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By   E.W. Bullinger 



We will give an example of each kind: premising (1) that 1- indicates the first part of a verse, -1 the latter part, 

and -1- a middle part; (2) that all the larger members have their own special Structures, in which the

  Correspondences of each may be expanded and exhibited.

We give the examples from the Psalms because they are not encumbered with the human chapter divisions.

Simple Alternation.

Psalm xix.

A | 1-4-. The Heavens.
    B| -4, 6. In them "The Sun."
A| 7-10. The Scriptures.
    B| 11-14. In them "Thy Servant."

Repeated Alternation.

Psalm cxlv.

A1| 1, 2. Praise promised. From me, to Jehovah Himself.
     B1|  3. Praise offered.
A2| 4-7. Praise promised. From others and me for Jehovah's works.
     B2| 8, 9. Praise offered.
A3| 10-12. Praise promised. From others, and His works, for Jehovah's kingdom.
     B3| 13-20. Praise offered.
A4| 21. Praise promised from me and others, to Jehovah Himself.

Introversion and Extended Alternation Combined.

Psalm cv.

A| 1-7. Exhortation to praise.
       B| 8-12. Basis of praise. Covenant in promise.
               C a |13. Their journeyings.. d ~ 17-22. 
                         b | 14, 15. Their prosperings
                                c | 16. Their affliction
                                      d | 17-22 Mission of deliverance Joseph.

              C a | 23. Their journeyings. 
                       b | 24. Their prosperings.
                           c | 25. Their affliction.
                              d | 26-41. Mission of deliverance. Moses and Aaron
       B | 42-45-. Basis of praise. Covenant performed. 
A | -45. Exhortation to praise.

In order to discover the structure of a particular passage it is necessary that we begin to read the portion

of Scripture very carefully, and note the subject. We mark it


 A | -.

We read on until the subject changes, and we note and indent it thus


    B | -.

So far there can be no difficulty. But when we come to the next change we may find either a third subject, in which case we must further indent it and mark it C | -, or, we shall find the first subject again
(as in Ps. xix. above). If it be the latter, then we know that we are going to find an alternation, 
(and this, either simple as in Ps. xix. above, or repeated as in Ps. cxlv. above), and we must mark it A | -
and put it beneath the A | -. If it is a repetition of the second subject, then we know that it is going to be an Introversion, and must mark it B | - and place it under the B | -.

Let us take, as a working example, "The Prophecy of Zacharias," in Luke i. 68-79 ; this being a passage
of Scripture complete in itself, and not a human or arbitrary division. We read verse 68 with the object of finding and noting its subjects:-" Blessed be the Lord God of Israel ; for he hath visited and redeemed his people." Here, the subject may be either " Visited " or " Redeemed. " So we give the place of honour to the former of these two words, and write it down, thus :

A | 68. Visitation.

We then read the next verse, "And hath raised up a horn, of salvation, for us in the house of his servant David." Here there can be no doubt that the subject is Salvation. This we must mark "B," and set it down, indented,  thus

    B 169. Salvation.

So far all is clear. But we know not, as yet, what the subject of the third member is to be. If it is Visitation we must set it down under " A " and mark it with an italic "A." Then we read slowly on:-"As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began." It is manifest that we have, as yet, no repetition of either of the subjects in "A" or "B." If it had been that of "A," it would be a Simple or Repeated Alternation. If it had been that of "B," we should know that it was going to be an Introversion. But, it is a fresh subject, which is clearly, "Prophets." So we must mark it " C," and write it down, indenting it still more, thus

        C | 70. Prophets.

Even now, there is nothing to tell us what the Structure is going to be. So far as we can see, it may be an Extended Alternation by the repetition of "A," "B," and " C " ; or it may be an Introversion to be marked " C," "B," and "A." So we must read on:-" That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us." Here, we still have no Repetition,: but we find a new subject, which is clearly "Enemies." So we must mark it "D," and write down (still further indenting it) thus:

               D | 71. Enemies.

If the subject is a Repetition of any of the above subjects, we know that we are going to have an Alternation of some kind, or an Introversion. So we must still read on:-" To perform the mere promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant." Here, there can be no doubt that we have again a new subject, and that it must be Covenant. So we put it down, as before, and still further indent it, thus

                       E | 72. The Covenant. 

