Puritan Hermeneutics – What Does Repetition Signify in Scripture?

March 10, 2010

As you can see, I have not posted much since the early days of this blog.  I found that reading Manton and writing a 600 word essay took about 4 hours.  It soon became evident that I could not spend half a working day on that effort, as delightful as it might be.  I have been devoting all my energy to the first part of Foundations of the Christian Life, namely, Life from the Father 1.

Today I am typing out my notes from John Arrowsmith’s exposition of John 1:1-18.  It is entitled, ” Theanthropos, God made Man.”  I came across a very nice little hermeneutical discussion on what repetition signifies in Scripture.  In sum, Arrowsmith writes:

1.         In prayer repetition serves to express fervency and earnestness. Matthew 26:44

2.         In prophecies repetition serves to note the certainty of them.  Genesis 41:22

3.         In threats repetition indicates unavoidableness and, perhaps, suddenness.  Ezekiel 21:27

4.         In precepts repetition serves to note a necessity in performing them.  Psalm 47:6

5.         In truths repetition serves to show the necessity of believing them and of knowing them.  John 3:3, 5, 17

John Arrowsmith was a very highly regarded teacher of theology.  His was Master of St. John’s College, Cambridge University and, subsequently, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge.  He was also Regius Professor of Divinity in the University.  These men were scholars on a grand scale.  In a single page he lays out such important observations and then moves on.

Enjoy!  Caveat lector!

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2 Responses to “Puritan Hermeneutics – What Does Repetition Signify in Scripture?”

  1. […] Some people complain about ministers being too repetitive. This may be a real problem in some cases, but we cannot forget that the Scriptures frequently use repetition. Jim O’Brien has a post on the Puritan John Arrowsmith’s explanation of the Bible’s use of repetition. You can read it here. […]

  2. Bob McDowell said

    Having congregants like me– “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! — is reason enough to be repetitive.

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