About Chad Richard Bresson

http://www.toeverytribe.com

Posts by Chad Richard Bresson:

Mission resolve: I Dare Not Stay Home

The Center for Pioneer Church Planting begins its 7th year in 10 days. Natalia Perez, missionary trainee from Miami, is beginning her first year of training in the CPCP. We received permission from Natalia to post her answer to our question on the CPCP application, “Tell us why you think that God is calling you to be a missionary”. Her answer is indicative of the resolve fueling the missionary trainees who are coming to Chachalaca Bend for training :

“I Dare Not Stay Home”

Natalia Perez

In all honesty, I get all weird when people ask about my “calling”. I would like to call it more like a response to the Gospel and to what His Word says, even an act of obedience to the desire, passion and burden He has placed in my heart. Pete Fleming put it this way, “I think a ‘call’ to the mission field is no different from any other means of guidance. A call is nothing more nor less than obedience to the will of God, as God presses it home to the soul by whatever means He chooses.”

Which leads me to the point that John Piper makes in Holding The Rope,

“So, you have three possibilities in world missions. You can be a goer, a sender, or disobedient. The Bible does not assume that everyone goes. But it does assume that the ones who do not go, care about goers and support goers and pray for goers and hold the rope of the goers.”

We are all called to the Great Commission. I am sure of this, that the words from Rev. 5:9-10 &12 will come to pass: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”.

He will make Himself known among the nations. I am just a speck of dust that He chooses to use for His glory. The Creator of the universe gives His children the privilege to go and share what Christ has done! To go for Him. Like Isaiah, I simply shout, “SEND ME! SEND ME!” As Jim Elliot used to say, “I am as sure of His direction as I am of His salvation”.

My prayer is much like Betty Stam’s:

Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.”

I relate to Elliot when, “He (Jim) was given new assurance, and wrote to his parents of his intention to go to Ecuador. Understandably, they, with others who knew Jim well, wondered if perhaps his ministry might not be more effective in the United States, where so many know so little of the Bible’s real message. He replied:  “I dare not stay home while Quichuas [and I would add, unreached and unengaged peoples group; natalia] perish. What if the well-filled church in the homeland needs stirring? They have the Scriptures, Moses, and the prophets, and a whole lot more. Their condemnation is written on their bank books and in the dust of their Bible covers.” (Elisabeth Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor, p. 10)

To me, Natalia Perez, the foreign mission field is an avenue of obedience to the simple word of Christ. I dare not stay home.  Karen Watson, a martyred missionary to Iraq, wrote,

“When God calls, there are no regrets. I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the nations. I wasn’t called to a place; I was called to Him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, His glory my reward.

The missionary heart:

Cares more than some think is wise.

Risks more that some think is safe.

Dreams more than some think is practical.

Expects more than some think is possible.

I was called not to comfort or to success but to obedience.

There is no Joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving Him.”

Finally, like David Sittion puts it, “Let’s go get some of them (unreached people) for Jesus!”

– Natalia Perez

Why do we train? To know and enjoy God more than anything else

Why do we train missionary interns to go to remote parts of the world with the good news of Jesus? Missionaries go to many of the 3 billion unreached and unengaged because Christ’s glory is not acknowledged among those peoples. And the Center for Pioneer Church Planting trains missionaries because Christ’s glory is not acknowledged among those peoples.

A few years ago, John Piper told a conference of pastors, scholars, and missionaries out that if we are going to spread Christ’s glory among the unreached, we must be fueled by a great desire to know and enjoy God more than anything else:

“The greatest need of the next generation of pastors and missionaries is exactly the same as the greatest need of every generation of pastors and missionaries that has ever or will ever exist. And therefore the central task of those who would train them never changes.

In fact, this great need is so central to all of life, and so definitive for all ministry, and so relevant to all cultures, and so ultimate compared to all other values, that it should be the all-absorbing passion of every Christian scholar and teacher,especially those who train pastors who shepherd the church and missionaries who plant it among the unreached peoples of the world.The need that I have in mind is the need of pastors and missionaries to know God and to find in him a Treasure more satisfying than any other person or thing or relationship or experience or accomplishment in the world…more satisfying than the publishing of articles and books, more satisfying than the preciousness of friends. The greatest need of every pastor and every missionary is to know God better than they know anything and enjoy God more than they enjoy anything.

