Sometimes I get real tired of introductions.
I'm nearly to the home stretch of my graduate school career. I remember attending my first class and thinking about how long a road was ahead of me. Now as I look back I can't remember where the time went. One reason things have moved so quickly is the fact that I didn't follow a traditional class schedule. I have been working with a cohort of ten other students. Our class has stayed together, taking one class at a time while every three to five weeks a new professor shows up for the next course. Naturally, each new professor wants us to introduce ourselves.
If I have to explain what kind of ice cream I would be if I were ice cream I'm going to start hating ice cream.
I get tired of introductions, and I get tired of listening to people I already know introduce themselve. Maybe this is why I have a habit of skipping the introduction sections when I read the Bible.
"Paul, a servant of God and.." blah blah blah. I know, Paul is an apostle, he's an important guy, I've heard this before. Can't I just skip to the actual content of the letter?
As I sat down to outline Paul's letter to Titus, I started to do just that. I left a blank spot for the chunk on Paul's greeting and went about filling in the outline for everything else. When I looked back I saw that blank spot and it was a little annoying so I decided I better put something in there.
I'm glad I did.
In his introduction, Paul not only identifies himself, but he explains what he is doing. As I read the introduction, I came up with this diagram
Do you see something circular about Paul's introduction? Everything Paul is and does is based on what was given to him. What's really cool is that this introduction actually acts as a sort of outline for the rest of the letter. Paul will go on to explain the character that is necessary for a leader in the church, how this character is used to build up the church, and finally how this character is actually a gift that was first given to them.
As tired as I am of introductions, I cannot deny their importance. The next time you start to read a book of the Bible, consider the introduction. Consider why this book was written, and who the particular writer was.
Even in the most unlikely places, God's word always speaks volumes.