Over at the Greek blog I waxed rhapsodic about the literary and theological marvel that is Hebrews 1:1-4. That's primarily for Greekers; this is for everyone.
At first, I thought that pc's were a fad. They seemed that way at Talbot. But one of the first things that sold me on them was how easy it is to rewrite, and to cut and paste.
I'm a chronic re-writer. I re-do just about every post I put up at any of my three blogs. Often, this continues after publication. In the days before pc's, this was a pretty rough process. There was no such thing as just rewriting a paragraph, without re-typing the whole paper. It gave a lot of motivation for doing the best as possible the first time, and putting off a rewrite until I was pretty sure that I had all my rewrite ideas set.
Now turn with me to the literary marvel that is the Bible. Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, Hebrews—even on a literary level, these are sparkling gems of creative genius.
But how did they do it? I thought about this, relative to Hebrews 1:1-4. How did Apollos do that? Had he preached this message many times, polishing the intro each time, until he had it just right? Did he crumple up papyrus scrap after papyrus scrap? Did he have his wife, his buddy, his junior pastor sitting by him, so he could say his thoughts aloud, rework them, rinse, and repeat? And then did he write, but only after he was sure he'd captured le bon mot?
We do know that obviously this process of thought and reflection was often part and parcel of the process of revelation. Some of the Bible was dictated; much of it was not. The sage pondered, reflected, and then wrote Proverbs 24:30-34 under inspiration. The Preacher did similarly in Ecclesiastes 12:9-10.
We learn that effort, thought, deliberation and art are in no way antithetical to inspiration. These were men under the direct, revelatory working of the Spirit of God — and yet they clearly brought the full arsenal of their God-given creative abilities to its formulation and communication.
What does this say to the sanctified sluggard to slaps together an ill-conceived sermon at the last moment, having whiled away his preparation time in empty pursuits (Proverbs 28:19)? Or, worse still, to him who slanders the Holy Spirit by implying that He can only give a message on the spur of the moment, and not—as He regularly did in the Biblical writers—confluently with the process of revelation, inspiration, and inscripturation?