Digging Deeper into Scripture: Matthew 2:1–12

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.

Athanasius on John 10:30

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.

Digging Deeper into Scripture: James 5:7–11

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.

Digging Deeper into Scripture: Luke 10:25–37

Discover salvation and sin in the parable of the Good Samaritan with Pastor Phil Rigdon’s insight.

Opposing Ideas in Ecclesiastes: Justice and Mercy

When the book of Ecclesiastes highlights judgment, it can arouse questions about the apparent contradiction between the grief of Ecclesiastes and statements of abundant mercy elsewhere in the Bible. This excerpt from the Lutheran Bible Companion, Volume 1: Introduction and Old Testament provides clarity in understanding God’s character of both justice and mercy.

Digging Deeper into Scripture: Luke 5:1–11

In Luke 5, Christ preaches to the crowds and grants a miracle of fish to Simon Peter and his fellow fisherman. This great mass of fish was only a precursor to the great catch of the faithful that Christ has won for God through His Word and ministry.

God’s Gifts in James

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Curtis Giese’s Concordia Commentary on James. It considers God’s role as a gift giver and unchanging figure.

Digging Deeper into Scripture: Mark 13:24–37

In this passage, Christ alludes to the end times and His second coming on Judgment Day. He also asserts that it is only the Father who knows when this day will come. He does all this in Jerusalem, just before Holy Week. 

The Holy Spirit in Chronicles

The following is an excerpt from volume 1 of The Lutheran Bible Companion on the action of the Holy Spirit in 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles.

Doers of the Word in James

In Dr. Curtis Gieses Commentary on James, Giese gives particular attention to James’s meaning in his use of specific words, including “faith,” “justification,” Law,” and “Gospel.” In this excerpt, Giese looks at the implication and meaning of “doers” and “Word” in James 1:22.

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