Pattern Analysis for Matthew 6:19-24

Pattern Analysis Handbook

Example of Chiasm Substructure

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Emphasis

This literary unit could be rendered as either a SIMPLE ALTERNATION or as a CHIASM. The Holy Spirit should guide each reader to discern which is more appropriate for their situation:

ALTERNATION (SIMPLE):
A: treasures on earth
A′: treasures in heaven
X: the choice
B: body full of light
B′: body full of darkness

CHIASM:
A: treasures on earth
B: heavenly treasures
X: the choice
B′: heavenly perspective
A′: earthly perspective

1) Whether an ALTERNATION or a CHIASM, there is a CENTER POINT on verse 21. That verse helps us see treasures as a choice between the heavenly and the earthly systems.

2) The CONCLUDING SUMMARY of the basic chiasm, verse 23B, stresses that the light emphasizes the great extent of the darkness. The CHIASM SUBSTRUCTURE (verse 24) expands on this thought—seeing the six elements of verse 24 as a concluding summary helps us discern the emphasis in this structure more clearly. There are two areas of emphasis:

3) The CHIASM SUBSTRUCTURE places wealth in a very unfavorable light. Some translations render this same word as mammon and others use the word money. In this context, wealth is not to be served.

4) The CENTER POINT of the CHIASM SUBSTRUCTURE (c and c′) is a CONTRAST with the next level up (b and b′). The rhema can come when we realize that the one we love cannot be both God and wealth. It is a heart decision, for that is what love offers. This is a call to love our God, not wealth.