Balancing the Sword - A comprehensive study guide to life's manual
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Definition of word.


The plot is the storyline of events in a dramatic work of literature. A plot is the sequential organization of interaction between characters and of circumstantial changes.  In other words, the plot is the accumulated arrangement of all action, motion, change, or movement in the story.  

A plot develops as you read.  Verbs reveal developments.  Look for major pivotal action (e.g., marriage, birth, growth, sickness, death, loss, discovery, war, alliances, etc.).  

Actions typically (1) introduce the characters, set the stage, and frame the stakes (i.e., set value or attachment) by the exposition, (2) build the conflict (i.e., threaten loss or assault value), or (3) resolve the conflict (i.e., render justice or restore goodness).  Changes, in biblical literature, were introduced into the stories as

  • actions by God (e.g., "the LORD answered me, and said, ...." [Hab. 2:2]),
  • actions by nature or inanimate forces (e.g., "there was a famine in the land" [Ge. 26:1]),
  • actions by humans or intelligent beings (e.g., "a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea" [Rev. 18:21]), and
  • actions by creatures (e.g., "a lion met him on the road and killed him" [1Ki. 13:24]).

Plots vary from simple to complex stories.  Action or change creates interest for readers.  In fact, an intriguing plot with unexpected turns can be redressed with different characters and repositioned into different settings without the loss of intrigue.

For example, a simplified summary of the plot of Ruth is as follows. A family of four traveled to Moab. The two sons each married a Moabite. The father and sons died. The mother named Naomi and one daughter-in-law named Ruth returned to Bethlehem. Ruth and Naomi gleaned from Boaz’s field. Ruth found favor in the eyes of Boaz.  Ruth expressed her need to Boaz.  Boaz married Ruth and redeemed Naomi’s family land.

Author: Allen B. Wolfe

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Balancing the Sword is a structured study guide for every chapter of the Bible.