After spending some time working through the passage, and asking lots of questions, you must now try and determine what the main thrust of the passage is. In order to accomplish this task I find it very helpful to outline the passage that I am studying. If you happen to know the original languages it will be very helpful for you to use them in this part of the study. If not, then don’t worry.
When you outline the passage always try and find the main verbs and use those as your main points. Also, try and determine how the different parts of speech are working together (where’s the subject, where is the direct object, etc.). At this point in the study all those elementary grammar lessons will come back to you.
Here is an example of what I did with this passage:
I. The disciples of John and the Pharisees were fasting
II. They came.
III. They said to him
a. Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast
b. But your disciples do not fast
IV. Jesus said to them
a. The sons of the bridegroom cannot fast
i. while the bridegroom is with them
b. They are not able
i. to fast
ii. as long as the bridegroom is with them
V. The day will come
VI. The bridegroom will be taken
a. From them
VII. They will fast
b. In that day
IIX. No one sews a piece unshrunk cloth
a. Onto a new garment
XI. If he does the fullness raised from it
a. The old from the new
X. A worse tear is made
XI. No one throws new wine
a. Into old wineskins
XII. If he does the wine will burst the wineskin
XII. The wine and the wineskin will be destroyed
XIII. New wine goes into fresh wineskins
This is how I worked it, but you may be able to correct some of my mistake by doing it yourself. As you are doing this start trying to answer some of the questions you wrote out in step 1. Also, if you have more questions write them down as well. At this point you should be notcing a theme to the passage, and important words that keep coming up. Make sure that you write down any of the observations that you have.
This step, along with all the others, simply helps you to think deeply about the passage. I know that this seems a little tetious, but it is all aimed at helping you determine the main point of the passage. This step will help you to distinguish between the main clauses and the subordinate. (Note: Because this passage is narrative there will be more main clauses than you might see in the one of the epistles. That is b/c it is a story, and the main clause are moving the story forward.)
For those of you who know Greek here is how I diagrammed it: mark 2.18-22 diagramming.