Therefore the supreme challenge of every scholar and teacher who would prepare these pastors and missionaries is: How shall I study, how shall I teach, and how shall I write, and how shall I live—how shall I give my seminar paper in Orlando, how shall I speak of sacred things over supper tonight, what will be my vigilance regarding television in the privacy of my room, will I rise early enough to pray concerning the magnitude of truth that is at stake in the workshops of this meeting—how shall I study and teach and write and live, so as to help pastors and missionaries know God better than they know anything, and delight in God more than they delight in anything? That is the supreme challenge of your life.” – John Piper, Training the Next Generation

What is your greatest need? If 3 billion people are going to be given access to the gospel, Christ’s people must desire to know and enjoy God more than anything else.

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Matthew’s missional bracketology: Christ’s mission is our mission (Part 4)

The stage has been set. The brackets have been expended. Bracketology is winding down. The brackets have served their purposes. There will be a final conclusion. The American college basketball season will draw to a close.

Over the course of the past few weeks, we have been taking a look at a different kind of bracketology – the kind of bracketology employed by the Apostle Matthew in his gospel. (For the previous posts, see Part 1Part 2, and Part 3.) Matthew uses brackets to set off what has been labelled “The Missionary Discourse”. In Matthew 9:25-11:1, Christ sends his disciples on mission, proclaiming the kingdom of gospel of Christ’s kingdom.

Matthew’s “Missionary Discourse” is bracketed by two summary statements. The structure of this section of his book begins and ends with Christ’s proclamation mission of the kingdom. And in between we find Christ commissioning his disciples with the same message. The text can be summarized in this way:

“Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness.” (Matthew 9:35)

Narrative and discourse (Matthew 9:36-10:42)

“When Jesus had finished giving orders to His 12 disciples, He moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.” (Matthew 11:1)

The discourse includes Christ’s commission of his disciples, which looks much like Christ’s own mission:

“Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness.” (Matthew 9:35)

Jesus sent out these 12 after giving them instructions…“Don’t take the road leading to other nations, and don’t enter any Samaritan town. 6 Instead, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, announce this: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, drive out demons.” (Matthew 10:5-7)

“When Jesus had finished giving orders to His 12 disciples, He moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.” (Matthew 11:1)

The commission given by Christ matches the summary statements from Matthew regarding Christ’s ministry. Christ proclaims. The disciples are to announce. Christ goes to “towns”. The disciples go to the towns of the lost sheep of Israel. Christ proclaims the kingdom. The disciples announce “the kingdom of God is near”. The brackets of Christ’s mission (Matthew 9:35, Matthew 11:1) are pointing to the commission of the disciples (Matthew 10:5-7). Christ’s mission becomes the mission of the disciples to proclaim the arrival of the kingdom in the Person and work of the Messiah-King Jesus.

But so what? What does any of this have to do with missionary activity, reaching the unreached, or carrying the gospel message to remote corners of the world? What does Matthew’s bracketology have to do with our mission?

Here are some takeaways from the Matthew 9:35-11:1 passage:

The brackets in this section of Matthew (9:35 and 11:11) are Matthew’s way of making sure that the church to whom he was sending his account of Christ’s first advent (his life, death, resurrection, and exaltation) would continue to notice that Christ came into this world on mission. Emmanuel’s mission is other-worldly. The “descension” from heaven is the divine activity of Father sending the Son into the world to take on human flesh in order to “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). God is With Us, comes from heaven bringing heaven with him: the kingdom he is inaugurating is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew’s Messiah-King is establishing His kingdom in fulfillment of the Old Testament promises through mission.

