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And

My English teacher would have had a fit, and picked up her red pen. Eight consecutive sentences beginning with the word ‘and’. According to one authority, “In formal writing, coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) are disapproved as sentence starting words.” But there it is. Eight ‘ands’ in a row! And in the Bible of all places.

The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119, which is an alphabetic song, with each stanza starting with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and each stanza lasting for eight sentences. The letter, waw, serves not only the sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, but also as the conjunction ‘and’; so that when the sixth section of the song is reached, we find the so-called disapproved eight ‘ands’ in a row.

But what is grammatically improper, is not so theologically, for the conjunction wonderfully enumerates the blessings that attend salvation – one of which is freedom. Says the fifth sentence in the stanza, “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts”. What a blessed consequence of salvation: A love for the word of God, which brings freedom. To state it differently, Christians are most free when they walk with the Lord. To state it provocatively, they are most free when they walk in the law of God; which of course sounds counter-intuitive, but not so to all who do, for they know and prove that it is true.

DM 20th November 2018

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