Video 1. Laws of Literary Composition Part 1

Mark Bailey

And open your Bible to Matthew chapter 6. Matthew chapter 6. I want to introduce you to 18 laws of literary composition– 17 laws of literary composition. Traina talks about these, but what I want to show you is that all 17 laws that we’re going to introduce to you are found in one paragraph.

Student: Wow.

Instructor: All right, so here’s the time to watch it in its detail. I’m gonna give it to you from Matthew 6, and then I’m gonna give you another passage of Scripture to illustrate each one of these. For example, the comparison of like things. In Matthew chapter 6, in that classic passage that’s good for all of us about worrying and not being anxious, He compares two things: the lilies of the field and the grass of the field. And He’s talking about both of those– God clothing both of them. If you’re going to worry about food and clothing, watch how God takes care of grass and watch how God takes care of lilies. And He compares that God clothes both the grass and the lilies. Now, He’s gonna do it for two different purposes. That’s the comparison. The contrast is one deals with beauty and the other deals with timing. And that God has a sense of aesthetics and God also has a sense of what is temporary versus what is long lasting. And so, even within that, there’s some more beauty to see, if I can say it that way. Pardon the pun. But the lilies of the field and the grass of the field.

What do all of the examples in Hebrews 11 have in common? What do you– what’s the recurring theme– phrase, prepositional phrase? By faith, by faith, by faith, by faith. So he’s comparing that group of people with regard to the way they’ve expressed their faith. Now, when you study that passage, by the way, there’s also a progression. Is faith only saving faith? And the answer would be no. Faith goes from faith faith all the way to obedient faith to avoiding death if necessary. And there’s a progression upward from the sacrifice of an Abel all the way to giving their life for the cause of Christ in the contrary culture, which is exactly what the Hebrews were facing in the first century. So he goes back to the beginning and, in essence, gives you, “Here is a summary of Old Testament greats—not perfect people, by any means, but because of their faith, they were noteworthy.” So the question becomes, for the reader, “Will your faith be noteworthy?” All of these had different circumstances; lived at different times; men, women; easy, tough circumstances, etc., etc. Faith was the key ingredient because without faith it’s impossible to please Him. So what does a life of faith look like from beginning to end, from Genesis all the way to final death? That’s the comparison there.

Number two: contrast. Contrast. Back in Matthew chapter 6, he says, “Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.” If you’re worried about food and clothing, what is He saying to you? Something is bigger and more important than food and clothing.

Student: More.

Instructor: In fact, His definition of life is what He wants you to adopt rather than your definition of life, because most people would define life in what they eat, what they wear, okay, the, the daily essentials. And He’s going, “There’s more to life than you think.” And so He’s saying, “Life is more than the body is more than.” Okay, what you do with your life and what will ultimately happen to your body are more important than food and drink. So “have you missed the value factor on the altar of the vicious cycle of anxiety?” is His question. One of the great contrasts of the New Testament is the old man versus the new man, the flesh and the spirit, Adam and Christ. So you see that contrast between the old and the new, unbelief and belief, all the way through the New Testament.

Number three, repetition. Repetition. If contrast is the association of things that are more opposite or meant to be contrasted, repetition is the reiteration of the same terms, phrases, and clauses. Now, this is going to be distinguished from continuity, which is the repeated use of similar ideas. Here are the same ideas, the same words. And so six times—don’t miss that—six times in nine verses, He says, “Don’t be anxious. Don’t be anxious. Don’t be anxious.” What do you think His point is? [Laughs]

Students: “Don’t be anxious.”

Instructor: “Don’t worry.” [Student Laughs] Yeah, “Don’t worry.” It’s wrong to worry in the sight of God. Okay? Even though we do it. You say, “I don’t worry. I’m just really, greatly concerned.” [Students Laugh]

Turn to Psalm 136. This is fun. Psalm 136. Someone called this the national anthem of Israel—not officially, but unofficially. Psalm 136, a little exposure to poetry as well this morning. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is” what?

Students: “Good.”

Instructor: “Good. His lovingkindness is everlasting.” The great Hebrew word is חֶסֶד [hesed]. You have to get your paper wet to say it rightly. [Students Laugh] Okay? חֶסֶד [hesed]. “Give thanks to the God of gods, for His lovingkindness is” what?

Students: “Everlasting.”

Instructor: “Everlasting. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for His kindness is everlasting.” Now notice, opening line, “Give thanks to the Lord ‘cause He’s good.” What’s good about God? Three times thus far, “His lovingkindness is everlasting.” His חֶסֶד [hesed] will, uh, last to the עֹולָם [olam]—[Laughs] the “eternity.” And now watch what he does. “To Him alone who does great wonders,” what kind of wonders? Look at verse 5; He “made the heavens.” Verse 6, He “spread out the earth.” Verse 7, He “made the great lights,” verse 8, “The sun to rule by day,” number 9, “the moon and stars to rule by night.” In all of those, you have the same repetition—repetition, repetition, repetition. He wants you to understand, in the midst of His character, His חֶסֶד [hesed] is everlasting. In the midst of His works, what works right here? All of these verses deal with what? Creation.

Now watch the chronology, okay? Watch the chronology. Verse 10, He “smote the Egypt–” you know, He “smote the Egyptians in their firstborn… brought Israel out from their midst,” verse 12, “With a strong hand and an outstretched arm.” Verse 13, He “who divided the Red Sea asunder… made Israel pass through the midst of it… But He overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea.” What’s the event?

Students: Exodus.

Instructor: The Exodus.

Student: Oh, yeah.

Instructor: So you have the Creation of God; you have the Exodus of Israel. Verse 16, He “led His people through the wilderness... To Him” he “smote great kings,” He “slew mighty kings… Sihon king of the Amorites… Og, king of Bashan,” and He “gave their land as a heritage… even a heritage to Israel His servant.” Now we have the conquest, you know, His leading them through the wilderness and the conquest. So we have Creation, the Exodus, the wilderness wanderings, the conquest. What undergirds all of that?

