What Scripture is For vs. How We Sometimes Approach It


I was doing some work on Hebrews earlier today and reading in Paul Ellingworth's commentary when I came across this gem, at the beginning of a discussion of Heb. 10:19-25:
The cumulative rhetorical effect of this long sentence expresses the intensity of the author's appeal (cf. 12:18-24), some of which is lost in logical or grammatical analysis [emphasis mine].
In other words: Part of the beauty and purpose and rhetorical (emotive, persuasive, immediate) impact of this passage is actually obscured somewhat by the standard ways this text, and NT texts generally, are often studied.

This concisely illustrates the more general truth that those of us who spend a great deal of time deeply studying the New Testament are often the most in danger of missing out on an actual encounter with the word of God. We ought to strive to keep this before our minds as we study; if that is too taxing, we need to at least go back once we've thoroughly analyzed the text - exhausted and drained though our minds might be - and simply read it to ourselves, from a good English translation, and consider that we, too, are directly addressed; that at one point this was written to real flesh-and-blood communities who would have listened and been challenged, who would not have paused the speaker to organize his genitives according to Wallace's categories or parse his prepositions or wrestle with the aspectual significance of the present tense; quite simply, we must remember that knowledge does not equal, and does not necessarily further, a life of abiding in Christ.