“Saving his people from their sins” involves missionary activity. Early in the book of Matthew, “Jesus was going all over Galilee, teaching”… and “preaching the good news of the kingdom” (Matthew 4:23). In Matthew 9, the mission is again noted by Matthew: “Jesus went to all the towns and villages…”teaching” and “preaching” the good news of the kingdom.” (Matthew 9:35).  The movement that began from heaven to earth in the Incarnation of Emmanuel continues toward His people, a harvest (Matthew 9:38). Initially, we find the Messiah in Matthew gathering his people from among Israel (Matthew 4:23; his preaching and teaching is in “the synagogues”). But that mission eventually will include the Gentiles (Matthew 4:15). The mission that began in heaven will encompass the whole earth (Matthew 28:18) and engulf all nations (Matthew 28:19).

Christ’s mission has a message. The Son of David’s mission to “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21) is in and of itself Good News. The King’s people are being “called to repentance” (Matthew 9:13). This “Light that has Dawned” (Matthew 4:16) continues to preach and teach the good news of the kingdom (Matthew 4:17), fulfilling the Old Testament promises which anticipated his coming (Matthew 1:23, 2:15, 2:23, 3:15, 4:14, 5:17, 8:17, 12:17, 13:35, 21:4, 26:56, 27:9). The old order, along with its leaders and oppressive religion, is out. A new day has come, ushered in by a Messiah-King who is establishing His rule and reign among a people with whom he dwells. Absent from the Son of Man is the blaze of glory anticipated in Daniel. Instead, God has condescended himself to man by putting on human flesh and becoming a servant who gives his life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). Where this message is proclaimed through “preaching” and “teaching”, the Messiah-King is establishing a church against which the gates of Hell cannot prevail (Matthew 16:18). The proclamation of who this Messiah-King is, what he has done for His people, and what he calls his people to do is to be taken to every corner of the globe. This is the message of the mission until Emmanuel’s kingdom is realized in its fullest measure (Matthew 28:18-20).

Christ’s disciples have the same mission as his. This is the thrust of the parallels. It is the heart of Matthew’s missionary bracketology. Christ’s own mission (Matthew 9:35 and Matthew 11:1) is found in his commission of the disciples (Matthew 10:5-7). As the disciples mimic their teacher (Matthew 10:24-25), Christ’s mission becomes the disciples’ mission.  Christ sends the disciples on mission with the same activities in the same kinds of places with the same message as He has been doing and proclaiming since the beginning of the book of Matthew (4:23). Thus, Christ’s message is the disciples’ message. Christ is going to the synagogues in the towns and villages. The disciples too. The Messiah-King is proclaiming the good news of an other-worldly kingdom being established through the salvation of His people from their sins. The disciples too. Whatever Jesus has been doing in preaching and teaching and healing and confronting the demonic activity, the disciples are sent by Jesus to do the same thing. They are to immerse themselves in His mission to Israel (and ultimately, to the ends of the earth). Like teacher, like student. The disciples become participants in the Messiah-King’s mission to establish His kingdom among His people.

But this isn’t simply mission duplication. It is true that 12 can accomplish more than 1. But that’s not what the disciples are to understand, nor is it what the early church is to be seeing in Matthew’s words. This is mission transfer. Christ soon will die, rise, and be exalted as King of Kings and Lord of Lords at the right hand of the Father. The disciples will remain on earth to finish the mission. What the early church must see and what we must see in the commissioning of the disciples is that the disciples are on mission on behalf of the King. The disciples are on mission accomplishing “more” than the King. We get this from the mission summary in Matthew 28. Christ’s mission included Gentiles, but his focus throughout much of the book of Matthew is to the Jewish people. In fact, in Matthew 10, when he commissions the 12, he specifically excludes the Gentiles (Matthew 10:5-6). But having inaugurated heaven’s kingdom through His sacrificial death, he has no such familial limitations in his command to the disciples in Matthew 28. The mission is to spread over the whole earth to all people groups. Through the disciples, Christ’s mission becomes the mission of the church: gathering His people from among all people groups over the entire globe.

