Bible Phrases…and Clauses
And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: (Matthew 9:20)
And (they) besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole. (Matthew 14:36)
I’VE BEEN WANTING TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT BIBLE PHRASES (AND CLAUSES) for several months and it was never handy. To mention “phrases” is to open my memory and the trip to Livingston, TN (September 1940) to get my very own copy of Peter and Peggy from the Jenkins and Darwin dry goods store. I held it in my lap all the way home in the back seat of Grandpa’s ’29 Model A Ford. What a treasure I held in my lap! I didn’t sleep much that night. I had never heard of parts of speech; of phrases and clauses.
A PHRASE IS TWO OR MORE WORDS ACTING AS A UNIT IN A SENTENCE. A clause is two or more words that contain a subject and predicate and that make up part or all of a sentence. Short clips of words that give meaning, that make sense. Book titles and article titles have to be short, so they are almost always a phrase or clause. It is a condensed way of making sense. Our text verses today easily break up into shorter pieces of meaning: phrases and clauses.
THE WOMAN IN OUR TEXT illustrates the great amount of truth that is bound up in phrases (and clauses) of the Bible. We speak of Bible verses, but the breaking up of Bible text into verses and chapters only goes back to 1551 (Greek manuscripts of the New Testament) and 1571 (Hebrew Bible). Chapters and verses are a thing come lately and are not part of he inspired text. We read and memorize chapters and verses. But our learning mechanism does not do well with numbers. We force ourselves to include the chapter and verse in memorizing. It is an indexing system and it serves a great and useful purpose.
THE CHAPTERS AND VERSES IN BIBLE TEXT helps us to find and recall verses. But, it does not promote the learning of the text. Trust me on this one. I’ve searched everything I can find on memorizing Scripture for the last sixty years and when I felt like I had covered it, I stopped trying to find anything else.
NUMBERS ARE HARD TO MEMORIZE. They make memorizing the text much more difficult, but the chapter and verse numbers are such a valuable tool, it is worth the extra effort to say the reference before and after the verse. Everybody in church knows a lot more Scripture than they can find in the Bible. Phrases and clauses, are so much easier to remember than numbers. In short, we remember things about people better than anything. If people are in a photograph or painting, it is often more interesting.
THE WOMAN IN TODAY'S TEXT MAKES IT EASIER TO REMEMBER. Out of all the words in the text, we will glean and remember: “sick woman touched his garment.” Our brains paraphrase words as we read them. There’s a story in those five words. In our text today, we also learn that several other people had the same idea of touching the hem of His garment that they might be healed.
WE LEARN MUCH FROM LISTENING TO SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS AND SERMONS. But, they are not attached to anything to make them easily recalled so we think we didn’t learn anything. God knows a lot about making brains and He did a marvelous job in making the human brain. If the information went to the brain through one of our five senses, it’s in there for good.
READ BIBLE STORIES TO YOUR CHILDREN. Read them to your family. Read them yourself. What causes us to remember things? It is a mystery as to how and what kind of things will trigger our memory. Our early childhood is there, deeply engraved. The more we dwell on our childhood, the more we can remember.
THE BIBLE PHRASES (AND CLAUSES) WE HAVE HEARD since we were children, are embedded permanently in our brains. As we continue to hear, read, study, memorize and meditate on Scripture, the closer it comes to the surface and is easier to recall and use in our thinking and praying and sharing. We usually don’t use the whole verse. We use the “usable parts of the verse.” It’s important that we understand how our brains and our learning system work.
WHEN I WAS A STUDENT AT TENNESSEE TEMPLE COLLEGE, I went by a bargain book table in the book store and spotted a used copy of a book of Spurgeon’s sermons. I took it back to my room and thumbed through it. I spotted a sermon title: “She Told Him All,” and read the sermon. It was my first realization that short phrases (and clauses) are the sticky part that we remember best. I remember it to this day and remember what the cover of the book looked like. Years later, I went to Google Books and looked it up and read the sermon again. The clause: “She told Him All,” impressed Spurgeon so much that he made a sermon of it and blessed the hearts of a lot of people in the congregation and the heart of a country boy who was reading it 55 years later.
SPURGEON WAS A "PHRASE AND CLAUSE" PREACHER. After several years I realized that there is a class of preachers who are “Phrase and Clause Preachers.” Maybe it takes a simpleton like me to appreciate it, but I learned to love that kind of preaching that is true to the scriptures. Another master-weaver of Bible phrases is a British Bible teaching preacher named: Arthur Pink (1886-1952). He was in his peak during World War2. He preached a lot in this country and his books sell well to this day.
ONE OF HIS BOOKS: Elijah, is one of my favorites. I try to read it through every year. He is a master-weaver of Bible phrases (and clauses). I mean by this, that the meat of the paragraph or sentence is found not in the whole verse but in a short part of the verse. I highly recommend Elijah to you. His books are all over the place in Amazon. You can find good-condition used copies of several titles.
DO YOU MARK AND UNDERLINE IN YOUR BIBLE? I do. My Bible is a working Bible and I don’t feel disrespectful if I mark in it. I mostly mark phrases and clauses. If I’m going to designate a whole verse, I usually draw a box car around the whole verse. I keep an old plastic charge card or advertising card in my Bible for a straight-edge, so my marking will not be such a mess. I keep another card in our Bible Knowledge Commentary for marking. Some people like pink or blue. I use whatever I have at hand.
IF I DESIGNATE HE VERSE TO BE MEMORIZED, I write “M” in the margin and circle it. If I want to use it in Morning Minute, I write “MM” and circle it. I make notes at the top and bottom of the page or in the margin, if there is room. When we finish reading a chapter in our joint Bible reading, Monday-Saturday, I write the date: 2018-07-25. The next time we come to that chapter, it’s interesting to note the last time we read it. It’s hard to part with an old Bible. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
JULY 25, 2018 – WEDNESDAY
A.M. Psalms 44-46 P.M. Acts 25
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.) If you are behind in reading, read the passage for today and then go back.
●Good Memory Verse:
The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower (Psalm 18:2). (Write verse on scrap of paper and put in your pocket to memorize.)
●Song for Today:
How Great Thou Art (5:37) (Huge Gaither Group Aboard Ship)
● Healthy Hint:
Keeping your tooth brush in a small glass jar half-filled with hydrogen peroxide will keep it sterilized. HOWEVER: Before you put it in your mouth, hold it under the faucet and thoroughly rinse off the hydrogen peroxide (it will thin the skin in your mouth and promote mouth sores. If you have a mouth sore, squeeze a blob of aloe Vera gel on a clean finger or Q-tip and apply generously on the sore, morning and evening until it’s well.