The Bible is Intentionally Repetitive

I broke my brain a few years ago. I used to be okay at remembering tasks, but once Apple released Siri, I started telling her to remind me to do everything, seemingly rewiring my mind’s ability to remember anything.

Culture has also effected how I learn. Since kindergarten I have been taught nearly every day to sit down and listen to people talk. This caused me to develop a learning habit of listening instead of reading. Now, when I open a book, I fall asleep in a short matter of time. But when I listen to a book, I both absorb it and enjoy it.

Acts 10:1-23 is the story of how God set up Peter and Cornelius to meet. Acts 10:23-33 is Peter and Cornelius discussing how God set them up to meet. Acts 11:1-18 is Peter telling his friends how God set up he and Cornelius to met. The Bible does this kind of thing all the time, causing us to often roll our eyes. How many times do we need to hear the same story in a few pages?

The culture of the ancient world was mostly audible, forcing people’s minds to build themselves up around listening and remembering. And since the culture was audible, Bible books were written to be heard, often performed by a skilled reader. Therefore, repetition and rhythm was essential to helping people hear and remember the story. What may sound like bad writing to us in the Bible is actually quite intentional.

*This devotional was created out of the themes of Acts 11:1-18 found in today’s reading at To learn more about this topic, check out Written to be Heard by Kelly James Clark and Paul Borgman.

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