St Phil’s Editorial – 5 Dec 2019

Jonathan Pennington writes that Jesus’ Sermon Is Meant to Be Memorized and to Serve as a Source for Constant Meditation.

“[T]he sermon comes from a time and culture that concentrated on the ear more than the eye. The sermon (for both Jesus’ original speaking and Matthew’s writing) is designed as an aural, memorizable meditation device.

It’s one of Matthew’s five teaching blocks that gather together Jesus’ teachings on various themes, present them in a memorable thematic structure (usually in sets of three)—with vivid images and poetic language—so that would-be disciples can easily hear, memorize, and thereby meditate on what the Master has said. To be a disciple is to memorize the Teacher’s sayings and to model one’s life on his.

I haven’t yet memorized the entirety of the sermon (much to my regret), but I regularly take long walks and recall and recite the portions that I have memorized. I’m always amazed at the fresh power, the new insights, and the cross-canonical connections that flood my mind—things that I never noticed despite multiple readings and thorough literary study. This is why the sermon was written. Try it.”[1]


[1] Online at

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Loves Jesus and loves telling people about Him.

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