The Benefits of Repetition

The Benefits of Repetition

1 Corinthians 15:1 – “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand.” (ESV)

The Corinthians heard the gospel and received it in faith. They were continuing in the gospel. So why was Paul reminding them again of it? 

Repetition is a powerful tool in shaping what we know and believe. If you want to memorize a new acquaintance’s name, a confirmation number for an order, or the answers for an upcoming test, you probably employ repetition as a technique. It stores the information in our minds better than a one-time hearing. 

Repetition can also convert us to new thinking.

People often come to believe the truth after repeated hearings. How many of you heard the gospel the first time and believed it? Maybe a few. Most people need to hear the gospel multiple times before they come to faith. It would be wise to keep this in mind as we prayerfully engage our neighbors and friends with the gospel, or patiently raise our children in the knowledge of the Lord. Faith comes by hearing, but often more than one hearing. 

Sadly, this can be used to convert people to false beliefs as well.

It is not uncommon to see part of the so-called ‘secular creed’ repeated 8 or 10 times in a single social media post, such as:

transgender women are women

transgender women are women

transgender women are women…

This is clearly untrue and the statement would be incomprehensible to nearly everyone even a decade ago. Why then post a slogan like this in this way? The strategy suggests that the argument doesn’t have to be fully defined or defended (transgender ideology is full of self-defeating contradictions, anyway); it just needs to be repeated. If this mantra is repeated enough times, those who argue against it will become weary of fighting against it and unthinking, uncritical listeners will eventually cave to it. Who am I to argue against this when everyone says it’s true? 

This is the power of repetition when used for evil, to convert people to accept what is false by constantly rehearsing it. But this is not how Christians seek to win souls for Christ. We proclaim the gospel of Christ not in mindless slogans, but in love, with clear explanations and reasoned arguments from the Scriptures, and freedom to ask questions. 

Finally, repetition is powerful to confirm us in the truths we already hold, lest we drift from them. As we saw in the opening Scripture, Paul was pleased to remind the Corinthians of the gospel that they already heard, believed, and were walking faithfully in. Why? To further confirm them in it. To stir their commitment and love for this truth. For the Christian, belief is an ongoing act. We must not only have a belief in Christ as a status, but believe in Christ day by day, moment by moment. 

Unrepeated truths risk being forgotten. Beautiful truths we aren’t reminded of may lose their beauty. The gospel and all of Scripture needs constant refreshment. 

Repetition, reminding, repeating, are powerful means to teach and confirm our beliefs. It’s one reason why we should read the Bible daily, go to church weekly, and sing songs we have sung many times before. These rhythms of faith are healthy and helpful. Consider how being reminded has bolstered your faith and how it can stir up your faith again. Consider incorporating habits that include repetition into your daily walk: Scripture memorization, singing, reading though the Bible in a year, catechism, etc. 

2 Peter 1:12“Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have, I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder.”