The Epistle readings through much of the Easter season in the Three-Year Lectionary for Year B are from 1 John, a timeless letter of great encouragement for God’s children to love each other. Although 2 John and 3 John are not used by the Three-Year Lectionary, I find myself resonating with these brief letters at the moment.
Christmas is a time of celebration that the Savior of the Nations is born! His name is revered throughout the earth as we rejoice in God’s promises fulfilled. Isaiah 9:6–8 is an incredibly well-known verse about Christ’s birth. Read Luther’s commentary on these verses from Luther’s Works, Volume 16: Lectures on Isaiah Chapters 1–39 below.
Baptism is a wonderful gift from our good and gracious God. It is the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit by which we are made the children of God, given the gift of faith, forgiven our sins, and claimed for all eternity. Read Luther’s insights on Baptism from Commentary on Luther’s Catechisms: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper below.
For the first time in English, a truly scholarly translation of Luther’s most famous disputation, referred to as The Antinomian Disputations, is available as part of the newest volume in the ongoing Luther’s Works, Volume 73. Read an excerpt from the introduction below about the doctrines of Law and Gospel.
Every Sunday, as a community of believers, congregations say the Lord’s Prayer out loud. Luther goes into detail about what each petition of this prayer means, giving believers an in-depth understanding of exactly what it is they’re praying for.
The Fourth Petition, “Give us this day our daily bread,” thanks God for everything that He gives His creation, including food, drink, house, money, and so on. Read an excerpt from Albrecht Peters’s Commentary on Luther’s Catechisms: Lord’s Prayer to see how God gives humanity goodness through Christ daily.
Martin Luther was a phenomenal theologian. He wrote many theses during his lifetime, and he also presided over and responded to many of the academic disputations of others in order to discuss their points and validity. A new edition of Luther’s Works, Volume 73 on disputations, dives more deeply into Luther’s arguments from December 1537 to July 1545. Read an excerpt below from the newest volume concerning arguments on Law and sin.
Luther distinguishes himself from all interpretations of the Second Petition before him, in that in the catechism he bases the kingdom of God in the Gospel of Christ, which in the First Petition he had foreshadowed under the topic of pure doctrine. The ‘Kingdom of Grace’ of the heavenly Father is here on earth only there to be found where the Gospel of our salvation through Christ’s sacrificial death is “genuinely preached throughout the world.” This is and remains Luther’s fundamental insight: How the Church is ‘creatur verbi,’ thus also God’s Kingship is governance through the Word from the cross.
Defending a thesis is a crucial step to obtain a higher degree in modern educational systems. Defending a simple argument has become the function of microscopic critics with the rise of social media and the scrutinization of false information. Imagine having to defend your faith in Christ against an entire kingdom, presenting years’ worth of deep theological insights to the Holy Roman Emperor. This is exactly what happened to Martin Luther on June 25, 1530, a critical day in the Reformation.
The words “passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus et sepultus” are translated by the reformer: “suffered under Pontius Pilate, crucified, dead, and buried”; admittedly, the introductory text to the Large Catechism reads: “(who) had suffered under Pontius Pilate, is crucified, dead, and buried.”
Luther’s interpretation of the First Article is shaped through and through by his astonishment about the character of life as a gift. In this way, the reformer confronts that aspect which Martin Heidegger terms the “foundational question for metaphysics”: “Why is there that which exists rather than the more probable nothingness?” But Luther does not consider this as an abstract philosophical question; instead, from the vantage point of the wonderment of a child: “Why is there something and not nothing?” He considers this from the point of view of one who ventures to trust, on the basis of the biblical witness that tells of a God who dispenses life.