This article argues that Rowan Williams' methodology cannot be fruitfully employed by others without grasping his intellectual habits and the depth of his engagement with Christian tradition. The argument is centred on the themes of ‘taking time’ and ‘making sense’, which run throughout Williams' work, and proceeds in three sections. First, ‘taking time’ implies an attitude of patient humility that frames engagement with all Williams' interlocutors. Second, ‘making sense’, as the primary work of the theologian, depends upon ‘taking time’. Third, Williams' theological style cannot be imitated without the conversion of desire that characterizes Christian discipleship as he describes it.