The term "chiasm (chiasmus)" is derived from the Greek term "chiázō," which means "placing crossways" in a
diagonal arrangement or shaped like the letter X. It is a literary device that presents ideas in a sequence
until an apex is reached whereupon the ideas are presented in reverse order like a mirror image. Some call
this presentation of ideas and its reversal in parallel "inverted parallelism."
Often the idea and its mirror are contrasts to help one understand the meaning of the idea.
However, the apex of the chiasm is the point of emphasis of the whole chiastic passage.
A good example of this can be seen in Romans 5:12-21.
12) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through
sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned
13) for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there
is no law.
14) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had
not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
15) But the free gift is not like the transgression.
For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God
and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
16) The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned;
for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation,
but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in
17) For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much
more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the
One, Jesus Christ.
18) So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men,
even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
19) For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even
so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
20) The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin
increased, grace abounded all the more,
21) so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness
to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 5:12-21)
In this letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul makes an emphasis at the inflection point of his chiasm:
for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation
(latter part of Rom 5:16)
Of all his uses of the word "judgment" in this epistle, it is here that Paul uses it to magnify
the consequence of Adam's sin; death was not a part of Creation and did not exist before in the Garden of Eden.
By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread
Till you return to
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return."