A sentence flow is a graphical representation of the relationship between the words in a sentence.

The goal of doing a sentence flow is fourfold:
  1. You will be able to graphically see the relationship and function of each word in a sentence.
  2. You will be able to separate out the core thought of each sentence and more easily trace the development of main thoughts throughout larger paragraphs and sections.
  3. By doing a sentence flow, you will be forced to wrestle with the meaning and function of the words in a sentence, and thereby understand the sentence better.
  4. In drawing the fish (see here for an explanation of this metaphor) you will see things in the sentence you had never noticed before.

Writing out the sentence in a graphical way give greater insight into the function of a word, a phrase, or a proposition, than would have been possible without the work of doing a sentence flow.

In other words, a sentence flow is not an end to itself, but a tool that helps us understand the words of Scripture by examining their relational contexts. The overall goal is to understand Scripture better and thereby, to serve God more faithfully and fruitfully.

For further study of sentence flow, see section II.1 of New Testament Exegesis by Gordon Fee, on which this tutorial is dependent.

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