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David T. Koyzis offers some remarks (with helpful links) on the lectionaries used in various churches. One thing I’ve observed regarding common homiletics and the effect short readings have on our Scriptural interpretation. We are all quite familiar with exegetical methods and pastoral lessons which can and have been extracted from various short narratives in the Gospels and topical nodes of thought in the Epistles. This practice has a tendency to atomize the text, to break it up into short focused fragments.

What I haven’t seen done are homilies or thoughts offered on what sorts of meanings and lessons we might extract from these books taken as an organic whole. For example, Matthew is called the “Gospel for the Hebrews.” But so what? That has to mean more than the lesson that (especially early) Christianity was a message received or for Jews. But what I’m seeking is to consider what meaning can we extract from the overall structure of the narrative? What sorts of pastoral, spiritual, or symbolic meaning might one extract from the structure of a narrative like Mark or John?

Just asking.

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