Conversations about specific texts, filled with arcs, brackets, phrases, word studies, etc.

Psalm 86:8-10

So here’s a nagging question that I have had: Why is there not a label for a Ground-Inference-Ground arc? I might call it an Inverse Bilateral.

Psalm 86:8-10 seems like a perfect candidate. Because verse 10 is a restatement of verse 8, it does not seem accurate to arc 8-9 together, grounded by 10. Nor 9-10 together as an inference from 8.

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Matthew 18:15-20

Jesus Christ himself has given the local church the authority to remove unrepentantly sinning members out of the church.

There are several passages of Scripture that help us build a correct theology of what is often called church discipline. They include this passage, Galatians 6:1-5, 1 Corinthians 5, and 2 Corinthians 2:5-11. I will make a forum post on each passage, and I hope we can have some edifying discussion on this often controversial and always difficult topic.

In 15a-b, Jesus describes the sin itself.

You need to be prepared with what you should do when you are sinned against because whoever you are, you are in a church filled with sinners. The question is not “Will another Christian sin against me?” but “How should I respond when another Christian sins against me?”

And the sin Jesus describes here is a believer who sins against you. (We won’t talk about the textual variant here, which opens the possibility that this passage describes not just a sin against an individual, but the committing of a serious sin in general. That goes beyond the scope of this post.)

In 15c-17d, Jesus prescribes the response to that sin.

The response is given in a Neg-Pos construction, composed of several Conditional relationships. If the brother listens, the problem is solved! But if not, there are three steps to follow, each of which brings the confrontation to an end if the brother listens.

Notice that our response to the sin is described in a Progression of widening concentric circles, regarding the number of people involved: first an individual approach, then taking one or two more, and finally getting the whole church involved.

If the church member refuses to repent when the whole church is forced to get involved, then the church is to treat that member “as a Gentile and a tax collector.” That is, they are to treat him as an unbeliever. He must be removed from membership, and treated like a lost person. Not with harshness or enmity, but with love and compassion! But not as we would speak to and fellowship with a Christian.

In 18-20, Jesus reveals the basis for his commands about sin.

Jesus has not completely changed topics here! Cf. Matthew 16:19 with v. 18 to see this.

There are two parts to this basis, both of which describe the breathtaking, heavenly authority of the church. Both regard an action of the corporate body of the church: Binding and loosing (18) and praying (19-20).

In the Jewish religion of Jesus’ day, binding and loosing had to do with declaring something permitted or forbidden. And our responsibility as the church is to declare from Scripture what church members are and are not permitted to do.

And when we compare this verse with Matthew 16:19, we can also see that the church has a God-given authority to admit or exclude people from Heaven! Not that you or I have the power to save people or not let them be saved; rather, God has given to the church His inspired Word, which He gave through the apostles as the foundation of the church. And the job is to look at what Scripture says about salvation, and based on that, to pronounce people as “saved” or “unsaved.”

This impacts church membership, doesn’t it? When a church votes on allowing someone to join or not, they are looking at their claim to be Christians, seeing if it matches with their life according to Scripture, and then putting their stamp of approval on them or not. That church is not making them Christians, any more than the government of the U.S. makes you an American when they give you an American passport! They are recognizing the pre-existing fact of your citizenship and declaring it. That’s exactly what the church does when it accepts members, and the opposite when it disciplines members.

So as far as church membership is concerned, the church must act when members live in ways that are disobedient to the apostolic writings, given to us by the Spirit of Jesus Himself. If a professing Christian who is a member of your church proves by the way that he or she lives that they prominently are characterized by the way unbelievers live, what must your church do? It must revoke their passport; it must remove them from membership. But this is not arrogant, for Jesus Himself gives us this authority!

Finally, verses 19-20 are astounding verses when we apply them in their context. The “two or three” refers to members of a church who are “gathered” to make a decision about binding and loosing.

So when the church stands up from their knees and says, “We can no longer affirm this member’s profession of faith, so we are going to exclude him from membership,” verse 20 says that Jesus fully endorses that decision! Hear this carefully: If a church seeks to follow Matthew 18 in removing someone from membership, following the steps Jesus gave and which I described earlier, but the sinning member refuses to repent, and if the church prays about it and seeks to obey Jesus’ words and they say, “We remove you from membership,” that is God’s voice saying, “I remove you from membership.” In such cases, the church speaks with the voice of God, and with God’s authority fully supporting that decision.

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Titus 2:11-15

I updated the published page to reflect your feedback Brent. I agree with the Action/Manner you suggested in the arc… that’s part of how God sustains our obedience and willingness to suffer in this life is BY looking to our reward and our glorious future. Basically 1 Peter chapter 1.

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Asking and answering doctrinal questions with specific passages, carefully studied.

Do christians speak in tongues today?

As an interesting aside, when the gift of tongues reappeared within the primitive pentecostal movement, it was almost universally claimed that it was xenoglossy (i.e., the speaking of actual preexisting human languages like Mandarin, German, etc.), such that the early Pentecostals sent out missionaries without taking the time to learn the native tongue of those they were ministering to. Today, most who speak in tongues don’t speak xenoglossy, but something else altogether. Personally, I view tongues as actual human languages as in Acts 2:10-11.

