Exegesis for dyslexics – text flow diagrams

I recently posted about the extra stages I go through as a dyslexic thinker when preparing a sermon. Someone asked about text flow diagrams and colour, so here’s an example of how breaking the text down and using colour helps me to understand a passage and structure a talk. As well as the image below, I’ve uploaded a clearer pdf copy of the text flow diagram. When I have time and the inclination, I start with the Greek.

Text from of John 14:15-26

This way of doing exegesis involves breaking the passage into is logical flow, using conjunctions as line breaks. Where flow of the text is one continuous argument, the passage is tabbed across the page. When the argument starts again, as in verse 22, the text returns to the left margin.

The colour is used to identify repetition, in this case pink for “if you love me”, orange for “you’ll obey me”, purple “my Father and I will be with you” and green for “the Helper”. In this case, the repetition gives me four clear headers.

What is love?
– love has an object – the Lord Jesus
– the love of Christ leads to obedience
– to love Christ is to belong to God
– to love Christ requires supernatural strength

Grasping God's Word

I learned this method of exegesis at Oak Hill College from the vice-principle, Chris Green. The text book we used was “Grasping God’s Word“.

If you struggle to work with the text of the bible it might be because you do not think verbally but pictorially or conceptually. If you want to get an idea of whether or not you might be dyslexic, try this dyslexia test.

About neilrobbie

I am a 6'6" formerly ginger Scot, in a cross cultural marriage to my lovely Londoner wife. We've lived in SE Asia and since 2005, I have served as an Anglican minister in Wolverhampton and West Bromwich.
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1 Response to Exegesis for dyslexics – text flow diagrams

  1. andrewgsu says:

    Huge thanks for this. I knew about the stepping principle, but not about colouring it. This worked a treat! brilliant, found the arguements, preached the sermon. One of my better ones I think, from the reaction. So many, many thanks! Coloured markers, here I come (again!)

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