9 Tips for Illustrating Relationships

Part of the “How to Study the Bible” Series

One way to begin to study the Bible is to illustrate relationships between words, phrases, and ideas in the text. Illustrating these relationships, will help you READ TO SEE how words, phrases, and ideas in the biblical text relate to each other.

Tips for creating illustrations that show relationships:
Tip 1: When you see repetition, look to see if repeated words or phrases: emphasize a point; build tension; pile up facts for an overall argument; do something else. Then, illustrate the relationship you see.  
Tip 2: When you see questions in the text, look to see if they have answers. Then illustrate that relationship.  
Tip 3: When you see pronouns (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.     
Tip 4: When you see possessive pronouns (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.  
Tip 5: When you see action words, look to see who or what is doing the action. Then illustrate that relationship.  
Tip 6: When you see words that describe or modify, look to see what is being described or modified. Then illustrate that relationship.  
Tip 7: When you see prepositions (around, between, by, near, over, under, etc. – there are 50-plus!), look to see what or who is being linked to a place or time. Then illustrate that relationship.  
Tip 8: When you see a noun (a person, place, or thing)look to see if the noun is doing an action or receiving an action. Then illustrate that relationship.  
Tip 9: When you see linking words or phrases (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:
1. build to a climax
2. clarify an idea
3. compare ideas
4. create a choice
5. create a series
6. deny one thing to enforce another
7. emphasize a reason
8. explain a statement
9. join an action to the way it is meant to be carried out
10. join ideas
11. join a statement to an unexpected one
12. link an action or a statement to an occasion or to a place where it can happen or where it can be true
13. make an inference
14. show that one thing remains true regardless of an opposing idea
15. show the contingency between a result and an action
16. show the result of an action
17. support an idea that comes before or after
Then, illustrate the relationship you see.

Tip 9 is adapted from Biblearc.com, “The 18 Logical Relationships,”

Other resources that will teach you how to READ TO SEE structure and relationships in the Biblical text?

  1. Look at the Book from Desiringgod.com
  2. Learning Resources at Biblearc.com
  3. Resources on how to diagram sentences.

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