Friday, June 28, 2024

Bible Reading Tips: Conjunctions

 By: Lauren Thomas

In Bible college, I had a professor who had a few famous taglines, one of which was, “what’s the ‘therefore’ there for?” It was cheesy, but it became cemented in the minds of my fellow classmates. Now my Bible study group has the phrase memorized as well, thanks to hearing it from me over and over. 

“What’s the ‘therefore’ there for?” is a phrase that reminds us to notice small details when we are reading Scripture. In this case, the detail is the conjunction. Now, if you just read “conjunction,” and School House Rock came into your head, you get points! You’ll remember that a conjunction’s job is “hooking up words, phrases and clauses.” Common conjunctions are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. More complex conjunctions include words such as therefore, while, because, since, though, however, after, before, etc.


When we read the Bible, it can be easy to hurry past these kinds of words. But they often contain clues that can enrich our Bible reading experience. Noticing these words can deepen our understanding of what we’re reading. Here is an example of a conjunction in Scripture and how paying attention to it can increase our understanding.


Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV


These two verses are so encouraging. But if you notice the therefore – and ask yourself what it’s there for – you will look at the preceding chapter of Hebrews. Hebrews 11 is known as the “faith chapter.” This chapter gives examples from Genesis onward of individuals who acted on their faith, even through adversity and disappointment. They are the “cloud of witnesses” mentioned in 12:1. Just before that “therefore,” we have these two verses:


39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. 

Hebrews 11:39-40 ESV


Now put it together. The “therefore” in 12:1 highlights the significance of Jesus’ role in our faith. It shows us that we have received the promise that the cloud before us was waiting for. It exhorts us to run with endurance because of Jesus!


So next time you read the Bible, notice those conjunctions and ask yourself what they are there for!



Other passages with some great conjunctions to notice are Romans 5:7-9 and Matthew 28:19-20. How does noticing conjunctions in these passages change or deepen your understanding? What is your favorite conjunction in the Bible?


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