One of the most helpful tools I learned while attending Dallas Theological Seminary was how to create a Synoptic Study Chart. Some people call what I will describe in this post as a “Bible Chart” or “Synthetic Chart.” The name is not important. What is important is how powerful this tool can be for someone who will be teaching through a book of the Bible.
WHY I CREATE A SYNOPTIC STUDY CHART
Creating a chart of a book of the Bible is useful for several reasons.
One, it causes the Bible teacher to thoroughly know the message of the author. If someone begins to study a book of the Bible and maybe does not know the entire book well or does not have a thorough understanding of the book, then it is easy to teach a passage incorrectly.
Two, it helps a Bible navigate difficult passages in a book. When a Bible teacher knows a book and its entire message very well, he is going to know how to navigate difficulty passages in the book in light of the entire message of the book. Instead of him bringing his own preconceived ideas and questions to the text, he will instead think through the passage in the same way that the author had (because he knows the message of the author in other parts of the book).
Three, it is a helpful tool to introduce a book and summarize a book. When I teach Sunday School I always spend the first week of a study going over my synoptic study chart. A synoptic study chart provides a brief overview of the entire book of the Bible and it helps orient students about what will be studied. Additionally, a synoptic study also helps to show students a great summary of a book after they have studied. For me in my Sunday School class, after we have studied an entire book verse-by-verse I like to show the chart again to see if the class agrees with what I have summarized about the book.