One of the most rewarding tools I have gotten out of seminary is arcing and tracing. It is a literary analysis where you trace the flow of thought within a passage of scripture. It has transformed the way I study and look at scripture. Since learning this my time in the Word has been increasingly enriching. Arcing and tracing takes time and hard work though and can be a daunting task to try and teach yourself. I was blessed and fortunate enough to learn this under Dr. Thomas Schreiner in seminary. Just recently though Johnathan Bowers, a student at The Bethlehem Institute, has introduced a website called BibleArc.com which is an innovative site devoted to the discipline of arcing. One of the great features about this site is that it actually has video tutorials to help you along your way. John Piper gives his take on arcing below:
It was a life-changing revelation to me when I discovered that Paul, for example, did not merely make a collection of divine pronouncements, but that he argued. This meant, for me, a whole new approach to Bible reading. No longer did I just read or memorize verses. I sought also to understand and memorize arguments. This involved finding the main point of each literary unit and then seeing how each proposition fit together to unfold and support the main point. (”Biblical Exegesis: Discovering the Meaning of Scriptural Texts,” pg. 18)
Below are more resources (HT: Gazing at Glory):
• For more on “arcing,” see John Piper, Biblical Exegesis: Discovering the Meaning of Scriptural Texts (Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God Ministries, 1999), 48pp. booklet with chart. Order from www.desiringGod.org at <http://www.desiringgod.org/Store/Booklets/ByTopic/54/85_Biblical_Exegesis/> or download for free at <http://www.desiringgod.org/media/pdf/booklets/BTBX.pdf> (booklet only; chart not included in online version).
• For more on “arcing” and “tracing,” see Thomas R. Schreiner, Interpreting the Pauline Epistles (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1990), 77-126. These two chapters are available online for free from links at his faculty webpage <http://www.sbts.edu/Academics/Faculty/Theology/Thomas_Schreiner.aspx>:
“Diagramming and Conducting a Grammatical Analysis,” in Interpreting the Pauline Epistles (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 77-96. Non-exclusive, one-time permission is granted to use this chapter, excluding any permission of a third source. The permission applies to this usage only. Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group, copyright 1990. <http://www.sbts.edu/docs/tschreiner/book_IPE_chapter5.pdf>
“Tracing the Argument,” in Interpreting the Pauline Epistles (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 97-126. Non-exclusive, one-time permission is granted to use this chapter, excluding any permission of a third source. The permission applies to this usage only. Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group, copyright 1990. <http://www.sbts.edu/docs/tschreiner/book_IPE_chapter6.pdf>