We can now be sure that we are going to have either a very Extended Alternation or an Introversion. So we must still read on, closely scanning every word, in order to get the clue. We find it in the next verse (v. 73) " The oath which he sware to our father Abraham." Here, at length, we get one of our subjects repeated, as we were bound to do before long. It is the subject of "E," where the word " Covenant" is repeated in the synonymous word " Oath," thus indicating the sureness and certainty of the Covenant. We must mark this "E," and write it down under the "E," thus

                       E | 73. The Oath.


   All we have to do now is to read on, and we soon discover that we have an Introversion, of great beauty,  which we may now easily complete and set out, as follows:


The song of Zacharias (Luke i. 68-79).

A | 68. Visitation.
     B | 69. Salvation.
          C | 70. Prophets.
               D | 71. Enemies. 
                    E | 72. The Covenant. 
                    E | 73. The Oath.                                
                D | 74, 75. Enemies.
         C | 76. Prophet. 
     B | 77. Salvation.
A | 78, 79. Visitation.

By practice and observation we shall soon surmount the initial difficulties; and in course of time the
study and formation of structures will become increasingly easy and happy work.

Advantages of Structure 


(a) In telling us what a particular passage of Scripture is all about. In other words, what is the Scope or 
the Subject of the passage we are studying.

(b) This will give us the key to the meaning which we are to put upon the words which are employed 
(as we saw under Canon L).

(c) In a case of doubt, the subject which is clearly stated in one of the members will inform us as to what  it must be in the corresponding member, where it may not be so clearly stated.

(d) As the sense generally reads on from one member to its corresponding member, it will practically place the intervening member or members in a parenthesis. We shall therefore have to read on from "A" to "A" and from "B" to "B," etc., in order to get connected sense, instead of apparent confusion. This may be seen from any of the above examples, especially Ps, cv. But we may append another beautiful example

Hebrews 1,2.

A | 1-2-. God speaking.
       B | i.-2-14. The Son. God. Better than Angels. 
A | ii. 1-4. God speaking.
       B | ii. 5-18. The Son. Man. Lower than Angels.

Here, ch. 2. 1 ("A") reads on from 1. 2- ("A"), and ch. 2. 5 (" B ") reads on from ch. 1. 14 (" B ").

(e) Corroborative evidence is sometimes thus obtained for the support or otherwise of a various reading.


But the chief importance of this branch of our subject lies in the fact that the Structure gives us the Scope, and the Scope will give us the key to the meaning of the words.

It will be interesting if we now apply the principle involved in this our Second Canon to our First Canon,
and to the same passages there considered. We shall thus see how the Structure of the passages which
furnished the several illustrations under Canon I, does indeed give us their Scope: which, in turn, gives us
the meanings of the words in 2 Pet. i. 20, 21 and 1 Pet. iii. 18-20.

(a) " Private interpretation" (2 Pet. i. 20, 21). As the Epistles come to us as a whole, without division into chapters, we must not be guided by these human divisions at all in looking for the Structure; neither may we arbitrarily take a few verses, and say: these form a member by themselves. We mast show that these verses in question stand in their own special place and have their own proper correspondences in the Epistle as a whole. In looking, therefore, for the structure of 2 Pet. i. 20 we must first find the Structure of the whole Epistle, and see where this particular verse comes in; so that we may know of what subject it forms part; and with what other member it has its correspondence.

The 2nd Epistle of Peter as a whole.

(Combined Introversion and Extended Alternation.)

A | i. 1-4. Epistolary. Introduction. Grace and knowledge to be increased. Christ,. "God and Saviour."
         B | i. 5-11. Exhortations and Reasons.
                 C | a | i. 12-15. Peter.
                               b | i. 16-21. Apostles and prophets.
                                    c | ii. The wicked, etc.
                 C | a | iii. 1. Peter.
                             b.| iii. 2. Prophets and apostles. 
                                   c | iii. 3-13. The wicked, etc.
        B | iii. 14-17. Exhortations and reasons.
A | iii. 18. Epistolary. Conclusion. Grace and knowledge to be increased. Christ, "Lord and Saviour."

We thus see that ch. 1. 20 forms part of a larger member (marked "b") which has for its subject "Apostles  and prophets."

This one member (b, i. 16-21) is capable of a wonderful expansion, from which we see that it consists of two distinct parts: Apostolic witness (vv. 16-18); and, the Prophetic word (vv. 19-21).

These two, on careful examination, are seen to have a similar construction : Alternately negative and positive.