Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Advent - December 20


Psalm 66, 67, 116, 117

1 Samuel 2:1b-10

Titus 2:1-10

Luke 1:26-38

The epistle today brings us a challenge. We are instructed to “teach what is consistent with sound doctrine,” but the writer does not tell us just what sound doctrine is. He lists some specific behaviors for people of different ages and at different stages of their lives, but he never gives us the foundation that is the sound doctrine.

Paul’s letter to Titus came in a time when many false disciples were spreading their version of the Gospel rather than the true teachings of Christ. Paul counted on the Titus and the others knowing the real Gospel of Christ and sticking to it despite hearing misleading messages.

So it continues with us today. Every religious leader is going to proclaim his teachings to be the sound doctrine, yet more and more messages diverge from the complete teaching of God.  The verses here have been taken out of context to demand subservience of women and uphold the institution of slavery. This is exactly what Paul warned about. He lists some of the expected behaviors while expecting us to be scholars of the entire Word.

We cannot afford to take any verses out of context without understanding how they fit in the completion of the message that is the Bible. Extremes on both ends of the Christian spectrum assume their favorite verses sum up everything, but they never do. As we approach the coming of Christ in the Christmas season, we must open our heart to the fullness of his teaching and then be prepared to act on it.