Bible 347 Return to Syllabus

How to Do a Grammatical Study

  1. Use either a literal translation or the original language text to study the grammar on all of the following steps. The American Standard Version (although in Elizabethan English) is helpful here if one does not read the original languages. Use interlinears if necessary.

  2. Identify the nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and other parts of speech.

  3. Note the mode/mood, tense, voice, person, and number of the verbs and the gender, case, and number of nouns and adjectives. Look for agreement between nouns and adjectives. Use Freiburg's Analytical Greek New Testament, an analytical Greek lexicon or Han's Parsing Guide in the New Testament to help with this. Use the Analytical Hebrew/Chaldee Lexicon for the Old Testament.

  4. Identify the main clauses and dependent clauses, noting any patterns between them. Determine the relationships between the clauses, especially between participle and infinitive clauses and main clauses. Identify the subjects, verbs, direct objects, indirect objects, and predicate nominatives. Note who is doing what to whom using what.

  5. Diagram the sentences, at least to a simple level of showing subject, verb, and object. Use diagramming as a tool to decide what nouns and verbs that adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases, participle phrases, and relative clauses are modifying.

  6. Look for unusual word order, such as object before subject. Look for words which seem to be missing, words which the author expects his reader to infer, words which can be inferred from the sentences that occur before.

  7. Look at the scripture index of major grammers to see if your passage is discussed. Look up every page listed to see if there are important points which are discussed which shed light on the meaning of your passage. In New Testament, use Robertson, Blass-DeBrunner-Funk, and Moulton-Howard-Turner. In the Old Testament, use Gesenius-Kautzch-Cowley.

  8. Consult critical commentaries to see if any grammatical issues are discussed. Consult Robertson's Word Pictures.

  9. Write up the results of your study, focusing on new information which you have found that affects the meaning of the passage. Pay special attention to any points that are ambiguous where two meanings are possible.

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