‘m all about value efficient writing. I understand the value of editing. I can, when I choose, cut words and phrases and even paragraphs. I know that good writing isn’t redundant.
But good teaching is.
“It is good for us to say these things again.”
It’s a phrase that shows up in a letter Paul wrote to one of his favorite groups of people, a house church in the Roman colony of Phillipi. He talks a bit about how to live their lives well. He encourages them to rejoice. And then he takes a digression into talking about a couple of his colleagues.
These personal words are emotional. One of the men was Paul’s apprentice, Timothy. Paul valued his presence but was sending him with the letter, as soon as Paul knew that is own situation was safe. The other was Epaphroditus, a person from Phillipi. He had come to help Paul, gotten sick, and nearly died. Paul talks about his own anxiety over Epaphroditus’ health and the grief it would cause in Philippi.
E is well now, Timothy is free to come, and Paul can get back to the outline of his letter.
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord,” he dictates to the person writing down his words. And then, perhaps, he laughs. Or the scribe does. Paul had repeated himself. And so we get the next sentence, self-deprecating acknowledgement of his humanity. “To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.”
Paul’s right. There is value in repetition. Some phrases, some affirmations, some challenges bear repeating.
Rejoice. Love one another. I love you. Fear not. Go. Obey.
So that’s the question for this new week: What are the things that you need to learn again?