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Acts 2:38

Hey all, I’m new to Bibleαrc, but I am really loving it. I’ve been studying Acts 2:38 this week, and I have a few questions that you may be able to shed some light on. First, how likely is it that the phrase “in the name of Jesus Christ” modifies both verbs (i.e., repent, be baptized)? Second, in the phrase μετανοήσατε φησὶν καὶ βαπτισθήτω the two verbs are in numerical discord since “repent” is a plural and and the “be baptized” is singular. Some interpreters have observed this and argued that “Be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ” is a parenthetical comment. I’d don’t agree with that because of the adjective and plural pronoun that follows it seems to grammtically mitigate its force as a singular giving both verbs a plural force. However, why is “be baptized” singular? I can’t figure that one out. It seems really abnormal to me. Thanks!

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Do We Need Systematic Theology?

@Anthonycburrell said in Do We Need Systematic Theology?:

I believe that the term “main point” comprehends but does not exhaust. Therefore, I believe that it is fair to say that the main point of Scripture is salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

That description of a “main point” is fair enough, and I agree with your definition thus described! Your description of the goal of God’s work of salvation being God’s glory is spot-on.

Your point helps emphasize that God didn’t give us a book merely to educate us, or fascinate us, but to save us.

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Paraphrase course; Lesson four (step 3) words that connect ideas connection word list

Brandon, here is a reference sheet of English conjunctions from the Arcing Course. It is not an exhaustive list but it is quite thorough. The middle symbol for each item is a specific label used for arcing/bracketing. For the sake of the Paraphrase Course, simply note that the symbols S, A, and P are all Parallel connections, while all the rest are Supporting connections.

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Course recommendations

Arcing/bracketing helped with determining what the main argument is. There is some overlay of the study methods. So the main-point in bracketing is often also the main argument in phrasing. Arcing/bracketing helped in how to arrange some of the phrases like a -/+ relationship. - If that does not make sense - don’t worry you’ll pick it all up eventually.

I usually do arcing and phrasing on all the passages I study. Depending on time though, I’m way more fluent in arcing and use it when there is limited time.

And yes, some methods are better for certain passages. Basically, a passage from Paul is usually focusing on arguments - hence phrasing. A narrative in the gospels is often a sequence of events - so arcing is a good choice. Having said that, I find that phrasing does the best job in visualizing any text.

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Get guidance for using the Biblearc toolbox. (And request new features.)

How should we arc what John Piper calls 'evidence'?

Thank you for all the feedback!

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περὶ τοῦ λόγου "πεποίθησις"

Thanks for bringing that to our attention, Jordan! And I’m glad you like the app so much; that’s encouraging!

Submitting mistakes like that here is fine (unless we create a separate category for reporting errors). You could also send an e-mail to

Anyway, the error has been fixed - thanks again for reporting it.

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Phrasing vs Arcing/Bracketing - Text Sizes

Great Question!
I would not agree with your assessment for a few reasons…
Arcing/Bracketing are quite useful with smaller portions - anything with 2 or more propositions. I have often pulled just a verse or two out of a larger arc simply to highlight a single logical relationship.

Phrasing can be useful for larger passages. In my own experience, I have regularly phrased whole chapters, in fact this is often the first step in my sermon preparation. (My phrase often gets tweaked as my study progresses.)

I agree that Arcing/Bracketing does work well with a large, extended passage of multiple chapters. This is called macro-arcing and requires that you condense closely related propositions into single units, otherwise the arc gets unwieldy and the larger thought flow lost in the details. I’ve not tried to Phrase such a long passage, but suspect it can be done in the same manner– that is, by condensing closely knit phrases together.

The main difference I see is that Phrasing emphasizes the grammatical relationships, while Arcing/Bracketing emphasizes the logical relationships. I say, “emphasize,” because, of course, grammar and logic are closely related.

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Quienes no deben ser acusados de disolucion y rebeldia, los hijos o los ancianos?

@Sebastián-Winkler Muchas gracias, creo que es correcto pues en timoteo 3 se precisa mejor.

Dios te bendiga.

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Colosenses 3:1–4

El Lugar más Seguro en el Universo

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Directrices para Publicar en el Foro

Se apropiado
No te desvíes, mantente en el tema que está siendo tratado.

Se bíblico
Basa tus argumentos teológicos en proposiciones específicas de las Escrituras, no en tus sentimientos, lo que su santificada tía Clarita te dijo o lo que dice un pastor famoso.

Se civilizado
Siéntete libre de expresar desacuerdo (incluso desacuerdo apasionado) con cualquier tema teológico que alguien exprese aquí, pero siempre permanece dentro de los límites de la civilidad cristiana.

Se doxológico
Recuerda que tu objetivo no debe ser meramente la teología e interpretación correctas, sino la teología e interpretación correctas que dan gloria a Dios.

Se edificante
Que tu meta sea la edificación de los demás miembros del foro haciendo sugerencias, respondiendo preguntas, dando comentarios constructivos, etc.

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  1. Be Appropriate
    Don’t try to hijack a comment thread, but keep your comments on-topic.
  2. Be Biblical
    Base your theological arguments on specific propositions of Scripture, not on your feelings, what your sainted Aunt Millie told you, or what a famous pastor says.
  3. Be Civil
    Feel free to express disagreement (even passionate disagreement) with anything theological that anyone says here, but always remain within the boundaries of Christian civility.
  4. Be Doxological
    Remember that your aim must not merely be correct theology and interpretation, but correct theology and interpretation that brings glory to God.
  5. Be Edifying
    Aim at building up your fellow forum members by making suggestions, answering questions, giving constructive feedback, and so on.