MD Week 4 Textual Observations

Each week, you will submit 3-5 textual observations for each assigned Bible readings. (50-150 words)

Students tend to be more familiar with interpretations of the Bible than with the biblical text itself. This assignment encourages you to pay attention and observe facts and details about the biblical text. Observe! What do you see? Who, what, where, when, how? Your aim is to notice striking features of the text, including rhetorical/literary features, structural elements, particular historical or cultural references, similarities, differences, emphatic repetitions, etc.

How to make textual observations:
• Begin with a pencil or pen in hand, and don’t be afraid to mark up the text, underlining or highlight keywords and phrases, and jot notes in the margins.
• Notice keywords and phrases—anything that strikes you as surprising or significant or raises questions (e.g., word choice, tone, irony, symbolism, metaphors, similes, absence of words, etc.).
• Look for patterns in the things you’ve noticed about the text—repetitions, contrasts, similarities, and connections.
• Ask questions about the text. “What do I see going on in the text?” Who? What? Where? When? Why?
• Do not attempt to restate or paraphrase the text. Do not provide a verse-by-verse summary of the text. Refrain from drawing conclusions and trying to interpret the text’s meaning. This is the observation phase of the interpretive process.
• Cite the verses you are observing.