The Butterfly

January 16, 2009 at 9:47 am | Posted in BiblicalSwimming, Matthew | 4 Comments
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The “butterfly” stroke is considered by some “to be the most beautiful of the strokes” (USA Swimming). “It features a simultaneous recovery of the arms over the water combined with an undulating dolphin kick. In the kick, the swimmer must keep both legs together and may not flutter, scissor, or use the breaststroke kick. Both hands must touch the wall simultaneously on the turns and the finish.”

The butterfly is perhaps the most deceptive swimming stroke. While the insect known as the butterfly floats effortlessly on currents of air, the swimmer who will make the butterfly stroke appear beautiful must exert great effort, adhere to strict rules, and thrash violently during his repetitive plunges beneath the surface.

Although the Bible does not record a love for swimming among the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’s time, we can imagine that, if they had known of such a thing, the butterfly might very well have been their favorite stroke.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Matthew 23:27-28

Like butterfly swimmers, the scribes and Pharisees adhered to strict formal rules, hoping that their outward lives appeared beautiful to men. Underneath the surface, however, these hypocrites struggled furiously to achieve a righteousness which can, in reality, only be imputed by faith in Christ.

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  1. […] The Butterfly: Some swimmers follow strict rules of form to appear graceful, when in fact they are thrashing violently beneath the surface. God is not impressed by a false show of outward beauty or self-righteousness. ( Matthew 23:27-28 ) […]

  2. […] The Butterfly: Some swimmers follow strict rules of form to appear graceful, when in fact they are thrashing violently beneath the surface. God is not impressed by a false show of outward beauty or self-righteousness. ( Matthew 23:27-28 ) […]

  3. […] Back Stroke (Acts 27:41-44) The Breaststroke (Isaiah 25:11) The Butterfly (Matthew 23:27-28) The Crawl (Psalm 104:19-20) Freestyle (Galatians 5:1) The Dog Paddle […]

  4. […] the Underdressed Guest (Matthew 20-22) 42. When the ExaminEE becomes the ExaminER (Matthew 22-23) 43. The Butterfly (Matthew 23:27-28) 44. The Ultimate Confession (Matthew 24-25) 45. The Least (Polite) of These […]


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