Student: “His lovingkindness endures–”

Instructor: Every time, God’s kindness was shown. “His lovingkindness endures forever.”

Now, all of that is good for Israel, but what about us? Look at verse 23, “Who remembered us in our low estate... rescued us from our adversaries... Who gives food to all flesh… Give thanks to the God of heaven.” But 26 times, he wants you to remember what?

Students: “His lovingkindness–”

Instructor: See, it’s onomatopoeic in literature; it sounds like what it is. “His lovingkindness endures forever. His lovingkindness endures forever. His lovingkindness endures forever.” By the time you get through 28 of those– or 26 of those, I think “His kindness endures forever”—it feels like it, [Students Laugh] sounds like it, states like it. Okay? That's repetition: exact terms, phrases, and clauses repeated, repeated.

“I am, I am, I am, I am”—seven times in the Gospel of John—ἐγώ εἰμι [ego eimi], ἐγώ εἰμι [ego eimi], ἐγώ εἰμι [ego eimi]. And even disassociated with the “I am the bread of life, I am the light of the world. Before Abraham was, I am.” You know, He always was who He is. Even before God revealed Him as Yahweh to Moses, Yahweh still existed. Go back 400 years prior to Abraham, and before Abraham was, ἐγώ εἰμι [ego eimi] in Greek; “I am.” So those repetitions are there for emphasis.

Continuity is the repeated use of similar terms or phrases or clauses. For example, back in our main passage: “more than, more value than, much more.” You get this escalating “This is better than this. This is even much better than this. This is much, much better than this.” So the continuity of the value of God’s definition of life versus human definition of life.

Now, let me give you a fun one: Luke 15. Sit back and relax for a minute. Luke 15. The passage opens that the religious leaders were bugging Jesus and His disciples in saying, “Why does Jesus– why does He meet with sinners and eat with them? Why does He receive sinners and eat with them?” And the parable (singular) of the lost sheep, lost coin and lost sons (as I would call it) is the answer, the macro-answer to a very short question. Why does Jesus receive sinners and eat with them? Now, watch this; here’s structure; here’s continuity. You have something that is lost, something that is found, and you have the party that celebrates the recovery in all three. Right? Lost sheep, lost coin, lost sons. Now, there’s continuity there. “There’s more joy in all of heaven over one sinner who repents.” Then you have the continuity, because it’s not an exact repetition, “There’s more joy in the presence of the angels over a sinner who repents.” And you still have the idea, though it’s unstated in the third, because you have a party that’s thrown by the father, killing the fatted calf when the younger son is repentant and comes home. And so you have joy in the presence of the father. I’m gonna go back to that.

There’s other continuity. What’s the proportion in the first– how many sheep? How many were lost and how many were found? How many sheep did the, the shepherd have?

Students: 100. 99.

Instructor: 100. And one gets lost in the wilderness. So you have the ratio of 1:99 or one out of 100. In the second one, you have a ratio of 1:9 or 1 out of 10. In the third one, you have one or one, a 1:1 ratio—younger and older. Now, watch this: 100:1, 9:1, 1:1 (or 10:1, however you want to do your percentages). [Student Laughs] In the first one, there was “more joy in all of heaven”—macro statement. In the second one, “presence of the angels,” subset of heaven. In the last one, it doesn’t state it, but it’s the father.

Student: Hmm.

Instructor: Why does Jesus spend time with sinners and eat with them? And the ultimate answer is: He shares the Father’s heart for the lost and rejoices if even one comes home. Why is He spending time with sinners? He’s waiting for them to repent, so that He can throw a party and join the host of heaven, the chorus of the angels, and share the heart of the Father.

Now, this is fun; you ready for this? Every summer for years, I would go up to Colorado and I would speak at a camp, and I’ll go up there this next year and speak there again. My kids sort of grew up there, as we were speaking, and they love the place. So now that they have kids, they all wanna go back with us, and we’re spending– we’re gonna spend some time doing that. But one of the skits or sketches that the camp did put on is called a melodrama. And a melodrama— and especially in the hills of Colorado, Cripple Creek and Creede and everything—they throw these melodramas and it’s part of their entertainment.

And they have a villain; they have a hero; they have a maiden. You know, and it’s usually set in a Western scene and so you got the black hat, the white hat, all of this kind of stuff. And then you got the cue cards, and when the villain comes on, everybody’s supposed to hiss and boo. And when the hero comes on, you’re supposed to cheer and scream. And when the pretty maiden comes on, you’re supposed to go, “Oooo.” You know, those kind of thing. And they play this thing, and it’s a great skit. And if you walk your way through Luke chapter 15, and if I told you the story, and I’ll do it so you understand what Jesus is doing by the parable. “A man has two sons.” In the Israelite culture, having a son is great, so you would all say what? “A man has two sons.”

Students: Yay. Cheer.

Instructor: Go ahead. [All Cheer] Yeah, yeah, “Yay!” “One son, in essence, says to his dad, ‘Dad, I wish you were dead. Give me my inheritance. I’m leaving.’” [Students Hiss, Boo] Boo—our view of the younger son, okay? Yeah, is there. “He goes– as a Jew, he goes to a Gentile country.” [All Boo] “He wastes his whole life in loose living. [All Boo] He gets so bad, you know, there’s a famine in the land.”

Students: Boo?

