Perhaps the most important aspect of biblical interpretation is understanding what the message meant to its original audience and how that translates to life today. The following is an excerpt from the Lutheran Bible Companion, which assists readers in identifying the original meaning and the application of Amos.
I have seen Star Wars too many times. Wait, is that possible? When I say I’ve seen Star Wars, I mean the original movie from May 1977, which started the whole franchise. I am dating myself a little here. I was five when I first saw it (technically four, I guess.) Here’s a trivia question. Remember that Luke Skywalker’s home world was Tatooine, a desert planet. Luke was raised by his uncle Owen and aunt Beru. What was the family’s occupation? If you guessed moisture farmers or something along those lines, you are correct.
The time period in which the book of Joel was written is debated amongst scholars, much like the time periods of other prophets. What scholars can agree on is the genre, characters, and narrative of Joel and what it means. The following is an excerpt from The Lutheran Bible Companion.
An interesting phenomenon takes place at Halloween. Mom and Dad get dressed up in costume in anticipation of attending a party or taking the children trick-or-treating. Oftentimes their costumes include a mask or face paint. When the children first see Mom or Dad in the mask or face paint, they are often afraid, especially the younger ones. Mom and Dad have changed. They sound the same, and their height and general stature are unchanged. Yet the face, the point of connection between parent and child, has changed. Children cry out and cannot be consoled until Mom and Dad remove the mask and wash off the paint. At some point in growing up, children can suspend what appears to be reality, recognizing that it is still Mom and Dad under the disguise.
The Lord and Israel are major characters in the Book of Hosea, but the drama of their relationship is acted out in the persons of Hosea and his unfaithful wife, Gomer. She bore him three children: two sons and a daughter. Hosea gave the children symbolic names that illustrated God’s attitude toward Israel’s present and future: Jezreel (“God sows” punishment), Lo-Ruhamah (“No Mercy”), and Lo-Ammi (“Not My People”). Read on to see what The Lutheran Bible Companion says about Hosea.
When I work with couples in premarital counseling, there is a point at which we discuss leaving and cleaving, based on the creation account. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). I stress the importance of establishing themselves as a separate family, apart from their families of origin. One question I ask is where they plan to spend their holidays, recognizing that both families will likely want them to spend the holidays with the respective sides. The point is to encourage newly married couples to make these decisions independently and as a team.
The Wise Men had to make a similar decision, although they arrived in Bethlehem some time after Jesus’ birth. We don’t know if these men were married. Because they were educated, they likely traveled with an entourage, which could have included spouses. Either way, they decided the trip was worth it.
Given the high status the Gospel of John gives to Jesus, it is not surprising that certain passages from this Gospel would play important roles when questions arose concerning Jesus’ precise relation to the one God of Israel. In an adapted excerpt from the second volume in the Concordia Commentary series on the Gospel of John, read about the classic interpretation to John 10:30.
Daniel is best known for the story of the fiery furnace and the lion's den, but he is known amongst scholars for different reasons. Putting aside differences in receiving the text, here are three themes that scholars agree are accurate. Read on to see an excerpt from The Lutheran Bible Companion on themes in the book of Daniel.
I am dating myself to share that I was five years old when the movie Star Wars came out. Mind you, this was 1977. At this point, there was only Star Wars without the context of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, let alone the prequels or the sequels. We called the movie Star Wars, not Episode IV. If you were alive then, you recall the impact the movie had on the public. It was a phenomenon for both adults and children, men and women, boys and girls. Perhaps the reason for the movie’s great success was its ability to capture the imagination of even those not enchanted by science-fiction. Star Wars was also an exercise in patience. We knew the next movie wouldn’t arrive until 1980. We simply had to wait.
Applying Ezekiel to one's own life can be a difficult process. The following chapter-by-chapter breakdown of Ezekiel from The Lutheran Bible Companion helps the reader apply knowledge from the prophet to their own lives.