There’s one other way the brackets and the parallelism in this section highlight Christ’s mission as the disciples’ mission: eventually this mission will cost the Son of David his life (Matthew 26:28). The disciples too (Matthew 10:21,22). Christ does not send the disciples on a mission that He himself isn’t willing to undertake. The disciples, in answer to the mission prayer (Matthew 9:38), are being “ekballoed” (propelled) into Christ’s harvest of a kingdom people. But the One who sends is the One who Himself will be “ekballoed” from the harvest (Matthew 21:39,41). The Lord of the Harvest will die for the Harvest. Emmanuel’s mission, which began in heaven when the Father sent the Son, culminates in his death to procure for his people salvation, forgiveness of sins, and the inauguration of a New Covenant and kingdom. The Son of Man dies on mission. Christ’s death is so integral to his mission from heaven, the early church can do nothing but conclude that without His death, there is no mission.

While the disciples cannot die for the forgiveness of sins, the mission they are given in Matthew 10:5 is embedded with suffering, hardship, and death for the sake of Christ. Mission has been embodied by Christ. And that Pattern is where the disciples and the early church were to find their mission identity. As Christ unpacks for his disciples what it means for the Lord of the harvest to ekballo workers into a harvest of His people, it becomes very clear that the very act of “ekballo” involves suffering and death. “I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves…people will hand you over…and flog you…brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will even rise up against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of My name.” The disciples and all who follow after them can expect their mission and message and suffering to be like Christ’s because they are united to the Lord of the Harvest who was first on mission to gather to himself a people through the proclamation of the gospel.

This is Matthew’s missional bracketology. It’s not the kind of a bracketology that generates office pools and pizza parties. But it is one that is fueling a generation of Reformed millenials to abandon the white picket fence and two-car garage to run to the fields where a harvest of Christ’s people awaits.

3 billion people around the world have never heard the good news of Jesus. These 3 billion will be born, live their lives, and die before anyone tells them about Jesus. They are unreached. They have no access to the gospel. And they are unengaged: no church or Christian organization is going to them with the good news of Jesus. Each one of the 3 billion who have never heard of Jesus have a story. Christ’s mission is our mission to take the gospel to many of the 3 billion unreached. We are a people of the brackets. Matthew would have us find ourselves standing next to the disciples, hearing Christ say, I’m sending you, the church, as sheep among wolves, to proclaim the Good News of Jesus and his kingdom to the ends of the earth. Emmanuel’s mission continues to be our mission.

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Matthew’s missional bracketology: Christ’s mission is our mission (Part 3)

The brackets have been set. The bracketologists are waxing eloquent. We’ve posted previously that Matthew the apostle has his own bracketology worthy of our attention, especially as we consider Christ’s mission through the church.

Previous posts can be found here and herehereMatthew’s missional bracketology: Christ’s mission is our mission (Part 1), Matthew’s missional bracketology: Christ’s mission is our mission (Part 2). Jesus Christ’s “Missionary Discourse” is bracketed off from preceding and succeeding sections in the book of Matthew. The apostle Matthew uses a literary device (what we’re calling “brackets”) to highlight what is important for the original audience, the early church, to understand, believe, and do in this section of his book.

We have previously noted that there are similarities between Matthew 4:23, Matthew 9:35, and Matthew 11:1:

Matthew 4:23: “Jesus was going all over Galilee,  teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every  disease and sickness among the people.”

Matthew 9:35: “Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom,  and healing every  disease and every sickness.”

Matthew 11:1: “When Jesus had finished giving orders to His 12 disciples, He moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.”

Each summary statement notes Christ’s preaching and teaching (of the kingdom of God), his healing of the sick (minus a mention in 11:1), and his movement from town to town with His gospel message and ministry. The apostle Matthew uses these summary statements to highlight for the early church to whom he is writing the nature of Christ’s ministry as the Unexpected Messiah proclaiming an Upside-Down Kingdom.

It is fair to ask: why are Matthew’s “brackets” important? Even more to the point: why bother with the discussion at all? The answer lies in the reason Matthew has placed these literary markers where he has in the overall setting of the book of Matthew. His structure of the text is a major clue for understanding what he intended for the early church to know, believe, and do.

We’ve already noted that Matthew 9:35 and 11:1 provide the beginning and ending points for what has been called Matthew’s “Missionary Discourse”. This mission text thus looks like this:

“Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness.” (Matthew 9:35)

Narrative and discourse (Matthew 9:36-10:42)

“When Jesus had finished giving orders to His 12 disciples, He moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.” (Matthew 11:1)

What follows the summary statement in Matthew 9:35 is Christ’s commission and sending of the twelve disciples in Matthew 10:5, a commission that mimics Christ’s mission. Christ’s sending (apesteilen) of the disciples is anticipated in the “summoning” of the twelve apostles (apostolon). These Christ sends (apostello) as sheep among wolves just as Christ has done previously and will continue to do throughout the book of Matthew.

