Continuing our consideration of methods to an in-depth study of Scripture we come to a step that is known as synthesis. Synthesis is simply a fancy way of saying “here is the main point.” So far in this process we have been looking at the finer details of a text. In the process of analysis, we are trying to find all of the little pieces. Synthesis is where we put the pieces together and see the full picture.
A biblical scholar is much like a detective. They are scrutinizing what is before them trying to collect every piece of evidence in order to figure out what has happened. This is what we are doing when we are following these steps in our bible studies. We are collecting the pieces to the puzzle and putting it together.
It is at the end of synthesis that we are able to say, “this is the main point” or “here is what the biblical author is saying.” Understand though, that much like the previous steps of analysis, synthesis takes time. Using the illustration of a puzzle once more, consider the time it takes to put a puzzle together to see the final “bigger” picture. You have all of the pieces before you, but it still takes time. So it is with this step of syntheses. We have the pieces of information from our study to this point, we just have to put them together for that bigger picture.
While it can be easy to stop here in our studies of scripture, it is more profitable to continue on to the final two steps – reflection and expansion, which is what we will discuss in next week’s article.