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How Do You View God's Word?

How do you view God's Word?

As a Lutheran, how is your view of the Holy Bible perhaps different from other Christians you know?

For that matter, why is it important to prayerfully consider how we currently view the holy Scriptures?

I think the answers to all of those questions can be found in the Foreword of my Lutheran Study Bible, which is why I wanted to share it with all of you today.



How Do You View God's Word?

The Reformation started from a man studying the Bible: Martin Luther. It grew from an educational setting: Wittenberg University. As these facts show, Biblical studies and Christian education had the greatest importance for early Lutherans. Everywhere the Reformation spread, Bible reading and Christian education followed. Lutheran congregations, schools, missions, colleges, and universities still place great importance on study of Holy Scripture.

But there is another, perhaps even more important, factor binding the Lutheran Church to the careful study of Scripture, something that distinguished the Lutheran Reformation from other movements -- its belief about God's Word.

In contrast with what Luther learned about the Word in his youth, he came to believe that the Word was not lifeless and passive but was truly lively and life-giving. He saw that, through His Word, God worked to bless and guide His Church. Therefore, Luther viewed the Gospel of God's Word as a means of grace, as he described it in the Large Catechism:

You must always have God's Word in your heart, upon your lips, and in your ears. But where the heart is idle and the Word does not sound, the devil breaks in and has done the damage before we are aware [Matthew 13:24-30]. On the other hand, the Word is so effective that whenever it is seriously contemplated, heard, and used, it is bound never to be without fruit [Isaiah 55:11; Mark 4:20]. It always awakens new understanding, pleasure, and devoutness and produces a pure heart and pure thoughts [Philippians 4:8]. For these words are not lazy or dead, but are creative, living words [Hebrews 4:12].

*- Large Catechism 1:100-101


For Lutherans, studying the Bible is never merely an intellectual exercise. Study is mediation on God's Word (meditatio), an act of devotion. The form and content of earlier Lutheran study Bibles bears this out, including not simply commentary notes but also prayers based on each portion of Scripture or notes on the practical application of the text. By opening the Bible and turning its pages, we petition Heaven for mercy, wisdom, and strength. This prayerful study at the heart of Lutheran doctrine and practice was also the chief motive for editors and writers of this study Bible.


Isn't that stimulating?

It reminds me of something we point out on our podcast each and every week.

John 5:39-40 (ESV) 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.


We know that the Scriptures give eternal life, but only BY and only THROUGH Christ Himself, not through the mere act of studying them. We know this because the ENTIRE Scriptural testimony centers on Jesus.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, let's approach personal Bible Study with the kind of reverence it deserves, and with an understanding that it's through His Word that the God primarily speaks to us, and through His Word that Christ Jesus is revealed to us.

[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Finally, you might discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog definitely fall into that category since I was a Lutheran-In-Name-Only at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. I decided to leave those published posts up only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]

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About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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