Instructor: Boo. Yeah, that, okay. [Students Laugh] And you’re going, “Do we cheer?” Okay. [Students Laugh] Okay, boo, boo the famine, sure. Okay? “And he hires himself out as a Jewish boy to feed pigs. [All Boo] One day he looks at the pig in the eye and says, ‘You know, I had it so much better at my dad’s house.’ He comes to his senses [Students Cheer] and says, ‘I have sinned against heaven and in my father’s sight. [Students Cheer] I’m gonna go home and I’m gonna repent to my father. [Students Cheer] And I’m gonna say, “Father, I have sinned in your sight. Make me like one of your hired hands.”’ [Students Cheer] The father sees the son coming down the road and runs to greet him.” [Students Cheer] Yeah, that’s so counter-cultural but it’s a big yay [Student Laughs] because, in that culture, that wouldn’t happen. The stoic father would wait for the son to come kiss his ring, basically bow in obedience, etc. But the father running down the lane to get to his son. “And he throws himself on his neck and kisses him and kisses him. [Students Cheer] Takes off the signet ring”—which is like the MasterCard —”and gives it to him and his robe– he gives him a robe and asks the slaves to sandal his son. [Students Cheer] The older brother, meanwhile, is outside and he’s angry.” [Students Boo]

I gotcha [Students Laugh] because here’s where the story ends. Where is the father at the end of the story? The father is out begging the older son to come have the same experience as the younger son, because the older son is self-righteous. “I’ve never done this, and you’ve never given me this kind of a party.” But he refuses to come to the party that the father has thrown for his son, which is a picture of the Pharisees refusing to acknowledge that the reason Jesus spends times with sinners and eat with them is that He wants them to come to repentance, so that they can have a party. And the Pharisees stand in the picture as the older son, self-righteous, outside of what God is doing with the repentant sinner in the celebration.

The literary arc is genius; you know, the proportions are phenomenal. The movement in the passage—there’s continuity and contrast. You have a shepherd, who handles dirty sheep, would be unclean because of his occupation. A woman with– a single woman losing a dowry coin, who’s not yet married, would be a bit outcast in the culture because she’s not yet married. A son who was disobedient to his father would be another issue of outcast. How do you get reconciled to God and one another in a sinful culture? The patience of a waiting Father, the need of repenting; in essence, understanding that my sin is against heaven, and I’m not worthy, grace alone is my only hope. And the need to rejoice and be a part of the party when somebody I don’t think should come comes to the faith. The instructions of those three vignettes within what’s called a unified parable is just simply gorgeous—gorgeous. That’s all in one chapter title. That’s true about that passage, how about others? Let’s go on.

Continuation is the extended treatment of a particular aspect. “Eating and drinking and wearing,” He keeps coming back after that over and over. That’s continuation. Continuation may be singular—in other words, it happened here and then it happened here. There’s two charcoal fires in John’s Gospel. Do you know what the first one was? It’s when Peter is saying, “I don’t know him. I don’t know him. Blankety blank blank, I don’t know the man!” It’s denying Christ in the courtyard of the high priest. You know where the last charcoal fire is?

Student: Breakfast by the sea.

Instructor: Breakfast by the sea, and He’s restoring Peter and teaching the other disciples. “Peter, do you love Me? Do you really love Me?” And Peter’s failure and Peter’s restoration: two charcoal fires in John’s Gospel. That mention of a charcoal fire—didn’t have to mention it. Just the fact, “Oh, yeah, there’s another charcoal fire here.” So, literary art to bring the thought back. Here’s the same one who’s, at a first charcoal fire, said no—and now he’s being commissioned to be a pastor of God’s flock. What a great picture of restoration.

By the way, this is a part of the enigma and the fun of the Gospels: “If you confess Me before men, I’ll confess you before My Father in heaven.” Judas confessed Christ to the wrong people. “If you deny Me, I’ll deny you before My Father who is in heaven.” Peter denies the Lord, but ultimately becomes the spokesman on the day of Pentecost.

Student: Hmm.

Instructor: You wouldn’t expect that crisscross there, you know. Judas identifies Him as the Christ. Peter denies Him to be the Christ. But one is a believer and one’s not a believer; and one gets repentant and gets restored and the other one doesn’t.

Student: Hmm.

Instructor: It’s just that’s a fun– that’s a part of the attention-getting aspect of what happens and the grace of God.

Climax—we’ll stop with this one ‘cause I have something else I want to show you. Arrangement from greater to greatest—Creation, humanity, he comes to the table of righteousness. Climax also can happen, like, in a countdown: six days before the Passover, five days before the Passover, four days before the Passover, you know, two days before the Passover. What’s going to happen? Something’s gonna happen at Passover; you get this countdown. And what happens is not blastoff but lift up [Students Laugh] on the cross is what happens at Passover. But that’s six, five, four, three– where’s that going? Where’s it leading? And the way the authors write under the inspiration of the Spirit to give you that, it’s to anticipate that. When is that gonna happen?

Another way of climax in the Gospel of John is that, in chapter 6, you know somebody’s going to betray Him. You don’t know ’til chapter 13 who it is.

Student: Mm hmm.

Instructor: And so all the way through, Jesus knows who’s gonna betray Him. And we’re reading, and if we hadn’t known, we’d say, “Who’s gonna do it? Who’s gonna do it? Who’s gonna do it?” And a linear reading of John is designed to get you to that, “It can’t be him. It can’t be him. It can’t be him. Oh, it’s him! No!” [Laughter] You know, we’ve been taught it ahead of time, so we lose the linear beauty of the discovery, but reading it as if it was the first time.

In Luke, for example, 9:51, “when the days were approaching for Jesus’ ascension.” In Luke 9? I got 9 to chapter 24—what’s the rest of the book about? He’s already mentioned the Ascension. Why? Everything else from chapter 9 all the way to chapter 24 needs to be read in light of the fact Jesus is out of here. See, what’s all this about if Jesus is gonna leave? Luke’s telling you He’s out of here. Now, how do you get ready to live life as a disciple in the absence– a physical absence of Christ? That’s what the rest of Luke is about. It’s a book of assurance, so that you have assurance of your faith in spite of the fact Jesus has left him, and is waiting to come back. That’s part of the drama of the book of Luke.

Video 2. Laws of Literary Composition Part 2

Mark Bailey

Again, turn back with me to Matthew chapter 6, as we continue to find all of these laws even in one paragraph of Scripture. The question that ought to be in your mind is: how many of these laws are in every paragraph of Scripture? And probably not all 17 in every paragraph, but this one is a fun one to illustrate the fact that all 17 laws are represented in this one paragraph.

