Digging Deeper into Scripture: Ephesians 1:3–14

Many teachings in the Bible are easy to understand and accept. Such teachings include the following:

The Gospel of John: An Overview

The plain bows into the Sea of Galilee where families of fishers settled and built their homes. The villagers prospered and, with the help of a centurion, built a synagogue. The settlement became known as Capernaum, “Village of Comfort” or perhaps “Village of Nahum,” though there is no clear association with the Old Testament prophet by that name. Since the settlers built no wall to defend themselves, their lives must have been peaceful until the teacher from Nazareth arrived.

Digging Deeper into Scripture: Melchizedek

My wife and I are blessed with a large group of nieces and nephews. Our oldest nephew, who is now all grown up, recently celebrated his birthday. As I spoke to him on the phone to wish him a happy birthday, it struck me that this man with whom I spoke was once a child with whom I played many years ago. Tempus fugit! We love him, and we are proud of who he has become.

Digging Deeper into Scripture: The Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1–21)

Upon finishing my teaching degree at what is now Concordia University Chicago, I was recruited to serve as a missionary in Taiwan (ROC—Republic of China), where I spent two and a half years learning the language and culture, and teaching English and Christianity. The first half year was spent entirely on learning language and culture. Mandarin is the official language of both mainland China and Taiwan, but this was not always the language used. A group of mainland Chinese brought Mandarin to Taiwan when they fled the communist takeover. Prior to the arrival of this group, the people of Taiwan spoke their own, indigenous language, Taiwanese, which is distinct from Mandarin Chinese.

The Gospel of Mark: An Overview

Forty-one times Mark describes the events flowing around Jesus’ life with the word immediately (in Greek, euthus), propelling the reader toward the cross where Jesus would die, giving His life as a ransom for many. Mark uniquely focuses on the action in the story of Jesus’ life, making his account both short and compelling to read.

This blog post is adapted from Lutheran Bible Companion, Volume 2: Intertestamental Era, New Testament, and Bible Dictionary.

Digging Deeper into Scripture: John 20:19–31

When we use the expression “take my word for it,” we are asking another person or group to trust that what we are saying is true. More specifically, we are asking this person or group to trust us. The strength of the relationship is as central as the truth being shared. Consider how many things we take on the word of another. Grandparents share events which took place in family history decades before we were born. Historians teach of wars that shaped the course of human history as if they had been there themselves. Friends and family tell us of places to which we have never been. Although we have never experienced these events and places firsthand, we believe the words of those we trust. The same can be seen in God’s Word. 

The Minor Prophets: An Overview

The Greek title “Book of the Twelve” (dodekapropheton) describes [the last twelve] of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew canon. Jesus son of Sirach perhaps referred to this title when he provided the earliest known description of the collection: “May the bones of the twelve prophets revive from where they lie, for they comforted the people of Jacob and delivered them with confident hope” (Ecclesiasticus [a book of the Apocrypha] 49:10; early second century BC). The title “Book of the Twelve” is also better than our familiar translation of the Latin title, “Minor Prophets.” In some cases, it does seem that these prophets were “one-theme” prophets or nearly so, in contrast to the many themes covered by the longer Prophetic Books. However, the Latin title makes it sound as though these prophets were less important, which is not the case.

Digging Deeper into Scripture: Mark 10:35–45

I grew up reading comic books (often when I should have been studying). I was fascinated by the heroes, stories, art, and action. Back then, you could buy comic books at the grocery store. I remember many times standing at the comic-book rack—reading the Hulk, Captain America, the X-Men, the Avengers—and having a store employee offer the terse remark, “This isn’t a library.”

More than any other hero, I loved Spider-Man. I think it was the costume and his set of powers. If you are familiar with the hero, then you know that his real name is Peter Parker, and he was raised by his aunt and uncle, Ben and May Parker. In the story, Uncle Ben offers his nephew an important piece of wisdom that sticks with Peter throughout his life: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

The Gospel of Matthew: An Overview

The first book of the New Testament begins in a manner similar to the first book of the Old Testament: focused on genealogy (cf Matthew 1:1–17; Genesis 5). Matthew sketches for us a human landscape from Abraham, the patriarch of Israel, to Jesus, the Savior of Israel and of the nations. Matthew is keen to tell both the glorious elements of the story as well as the tragic ones. Throughout the book, Matthew emphasizes how Jesus taught and fulfilled the Word of the Lord for the sake of the people.

This blog post is adapted from Lutheran Bible Companion Volume 2: Intertestamental Era, New Testament,and Bible Dictionary.

Digging Deeper into Scripture: Genesis 22:1–18

The United States enjoys what is largely a free-market economy. Those entering and competing in the free-market economy vie for the attention of the consumer and do so, in part, with slogans or catchphrases designed to capture the attention. We hear or see examples of these slogans constantly on the radio, TV, and even in print magazines. One slogan that comes to mind is from Porsche. Summarized, the idea behind the slogan for Porsche is that this brand of car is so wonderful that there can be no substitute. If you want to drive a nice vehicle, it must be a Porsche.

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