Here are the steps I followed to bracket the whole book of Galatians:
1. Bracket every section of the book in separate tabs, including a summary of the message of each section.
2. Copy and paste the summaries into the Notes tab so you can relate each large bracket to each other, from smallest to largest, writing new summaries as you go.
3. Identify the core proposition of the book.
4. Write a Main Point Summary based on the biggest relationships of the book.
Let’s go through what that looked for me in Galatians, so that you can do this in a book yourself!
I. Original Summaries:
Note: the bolded font indicates the emphasis in the largest bracketing relationship.
1:1-10 - The Galatians must turn away from the perverted gospel because Paul, a God-called apostle, is seeking to please only God.
1:11-24 - The gospel Paul preaches didn’t come from man, because he received it from Jesus Christ, as demonstrated by his God-accomplished conversion and his subsequent lack of communication with the earlier apostles.
2:1-10 - When Paul went to Jerusalem to explain his gospel to the pillars to preserve his ministry, they didn’t add to his gospel but rather gave their blessing to Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles.
2:11-21 - Paul rebuked Peter because he tried to force Gentiles to follow the Jewish law, thus acting contrary to the truth of justification by faith, which glorifies the grace of God and carries out the purpose of Christ’s death.
3:1-14 - The Galatians know from experience and from the Scripture that justification, the blessing of the Spirit, and becoming a true Israelite happens through faith alone.
3:15-29 - God’s people were held captive under the law, but now that Jesus has come, they all experience his promised covenant, becoming his children through faith in Christ.
4:1-11 - God sent his Son and his Spirit into believers’ hearts and so redeemed them from slavery and made them his sons and heirs; how can they throw all that away by returning to slavery?
4:12-20 - The Galatians should become like Paul because they fully trusted him in the past, and because his goal was not to exclude them but to make them Christlike.
4:21-5:1 - The law teaches that since believers are born through promise, set free by Christ, they must stand firm in that freedom.
5:2-12 - Circumcision would sever believers from Christ, because salvation is through faith that works through love; but Paul was confident they would remain in his truth, and that their troublers would be severed from God’s people.
5:13-6:10 - The way to serve each other through love, instead of destroying each other, is to follow the leading of the life-giving, flesh-opposing Spirit (which looks like bearing each other’s burdens and living according to the principle of sowing and reaping).
6:11-18 - It is vital to remember that the cross of Jesus Christ is our only ground of boasting and our only distinguishing mark.
II. Joining of Brackets and New Summaries:
Then I started relating the brackets to each other and writing new summaries. The best way to do this is by opening the entire book in a discourse module, removing verse divisions so that you have each section above as one “proposition” (i.e. 1:1-10, 1:11-24, etc.), and writing your summaries in the “Mine” column. (To save space, turn off the ESV column so you can only see your “Mine” column.)
I joined the following Brackets, in the order given:
1:6-2:21 (Ground) (1:6-9 and 1:10-2:21)
3:1-6:10 (Ac-Res) (3:1-5:1 and 5:2-6:10)
3:1-6:18 (Id-Exp) (3:1-6:10 and 6:11-18)
1:6-6:18 (Neg-Pos) (1:6-2:21 and 3:1-6:18)
1:1-6:18 (Ac-Mn) (1:1-5 and 1:6-6:18)
III. The Core Proposition of the Book"
All this means that 5:2-6:10 is at the heart of the book’s logic. The core of 5:2-6:10 (Id-Exp) is 5:13-6:10 (Ac-Mn). The core of 5:13-6:10 is 5:13-15 (Concessive). The core of 5:13-15 is 5:13b-15b (Neg-Pos). The core of 5:13b-15b is 5:13b-14b (Ground). The core of 5:13b-14b is 5:13b-c (Neg-Pos). The core of 5:13b-c, and thus of the entire book of Galatians, is 5:13c: "Serve one another through love."
But notice in the MPS (Main Point Summary) that this service comes from the gospel, from responding rightly to their Christ-purchased freedom from the law.
IV. Writing the Main Point Summary:
I did this by summarizing the biggest relationships (after the Ac-Mn), which was the Neg-Pos of 1:6-6:18 (“Paul writes to exhort the Galatians to turn away… and stand”). “According to the true gospel which he preached” comes from 1:6-2:21, and “which would result in a life of loving service to others” comes from 5:2-6:10.
The bold font in the MPS shows the core emphasis of the book as a whole.
I am wondering if you have recently updated or made changes to the phrasing module. I never noticed this before, but today I went into a phrasing analysis of a passage I had done previously. After making a couple of changes, I exported the passage to a PDF, but when I did, the lines showing subordination no longer lined up with the text. Is anyone else noticing this problem?
@JamesCWilliams Good question! In the Discourse or Phrasing module, click on the Print button to save the Phrase/Arc/Bracket as a JPEG.
Then, once you’ve start to write a forum post, click on the right-most button above the text box. It looks like a cloud with an upward-pointing arrow in it. You can select your JPEG saved on your computer from the window that opens, and it will attach it to your post.
Just make sure it’s not too large - I’ve had trouble with large images. You can save it as a smaller-sized image when you click Print if the image won’t load.