For example, in cruciality, it’s what we call the utilization of a pivot. We also could call it the hinge, the hinge. For example, when He says, “Don’t be anxious, don’t be anxious, don’t be anxious, but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” Now, there’s the pivot. That’s also a climax, but there’s going to be a resolve, because there’s another verse after 33. It’s verse 34; I stayed up all night to figure that out. [Student Laughs] But verse 34 says, “Therefore, don’t worry about tomorrow.” Why? It’s gonna be bad. [Laughter] I love Jesus’ realism. “Don’t worry today about tomorrow, because tomorrow is going to have enough trouble of its own.” So He sort of anticipates, “You’re going to have trouble, in some way or another, almost every day.” If you’re trying to understand the headlines tomorrow, you’re going to miss the paper today. Don’t worry about tomorrow. It’s got plenty of problems of its own. I need help for today. So you have that cruciality.

Acts 2 is a pivot. You know, wait for it. Not many days from now, they’re gathered in the Upper Room, He’s already– in the passage that we’re going to review today, in Acts 1, He’s already talked about the Holy Spirit coming upon them. When the Holy Spirit comes at the day of Pentecost, everything changes. And in fact, to show you how much of a pivot that is, back in John 7, Jesus said, “This He spake of the Spirit, whom He had not yet given, because He had not yet been glorified.” There’s something about the glorification of Christ that is a prerequisite to the sending of the Spirit in the way that He’s going to do that on the day of Pentecost that was not ever the total experience of an Old Testament saint. The Spirit came and went on people in the Old Testament like clothing put off and put on. But in Romans 8, if you don’t have the Spirit, you’re not His. Since the day of Pentecost, the indwelling ministry—”for we have all been baptized into one body by the Spirit”—when you became a part of the body of Christ, you were baptized by the Spirit of God in the way God wanted to identify you with Himself. And that’s true of everybody at the point of salvation, according to Corinthians.

And so you may talk about the filling of the Spirit; you may talk about the guidance of the Spirit. But what happens at Acts 2 is pivotal that changes what God did. And that’s why, in 2nd Corinthians 3, he says, “This is what it was like under law. This is what it’s like under the Spirit.” See, “under the Spirit” is distinguished from being Old Testament under law. The Law was written on stones; the Spirit is written on the heart. And so he distinguishes, “That had glory, big time glory.” Boom shakalaka, thunder, lightning, everything from Mt. Sinai, I mean, the Law came boom, big time with great glory. It has no glory compared to the glory of life in the Spirit.

See, you and I– are you ready for this? You and I are living at the best time in human history, as far as the advantage of God in our lives is concerned. Don’t ever wish you could go back, because Paul would tell you it’s better now than it’s ever been. In this period of God’s economy, with the indwelling Spirit, “that God has put the Spirit of His Son in our hearts whereby we can call Him Abba, Father,” the presence of the Spirit of God in your life is an advantage that you have that nobody prior to Pentecost had like you have it. That starts getting pretty exciting when the present tense “now” is to be the best spiritual experience of human history. Now, it’s still not everything, because we’re waiting to see Him face to face; it’ll be better in the future. But it’s the best it’s ever been. And the real question is: do you really believe that, and why don't you see that, and why don't you live that way?

Because we have people all around us in our churches who think, “Wouldn’t it be good if I could go back and be there with Jesus?” You know what Peter said? “We have a more sure word of testimony than even the Transfiguration on Mt. Hermon, when Jesus appears with Moses and Elijah.” Peter says, “We have a more sure word of prophecy to which we do well to pay heed, as to a lamp shining in a dark place.” You have an advantage with the Spirit and the Word in such a way that no saint in all of human history has ever had like that. That ought to boggle your mind, blow your categories, and excite your life. Okay? Some of you look like me, “Really?” [Students Laugh] I’m here to convince you. Be skeptical, be a critic, it’s okay, but we’re gonna get to you. All right.

Number eight: interchange, interchange. Interchange is the alternation of certain elements. Now, listen to me carefully. There is an A B A B pattern or A B C A B C pattern. And there’s also an A B B A, which is an inverted pattern. So we call it a paneling effect or an inverted parallelism effect. They’re both parallel, but one is a paneling and the other’s inversion. For example, in our example in Matthew 6:30, “If God so clothes the grass today,” notice that, “and tomorrow clothes you.” Okay? You have “clothing, clothing” on the outside; you have “today” and “tomorrow,” a time relevance, on the inside. That’s an A B B A pattern.

Now, just for fun– okay? Just for fun. Look at chapter 1 of Luke. Very quickly, grab your Bibles. Luke chapter 1, and let’s look at the purpose statement for the book. Luke is a physician and a historian. If you have a medical background, this is called history and physical, H&P, [Student Laughs] that they do, nursing people are responsible to do or physician’s assistants or the physician himself. What’s your history? What’s your physical? And Luke loves the history and physical of the life of Christ, by the way. But look what he says, verse 1, “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,” those are his sources: historical events, known by people who were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word. So Luke has done his homework. It says, “it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order,” don’t miss that, “O most excellent Theophilus; so you may know the exact truth about the things you’ve been taught.” Luke, by the way, is primarily an assurance document. He’s writing for a Greek-speaking person. So here is Luke, a physician and historian, writing for a Greek person, and hence the Greek people, a book that will give them assurance about what they have learned about Christ. Now, we’re going to see the second volume in our work today with Acts chapter 1, as you looked at the context. There’s a former treatise—that’s Luke—and then this book, which is Acts. But here in Luke, consecutive order.

Now turn over to chapter 3 and look at verse 21, chapter 3 and verse 21. “Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized. While He was praying, heaven was opened. The Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in You I’m well-pleased.’” Great passage for the Trinity, by the way. You have the Father in heaven speaking, you have the Son on earth being baptized, and you have the Spirit descending. That’ll tell you that a Jesus-only theology doesn’t work. Okay? There are three members of the Godhead, not one. And so you have the Father in heaven, the Son on earth, and the Spirit descending.

My son asked me– he’s pretty inquisitive. He’s a teacher and a coach now, but when he was young, he said, “Dad, is Jesus God?’ I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Well, how can He be in heaven and be baptized at the same time?” That was his first question about the Trinity. And we had fun going passage by passage to show the uniqueness of all three members of the Trinity.

