Segmenting I Corinthians

Finding the Main Topics

Many times, trying to read something in one large sitting causes you to miss the details. A part of any letter is the flow of topics. In a conversation, we don’t discuss everything at once. We start with one topic, which leads us to another. Within each topic, we focus on the details before moving to the next topic. By finding the series of topics being discussed, we can begin to outline the book and have a concept of the context in which various ideas are presented.

Class Discussion

  1. How would I identify topics? (Concentration of keywords, introductory statements, use of the word "now")
  2. Paul had a lot of concerns about the church in Corinth, and that keyword appears a number of times. Locate those words (I Corinthians 1:4,6, 1; 7:1,25,32-34; 8:1,4; 9:9; 10:30; 12:1; 16:1,12). Can these be used to mark topics? Mark off some of the obvious ones.
  3. Going through the book, where are the shifts in topics?
  4. Are some topics nested in larger ones?

Notice the Flow

As topics shift, you may notice a flow between succeeding sections. A concept raised while discussing one topic serves as the introduction to the next topic where the concept is explained in greater detail. Eventually, Paul then returns to his initial topic or moves on to a new topic.

Dividing Into Topics

  1. Continue going through I Corinthians
    1. Identify and mark all the pronouns.
    2. Identify and mark all the synonyms to your keywords.
  2. Using a pencil, mark in the margins where you see the topics changing. Make a notation as to what the new topic is.
  3. Using the topics you identified, make a rough outline of I Corinthians.
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