Saturday, May 23, 2009

As part of my class on Paul’s letters one of the daily assignments always is to trace the argument of a paragraph in Paul’s letters. Tom Schreiner has a helpful discussion of this in his little book Interpreting the Pauline Epistles, and some readers may have heard John Piper talk about “arcing.”

I have just recently learned about a new website devoted to helping people learn this method of “arcing,” which is essentially diagramming at a paragraph level. It is a graphic portrayal of the logical connections between the different assertions in a text. This is a very helpful tool in paying close attention to the text and seeking to understand the authors intended flow of thought.

This site,, provides video tutorials on this method. If you have some familiarity with the approach I would recommend you go straight to the examples page where you can see someone walk through a text applying the method. Here you can also see how the software at the site works. I was really impressed.

This is a very helpful tool, which will take time but will render rich rewards.

Lastly, here is John Piper discussing why this approach is valuable:


M. Justin Wainscott said...

Thanks Ray...this is very helpful!

Dana said...

I had the privilege to learn arcing from John Piper in college, and then be further tutored by Tom Steller when I was an intern at Bethlehem. Even though I have been less than a fully faithful arcer, it teaches you to read in a much better way and look for relationships in the text like no other method I know of. What a difference it makes! Thanks for this site reference, I didn't know about it, Dr. Ray.