Meaningless repetition (from Matt 6:7)

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Speedpass, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. Speedpass

    Speedpass
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2002
    Messages:
    1,488
    Likes Received:
    0
    A few years ago David Jeremiah did a series on prayer, and he made mention of this verse. He said that prayers that go along the line of "Heavenly Father...Lord...Lord...Lord...Lord" would be a perfect example of this. He says that when we talk to another person, we normally don't repeat their name--so why should we consistently repeat our Creator's name when we pray?
     
  2. rbell

    rbell
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    11,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Depends on the intent.

    Some folks do that much like "uh," or "you know" invades our conversation.

    Meaningless, as in vain...that's something else. That's praying to impress. I know of many who might use the title "Lord" repeatedly who are authentic prayer warriors.
     
  3. Victorious

    Victorious
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2009
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    3
    Some people do and some don't. My question would be, does it matter and why? Would it matter to God?

    I don't think He cares how many times we reverence Him, just if we mean it.
     
  4. Havensdad

    Havensdad
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,382
    Likes Received:
    0
    The words are "meaningless repetition." English language speakers get caught up on the word "meaningless," because we use this word in a euphemistic way. That is not the intent of the words here. The Phrase means what is being spoken is:

    #1 Meaningless. In other words, they are not really saying anything. It is just a noise: in fact, the Greek "word" here is not even a word. It what you call onomatapoiea. It is a sound, like saying "The fan went SWISHHH." Specifically, it is "Bata."

    #2 Repetitious. Over and over again.

    I believe that this is referring to the practices of the time, which used glossolalia, or "Language of the Gods" to speak to deity. They would chant meaningless sounds over and over again (kind of like the modern "tongue" movement). Saying "God" or "Lord" is not meaningless, and hence, is not what Jesus was talking about.
     
  5. canadyjd

    canadyjd
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    3,896
    Likes Received:
    0
    "Meaningless repetition" most likely refers to the pagan practice of repeatedly "chanting" phrases in an effort to "evoke the diety" or "spirit" into doing what they want them to do.... either bringing blessing on themselves or curses on their enemies.

    So, the intention of the heart is at work here. If a person repeatedly says "Lord, Jesus" during the prayer because they believe they are being respectful, then I don't see a problem. Let Holy Spirit and their own conscience guide them.

    If, however, someone believes God is "obligated" to respond in a certain way because they say certain words or pray certain prayers (i.e. the "word of faith" folks), then I believe this falls into the "meaningless repetition" category.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  6. Marcia

    Marcia
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Messages:
    11,139
    Likes Received:
    0
    I heard this sermon recently (it was clearly a repeat of the one you heard) and I disagree with him on this. This is not the context at all of what Jesus was talking about. He's talking about how the heathen pray; I think Havensdad is right and/or it is that they prayed long prayers trying to impress their gods with a lot of words or sounds. I was surprised that Jeremiah said this.

     
  7. Havensdad

    Havensdad
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,382
    Likes Received:
    0
    While I certainly believe such ideology is blasphemous (i.e. believing God is obligated to give us what we want), it does not fit the word "meaningless." The point is that people are making meaningless noises, not actual words, like going "boogiedy boo," or "Lamamamamama," or other sounds that are not actually words, and are therefore meaningless.
     
  8. TomVols

    TomVols
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    11,170
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think meaningless phrases and words can be in view.

    When someone repeats a word;
    when someone parrots a word or phrase ("travelling mercies" and the like)
     
  9. canadyjd

    canadyjd
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    3,896
    Likes Received:
    0
    I understood what you said. I don't think you are following through with what Jesus is teaching here.

    The point I was trying to make, that I believe Jesus is trying to make, is that the pagans are attempting to force or "evoke" a response from their diety by what they say.

    In contrast, Jesus gives us a model prayer that tells us to approach God with humility (instead of attempting to force or evoke a response), seek His will on earth (instead of our own), trust Him to give daily necessities (not great wealth), asking for forgiveness for our own sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us (instead of asking the diety to curse our enemies).

    peace to you:praying:
     
  10. Allan

    Allan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    6,888
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is an excert from renowned Greek scholar A.T. Robertson on Mat 6:7:
    and Vincent Word Studies of the NT:
    emphasis on both mine

    Therefore while you are partially correct in that it 'can' and in some cases does extend to such areas, the context of this passage is specifically speaking of the pagan practices of chanting or saying phrases over and over in order to get their requests granted.

    Also John Gill who was quite good with his Greek states this:
     
    #10 Allan, Jan 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2010
  11. Allan

    Allan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    6,888
    Likes Received:
    0
    Actually - it does as I just illistrated previously.
     
  12. Marcia

    Marcia
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Messages:
    11,139
    Likes Received:
    0
    The belief in the power of words to evoke a deity, power, or force, and the belief in repetition of words to do this, are still found today: in incantations for spells, in chanting in pagan and New Age practices, and in affirmations.
     
  13. Allan

    Allan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    6,888
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yep, very true.
     
  14. Havensdad

    Havensdad
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,382
    Likes Received:
    0
    And, in my opinion, in the Charismatic movement as well (so-called "tongues").
     
  15. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    He's wrong. Scripture doesn't condemn repetition, it condemns "meaningless" repitition. People often forget that, and erroneously end up condemning all repetition. The hymn "All Creatures of our God and King" is a good example of repetition that isn't meaningless.
     
  16. rbell

    rbell
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    11,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm not comfortable with the idea of my critiquing people's prayers...saying, "You said 'Lord' too much...God won't hear you."

    That's an stretch past what Scripture is talking about, IMO.
     
  17. Marcia

    Marcia
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Messages:
    11,139
    Likes Received:
    0
    And not just that, but also with the Word Faith charismatics, their belief in the power of creating with words, which comes from New Thought, a non-Christian system that is in actuality based on occult views.
     
  18. rbell

    rbell
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    11,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    But someone using the word "Lord" in a verbalized prayer...that's not necessarily what they're doing...
     
  19. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    I read an article quoting Gary Thomas, who wrote in his book Secret Pathways:
    This may not fit the definition of meaningless repetition, but it comes pretty close, seems to me.
     

Share This Page

Loading...