Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Christian Authors Must Be More Accountable than the National Media

Many Christians in the USA today are having problems with the national media. There are many reports that they are presenting the truth incorrectly. The plea seems to be, ‘Where do I go to find reliable truth?’

How do we feed our sheep? If a preacher stood up on Sunday to deliver a message on Job and Jabez, suggesting that they are one and the same person, we would all hopefully scream loudly. The congregation would certainly wonder if that was the right church for them.

In the same way, Christian authors have an immense responsibility to present God’s Word correctly. We can’t help but see Christianity through our own lens and that of our church’s denomination—that’s not what I’m writing about. I’m stating that we authors have a heavy responsibility to adequately research and present correctly the Word of God. The national media is being increasingly held to a higher standard—shouldn’t we, too?

The biggest offense I see is Christian authors taking a verse out of context. Big problem! One-liners that, without the consideration of the surrounding text, take on a completely new meaning.

I was asked this week to read the latest book by a leading Christian author. On the first page he quoted one of the psalms. The sense that he used was completely contrary to the whole theme of the psalm. He possibly used a word search to find the verse but did not ask himself what that ten-verse psalm was really saying. In this case, his Bible translation had used a word that has two meanings and he used the wrong meaning. We must read the text in context to assure we are not inadvertently presenting God’s Word incorrectly.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Progress Update on Pattern Analysis

Today I met a short-term goal: I have now analyzed 30% of the Bible using the Pattern Analysis methodology. My goal when I started this effort a year ago was to take a sampling of every book of the Bible with a minimum of 10% of each book or three chapters, whichever is more comprehensive. I am very close to completing that goal with today being another milestone. Hallelujah!

Over this past year I had to substantially enhance the Pattern Analysis model to accomodate the new patterns that I was seeing. With this improved model, I can say that every verse that I’ve looked at has fit into one or more literary patterns. That is, I am not seeing any evidence at this time where an editor (the technical name is a redactor) has modified the biblical text. All the variations that people use to support the theory of a redactor are, at least in my analysis so far, the Holy Spirit’s use of emphasis.

The current model that I am using may be seen in part at Pattern Analysis Handbook. That handbook is currently undergoing scholarly review and will hopefully be published in 2017. You may email me at Tom@ThomasBClarke.com for more information and/or notification of availability.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

An Example of Pattern Analysis: Acts 3:1-11

Pattern Analysis, an analytical tool to help discern the emphatic voice of the Holy Spirit in the Bible, is one step closer to being released to the public. I am so excited because the first book, Pattern Analysis Handbook: A Compact Guide, has been sent to a few Bible scholars for their technical review. I can now, for the moment, concentrate on the web-based presentation of these structured themes.

Pattern analysis allows us to use our native language (mine is English) to understand what was most important to the Holy Spirit when He inspired the Bible. We don't need to know the ancient Hebrew or Greek although that is always a good thing. Instead we analyze the repetitive patterns to help us find what is most important. These patterns, what I call structured themes, persist in whatever language you are using as long as your translation is fairly literal.

I typically use the New American Standard Bible (NASB) because it attempts to adhere to the original languages without rephrasing for the sake of readability. When sentences are reorganized or new paragraphs started which are not logically based literary units, these structured themes can be much more difficult to discern. Reorganized text can lead to the association of two themes that were not intended to be associated together.

Back to pattern analysis. A chiasm is one of the ways that themes were organized. Here is an example from Acts 3:1-11. On the left side of that page, there is a brief explanation of four emphatic portions to that chiasm. Then as you scroll over each of the elements on the right, the colors should change to reflect their association.

You may contact me directly at Tom@ThomasBClarke.com for further inquiries about pattern analysis.
Many blessings, Tom

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Pattern Analysis in the Bible

I believe I am onto something significant regarding the Bible. I'm calling it Pattern Analysis—a way of reading the Bible for greater understanding and meaning. Pattern Analysis includes literary devices such as the chiasm and lists and summarizations; forty devices in all. I'm really excited to start showing this tool later this year but my work is not yet ready.

A year ago I announced that Discovering Emphasis in the Bible is ready for review. I received some comments that basically said I need to dig deeper. At the same time, the Holy Spirit nudged me to develop a catalog of structured themes. I never imagined the extent and beauty that would be revealed to me from this process. They were right, I was not ready.

Today I have completed cataloging 25% of the Bible: 18% of the Old Covenant and 45% of the New. While that is more than 800 structured themes, I'm not done yet. But what I can say is that so far there is not a verse that does not fit into this methodology!

Why is that important to you? Because Pattern Analysis,
  1. organizes Bible passages into complete units,
  2. clarifies the text and often adds new meaning, and
  3. reveals one or typically several emphatic messages in each structure
Pattern Analysis also gives considerable credibility to the thinking that the Holy Spirit inspired the entire Bible. Just as you can look at the signature on a credit card receipt to see if it is from your spouse, so it seems we can use Pattern Analysis to ask, Is this passage from that same source?. Pattern Analysis supports the thinking that there is a Verbal Plenary Inspiration of the Bible.

Through this medium called the Bible Discernments blog, I hope to keep you informed about my progress. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Tom