course
- What is a chiasm? A chiasm is a literary structure used by ancient writers in many cultures in order to emphasize a central point and make connections between different parts of the text. You’ll learn more details about what they are and how they’re used in the Bible in the course.
- Do I need to know Hebrew or Greek to take this course? Not at all! Most chiasms have more to do with the ideas expressed in the text than how a word looks or sounds.
- Can I get college credit for this course? Unfortunately, no. Even though this course can be a little technical at times, it is not accredited for any college or seminary credit.
- Do I need to have a degree from a Bible college to understand this course? Nope. I have tried hard to make this material accessible to anyone with a good vocabulary and a basic knowledge of the Bible.
- Aren’t chiasms just imaginary or accidental patterns in the text? Not everything that looks like a chiasm really is one, so we have to be careful not to add meaning that the authors didn’t intend, but chiasms are real and recognized by scholars of ancient literature from all over the world.
- Are chiasms secret codes hidden in the Bible? Not really. Chiasms are hidden only in the sense that most people don’t know that they’re supposed to be looking for them.
- Is this course available in any languages besides English? Not yet! If you know someone who would be interested in helping translate it, please let me know.
- What other literary structures are used in the Bible? The Bible is a collection of smaller books that use narrative, poetry, pun, parallelism, anaphora, and more. It would probably take a full college course (or more!) to cover them all.
- Does this work with any version of the Bible? Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Literal translations work best because they are closer to the Hebrew text. Very informal or paraphrase-type translations like The Living Bible or The Message do a good job of making the Bible accessible to new readers, but they make it harder to see patterns that were in the original texts. I recommend using a literal translation like the English Standard Version, the New American Standard Bible, or the New King James Version.
Can’t I just get the same information for free on YouTube? Most of those videos are only introductions to the idea of chiasms or are of a single short lecture. You could probably get all of the same information from those free videos, but you’ll have to wade through ten times more material, and almost none of it will be focused on teaching you how to find and understand chiasms in the Bible. The Chiasm Course will get you there faster and with fewer irrelevant detours.
If you’re still not sure about paying for The Chiasm Course and the other courses at Common Sense Bible Study or you just can’t afford it right now, you can still join the community and participate in the forums, weekly online Bible studies, and special events for free!
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Come with me as I draw out the connections that are so often missed