Chiasm in the Bible

Chiasm in the Bible

In literature, a Chiastic structure is a short list of ideas, words or phrases that are then repeated back in reverse order.

A Chiastic structure, or Chiasm, gives a mirror effect like this: "AB" then "BA"

A simple example of this, is the phrase: "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going."

A Chiastic structure uses similar words, not necessarily the same words. Look at the mirroring effect, (AB-BA) of the example below. It gives a simple "visual" so you can see it in a sentence.

When the going (A) gets tough (B), the tough (B) gets going (A).

In the Bible, we see a simple example in Mark 2:27...

The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

There is also another, more complex example in Romans 11:33-34

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counseller?

Notice how "wisdom" and "knowledge" mirrors back to "mind of the Lord" and "counseller".

The "wisdom of God", in verse 33, is repeated back with the relating phrase "counseller", in verse 34. Also, the "knowledge of God", in verse 33 is repeated back with the relating phrase, "mind of the Lord", in verse 34.

In literature, Chiasm is used to balance phrases that have similar meaning, and it's just one example of how deeply rich and complex the Authorized King James Bible is.