|There are a variety
of ways of structuring these passages;
some authors use as little as four and others more items within
each. The key is to note that the
structure is similar in all cases -- and the exceptions are important. There are in fact three main points to be
|1. The structure of all seven letters is very
similar. In fact, considered as
structure without content, it is identical.
Passages like “To the angel at ... write” and “he that has an ear...” are framing
passages -- like a chorus in a song.
As such, they lay out the poetic nature of the passage. We are therefore entitled to draw
conclusions not only from the meaning of the text but its structure.
|2. One key element of this structure is syncopation. Musically, this means to accent a
beat; to bring it in early or late, to
leave it out or stick in an extra one.
The key is this: whatever is different
is being emphasized. So when we
see this syncopation in these two chapters, we may conclude that the
differences from the “standard” form are significant.
|3. In the content areas, there is an internal
consistency between all the areas of the section -- including consistency
between the title given to Christ in that letter and the other sections. Each “verse” (letter to a church) is a
consistent whole. By the way, all the
titles of Christ used here are taken from the first chapter -- yet another
mark of a carefully constructed tapestry.