Seventeens in Scripture (17)

This is the last of this series.

Appropriately, it’s the seventeenth.

So I just thought I’d mention a couple of my favourite multiples of 17 in Scripture, along with some other random significant seventeens I haven’t looked at very closely.

(1)         Currently the top of my favourites among the seventeens is the 1717 references to ‘land’ across the Old and New Testaments. Now 101 in medieval times appears to have been a metaphor for the Music of the Spheres, the sustaining song of the angel host. It looks to me like Paul uses it that way to book-end Ephesians as well. As it happens ‘land’ and ‘song’ evoke the Australian aboriginal concept of connection to the land and songlines in the landscape. So pardon me if I sum up 1717 as a mathematical metaphor for ‘the songlines of the Lord’.

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Seventeens in Scripture (15)

The moment I heard a sermon in which it was mentioned that there are 16 references to joy in Philippians, I knew there was one missing. So I went looking for it. There are indeed 16 references based on chara, but there is one based on kauchaomai (#13), which happens to be positioned to divide the remainder of mathematical structure in a 3:1 ratio.

Also noting from yesterday’s post that joy and crown are related concepts in Hebrew, it should be no surprise to find them together in Philippians 4:1

  1. Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joyPhilippians 1:4
  2. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and rejoicingPhilippians 1:18
  3. …I therein do rejoice, yea, and will… Philippians 1:18
  4. rejoice. Philippians 1:18
  5. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith…  Philippians 1:25
  6. That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again. Philippians 1:26
  7. Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Philippians 2:2
  8. Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Philippians 2:16
  9. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice with you all.. Philippians 2:17
  10. For the same cause also do ye rejoice with me. Philippians 2:18
  11. I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Philippians 2:28
  12. Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Philippians 3:1
  13. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:3
  14. Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. Philippians 4:1
  15. Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say… Philippians 4:4
  16. Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
  17. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Philippians 4:10


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Seventeens in Scripture (13)

Paul lays out the qualities of an elder in the church, citing seventeen qualifications for anyone who desires such ‘a noble task’.

Now the elder must be

  1. above reproach
  2. the husband of but one wife
  3. temperate
  4. self-controlled
  5. respectable
  6. hospitable
  7. able to teach

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Musings on music and meaning

Sometimes, when I’m editing, I come across an author’s humongously long sentence which rambles on and on—often, so the authors tell me in insouciant comments when I express my concern, because they are imitating the apostle Paul who, after all, wrote excessively long sentences like the famous one at the beginning of his epistle to the Ephesians which is 202 words in length and has such a complex structure that it is actually able to be interpreted more than one way—and when I suggest that paragraph–long sentences are inappropriate in the age of Twitter, they baulk at the thought.

The publisher I work for, however, is delighted. He uses my remark about the age of Twitter to try to get his more verbose authors to see reason. It doesn’t always work. A pity. Because authors who have a significant message are not being given a chance, due to their resistance to cutting the words into bite–size chunks. Communication is important, in whatever age. Since today’s Christians have no idea what 202 means, it’s pointless having such a long sentence. Still I have seen sentences as long as 140 words; they make my effort of 101 words in the first paragraph look a bit puny.

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