Wish I could find the exact quote, yet I am sure I got it from N.T. Wright (who probably got it from his grandfather), but he said that if you dissect a butterfly in Biology class, tack it to the board, split it open, methodically pull out all the insides and study them, you will learn almost everything there is to know about that butterfly, but you shouldn’t expect it to fly again.

You don’t really need a world leading scholar to say that.  Actually, it is rather obvious.  But it occurs to me that we can say pretty much the same thing for a good joke.  A strange phenom, but real enough.  Many jokes are very funny, but any joke you don’t “get” and then must be explained may make all kinds of sense once it is explained, but it will not make you laugh.  Dissecting a joke just kills it, and it will not fly after that.

But, ironically, just the opposite is true for good poetry. 

I am no poet.  I am not good at dissecting poems.  But I discovered, to my great surprise, that the college level English class I was required to take, offered a section on poetry that absolutely fascinated me.  When a skilled poet packs the language with all manner of artistry and meaning into a poem, a guided tour is a opens whole worlds of new flight.

If you never experienced it, I recommend you find a tour guide and give it a try.

By the way, as powerful as this phenom is for poetry, it is all the more dynamic for Bible study.  If you come to the Bible bewildered by it, I recommend you get a tour guide.  It will change your life (Acts 8:31).

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