But I have a problem here. Who baptized Jesus?

Students: John the Baptist.

Instructor: John the Baptizer. If you’re a Baptist, you wanna say “Baptist.” But if you’re not a Baptist, you want to say “John the Baptizer.” [Students Laugh] All right? Some of you, “I never thought about that one.” Okay, that’s another question. [Students Laugh] Now look at chapter 3 and verse 20; go back one verse. “Herod also added this to them: that he locked John up in prison.” What happened when John was locked up in prison over at Machaerus? Why was he put in prison?

Student: Because he rebuked Herod.

Instructor: Yeah, for rebuking Herod of his immorality of stealing his brother’s wife. And John [sic Herod] puts him in prison, and then you have Herodias and the daughter, you know, dance before– what do you get? “We want John’s head on a platter.” John dies in prison.

Student: Mm hmm.

Instructor: He doesn’t get out of prison. But in 3:20, he’s in prison where he’s gonna die; in 3:21, he’s baptizing Jesus. Ah! The Bible says this is in consecutive order, so there’s an error in the book of Luke. That’s what the unbelieving critic would say. [Student Laughs] “See, it contradicts itself. It says it’s in consecutive order. That’s not consecutive order; therefore, the Bible’s wrong.”

Now, here’s why this law of composition is so helpful. If you’re from the States– and some of you are not, and that’s okay. I couldn’t name your emperors in your country, but in the United States, we have presidents. If I was asking you to put the presidents in order, and let’s go backwards in consecutive order. We have Barack Obama; before that we had?

Students: George Bush.

Instructor: George Bush Jr. okay? George W. Bush, they called him “43.” Between him and his dad was?

Student: Bill Clinton.

Instructor: Bill Clinton, who had two terms. And then number 41, as they called him affectionately within the family (you know, in the staff), they called him 41, which is the older Bush, and the younger Bush they called 43. I had a lady who worked for me who worked for both Bush Administrations. And that was a lot of fun to see the inside scoop and get to go to the White House and see the Oval Office and so forth when I was there once.

And then before George Bush Sr. was?

Students: Reagan.

Instructor: Reagan. Now, if I said, “Give them to me in consecutive order starting with Reagan,” I could go that way.

Student: Mm hmm.

Instructor: I could do it in reverse consecutive order going backwards. But then if I ask you, “Give it to me in age order.” Reagan, George Bush, Sr., and then I got to figure that out and go do some research to find out who’s older—you know, Bush, Clinton, etc. All right? If I said, “Give me it in the consecutive order, based upon their birth in states—what’s their home state in which they were born?” that would be a different list. All of those are in consecutive order.

But now let me tell you how Luke is put together. In the opening four chapters of Luke, and really the whole book of Luke, you have an announcement of John gonna be born, and then you have an announcement of Jesus going to be born. Then you have the birth of John, then you have the birth of Jesus. Now, watch this. Then you have the ministry of John, and the last part of it is he’s in prison. Then you have the ministry of Jesus, and you have this John/Jesus cycle: A B A B A B. Ironically, who kills John the Baptist? Who orders his death?

Students: Herod.

Instructor: Herod. And, at the end of the life of Christ, you’re going to have a Herod who is going to order the death of Jesus. So you have this incredible parallel: John the Baptist is the prophet of the Most High; Jesus is the Son of the Most High. John’s birth was miraculous—old couple. [Laughs] You know, Zacharias, I love what he says: “I’m old, but my wife is advanced in years.” That’s politically correct language, [Students Laugh] for a high priest. “I’m old; she’s just advanced,” okay? But God blesses an old couple with a baby. But how about Jesus’ birth? No man at all. You know, it’s a virgin birth, miraculous conception. This is with human insemination; this is with divine insemination. This is the product of the Holy Spirit of God. Watch this: John was– had the Holy Spirit before he was ever born, while in the womb. [Laughs] If you really do your theology, Jesus was never devoid of the Spirit; He’s always been the second person of a three-person Trinity. And He has been born– not just filled with the Spirit, He was birthed by the Spirit. So, that John/Jesus cycle is to compare them but to contrast them. And John is great. He’s the best born among women, the Bible says. But even the best born among women is least in the kingdom of God. And when you understand Jesus is the King of the kingdom, no comparison at all. The best of humanity with the best of deity, no, there’s no– there’s– you’re not even on the same chart with that one. So this law of alternation, this interchange is a phenomenal tool to pay attention to in Scripture, because you’ll often have an A B A B or an A B C D A B C D paneling, or you may have this inverted chiasm.

I preached Sunday at the church I used to pastor down in Desoto, Texas and showed them what I’ll show you later in the course, which is a unity of a passage of Scripture based upon this inverted parallelism, which is like an X. We call it a chiasm in Greek studies because of the letter X or chi in Greek. The unity of what God is doing in a passage where you have these verbal and mental echoes is just phenomenal that we’re discovering throughout Scripture. And the very attacks against the Pentateuch in the book of Isaiah are solved by an understanding of the law of interchange—as great passages of unity, not disparity, as the liberal critic would say.

Video 3. Laws of Literary Composition Part 3

Mark Bailey

Particularization and generalization: moving from the general to the specific. Notice, He gives you the general. “Don’t be anxious about your life.” And then He goes to the specific, “what you will wear, what you will drink, what you will put on,” so life at its maximum, and then the parts of it: generalization, particularization.

Now, let me give you a fun one. Look at the beginning of chapter 6. Look at the beginning of chapter 6 in Matthew. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them. Otherwise, you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” Practicing righteousness in front of people—that’s the general introduction. Then He gives you three particular examples: fasting, almsgiving, and praying. The right and the wrong ways, or the wrong and the right ways, to pray, fast, or giving alms. So, don’t practice your righteousness before men. Get alone with God and do it before Him, “and He who sees you in secret will reward you in heaven.” Now look back at chapter 5 and verse 16. This is where context is everything. “Let your light so shine before men in such a way they’ll see your good works.” Now, Matthew 5:16 says “Let it be out there so everybody sees it.” Chapter 6 verse 1 says, “Don’t do it out there so people see it.” Now, do I do it in front of people, or do I not do it in front of people? The answer is yes. [Students Laugh] What’s the difference between 5:16 and 6:1? Why are you doing it?

