“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.”
“For me to write the same things to you is not tedious”
“To write the same things” is repetition. When Paul was in Philippi, he had disclosed to them many of the same points as he subsequently recorded in this letter.
The word “tedious” means slow, tardy, or slothful. Repetition is a drag. To go back over truth, again and again, is to plod and slog slowly through detail. Most people consider this drab, dull, and monotonous. Paul called it “safe.” He said, “I never tire of telling you to focus on the Lord. I do not weary of reminding you that the source of your joy is the Lord.” That is not tedious; it is safe.
We know so much more than we ever live. We hear so much more than we ever believe. Repetition is indispensable to implant truth into life.
“For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.” (Isaiah 28:10)
That is the way we learn. Growth is a process. Cultivation of truth entails many applications to life.
A veteran pastor said, “When I first began to preach I was so afraid to repeat myself. Now I am afraid I won’t!” How much of a message do people understand? How much do they retain? Would they recognize it if they heard it in a slightly different form?
“But for you it is safe”
The word “safe” means firm, fixed, immovable. Repetition is a safety precaution. It keeps people from falling and affords safety and support. Those who communicate truth must go over it, again and again, to impart it in a way that will make its reality stick. If they inculcate the Word, it will have a greater likelihood of permanence.
Peter carried the same philosophy of ministry:
“For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you.” (2 Peter 1:12, 13)
Repetition of the application of truth affords stability to living out the Christian life.
If we lived as much Bible as we have learned, the quality of our Christian lives would be dramatically different. We know what is right; we live what is wrong. We are willfully blind to translate truth into experience. For many of us, truth is an intellectual exercise, not a life condition. For truth to be transposed into our lives, it demands many applications. Do you have enough truth to apply? Is truth real in your heart?