Example: Syntactical Outline Method used on Ephesians 5:15-21

1. Syntactical Outline: There is a "then" in the first sentence. We want to see what that refers to. In the paragraph before, Paul, seems to be talking about living as children of light and what that consists of. But just before our passage he talks about how Christ's light will shine on you. You might be anticipating a Son tan but actually he says that "everything exposed by the light becomes visible." So this light will shine on our lives and everything will be seen. Yikes! So then…

v. 15) Be very careful, then, how you live {an idea chunk (a command or encouragement)}

Not as unwise {modifies how we are to live}

But as wise {the parallel thought}

v. 16) Making the most of every opportunity, {modifies how to live wisely}

Because the days are evil. {gives a reason for making the most of our opportunities}

v. 17) Therefore, {in light of the need to live wisely}

Do not be foolish {an idea chunk (a command or encouragement)}

But understand what the Lord's will is. {the parallel thought}

v. 18) Do not get drunk on wine {further idea on how to live wisely}

Which leads to debauchery. {the consequence of getting drunk}

Instead, be filled with the Spirit. {contrast to being filled with alcohol}

v. 19) Speak to one another, {evidence of being Spirit-filled (corporate)}

With psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. {how to "speak" to one another}

Sing and make music in your heart {evidence of being Spirit-filled (internal)}

To the Lord. {the focus of the music in our heart}

v. 20) Always giving thanks to God the Father {evidence of being Spirit-filled (internal)}

For everything {what we give thanks for}

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. {how we give thanks}

v. 21) Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. {evidence of being Spirit-filled}

Paul then goes on to give three examples of mutual submission in Christ: husbands / wives, owner / slave, father / child.

2. Possible Outline (for personal use or for teaching):

Living wisely means:

1) Making the most of every opportunity,

2) Understanding the Lord's will, and

3) Being spirit-controlled.

Evidence of a spirit-filled life:

1) Encouraging one another,

2) Rejoicing in the Lord,

3) An attitude of thankfulness, and

4) Mutual submission.

3. Questions that might help you make Interpretation / Application of these truths:

Do I know what it means to live wisely? What is my source of wisdom?

Am I making the most of every opportunity? What about in how I spend my time, my money and my possessions? How do I waste opportunities? Is there a particular area that I need to maximize? Is there also a time and a place for play and rest when trying to make the most of every opportunity?

How do I know what is the Lord's will? The Holy Spirit? The Word? Circumstances? Peace in my heart?

Am I Spirit-filled? What does that mean and look like? Why do I not give Him control?

How can I encourage (speak to) others?

Do I have inward rejoicing? Why? What would help me rejoice? What can keep my mind on the Lord throughout the day?

Am I thankful? What am I thankful for? Am I thankful for tough things?

©2002 Helpmewithbiblestudy.org. A resource for learning how to read the Bible.