The Analytical Chart



Yes, I know. This seems like the part where it gets to be like work. But, while this is true, the most rewarding part of the process is the finished analytical chart. This is where all the observations that you have made will be recorded in an orderly format. This is where you will begin to see how the Bible is so very well constructed. This is where part of the payoff is for all the work you have done up to now.

Have you ever gotten to the point in whatever kind of Bible Study method you currently employ where you just couldn’t seem to put into words what it is that you wanted to say? You may have tried many different ways to express, in words, the valuable points you have seen, but, when you tried to write them down, you may have gone off in one direction with a certain line of thinking perfectly satisfied that you were getting everything down. Then, when you were to a certain point, you realized that you left out half of what you wanted to say. If this has been your experience, or something similar has happened, you really should try to make the Analytical Chart.

The Chart is a graphical way of expressing your observations and conclusions. When in a complete form, it can be used to teach, preach, or as a basis for re-studying a segment of scripture.

See this example of a Chart. This one is done by Irving L. Jensen and is reproduced by permission.

Are you ready? I hope so. So, Let’s begin.

First, select a portion of text to study, usually no more than 13-20 verses (we call this the segment). At this point, I like to make a note sheet. I take a blank, unlined piece of paper and fold it in half. Then, I read the text. You need to read the text again. Believe me, it helps. As you are reading, make some simple observations. Who is being spoken to? What is being said or described? Where? How? When? Something will begin to stand out. Do this for each paragraph.

Here are the basics… (you can click here to download the following steps with a bit a graphical help.)

Step One-Paragraph Titles


After you have read the text through a few times, you should be getting more comfortable with what it is saying. The Analytical Chart is a graphical way of re-creating the text with the addition of your own observations.

So, let’s begin by drawing a box about 4×9 inches on a plain sheet of paper. Go back and re-examine your text. Where there are paragraph divisions, draw a line horizontally in your text box about where you think the paragraph divisions should be. In this example on the left, the divisions are v.1, vv. 2-8, and vv. 9-13.

From your reading and notes, you should have something that stands out in each paragraph. In the upper-right corner, write the paragraph title. It should be one to three words and should be drawn directly from the text. The paragraph title is used to identify the paragraph. Use strong, even graphically descriptive words or phrases.

Step Two-Key Center


Choose a Key Center. This is usually a word or phrase that stands out sometime during the study of the segment. It must represent a thought or concept that relates to each paragraph.

Further, the key center should relate to a different aspect of a common truth found in each paragraph.

Draw a heavy-lined box around the key center.

Underline or use some graphical technique to highlight the phrases in each paragraph to which the key center relates.

Step Three-Master Title


Decide on a Master Title. It should be based upon the Key Center. It can be in your own words (since it is outside the “box”) or directly from the text.

In this case, “Why They Came To Jesus” seems more appropriate.

Step Four-Paragraph Points


Make paragraph points. They must relate to the phrases you underlined in the frame that related to the Key Center.

Paragraph points must also relate to the master title grammatically. For example, note the relation in this segment.

Final Steps


Fill in the rest of the text. Re-create the text. The idea is to reproduce the text and add any graphical elements you find necessary to make a pictorial record.

Inside the “box” is only text. Outside the “box” is for conclusions, commentary, transitions, comparisons, etc.

For instance, notice the transition from Multitudes to Individuals. Or, consider the degrees of Purpose that are identified under each paragraph point.

Further, consider the vertical text to the right of the main “box”. It is used to describe the atmosphere of the paragraphs involved. In theis example, we have one period of Activity and Violence and another of Quietness and Deliberation.

Finally, consider all the other elements represented in and around this segment “box”.