Sometimes Slowing Down Pays

Sometimes we pick up the Bible or another book that requires thought as we read. But we read through quickly, as if it were a cheap romance novel.

We heard someone say, it’s a short book. Read it through a couple of times a day for a week. In order to do that, we feel we must read quickly–perhaps even skimming.

I’ve noticed in small groups that often we’ll read through a passage–especially from a letter from Paul–and put the book down, sigh, and go “that was certainly  confusing.”

The writer of the introduction to the letter to the Ephesians in the Renovare “Life With God” Bible that I use, brought us into the study through the story of the archeologists who uncovered the South Stairs up to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It seems that the steps are an engineering mess. Totally irregular. Varying heights. Varying pitches.

“Could they not find a competent engineer to lay these out?” they thought. Or, perhaps they actually were engineered very carefully. You must approach the Temple slowly, with intention, with perseverance. One cannot just rush up to the Temple and declare, “Ta Da!”

Approaching thoughtful literature requires just such care.

There are 11 verses in the first chapter of Ephesians that are one long sentence in Greek.

We could read that through, think “Wow, that was complex,” and then keep on reading.

Or, we could pause and consider each phrase realizing that Paul was logically building an argument (proposition) a phrase at a time. As we slow down and break it down, we begin to see a pattern of thought.

Or the last half of the second chapter (Ephesians 2:11-22). We read that yesterday. “That was confusing” many said (probably voicing what we all were thinking). But I said, let’s just pause and look at the passage slowly. Who is Paul talking to? Who is he talking about? What was his message before? Oh, he’s telling us about how the death and resurrection of Jesus brought together all the different races of people into unity. “He broke down the dividing wall” between us.

There is a great lesson for us today. Think about that today. For a while. And consider your friends or those you know whose work seems to be to divide people. Perhaps our work should be to continue what Jesus began–let people know about how we all are brought together in unity through Jesus. That has  already happened. It’s just up to us to let people know.

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