All of the elements of those Matthean summary statements (4:23, 9:35, 11:1) are here in the commission of chapter 10. The disciples are to “announce” (preach and teach) the kingdom (vs. 7). They are given authority to heal and cast out demons (vs. 1,8). The disciples are to carry out this activity in the “towns” of the Jewish people in Israel (vs. 5-6). Eventually, they will be bearing witness of Christ to the nations, an indication that their mission will someday include Samaritans and Gentiles (vs. 18). For some of these disciples, the mission will cost them their lives (vs. 16,21). These elements of activity, place, and message inherent to the apostles’ mission (healing, proclamation, “towns”, kingdom) are themes found in Matthew’s summary statements of Christ’s mission in Matthew 4:23 and Matthew 9:35. And the common language being used in these passages means Christ’s commission and sending of the disciples in Matthew 10:5-8 is parallel to Matthew 4:23, Matthew 9:35, and Matthew 11:1, with Matthew 9:35 and Matthew 11:1 being used as brackets for the entire commissioning section in the great mission chapter (Matthew 10).

Christ’s mission becomes the mission of the apostles. The disciples become the answer to the prayer of Matthew 9:38: Pray that the Lord of the harvest ekballo (propel, thrust) workers into His harvest. The Lord of the harvest does precisely that with the apostles in chapter 10, but they will accomplish much more than is first expected. They begin on mission to Israel, but it does not end there. Theirs is a mission that will spread Christ’s glory to all nations over the expanse of the globe.

What does any of this have to do with missionary activity, reaching the unreached, or carrying the gospel message to remote corners of the world? We will finish this series by answering that question next.

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Matthew’s missional bracketology: Christ’s mission is our mission (Part 2)

March Madness is just around the corner. Let the basketball tournaments begin. Already the pundits are spinning “braketology” intrigue. “Bracketology” is the moniker given to the study of the NCAA tournament bracket. Who’s in? Who’s out? Who’s on the bubble? In the first week of March, bracketology is in high season.

We’ve begun a series of posts on a different kind of bracketology. You can find the first post here: Matthew’s missional bracketology: Christ’s mission is our mission (Part 1). Jesus Christ’s “Missionary Discourse” is bracketed off from preceding and succeeding sections in the book of Matthew. The apostle Matthew uses a literary device (what we’re calling “brackets”) to highlight what is important for the original audience, the early church, to understand, believe, and do in this section of his book.

In order to understand what the apostle Matthew was highlighting for the early church, a very brief bracketology lesson is in order. These repetitive brackets which begin and end Bible passages are part and parcel to Hebrew parallelism. This parallelism is not only a feature of Hebrew poetry, but all manner of ancient Hebrew writing, prose included (if you’re interested in knowing more about Hebrew parallelism, go here and here and here and here, or if you’re really bent on finding out more, go here; keep in mind, this kind of parallelism is not exclusive to Hebrew poetry). When one finds a repeated sentence, thought, or sometimes imagery at the top and bottom of a Scripture passage, not only is one probably dealing with parallelism, but also the brackets (inclusios).

Not only do these markers help organize passages of Scripture, they carry meaning. Embedded in these markers are the theology, eschatology, and worldview of the inspired writers of the Scriptures. These “brackets” point to the intention of the author, highlighting “what it is” he wants the original audience to hear and understand. Identifying the parallelism (in similarity or contrast) at the top and bottom of a passage goes a long way in identifying the what the biblical writer wanted his original audience to know, understand, believe, and/or do. It also goes a long way in helping us rightly interpret the Scriptures by keeping thoughts, ideas, events, and instructions in their proper context.

