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Analysis of Words, Sentences, Paragraphs and Basic Rules in Conducting Hermeneutics

analysis (FILEminimizer)

  1. Make Syntax (Diagram According to Grammar):

Many parts of the Bible, especially those in the form of letters, use long, elusive phrases. For example Ephesians 1: 3-14, in the original is a sentence consisting of 202 words; Romans 1: 1-7 is also a long sentence of 93 words.

Therefore we use one method to analyze the long sentence, which is making a Diagram According to Grammar or Syntax of the sentence.

By making the syntax we can easily understand which core sentence and where the explanatory sentence is. And thus can avoid mistakes of interpretation caused by mistakes in seeing the relationship between words / sentences.

To make the syntax, we must understand where the main point of the long sentence (Parent sentence) and which are the secondary things (Children Sentences, Expressions, etc.).

The first step to making the syntax is to find the subject of the sentence.Example of James 1:12. The subject of the sentence is “Blessed are the people”. Then the syntax starts with the subject written at the beginning of a main line, as below:

Blessed are people

The second step, clause, phrase and other things are written below the main line with the position of indented into, as follows:

  Blessed are people

                                Who persist in temptation,

The phrase “that endures” provides information about people. The word “Who” is the connects and the word “persist” is an adverb.

While “in temptation” is a phrase that describes “enduring” because it describes the situation in which one has to “endure”. The word “temptation” is an adverb and the word “in” is the connector

The diagram above is a rough system diagram. We can create a pure system diagram to be able to perform a more detailed analysis, as below:

Blessed are people





If we continue, then the complete diagram is:

   Blessed are people

                                              Who persist in temptation,


    If he or she has already held the test

                 He will receive the crown of life

                            Which God promised

                                          To those who love Him.

To get good results, we recommend that sentence splits be made no more than 6 words.

  1. Think Paragraph:

Finding the main point of each paragraph (both in the passage and the one before and after the passage), and the relationship of each paragraph, so that we can understand the flow of arguments submitted by the author.

In thinking in paragraph, there are 3 things to do:

  • Briefly and concisely state the contents of each paragraph.
  • In 1 or 2 sentences, try to explain why the author states that in the paragraph.
  • After each paragraph is known the main point, look for the relationship between paragraphs.

Remember: Not all words or phrases are keywords that need to be investigated intensively.

Think carefully, which words / words will be investigated more deeply.

As a benchmark, which needs to be analyzed in depth are:

  • Words / phrases that we do not / understand.
  • A word / phrase that contains a theological meaning.
  • A word / phrase given special emphasis by the author (usually by way of repetition, comparing, contrasting, giving greater space proportions or using special words).


  • In I Corinthians 1-3, there are 26 words “wisdom”, it is necessary to investigate what “wisdom” the author means, why it is in the spotlight, etc.
  • In 1 Corinthians 3:10, Paul refers to himself as “a skilled builder”. In RSV is translated as “an expert master builder”, and in NIV “an expert builder”. It is clear that the author uses a special word, so it needs to be analyzed in depth. Pray always; Ask God to show you which words / sentences we need to investigate in depth.
  1. The analysis should be done according to the context.

Therefore, always consider the relationship between words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters and books based on context. A word can have different meanings in different contexts. And although a word can have some understanding, in general the author just wants to convey one purpose only.

So do not do the analysis separately from the context.


  • In interpreting “God’s co-workers” in I Corinthians 3: 9, we should pay attention to the phrase “So what is Apollos? What is Paul? God’s servants who … “in verse 5.
  • In interpreting “the mystery of God” in I Corinthians 4: 1, it should be done with 2: 7 because there is information about it. Similarly, in investigating another word or phrase in chapter 4, it should pay attention to 1: 10-3: 23, since chapters 1-4 deal with one common subject.
  • Hebrews 1: 1 can not be analyzed separately from verse 2. For according to the LAI, the sentence in the verse is only finished in verse 2. Even if you look at the Greek language, the sentence is only to be finished in 4th verse, Paragraph 4.
  1. A word must be interpreted based on the connotations of its time. Similarly, a phrase.