Students: Right. The heart.

Instructor: As a testimony, or is it to get applause? Do I do good works because I should do good works, or do I do good works so I can tell you I did good works? Motive is the difference. This is why context is everything. Same thing you have in the same passage right before our central passage here in Matthew 6. He says, “Don’t store up your treasures on earth, where moths, thieves, and rust can destroy.” But Proverbs says, “If you don’t leave an inheritance to your grandkids, you’re a fool.” How do I not store it up and still give it to the second generation? That’s the delicate balance, and it’s the heart that makes the difference. The more you study the Scriptures, the more you’re gonna find out that balance and motive, balance and motive are critical issues to keep in mind.

Number 10: causation and substantiation. This is the progression from the cause to the effect or from the effect to the cause. He asks a series of questions. One of them: can anxiety add one cubit to your life? Now, whether He’s talking about length of life or whether He’s talking about your height, both have the same answer. Does worry increase your stature or your span of life? It’s a rhetorical question. Does worry help you grow [Laughs] in length or in height? The answer is?

Student: No.

Instructor: No, so why worry? What do you think you’re going to change? In other words, worry doesn’t change anything. That’s His subliminal point; worry doesn’t change anything except negatively affecting yourself. So that’s His causation He’s arguing. In Luke chapter 18, at the end of the parable of the publican and the Pharisee, Jesus says, “Therefore, everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Now, here is the issue: do you want God’s hand under you or on top of you? Do you want Him having to push you down because you’re proud, or do you want Him to be lifting you up in His time because of being humble? So everyone who exalts himself is going to have to be pushed down; everyone who humbles himself will be exalted. Peter picked it up from Jesus and later says, “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due season.” See, humiliation is the first step to exaltation. But self-exaltation is the first step to being divinely humiliated [Laughs] by God.

Let’s go into instrumentation. It’s a means to an end or the end itself. How will lilies of the field and how will grass of the field be taken care of? What’s the instrumentation? God does this. “Your heavenly Father feeds them; your Father clothes them.” So if the Father feeds them and the Father clothes them, what’s the Father going to do for you? [Laughs] He’s going to take care of you. “Who’s in charge of this care?” becomes the question.

John 20:30 and 31, he says there, “Many other signs were done by Jesus in the presence of His disciples. But these are written,” notice, not “done.” These aren’t “done, so that you might believe.” “These are written,” we have the record of those signs to produce faith, “that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you might have life in His name.” So what’s the instrumentation of faith? Where does faith come from? “These are written that you might believe.” Romans 10, “faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of Christ.” Okay, saving faith comes by the message of Christ. Ongoing faith comes by paying attention to the Word. Okay? The record of God’s activities is the instrumentation of faith. And so, what’s the cause and effect? What’s the means (that’s instrumentation), the means by which something happens?

When you watch for these in a passage– a little later in the course, we’re going to dive into Romans 12:2, “Don’t be conformed, but be transformed by renewing of your mind, that you may prove that which is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.” What’s the instrumentation? What’s the means by which somebody discerns the will of God and knows that it’s good for them? See, what’s the instrumentation of all of that? It’s the renewing of the mind. It’s the renewing of the mind. How does transformation get effected? By the renewing of the mind. That’s the law of instrumentation. That’s going to make the difference in your Christian life.

Explanation: an idea and event with its significance. Why should you not worry? When you’re worrying, what are you really thinking? If I’m anxious that something isn’t going to happen or something is gonna happen, what am I, in essence, saying?

Student: How am I gonna do it?

Student 2: That I’m in control.

Instructor: That I’m in trouble and I’m out of control, and I’d like to be in control. See? Mickey Rivers played baseball for the Texas Rangers. And years ago there was a classic statement. Mickey Rivers, in his Texas wisdom, said, “If you ain’t got it under control, there’s no sense worrying ‘cause you ain’t got it under control. If you have it under control, then there ain’t no sense worrying ‘cause you have it under control.” [Laughs] There’s some logic to that baseball player’s thinking. Okay? And the point is, if you can control it, you don’t need to worry about it. If you can’t control it, why worry about it, because you can’t control it? But in relationship with God, what does the text say? What’s the explanation for why not to worry? God knows what you need.

So where should your concern be? Not with what you have or don’t have. And in the context, what you don’t have, your concern would be, “What does God want me to be concerned about?” And that’s seeking first the kingdom and His righteousness. And ironically, people, in 60 years of my living, [Students Laugh] I have never met a saint who had God’s interest first who was a worrywart. The antidote for being a worrywart is putting God’s kingdom at the front burner of your life, because that gives you a perspective. It’s a trust factor; it’s a faith factor; it’s a confidence factor; it’s a hope factor. All right? Explanation/analysis.

Let’s go on. Point 13: preparation or introduction. See, He starts this whole thing, “You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve God and money.” That’s your introduction to this whole thing. Now, watch this: He gives you just a few verses on the danger of having too little. And He gives you a lot of verses on the worrying about wanting more– I’m sorry, the danger of having too much. What’s the danger of storing things up, and what’s the danger of worrying about what you don’t have in store? [Laughs] That’s the two parts of this. But what began this whole thing is, “You cannot serve God and mammon,” or “God and money.” “Mammon” is an Aramaic word for anything of value. Why not? Why can’t you serve God and money? Because they have two different motives with regard to money. If you’re going to serve money, then you’re going to want to get money. If you’re going to serve God and have money, you’re going to want to give. One is: how do you use money as a channel of ministry? The other is: how do you have a boxed-in canyon of gratification, that I want it all poured onto me? They demand an opposite loyalty, because you’ll love one and hate the other, or you’ll cling to one and despise the other. Different passage of the New Testament explain that issue. If you go into ministry to get money, you will abuse people. If you go in ministry to serve God, money will just be a part of the process. The danger of having the wrong master, because each of those masters demand a different loyalty. The worship of God and gold is mutually exclusive. It’s mutually exclusive. You cannot serve both. They demand opposite loyalties.