One such place is in the great missionary passage found in the book of Matthew, beginning in chapter 9 verse 35 and ending in chapter 11 verse 1. This so-called missionary passage in Matthew 9:35-11:1 picks up on a theme of proclaiming gospel and kingdom begun by Matthew in 4:23: “Jesus was going all over Galillee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every sickness among the people.” (HCSB)

Matthew presents Jesus as the expected but unexpected Messiah-King who has come to save his people from their sins and inaugurate His (upside-down) kingdom in fulfillment of the Old Testament promises. Christ comes on mission, but his mission is not what Israel expected of its Messiah. Christ comes “teaching” and “preaching” the “good news of the kingdom.” This mission is not to overthrow Rome, but to gather a people to Himself among whom He will dwell as their king. This Messiah-King comes “healing”, reversing the curse and ushering in a New Creation.

In chapter 9, we see Matthew’s summary statement of Christ’s mission repeated as an introduction to a new section of Matthew. Verse 35: “Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness.” (HCSB) First century Christians hearing Matthew’s epistle in their gathering would have perked up their ears on hearing this. They’ve heard this already from Matthew, in 4:23. The repetition here means Matthew is emphasizing a point. And then the theme is repeated again in Matthew 11:1: “When Jesus had finished giving orders to His 12 disciples, He moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.” (HCSB)

What does Matthew want his audience to understand, believe, and do by way of these repetitions or “brackets”? We’ll begin to tackle that question in our next “bracketology” installment.

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Matthew’s missional bracketology: Christ’s mission is our mission (Part 1)

In a few short weeks, March Madness will be upon us. And American college basketball fans will be talking “brackets”. Year-end tournaments, especially the big one, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament are organized into “brackets”, a flow chart with intrigue of multitudinous proportions. The study of the flow chart, the theory of the system, and the expertise provided on each team in the tournament has come to be known as “bracketology”.

But this is about a different kind of bracketology. The bracketology of Matthew. This bracketology expresses the mission of Jesus. An explanation is in order (and jumping back to English 101 for most of us). This is the beginning of a series of posts covering Matthew’s bracketology as it is used in Christ’s “Missionary Discourse“.

We use brackets all the time. We use brackets in our sentences to set off a thought or phrase. Some moms use two gates in their home to bracket off a particular room to confine a toddler to one play-safe room. Some of us need the bowling rails as brackets to confine our bowling balls to the lane, rather than the gutters. Brackets are used to contain something of value to a singular unit, space, thought, etc.

Literature has its brackets. We call them chapters and paragraphs, using indentation, capitalization, and spacing to confine thoughts and ideas and action to singular “units”. This kind of organizing helps make text easier to understand. The literature of the Bible has its own “bracketology”, albeit of a different kind. Our English Bibles are organized into sections called chapters and verses. The Bible wasn’t always organized this way. The writers of the Bible had their own way of organizing the text so that it was meaningful to the original audiences who heard the Bible read in the clan meetings, the synagogue, the tabernacle, or temple. Usually this involved repeating words or phrases or thoughts.

The book of Genesis is a popular example. The book of Genesis is marked off in sections by use of the word “generations”. This word is repeated throughout the book of Genesis as Moses gave literary and theological structure to his writing. If one includes Genesis 1:1 (the word “beginning” carries the same thought), there are 12 of these words throughout Genesis (1:1, 2:4 (records), 5:1, 6:9, 10:1, 11:10, 11:27, 25:12, 25:19, 36:1, 36:9, and 37:2. The use of “generations” (Hebrew: toledot) are the brackets used by the author Moses to organize the book.

These kinds of literary devices are all over the Scripture. They are not hidden. We miss them simply because we are not ancient Hebrew worshipers used to following the organization of the Scriptures this way. (Linguists and theologians calls these literary markers “inclusios“.) Repetition in our Bibles is a big deal. Repetition, parallelism, and literary markers (brackets or inclusios) were used to organize the Bible in a meaningful way for the ancient cultures. A good habit for any Bible student is to make note of the repetitions and parallels as the Bible is read. It’s a quick way of discerning what was important to the biblical author writing under the inspiration of the Spirit.

This parallelism begins and ends Christ’s commissioning of the disciples found in Matthew. Do you see it? We’ll continue talking Matthew’s bracketology in part 2.

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