  • I Timothy 4:12: “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young.”

From the word “young” can not necessarily be interpreted that Timothy is a young man in his teens or twenties like the sense of this age.

That’s because the word “neotes,” can indicate an age of up to 40 years, and is generally used to indicate the age at which a person is at the peak of his strength and maturity, and is an age for military service.

Based on that, some experts argue that Timothy’s age is about 30 years old. In those days, the position of pastor of the congregation was unusually held by such a young man, so there seemed to be people who questioned the age of Timothy.

The phrase “to share everything that is in it” (NIV: share all good things) in Galatians 6: 6 is an expression which means giving financial aid. In that verse, Paul uses it to advise the Galatians to provide financial aid to their spiritual teachers, who are likely some people from the Jerusalem church who were in poverty at the time.

  1. Notice other closely related letters, ie, letters written by the same author or written in the near future.
  2. Notice the chronology of the New Testament letters and the events listed there in.
  3. To help better understand the arguments presented by the author, it is necessary for us to also study the background of the author and his teachings, especially with regard to the topics covered.
  4. Do the integration:

After completing the analysis of words, sentences and parafgraphs, we must integrate the results of the analysis data into a full, clear, precise and easy to understand interpretation. Do not let the results of our investigation merely become a pile of data that is not clear what the relationship and meaning.

Doing the integration does not mean to make a report that includes all data of the investigation. We must choose, assemble, decipher and write it into an intact, clear, precise and understandable interpretation.

To help, compare it with some good commentary. But remember that the commentary book is a help book rather than a manual. Do not make your interpretation merely a collection of excerpts from the commentaries.

Basic Rules of Conducting Hermeneutics:

A text may not have meaning beyond the real meaning that the author desires for the recipient.

For example, Philippians 1: 27-30:

When we analyze carefully, we find that “living in harmony with the gospel of Christ” which Paul commands the church means that they must unite and dare to fight for faith arising from the gospel message, and for that they must dare to suffer for the gospel.

Then the text’s meaning to us can not be beyond that meaning; We must dare to struggle and suffer for the sake of the gospel. It is totally wrong to interpret that “living in harmony with the gospel of Christ” beyond that meaning, for example we must fight against our flesh without any connection with the preaching of the gospel.

If we get a specific case or life situation on the recipient of the letter, and the case or situation is equal to our case or situation, then the meaning of God’s word to us is equivalent to the meaning of the word to them.

Example Colossians 3: 5, 12:

“… put to death in you all things that are earthly, that is fornication, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed …”

“Wear compassion, mercy, humility, meekness and patience.”

If we get a case or situation in the letter that is not comparable with the case or situation that we face, then there are 2 things to do:

Perform exegesis carefully, so that we get a principle expressed in the text, which will overcome the historical specificity in which the principle is applied. And that principle is also expressed / supported by other parts of the Bible.

Then apply the principle to totally comparable situations.


When looking at I Corinthians 9: 1-27, we will find that the apostles are entitled to a reward in the service of the preaching of the gospel. Nowadays we no longer have an apostle living among us. But the principle that those who preach the gospel must live by the message (verse 14), can be applied to evangelists or ministers of today’s word. Other parts of the Bible support this (eg I Tim. 5: 17-18).

When I read I Timothy 2: 11-12, we will find that Paul forbids women from teaching and ordering men. What do these verses mean for us is that we should forbid women to teach and rule men?

Discussion of women’s position and participation in life and ministry in the Ephesian congregation is most likely to be addressed to women who are involved in misguided teachings, and who have abused power in the congregation by seizing power and dominating the church and male teachers in Ephesus.

And this commandment is only specially given to them; Paul does not command this to women in other congregations. For us, the principle that can be taken and applied is that we must submit to the spiritual leaders whom God places above us.


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