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Advent Bible Study: The Birth of Christ in Matthew and Luke

Our Advent bible study will meet for three sessions:  EITHER on Wednesdays at 7pm in Beth Lewis (Dec. 6th, 12th and 20th) OR on Thursdays at 9am at the Rondout United Methodist Church (Dec. 7th, 13th and 21st). Led by the Rev. Alison Quin and the Rev. Caroline Berninger.

Come and join us for a closer look at the narratives of Christ’s birth and childhood in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  Our resource book will be A Coming Christ in Advent by New Testament scholar Raymond Brown.  You can purchase the book on Amazon, but you can also attend the class without buying the book.  Just bring your bibles.  We’ll have a few extra on hand.

Here are a few quotes from the book:

“If it comes as a shock to many Christians to find that Matthew and Luke are our only sources for knowledge about Jesus’ infancy, it may be an even greater shock to realize that the two Gospels differ so much. Our Christmas crib or crèche scenes combine them; but if you pick up the New Testament without previous assumptions and read separately Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2, the enormous difference is obvious.” P. 8.

Scholars tried to harmonize the two accounts, but a “greater fidelity to Scripture as we have received it would recognize that the Holy Spirit was content to give us two different accounts and that the way to interpret them faithfully is to treat them separately. Sometimes the drive to harmonize them arises from the false idea that, since Scripture is inspired, each infancy account must be completely historical. “ p. 9.

But Scripture is a library. “In that collection of inspired books there are many different types of literature, including poetry, drama, history and fiction. Indeed, between history and fiction there is a whole range of possibilities covering imaginative retellings that have a core of fact.”

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