The apostle Paul has his own writing style. There are long, complex sentences in the letters that have his name in the introduction. For example, Colossians 1 is dominated by just three sentences, given here in the King James Version.
3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;
8 Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.
Colossians 1:3-8 KJV
9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Colossians 1:9-17 KJV
21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
Colossians 1:21-29 KJV
God gave me a mathematical mind that works well for computer programming. I do very well in the boolean world: Yes/No, On/Off, True/False, 1/0, +/-. But sentences like these three monster sentences from Colossians 1 I find frustrating almost to the point of tears. Let me give an example using the translation I use the most, The Scriptures 2009.
3 We give thanks to the Elohim and Father of our Master יהושע Messiah, praying always for you,
4 having heard of your belief in Messiah יהושע and of your love for all the set-apart ones,
5 because of the expectation that is laid up for you in the heavens, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the Good News,
Qolasim (Colossians) 1:3-5 TS2009
What does the because in verse 5 apply to? The praying of verse 3? The belief and love of verse 4? Both verse 3 and verse 4? I can argue for any of these proposals.
As the clauses keep biting onto the end of the sentence, the possible interactions and inferences multiply. I have a lot of difficulty understanding long, complex sentences.
Sidebar on Translations
Both the King James Version and The Scriptures 2009 are fairly literal translations. That is, when you look at the Hebrew or Greek, you can see that the translators more or less just translated the words into English. In the Greek of Colossians 1:5 the first word is διὰ, Strong’s G1223. The TS2009 renders it “because” and the KJV “For.” Both are acceptable, but I think “because” is the better translation for today’s English usage.
By contrast, many of the “easier to read” translations are more interpretive. Notice how the translators of the NIV decided what the because of Colossians 1:5 means! They decided it applies only to verse 4.
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel
Colossians 1:3-5 NIV
I’m not bashing the NIV. I used the NIV as my primary Bible for many years. I think it is a fine translation.
I recently studied the book of Hebrews, primarily using my TS2009. Though Hebrews has some long sentences, it does not have any of the long, complex sentences I have difficulty understanding. IMO Paul did not write Hebrews – it is just not his writing style!
If not Paul, then who? Maybe this guy.
Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.
Acts 18:24-28 ESV
It recently dawned on me that my difficulty and frustration understanding Paul in the more literal translations is simply an opportunity to get to know the Holy Spirit better. It will prove to be a benefit. 🙂
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come.
John 16:13 BSB
Are you following God's plan for your life?
Your plan sucks.
It really, really sucks.
Most people are WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!
Jesus is coming.
Are you ready to meet Him?
Give your life to Jesus Christ.
Time is running out.