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.

  1. Choose and print at least 1 version of the text from each group:
  2. Mark word and phrase differences that you think may change the meaning of the text.


Read to See Questions

Read the passage to notice questions that come to mind – what you “wonder” about.

  1. List questions that express what you really wonder about the text.

Read to See Structure and Relationships


Read the passage to identify important language structures and to find out how words, phrases, and ideas in the text are related.

  1. Mark or jot down language structures that you see in the text.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


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

  1. Bible translations range from word-for-word translations to thought-for thought translations. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


Incline 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.


Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, — Eph. 1:1

Association Using words, phrases, or motifs to create an association.


But 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.


For 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.


For 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.


And 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.


If 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.


'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.


Now 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.


The 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.


“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.


“…the rock poured out for me streams of oil!” — Job 29:6

Hypocatastasis Renaming an object to show a resemblance.


For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; — Ps. 22:17

Illustration Using an example to clarify a point.


Share 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.


Cleanse 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.


Now 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.


'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.


'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.


You prepare a table before me — Ps. 23:5

Parallelism Using associated thoughts to balance lines of poetry and communicate one unified idea.


A 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


…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.


Let 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.


He 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.


Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions... — Gal. 3:19

Repetition Using words, phrases, sentence structure, or concepts more than once.


For 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.


If 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.


Go 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.


He 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.


…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.


O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? — Gal. 3:1

Word List A list of words.


But 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.


...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.


…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.



Other Resources


What are some other resources that will teach me how to show relationships found in the text?

  1. Look at the Book from;
  2. Learning Resources at; and
  3. Resources on how to diagram sentences.