Make a list. When you come across some kind of list, number each item in the list in your notes, and consider whether the number of items in the list or how they are arranged is important. Does the list build on the last item somehow? Are the articles grouped in some way? Does the list have a logical order?
Identify contrast. If the author compares two ideas, behaviors, types of people, etc., please point them out in your comments. You can write a brief description of the comparison in the margin. Something like “the wages of sin and the gift of God” (Romans 6:23) would suffice.
Identify clauses that state cause, effect, purpose, result, or means. Keywords often help you identify these clauses.
Mark 5:21-43 describes two miracles performed by Jesus, including raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead and healing a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years simply by touching the garment of Christ. The important people described in this passage are Jesus, Jairus, the bleeding woman, and Jesus’ disciples, including Peter, James, and John. Repetitive words associated with the passage include Jesus, bloodshed, and meaningful phrases such as Jesus asking who touched his clothes and asking the little girl to be raised from the dead. These repeated words and phrases are crucial to the essay because they help convey the theme and lesson of the story. The contrasts drawn in this passage include the truth of death, where the mourners knew the little girl was dead, but Jesus asserted that she was only asleep and finally commanded her to wake up, which she did.
Substantial statements indicating cause, end and means. When the bleeding woman goes out of her way to touch Jesus’ cloak in the hope that she will be healed, it shows both the why and the means. The reason is that she bled when she stopped the bleeding by touching Jesus. Other important statements include Jesus telling mourners not to be afraid, commanding dead girls to rise, and disciples wondering why Jesus cared who was touching him when the crowd was so large and everyone could. These statements are important because they set the stage for the miracles seen in this chapter and advance the themes emphasized in the passage.
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