This blog post is adapted from the Lutheran Bible Companion.
The Hebrew name for the Books of Moses is “Torah.” (The Greek title is “Pentateuch”). The conventional translation of “Torah” with “Law” is most lamentable. If it were possible to turn back the clock and expunge misleading renditions from our Bibles, this would surely be the place to start. It indisputably is one of the major culprits in reinforcing the stubborn prejudice that somehow the Old Testament is more legalistic.
The Book of Jonah applies the theme of repentance both to the prophet and to the people of Nineveh. The events related in the book explore the nature of God’s mercy and patience as well as the role of mankind in God’s mission. It is a story of both personal and national repentance. The following has been adapted fromtheLutheran Bible Companion.
Having just passed my fiftieth birthday, I am well into adulthood. I noticed several years ago that I not only look but also behave like my father. My hands are an excellent example. The shape of my fingers resembles his, as do my fingernails and wrinkles. Even more interesting is that when driving, I place my hands on the steering wheel in the same places he did. This happened naturally since he was deceased before I learned to drive. There are a myriad of other examples in both appearance and behavior. The point is that beyond my birth certificate, there is evidence that I am my father’s son.
The book of Obadiah, although the shortest of the twelve minor prophets, has much to teach us today about spiritual arrogance and unfaithfulness. Looking forward to Christ, this short book explains the Lord’s judgment. The following has been adapted from The Lutheran Bible Companion.
Can you recall a time when someone assured you that something would happen, and eventually it did? Your mother assures you that continued misbehavior will result in punishment. Your friend claims that the Cleveland Browns will win the Super Bowl, and they do. Your doctor assures you that losing weight will bring down your cholesterol and sugar numbers, and so they drop.
What does an Old Testament book like Leviticus have to teach us about Jesus' death and resurrection? The Concordia Commentary volume on Leviticus clearly teaches us the connection between an old Jewish Festival and Good Friday.
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.