Pheasant-Hunting with a Pen & Author in Turkey

Stabbing in the black plastic fork, I pulled it back. Speared green spinach leaves, tangy apple squares, and salty slivers of Swiss cheese dangled haphazardly for a moment. Self-consciously helping a few stray spinach stems back into my mouth, I pulled the Bible closer with my other hand.

Photo Credit: Flickr User K. Hurley, Creative Commons cc license

Paul, one of the authors of the Bible, had penned words from ancient Turkey. Their poetic beauty and powerful life-changing truths grabbed me, yet I found myself stopping to read and re-read them.

Do Bible sections trip you up sometimes too? Paul’s long sentences drip with parenthetical clauses and commas. I find myself tracking subject-verb trails like a pheasant hunter or an editor with a red pen. As the words-lover in me grows and stretches taller each year, I discover that my method of studying and learning has changed too.

Armed with pens, colored pencils, and endless notebooks, I’ve learned that writing out Paul’s sentences and diagramming them reveals new beauty and understanding to me. Dissecting his subjects, verbs, prepositions, and clauses, I suddenly see his passages flood with clearer meaning. Patterns and repeated words pop out. Joy pours in. The words hum with intensity, and my eyes trace and re-trace the lines. “Wow, look at this!” I point to friends and family nearby.

Today I diagrammed four verses from the book named after the Turkish city of Ephesus. Sentences by a Roman Jew, imbued with the Creator’s Spirit, sizzled excitement and truth to my European-American heart. Grab your plate and join me?

I pray that out of his glorious riches
he may strengthen you with power
through his Spirit in your inner being, 
so that
Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 

And I pray that you, 
being rooted and established in love,
may have power
together with all the saints, 
to grasp
          How WIDE
          and LONG
          and HIGH
          and DEEP
is the love of Christ,

and to know
this love that surpasses knowledge 
–that you may be filled
to the measure
of all the fullness of God.                              (Ephesians 3:16-19)

What have you been snagging for quick easy lunches? And where have you been reading lately? (Those in email can click here to join the conversations.)

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  1. Linda Stoll on April 13, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    What a hefty table you've spread, Jennifer!

    These days find me in Psalms, Proverbs, Matthew, John, and Philippians.

    What a feast God's given us in His Word!

  2. Unknown on April 15, 2016 at 1:22 am

    I always appreciate your perspective and passion for our Father's words and heart. The more we dissect His word the deeper in meaning it gets. That's the true riches of this world…

  3. Cheryl Barker on April 21, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    I've been slowly reading through the gospels and am currently in Luke. I also love to read a bit from the Psalms each day. Taste and see that the Lord is good indeed!

  4. cabinart on April 24, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    I've often thought that Paul could have used a good editing session with those paragraph long sentences. God has given some people the ability to wade through the layers so that those of us who get bogged down can benefit from the efforts of those such as yourself. Thank you, Jennifer!

    Today I noticed in Luke 22 that Jesus is called "Jesus" until he looks at Peter after the three betrayals. Then he is referred to as "The Lord". Why?? Where do you go for answers to those sorts of Bible study questions, oh Experienced and Studious One?

  5. Jennifer Dougan on April 26, 2016 at 2:39 am

    Hi Linda,

    Matthew, Psalms, Proverbs, John and Philippians sounds extensive and varied. Nice! Do you follow a certain reading plan, or just choose your own and go with it?

    It's always nice to have you here. 🙂

    Jennifer Dougan

  6. Jennifer Dougan on April 26, 2016 at 2:44 am

    Hi Floyd,

    Thanks for stopping in. I love dissecting those sections.

    Jennifer Dougan

  7. Jennifer Dougan on April 26, 2016 at 2:49 am


    The gospels and a daily Psalm are uplifting, huh?

    Have a great week,

    Jennifer Dougan

  8. Jennifer Dougan on April 26, 2016 at 2:55 am

    Hi Jana,

    I don't think I'm an experienced and Studious One, just a curious one. 🙂 I love digging into the study notes on the side and down below the page, or from commentaries, concordances, and Bible study books. I like what history and timelines add to my understanding and visualizing of a passage.

    Hmm, that's neat about the "Jesus" changing to "The Lord." Was it just to change up the flow of the words and to not be repetitious? I don't know. Good question. I'll have to go peek at it now. 🙂

    Jennifer Dougan

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