Step 8: Write a propositional analysis of the passage of Scripture being studied. The student should perform the following four analyses of the passage of interest. The last of these is the propositional analysis. The propositional analysis states (in the form of positive assertions) every significant specific fact uncovered by all of the other analyses: syntactical analysis, the semantic analysis, and the grammatical analysis. Some of the propositions are explicitly stated in the data discovered by the other three analyses and others are implied (i.e., necessarily implied by the explicit facts turned up by the analyses).
This analysis is called a “Propositional Analysis” because it is an attemp to state everything contained in a text in propositional form–a simple declarative sentence. The information stated in propositional form shall have been discovered by the syntactical, semantic, and grammatical analyses. In performing a propositional analysis, you focus on paragraphs as units of study. After you determine the paragraph you wish to study, analyze it sentence by sentence. First, state the assertion of the kernel sentence in propositional form. Second, line by line, state what is indicated by each element of the analyses in propositional form. Third, as you come to “key words” or “key phrases” state each element pertinent information from the word study in propositional form. Fourthly, state what is denoted by the grammar of key words in propositional form. After writing all propositions included in the paragraph, you summarize what the paragraph reveals about its main truth assertion–topic or theme.
Below are examples of New Testament passages analyzed through the method of study recommended above. The final analysis is an example of the propositional analysis.
Scripture # 1: “We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers” (1 Thess. 1:2, NIV).
We . . . thank God . . . .
for all of you
mentioning you in our prayers
Semantic Analysis: (1) The verb “thank” is from eucharistoumen (Eujcaristou’men) in the Greek text; it means “to give thanks.” (2) The word “all” is from panton (pavntwn), which means “all” or “everyone.” (3) “Mentioning” is from two words mneian poioumenoi (mneivan poiouvmenoi); (a) Poioumenoi means “to do or to make.” (b) It is coupled with mneian which means “remembrance” or “mention.” The writer says he “habitually thanks God always for these brethren, making remembrance or mention of them. (4) “Prayer” is from proseuchon. The word simply means “prayer.”
Grammatical Analysis: (1) The Greek word eucharistoumen /eujcaristou“men is in the present tense. The present generally denotes continuous or habitual action. This verb is also modified by “always.” This shows that the action is durative; it is something the writer has done habitually, is doing habitually, and will continue to do habitually. (2) Poioumenoi /poiouvmenoi is a participle in the present tense. The participle in present tense denotes an action occurring at the same time as the action of the main verb.
Propositional Analysis : (1) The writer thanked God for the Thessalonian Christians. (2) The fact that he gave thanks implies that God is responsible for the good in them. (3) The fact that he thanked God for them is a very high complement to them. (4) Paul had a habit of giving thanks for them. (5) He thanked God for them always. (6) Since it is reasonable to think that they were not always at their best, we assume that Paul was thankful for them even when they were not at their best. (7) However, Paul’s continual thanks must surely imply that they were always of a character that made them worthy of continual praise.
Propositional Analysis (continued): (8) Paul gave thanks for them all. (9) Surely there were people at various levels of maturity, so Paul was thankful for the less mature, as well as for the mature. (10) Christians didn’t have to be perfect to be praised by Paul. (11) Paul mentioned the Thessalonians to God in his prayers. (12) He mentioned them in prayer habitually. (13) In essence, they were greatly honored by Paul when he mentioned them to the greatest being of all and thanked God or commended them before God.
Scripture # 2 : “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 1:3).
We . . . remember . . . your work
produced by faith
[We . . . remember]. . . your labor
prompted by love and [We . . . remember]. . . your endurance
inspired by hope
in . . . Jesus. . .
before . . . God
and [our] Father
Semantic Analysis: (1) “Work” is from ergou which means “work” or “action.” It is the opposite of idleness or rest. (2) “Faith” is from pistis and means “trust or confidence.” (3) “Labor” is from kopon which means “work under labor or difficulty” or “work that causes suffering.” (4) “Love” is from agapes and means “unselfish love and esteem.” (5) “Endurance” is from hupomones which means “patience, endurance, steadfastness, perseverance.” (6) “Hope” is from elpidos and means “expectation,” especially the expectation of Christians. (7) “Lord” is from kuriou and means “master, governor, ruler.” (8) “Christ” is from Christou and means “anointed one.” In the New Testament, it refers to the Messiah who was promised by the prophets of the Old Testament. (9) “Before” is from emprosthen which means “in front of or before.”
Grammatical Analysis: (1) “Faith” is in the genitive case and denotes source. The source of Christian action is faith. Christian activity springs from faith and only from faith in Christ. (2) “Love” is the genitive of source. The source of labor that causes suffering is love. Laborious service to Christ comes only from unselfish love for Christ and our fellow human beings.
Grammatical Analysis (continued): (3) “Hope” is also the genitive of source. The source of perseverance in Christian service is expectation of future good. (4) “Our Lord Jesus Christ” is expressed in the objective genitive case and is the very essence of and basis for the Christian’s expectation of good things.
Propositional Analysis: (1) Paul was thankful for the Christians in Thessalonica because he remembered their work, labor, and endurance. (2) The Christians who are commended work or are active, not idle. (3) They also work when it is difficult and causes suffering. (4) They were steadfast or endured without giving up under stress and suffering. (5) Paul’s remembrance of these Christians was constant. (6) He remembered them in front of God, or reminded God of their faithful service. (7) Paul considered God as our God, not as a God who is distant and out of our reach. (8) God is our Father. (10) Christian activity is produced by or springs from confidence or trust in the Lord, and does not endure without confidence in Christ. (11) Labor under difficulty is prompted by or has its origin in unselfish love and esteem for God and those whom we serve. (12) The ability for Christians to endure under difficulty without giving up is rooted in and springs from expectation of good things through Christ. (13) Christ is the basis of the Christian hope, not human goodness. (14) Jesus is the Master or Ruler of the Christian’s life. (15) Jesus is the Messiah that was promised by the prophets.