Daniel: tell me the story of Daniel chapter 1, very quickly. Who remembers the story of Daniel 1, and what difference does that make to the rest of the book? What’s the issue in Daniel 1? Daniel and his buddies– and unfortunately, are you ready for this? We know them by their Babylonian names, not by their Israeli names. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: those are names after pagan gods. Why have our Sunday school teachers had us memorize [Students Laugh] the pagan names of these guys rather than the ones that had Yahweh as a part of their names? The subtlety of the enemy—isn’t it amazing? Even our Sunday school literature teaches us to emphasize the wrong things.

But the question is: Daniel and the boys are taken over in Babylon, okay? Early. They’re put in training, and the question of chapter one (watch this) is: can God take care of a couple of Jewish boys in a Babylonian court system, where they’re getting trained, tested, and inspected as to whether or not they’ll be fit for the kingdom? “Do we do it Babylon’s way? Do we do it God’s way?” becomes the question. Now, why is that a great introduction to the rest of the book of Daniel? Because the first half of Daniel is: what will be the experience of the Jewish people under Babylonian rule? And what will be– the second half of the book is: what will be the experience of the Jewish people under Medo-Persian rule? Can God take care of Daniel in the lion’s den (is chapter 6)? Can God take care of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace (chapter three)? Can God take care of Israel when Gentile powers are in charge? That’s the book of Daniel. And Daniel says, “It starts with Babylon; it’ll go Medo-Persia; it’ll go Greece; it’ll go Rome. There’ll be a revived Rome, there’ll be an end-time period.” Can God take care of Israel in the big picture of Gentile domination throughout history? The answer is yes. How do we know that? Look at chapter 1. Chapter 1 with the food and the training with the three, Daniel and the boys, is a set-up for the rest of the theology of the book. It’s an introduction. Okay?

Video 4. Laws of Literary Composition Part 4

Mark Bailey

Summarization: it’s an abridgement or a compendium. The “therefore” factors; watch for the “therefore, therefore, therefore.” He’s giving you a conclusion or a summary. “Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for today.” So you’ve got three “therefore”s that tie that passage together. In Joshua, if you wanted the Reader’s Digest version of the book of Joshua, read chapter 12 and read chapter 24. Chapter 12 is a summary of chapters 1 to 11. Chapter 24 is a summary of chapters 13–23. Because what you have there is the conquest in the first half of the book, and then the settlement in the second half of the book. And so you get a good summary statement. That’s the law of summarization.

Number 15, the law of interrogation: the use of question and answer, Q&A. Let me give you– did you catch? There are six questions in this little passage. Six questions; most of them are rhetorical, as biblical questions often are. “Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” What’s the right answer to that? “Yes.” [Laughter] “Aren’t you more valuable than the flowers, the lilies, and the grass?” “Yes.” “Does worrying help you?” “No.” “Why are you anxious about clothing?” “I don’t know.” [Laughter] “Won’t He much more clothe you?” “I guess.” [Students Laugh] “What should we eat, what should we drink, what should we wear?” Those aren’t the best questions. [Students Laugh] See, there’s humor through the Scriptures as well—humor. When everybody leaves, He looks at the disciples and goes, “You guys going, too?” That’s a question you want Him to ask you. [Students Laugh] “Will you too go away?” Peter goes, “To whom shall we go? You have the words of Spirit and life.”

“Where are you, Adam?” [Laughs] You know, “I’m hiding from the omniscient God [Students Laugh] who is omnipresent in the garden.” To use Garfield cartoon response: “fat chance” to hide from God. “What have you done?” [Laughs] “Why are You asking that?” It’s like a parent asking a child, “What did you do?” My oldest, who’s now a worship pastor in Fort Worth, when he was about six– earlier than that, probably four, he took an orange marker and decided to have artwork on the sheets of his bed and the wall of his bedroom—permanent orange marker, I might add. So his mom decided to wait ‘til Dad got home to deal with this whole thing. So when I confronted him, I asked what I call “the stupid parent question” that I never want God to ask me, but I want to know for my kids, and that is, “Why did you do that?” [Students Laugh] As if there’s a logical [Students Laugh] explanation for a disobedient response. “Because I just wanted to draw.” No. [Laughter] And he, “[Sniffs] I don’t know.” You know, if God would ask you, “Why are you being so stupid?” “I don’t know. [Laughter] I just am.” Those great questions parents ask when we already know the answers.

But why do we ask those questions? “What have you done? What did you do?” It’s like there’s cookies all over the mouth; the cookie jar is open, and “What have you been eating?” You know what they’ve been eating, so why do you ask the question? Because you want them to confess. And by the way, that confession is agreeing with God, saying the same thing– ὁμολογέω [homologeo], “saying the same thing.” Confession is saying the same thing as God says. So it’s not that God lost Adam. “Uh oh. Where’d he go? Big garden, I lost him. Where’d he go?” No, it’s a rhetorical question in a relationship. It’s not that He doesn’t know; it’s a way of using a question to surface a response so that we know.

Let me give you a classic one: Romans chapter 6. The outline of Romans 6 is two major questions, two leading questions. Romans chapter 6:1, on the basis of “where sin abounded, grace much more abounded” in chapter 5, he says this, “So what should we say then? Should we continue to sin that grace may abound?” Now, let me put that in modern terminology: if it’s so fun to kiss and make up with your spouse once you’ve had a fight, should we keep on fighting so we can keep on kissing? [Student Laughs] Now, the logic of that is pretty stupid, because every time you have a fight, you’re tearing away at the relationship, not building up the relationship. And so– but because making up is so great, let’s have more fights, right? I don’t think that works well. And Jesus said– and God said, “God forbid,” μὴ γένοιτο [me genoito]—basically, “may it never be,” optative mood of the Greek tense– or optative mood of the text. It’s inconsistent with who you are. You have died with Christ; you are risen with Christ. To keep on sinning as a believer is inconsistent with your position in Christ. That’s the first half of the chapter. Well, that’s a present tense. “Shall we continue to sin that grace may abound?”

