Reflective Reading – Keywords

Identifying keywords is a useful technique for getting to grips with the core themes and ideas of a passage.

Wordles, or word clouds, are a handy tool for graphically representing the keywords in a passage. They display the most commonly occurring words in a passage on a size scale, with the most commonly occurring words being the largest font. See below an example for Psalm 1.

wordle

Some Bible Study software allows you to produce these word clouds. Logos software (from Logos 4 upward) gives you word clouds in their Passage Guide tool. The STEP project (www.stepbible.org) also gives you access in their Passage Analysis pane. Alternatively you can copy the text from the passage you’re studying and paste it into the text box at http://www.wordle.net/create which will then generate a wordle.

A word cloud helps you to see what words are the most commonly used and helps you to then make some connections (join some dots). E.g. there are a bunch of keywords in John that all relate to family. John talks about brothers, children, himself as a father, God’s love to us etc. Just from the word cloud, we can already start to get some big picture ideas of John’s message and core themes.

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