Here is my idea ... we will study a short passage. We will look at context, meanings of terms, language, structure of the writing and how this passage relates throughout the body of Scripture. I think this is always a good start and it will be fun examining this passage with you. Here it is ... Matthew 10:5-8 ...
"Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!"
Why did I choose this passage? First, it challenges the literalist. When we look at Scripture and take it as literal, 21st Century English, we make a grave interpretive mistake. If we are to avoid the Gentiles and only go to the lost sheep of Israel, why are we even here talking about this? We ARE gentiles ... I preach to a gentile congregation every week. Am I spinning my wheels or being disobedient? We will talk about this Sunday.
The second reason I chose this passage is it reflects much about the work of the Church. We get off on so many rabbit trails. Some say our mission is to get people in our doors and grow our congregation. The Bible says if we do what we should be doing the Holy Spirit will add to our numbers (growth is God's work). Some say we should primarily teach God's Word. I agree, but we teach from a platform. That platform is built on loving those we are teaching, being heralds of God's kingdom, healing, helping people be rid of life's demons and giving of (not holding onto) what we have received.
So ... I plan to have fun and immerse myself in this passage over the next two weeks. I hope you will do the same! Randy