Second half of the chapter is an aorist tense question, “Well, can I sin once? Can I commit a sin because I’m no longer under law but under grace?” And the answer is the same: “God forbid,” as the English translators often put it. “May it never be.” Why? Because that’s inconsistent with a practice of Christ. One is inconsistent with your identity; the second is inconsistent with having a genuine relationship. Why? Because sin always kills: “the wages of sin is death.” Death to what? Death to a relationship, death to communion, death to fellowship. If I’m not a believer, it ultimately is eternal death is the separation. But in the temporal judgment, it’s always a death experience because it’s the absence of a life of Christ. It’s the absence of a life experience. Don’t take “death” and “being breathless.” Okay? “Death” means “separation,” and it can be a separation of a good relationship; it can be a separation of the body from the soul in physical death. It can be the separation from God and a soul for eternity; that’s spiritual death. That’s why Romans 6:23– let’s see, Romans 3:23, 6:33, “for the wages (is it 6:23? 6:23)– the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” To sin at all is inconsistent with life in Christ. So those two questions form the outline of Romans chapter 6. Watch Jesus’ use of questions. He’s a master teacher with questions.

Number 16: harmony. Harmony: this is unity by means of agreement. This is beautiful. In the passage in Matthew: birds sewing and reaping. Okay? Did you catch that? Planting and harvesting imagery. That’s the birds. How about the lilies? Now, birds, the question was eating. So what’s your illustration? Sewing and reaping, it’s a food illustration. Lilies is a clothing illustration. So what’s His illustration?

Student: Clothing is–

Instructor: Sitting at the spinning wheel. See, they don’t spin; they don’t toil or spin yet God clothes them. So that’s the law of harmony, where your illustration is in keeping with the lesson type of a thing.

Another great one is this is in Luke. In the middle of Luke—right in the middle of the great travelogue, you’re in the end of chapter 13 and the beginning of chapter 14 in Luke—you have a woman who is bent over with a demonic spirit. She’s bound– you ready for this? She’s bound by a spirit, like having a bundle on her back. The illustration is loosing an animal from their burden on the Sabbath. The next illustration that’s parallel to that is a man who has a water problem. He has hydrocephalic issues; he’s got dropsy, as it’s called, which is probably like hydrocephalic syndrome, where you’re got water swelling the head. And the illustration about the Sabbath is: don’t you get an animal out of the ditch if he falls in the ditch. It’s a water safety illustration. So His confrontation of a woman, with them objecting to Him healing a woman on the Sabbath, both are Sabbath controversies. “Wouldn’t you help an animal on the Sabbath with their burden? Are you upset that I’m helping a person with their burden, demonic burden? Wouldn’t you get your animal out of the water ditch on the Sabbath? Are you upset I’m getting this man out of his water problem on the Sabbath?” See, that’s the harmony, which is terrific.

Now, harmony may not only be in the literary comparison, but harmony also may be in terms of the total book harmony. We have a harmony of the Gospels where we’re comparing between Gospels. We have a harmony in the Old Testament where we’re comparing between the Kings’ account and the chronicler’s account, where they’re parallel. So the law of harmonization is an emphasis or a de-emphasis– I’m sorry, it’s unity by means of agreement. “This is taught here and it’s taught here.” There’s harmony between these texts. The law of harmony.

Proportion, the law of proportion, finally: it’s the emphasis or de-emphasis by the amount of material. The emphasis or the de-emphasis, based upon the amount of material. We already talked about this, but there’s only three verses that deal with the danger of having too much. That’s usually not our problem of having too much money. Our problem is usually we don’t think we have enough. And so He gives nine verses on the anxiety of having too little. One is a de-emphasis by means of proportion; the other is an emphasis.

Genesis 1 to 11: you have thousands of years in Genesis 1 to 11; you have only four generations in chapters 12–50. So he goes from like this: here’s the beginning of human history; here’s the beginning of Hebrew history. See, 1–11 is the beginning of human history; 12 to 50 is the beginning of Hebrew history. How does God take a man, build a family, and get him ready for a nation? And Exodus says, 400 years later, they had grown into a nation that God could redeem.

So that’s the law of proportion. Now let me give you a fun one. How many chapters are there in the book of Numbers? Numbers.

Student: 36?

Instructor: 36. Numbers covers 40 years of Israel’s history: a year at Sinai, a year at Moab, and 38 years in between. Guess how many chapters he gives to that 38 years of wilderness wandering out of 36 chapters? Five. God doesn’t think a whole lot about disobedience. [Laughs] Wilderness wandering: 5 chapters. A year at the beginning and a year at the end: 31 chapters. That’s called the law of proportion. “Where do we spend the bulk of time?” becomes a question. Where does God spend the bulk of His time in the explaining?

Mark’s Gospel: one week of a four-, three- to four-year ministry of the life of Christ comprises one third of the book. When you hit chapter 11–16, those six chapters out of 16 chapters, a third of the book, deals with seven days in the life of Christ. Ten chapters, approximately, deal with three years or four years. The passion narrative is a very emphasized section of Mark’s Gospel. In comparison to Luke, that would be like taking eight chapters of Luke’s Gospel (because he has 24 chapters), eight chapters, a third of that book being– so you’d go back eight chap– that’d be like starting the final week of Christ’s life at about chapter 13, 14, 15 in Luke’s Gospel. In John, of 21 chapters, the passion narrative takes up about 3. It’s not the emphasis; it’s there, but it’s not the highlight emphasis of the Gospel. In fact, in John’s Gospel, out of 21 chapters, five chapters (the Upper Room discourse) is one night. So almost a fourth of the book is one night in the experience of Jesus’ disciples, but that night was so important as a night of instruction and prayer that he [Sucks in Air] that’s called the law of proportion, the law of proportion.