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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Large Catechism – part 18

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From the Word: 3 As I exhorted you when I was going into Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus so that you may charge certain people not to teach a different doctrine, 4 nor to heed myths and endless genealogical studies that produce disputes, rather than matters of God that are by faith. (1 Timothy 1:3–4)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

God himself is not ashamed to teach these things daily. As he knows nothing better to teach, he keeps teaching the same thing, and does not take up anything new or different. All the saints know nothing better or different to learn, but cannot learn it entirely. So then, are we not the finest of all fellows imaginable, if we have read or heard it once, and know it all, having no further need to read and learn? Can we learn in one hour what God himself cannot finish teaching, though he is engaged in teaching it from the beginning to the end of the world — and all the prophets and saints have been occupied with learning it, and have always remained pupils, and must continue to be such?

Pulling It Together: The Revised Standard Version may not be the most accurate English translation of 1 Timothy 1:4, but the idea of “divine training” has its appeal. Training does not seem too tempting, at first glance. But there has to be something to it, since I receive regular advertising for training in an assortment of things from languages to exercise. Most of them offer their training in minutes a day. Just yesterday, I viewed an offer to know and understand the great works of literature by watching video summaries in seven minutes a day. Notably, I can also get rock-hard abs in just minutes a day if I purchase the right gizmo. But can I learn great literature while getting my six-pack? That would be a special kind of training.

Divine training does not come easily. It does not take mere minutes per day, or an hour a week. It does not happen in thoughtless ritual or mindless routine. Divine training, the ordered life of God, happens in the exercise of faith. God has offered the program; and he is the instructor to boot. We can do no better.

Prayer: Teach me your way, Lord. Amen.

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