Monday, November 28, 2022

Asyndeton and Prayer in Phil. 4:5-6

"Asyndeton" is a fancy word scholars use to describe a rhetorical device found in literature. The word simply means "unconnected." Asyndeton is used when an author intentionally eliminates conjunctions between phrases. Caesar's "I came, I saw, I conquered [not "and I conquered") speeds things up, is punchier, and adds emphasis. 

In Lord of the Flies, William Golding writes, "We saw no houses, no smoke, no footprints, no boats, no people." Because of asyndeton, the relationship between phrases must be determined by the context alone.

In my Bible time this morning, I was in Philippians 4. 

Let me ask you: What is the relationship between "The Lord is near" in verse 5 and "Be anxious for nothing" in verse 6? Here's what occurred to me today. It seems to me that there might be a cause and effect relationship here. I might put it this way: "The Lord is near, so be anxious for nothing." See the connection? We all have worries and cares. But Paul says we should stop being anxious about anything because of the presence of Christ. He is always here, and therefore we can turn to him with our prayers (the general term) and our petitions (the more specific term) in every circumstance that might cause us to worry. The only condition is that we ask "with thanksgiving" -- a grateful acknowledgement of the presence of the One who promised, "Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it" (Psalm 81:10).

So the next time you are tempted to worry, remember Paul's encouragement: "The Lord is near, so don't worry about anything. Instead (a very strong conjunction in the Greek), tell God your needs and don't forget to thank him for his answers." If you do this, the result will be the peace of God, which will set a guard over your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. His presence will be like an impregnable fortress from which no one can dislodge you!