Read to See Differences
Read to See questions
Read to See Relationships
Read to See Differences
Read the passage in two or more different translations to identify differences between word or phrase choices.
Read the passage to identify important language structures and to find out how words, phrases, and ideas in the text are related.
- Mark or jot down language structures that you see in the text.
- Draw shapes, lines, arrows, pictures, words, or even sentence diagrams, to create your own simple graphics that show the relationships you see between words, phrases, and ideas in the text.
- Study your observations and graphics then, try to answer some of the questions you asked in Step 1, or add additional questions you may have thought of.
Print Parallel Passages
- Use the “Passage Lookup” on biblegateway.com to choose at least 1 version of the text from each group below:
- ESV, NASB or HCSB; and
- NIV or NLT
- Choose the “Print” option on to print parallel translations of the text.
Tip: Give yourself lots of whitespace.
- Add space between lines in the text before you print.
- Add space after sentences or between verses before you print so that the sentences in each version match as much as possible.
- Choose the landscape layout on your printing options panel.
Use Prompts to See Questions
I Wonder Who
|the author is?|
|was in the original audience?|
I Wonder What
|the author’s purpose in writing was?|
|kind of writing (poem, hymn, letter, narrative, etc.) this is?|
|cultural, political, geographical setting, or personal circumstance, the writer and audience was in?|
|meanings this word or phrase has in the original language?|
I wonder when and where
|the author wrote?|
|the original audience received this particular text?|
|this prophecy, promise, warning, instruction applies?|
I wonder why
|the author chose this tense, word, phrase, example, metaphor, symbol, comparison or tone?|
|this word or phrase is used in one translation and not another?|
|the author emphasized this word, phrase, concept, or theme?|
I wonder how
|this text fits within God’s overall story?|
|the audience interpreted and reacted to this message?|
|the geographical, cultural, and historical setting affected the audience's understanding of this text?|
|my geographical, cultural, and historical setting affects my understanding of the text?|
I wonder if
|this word or phrase meant the same thing to the original audience as it means to me?|
|there are other texts that use this particular word or phrase, or that say something like this?|
|the author always uses this word or phrase in the same way?|
|________ is happening (happened, will happen) because ________?|
Why Bible Translations Differ
- Bible translations range from word-for-word translations to thought-for thought translations.
- Review the helpful translation guide at Familychristian.com, http://www.familychristian.com/bible-translation-guide
- Older translations may convey different meanings today than they did when they were originally translated because of changes in the receptor language.
- Use a dictionary to see how translated words have changed over time.
- Bible translations may use different source texts.
- Investigate the Hebrew or Greek source texts used by different translations; do an Internet search for “translation name” and “textual source,” for example search, “ESV Textual Source.”
Language Structures Chart
Use the definitions and example ESV verses below to help you identify some of the language structures in your text.
Types of Language Structures
Definitions & Examples from the ESV
|Anthropomorphism||Giving human traits to God to communicate a truth about God.
ExampleIncline your ear to me; … Into your hand I commit my spirit; — Ps. 31:2, 5
|Appositive||A word or phrase that renames a preceding word or phrase.
ExamplePaul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, — Eph. 1:1
|Association||Using words, phrases, or motifs to create an association.
ExampleBut if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another — 1 Jn. 2:7
|Cause/Effect||An action followed by a consequence or result usually signaled by conjunctions like so that, that, with the result that.
ExampleFor it is a lie that they are prophesying to you with the result that you will be removed far from your land — Jer. 27:11
|Comparison/Contrast||Setting one word or idea beside another in order to explain.
ExampleFor the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh — Gal 5:17.
|Conclusion||The wrap-up or summary of an essay, logical argument, or story that orients the reader to the preceding text.
ExampleAnd when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes — Mt. 7:28-29
|Conditional Clauses||Using conjunctions (if/then, provided that, except, unless) to state the consequences of an action.
ExampleIf we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and [then] the truth is not in us — 1 Jn. 1:8
|Conjunctions||Joining words or concepts in a sentence with words like and, but, furthermore, likewise, moreover, neither, nor, on the other hand, or, then, while to create a series, show progress, or give an option.
Example'Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?' And Jesus answered them, 'Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them,' Mt. 11:3-5
|Doxology||A short hymn or expression of praise to God.
ExampleNow to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. — Eph. 3:20-21
|Escalation||Using successive words or phrases to intensify a statement or idea.
ExampleThe great day of the LORD is near…A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness — Zep. 1:14-15
|Euphemism||Substituting an inoffensive word or phrase for an offensive one.
Example“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep" — Jn. 11:11
|Hyperbole||Extreme exaggeration of a quality or feature to create an effect or make a point.
Example“…the rock poured out for me streams of oil!” — Job 29:6
|Hypocatastasis||Renaming an object to show a resemblance.
ExampleFor dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; — Ps. 22:17
|Illustration||Using an example to clarify a point.
ExampleShare in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him — 2 Tim. 2:3-4
|Indicative/Imperative||Indicative phrases tell what God has done, while imperative phrases command; indicatives and imperatives may be separated by large chunks of text.
ExampleCleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump [imperative], as you really are unleavened [indicative]. For Christ…has been sacrificed. — 1 Cor. 5:7
|Introduction||A unit of text that orients the reader to the text that will follow.
ExampleNow the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way — Mt. 1:18
|Irony||Using words or outcomes to express the opposite of what is expected or intended.
Example'So the last will be first, and the first last' — Mt. 20:16
|Metaphor||Using a form of the verb, “to be” (am, are, is, was, were, have been, am being) to compare two unlike objects that share some common qualities.
Example'You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world.' — Mt. 5:13-14
|Metonymy||Substituting what is meant with related or associated words.
ExampleYou prepare a table before me — Ps. 23:5
|Parallelism||Using associated thoughts to balance lines of poetry and communicate one unified idea.
ExampleA false witness will not go unpunished
and he who breathes out lies will not escape — Prv. 19:5
A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. — Prv. 15:1
A man’s steps are from the LORD; How then can man understand his way — Prv. 20:24
|Personification||Giving human traits to non-human objects to create imagery
Example…the ground mourns…the oil languishes — Jl. 1:10
|Preposition||A word that links a noun, pronoun, or phrase to other words in order to show a location in space or time.
ExampleLet the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place — Gn. 1:9
|Quotation||Repeating words taken from another author’s text or speech.
ExampleHe unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor…' Lk. 4:17-18
|Question/Answer||Using a question to frame a logical argument.
ExampleWhy then the law? It was added because of transgressions... — Gal. 3:19
|Repetition||Using words, phrases, sentence structure, or concepts more than once.
ExamplesFor just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all — Rom. 11:30-32
I am writing to you, little children…because...
I am writing to you, fathers...because...
I am writing to you, young men...because... — 1 Jn. 2:12-13
|Rhetorical Question||Asking a question, in which no answer from the audience is expected, in order to make a point.
ExampleIf God is for us, who can be against us? — Rom. 8:31
|Sarcasm||Saying the opposite of what is meant in order to ridicule, mock, or express contempt.
ExampleGo and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress — Jgs. 10:14
|Simile||Using as or like to compare unlike objects with shared qualities.
ExampleHe is like a lion eager to tear, as a young lion lurking in ambush — Ps. 17:12
|Synecdoche||Using a part of a whole to refer to the whole or vice versa.
Examples…a land flowing with milk and honey... — Ex. 3:8
…the world has gone after him — Jn. 12:19
|Tone||Using words and style to create a mood or atmosphere, e.g., emotional, scolding, angry, instructive, serious, reflective, personal impatient, urgent, patient, etc.
ExampleO foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? — Gal. 3:1
|Word List||A list of words.
ExampleBut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control... — Gal. 4:22
|Word Pairings||Words that often appear together.
Example...Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell — Mt. 10:28
|Zoomorphism||Ascribing animal characteristics to God, humans, or non-human objects.
Example…hide me in the shadow of your wings — Ps. 17:8
Graphics that Show Relationships
When you see repetition
Look to see if repeated words or phrases:
- Emphasize a point;
- Build tension;
- Pile up facts for an overall argument; or
- Do something else.
Then, illustrate the relationship you see.
When you see questions in the text
Look to see if they have answers. then illustrate that relationship.
When you see pronouns
E.g. all, anyone, anything, both, each, either, everyone, everybody, few, he, her, herself, him, himself, I, it, itself, me, myself, neither, nobody, none, nothing, one, ourselves, she, several, somebody, someone, something, that, them, themselves, they, these, this, those, us, we, what, which, whichever, who, whoever, whom, whomever, whose, you, yourself, yourselves.
Look to see who or what they rename, then illustrate that relationship.
When you see possessive pronouns
E.g. her, hers, his, its, mine, my, our, ours, their, theirs, your, yours
Look to see what is owned and who or what owns it, then illustrate that relationship.
When you see action words
Look to see who or what is doing the action, then illustrate that relationship.
When you see words that describe or modify
Look to see what is being described or modified, then illustrate that relationship.
When you see prepositions
E.g. around, between, by, near, over, under, etc.
Look to see what or who is being linked to a place or time, then illustrate that relationship.
When you see a noun
E.g. a person, place, or thing.
look to see if the noun is doing an action or receiving an action, then illustrate that relationship.
When you see linking words or phrases
E.g. accordingly, after, although, and, as, because, before, but, by, even as, except, for, furthermore, however, if/then, in other words, in that, just, as, like, likewise, moreover, neither, nevertheless, nor, not, on the other hand, or, provided that, since, so, so that, that, that is, then, therefore, though, unless, when, whenever, where, wherever, while, with the result that, yet)
Look to see if they are used to:
- Build to a climax;
- Clarify an idea;
- Compare ideas;
- Create a choice;
- Create a series;
- Deny one thing to enforce another;
- Emphasize a reason;
- Explain a statement;
- Join an action to the way it is meant to be carried out;
- Join ideas;
- Join a statement to an unexpected one;
- Link an action or a statement to an occasion or to a place where it can happen or where it can be true;
- Make an inference;
- Show that one thing remains true regardless of an opposing idea;
- Show the contingency between a result and an action;
- Show the result of an action; or
- Support an idea that comes before or after.
Then, illustrate the relationship you see.