Next month I will sponsor a meeting of about 90 attorneys who will hear two PhD’s in Communication explain the importance of “non-verbal” communication for witnesses giving testimony. Today, as I listened to audio presentation of this 1st Chapter of Philemon, after reading the chapter first yesterday, I became aware of how important “non-verbal” communication is.

Reading the chapter was very much a dry and somewhat one dimensional experience. Listening to the chapter being read, and imagining Paul speaking those words with love and personal conviction as he sat in a prison, completely shifted the tone and emphasis for me. I picked up points I missed or couldn’t see in just the reading. I felt Paul’s love for the believers.

Paul’s references to “our brother” or “our sister” seemed heartfelt. These persons were his family. His urging and instruction were not overbearing, but gentle, and also sincere. His appreciation for their love for him was also clear and real to me. I imagined this now old man, sitting in a prison, still hoping to be physically free, but speaking as a free man in Christ. For all his faults (and Paul certainly had them) he is a man transformed in Christ (Romans 12:2) and urging others toward transformation as well.

“Land this plane, Frank” as they tell me: I urge us to read aloud, or to listen to the audio, of the Bible occasionally in conjunction with our reading. I urge us to use our imaginations and our hearts when we read. I urge us to SEE the writer, the setting, the actions occurring around the writer, and to FEEL the emotions of the writer and the recipients of the writing. Let the scripture reach you on multiple levels–all the senses. Yes, even the smells of the place, or the temperature and maybe the sounds of the wind in the trees. Why not BE THERE? Why not fully engage the Scripture? It will change your life. Just listening to the reading of Philemon on this morning changed mine.