• Michael Lane

    A Psalm to encourage us in a world turned upside down by a virus.
    A River That Makes Glad the City of God.png

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  • Michael Lane

    Like a diamond, this passage is best considered with slow turns so that you catch the light reflecting off its many facets. Beautiful colors sparkle from within as your eye moves to take in the whole and then refocuses on a new detail. There is probably no other single passage that so captures the breadth and depth of God’s gracious work of redemption on our behalf. Indeed, the beauty we are beholding here emanates from—and leads us to praise—his glorious grace.

    In my arc below, I have zoomed out a bit, leaving many (beautiful and significant) details grouped together within larger propositions. My aim is to see the macro-structure of the whole. Three specific features stand out to help mark the edges where the facets come together:

    • Four indicative verbs (highlighted in red) identify the main clauses that set forth the specific blessings God has granted.

    • Each of these verbs is modified by the prepositional phrase, “in him,” which points back to the banner over this whole passage in v.3b. Praise is due to the Father “who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”

    • Each of these propositions is elaborated with a participial clause which has the effect of creating a secondary facet that shifts the light a bit in order to catch our eye and cause us to linger, “Do you see that?”

    Screen Shot 2020-01-28 at 10.53.30 AM.png

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  • Michael Lane

    Meditating on Malachi
    This passage has reminded me once again of the value of slowing down and taking the time to pray and read, reread, pray, meditate, reread, pray… well you get the picture.

    I used the Phrasing module to divide the text so that I could group the units of “dialogue” in colored boxes. Seeing the structure of the text helps highlight the themes and main point of each section.

    Screen Shot 2020-01-21 at 1.25.22 AM.png

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  • Michael Lane

    Trials Amplify Praise
    Trials Amplify Praise.png
    Central Idea: Peter affirms his readers’ joy in salvation - joy that is the fruit of a faith that, refined by trials, sees its way through to love for Christ and a joy that makes no sense in this world. Prophets and angels alike were intrigued by this salvation, wanting to know who and when. It is you who get to hear this glorious gospel.

    Explanations / Questions:
    I have two primary arcs in this passage, v.6-9 and v.10-12. I considered relating these as Id-Ex as v.10 begins, “concerning this salvation…” which directly follows, “… the salvation of your souls”  in v.9. However, v.6, “In this…”, and v.10, “Concerning this…” are both pointing back to the same antecedent - the salvation that Peter was praising God for in v.3-5. In this way v.6-12 are the two-part explanation of the idea presented in v.3-5.

    v.6-9, Peter both affirms that his readers are rejoicing in their salvation even though they are facing trials as well as instructs them in how it is possible to rejoice in trials:

    v.6-7, Peter does not merely put a silver lining on a dark cloud.  Far from hindering our joy in God, trials actually serve to amplify praise.

    v.8, The logic is as follows:
    Even though you did not see Christ, you came to love him; You still don’t see him but you are trusting him and so you rejoice with a joy that has no earthly counterpart.

    v.10-12, The ‘Action’: prophets intently sought to understand the details of God’s salvation plan. Their ‘Manner’: asking specifically who? and when?

    v.11, Question: Is Peter referring to specific prophets, specific OT passages? (We can only speculate, but Isaiah 53 certainly comes to mind.)

    v.12, a & b could be combined as one assertion as 12a only introduces the main point which is the answer that was revealed. If arced this way there would be no Id-Ex, only the -/+ answer.

    v.6-9, Many authors have written on Peter’s maturing as a man of God as seen through the lens of the Gospels, Acts, Paul, and finally in Peter’s own letters. It is striking to me how masterfully Peter weaves encouragement and instruction seamlessly together. At the same time that he gives instruction concerning the necessity of trials in refining faith, he affirms their faith and joy in salvation. So much like the Chief-Shepherd, Peter models a deep pastoral sensitivity.

    Jonathan Edwards finds in this passage, particularly verse 8, the foundation for his treatise on Religious Affections. He affirms,

    “True religion, in great part, consists in holy affections. We see that the apostle, in observing and remarking the operations and exercises of religion in the Christians he wrote to, wherein their religion appeared to be true and of the right kind, when it had its greatest trial of what sort it was, being tried by persecution as gold is tried in the fire, and when their religion not only proved true, but was most pure, and cleansed from its dross and mixtures of that which was not true, and when religion appeared in them most in its genuine excellency and native beauty, and was found to praise, and honor, and glory; he singles out the religious affections of love and joy, that were then in exercise in them: these are the exercises of religion he takes notice of wherein their religion did thus appear true and pure, and in its proper glory.”    Religious Affections, Part I

    v.12, cf. Hebrews 11:39-40, concerning the many faithful who have gone before us, it is written, “…that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”  Oh, the wonderful grace of God’s patience that brings salvation down through the ages.

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  • Michael Lane

    A Concessive proposition, by definition, will appear to contradict the main assertion. But ponder v. 28 awhile. “No one is greater than John” yet “even the least in the kingdom is greater than John.”

    The starkness of the Concessive in v.28 highlights the Progression to this verse as the Main Point of Jesus’ message (v.24–28):
    Do not doubt John’s integrity. He is the greatest of the prophets. Nevertheless, as his whole ministry was only to point to Christ, even the least among those who believe in Christ is greater than John.

    This may run counter to all human expectations, but God’s wisdom will be proven out in the end.

    Wisdom Is Justified By All Her Children.png

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  • Michael Lane

    Brandon, this looks great. Clear headings and well organized.

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  • Michael Lane

    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.
    Unite my Heart to Fear Your Name.png

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  • Michael Lane

    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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  • Michael Lane

    My inclination would be to use Action-Result for the first type, that is, a cause-effect. Ground fits here as well if the emphasis is on the logical basis of an outcome as opposed to an event based outcome.

    For the second type (evidence of a reality), Ground is appropriate. As in courtroom law, evidence presented forms the basis (or ground) for the conclusions drawn.

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