Decades of providing pastoral care and university teaching have given Rev. Dr. Michael Eschelbach ample opportunity to answer countless biblical questions. Why are the Gospel accounts different? Why does the Bible spend so much time listing genealogies? What does Revelation mean?
Dr. Eschelbach offers answers to these questions (and many more) in The Big Book of New Testament Questions and Answers, a comprehensive handbook grounded in solid, biblical theology. The questions were collected from students from over forty New Testament classes and reflect the queries we all have when reading the Bible.
This easy-to-read resource will be helpful for the classroom, Bible study groups, and individual study. We’ve shared some questions and answers regarding the Book of Matthew below, and you can click here for many more examples.
The following is an excerpt from Lutheran Bible Companion, available now.
The LBC, a two-volume set, covers every canonical book of the Bible, including the Apocrypha. This selection is from the “The General Epistles” in volume two.
Disputes over the General Epistles
Before studying the General Epistles, readers should gain some understanding of their history in the life of the Church. In the fourth century AD, when Eusebius wrote his Church History, he distinguished between “agreed-upon” writings (Gk homologoumena) and “spoken-against” writings (Gk antilegomena) in the General Epistles. Eusebius made this distinction based on whether or not a letter was universally received and used in the churches. Never disputed in the Early Church, 1 Peter and 1 John were received in the same way as the Pauline Epistles.
Among the disputed writings, which are nevertheless recognized by many, are extant the so-called epistle of James and that of Jude, also the second epistle of Peter, and those that are called the second and third of John, whether they belong to the evangelist or to another person of the same name. (NPNF2 1:156)
Elsewhere, Eusebius pointed out that Hebrews and Revelation were disputed (NPNF2 1:134, 156).
During the Reformation, Luther and others had the difficult task of reviewing all these matters and making decisions about what books would be published in new editions of the Bible. Regarding the General Epistles, Luther noted in his preface to Hebrews:
Up to this point we have had [to do with] the true and certain chief books of the New Testament. The four which follow [Heb, Jas, Jude, Rv] have from ancient times had a different reputation. . . . We should not be deterred if wood, straw, or hay are perhaps mixed with [the works of the apostles; cf 1Co 3:12], but accept this fine teaching with all honor; though, to be sure, we cannot put [Hebrews] on the same level with the apostolic epistles. Who wrote [Hebrews] is not known, and will probably not be known for a while; it makes no difference. We should be satisfied with the doctrine that he bases so constantly on the Scriptures. For he discloses a firm grasp of the reading of the Scriptures and of the proper way of dealing with them. (AE 35:394–95)
Luther considered the books based on their history, their qualities as literature, and their use in the life of the Church. First, note that Luther accepted the Epistles of Peter and John without hesitation. Also note that Luther added some distinctions to those made by Eusebius. Luther distinguished between (1) writings that were clearly from apostles and represented apostolic doctrine (Grm apostolisch) and (2) writings that had disputed authorship and focused on the Law rather than on Christ (see pp 690–91). (3) Finally, Luther emphasized the importance of doctrine based “constantly on the Scriptures” over against issues of authorship or literary style.
Based on his review of the General Epistles, Luther ordered the books differently than what we find in English Bibles. He placed the most disputable books last. Luther’s order is still found in modern editions of the German Bible.
With characteristic vigor, Luther pointed out what he believed were weaknesses in Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation. But with characteristic conservatism, Luther also kept them in the New Testament, cited them as authoritative, and preached from them. He held within himself a freedom to critique books of Scripture as literature, yet to honor them as God’s Word. The Epistle that caused Luther the most trouble was James. On that history, see pp 690–91. To learn more about how books were recognized as Holy Scripture, see pp 6–10.
From Lutheran Bible Companion, volume 2, pages 647–48. Text © 2014 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
To order, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit www.cph.org.
As professor, pastor, and president, Christ has always been at the center of Dean Orrin Wenthe’s confession and practice. His clarity of thought and charity of heart has encouraged and inspired his parishioners, colleagues, and, especially, students entering the pastoral ministry in coming to a deeper understanding of their Lord Christ.
Written in honor of Dr. Wenthe’s forty years of service to Concordia Theological Seminary (Fort Wayne, Indiana), the essays in The Restoration of Creation in Christ illuminate the central accents of his teaching as a biblical theologian about the sacramentality of God’s good creation and how God uses the “stuff” of this world to deliver to us promises that are concrete, real, and even infinite.
Dr. Wenthe will be signing copies of this book at the Fort Wayne Symposia, Wednesday, January 22, at noon outside the bookstore. [Read more…] about Festschrift Honors the Rev. Dr. Dean Wenthe
CPH is pleased to announce the release of the twenty-third volume in the Concordia Commentary series, available now. The new commentary covers 1, 2, and 3 John. These epistles represent the singular voice of an extraordinary theologian. John, the last living apostle, writes to his “children.” For decades John has served as the elder father of the house churches of Asia Minor, but during his exile, false teaching has persuaded some to abandon the faith and the life of the community of the beloved. At least one house church’s leader has presumed to advance his own teaching at the expense of the apostle’s instruction. [Read more…] about Concordia Commentary on the Johannine Epistles Available Now