Some of the most exciting and memorable reading in the Bible is found in the Old Testament. The chronicling of events and personalities are the stuff of which blockbuster moves are based upon. One such figure is the great grandson of Abraham. I am referring to Joseph. And his life, filled with misfortunes, adventures, and an ironic ending is narrated in Genesis 37 to the end of Genesis in chapter 50...
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This week I intend to take a break from our series on being well formed by the Bible. We will return to it soon.
The foundational Books of the Old Testament known as the Pentateuch culminate in the Book of Deuteronomy. It is a fitting finish to the five. Even the title “Deuteronomy” indicates this. Deuteronomy literally means “second law”. And indeed in this Book Moses repeats the story of what has happened to the people thus far as they are at the doorstep of finally entering the Promised Land. He repeats the whole law, and then renews the understanding of what it means to belong to God as the congregation of Israel.
Last week I shared with you the idea that the Bible is a collection of 66 books, divided into two major divisions, known as the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament is the larger of the two, containing 39 books. The New Testament is comprised of 27 books.
Up to this point I have been discussing such things as the grand narrative of all Scripture, of all Scripture pointing to and culminating in Jesus as the Christ and Incarnate Son of God, and finally, how the voice of God in the Bible either speaks to us as demand or as promise – the law/gospel distinction.
We have been discussing the tension between “law and gospel”. In Lutheran theological jargon this is often referred to as the “law/gospel dialectic.” Aren’t you glad I used the word “tension”? “Opposites”, would also work. In any event, I discussed last week the harm of the overuse of the law without the gospel. When this is done, law, or “demand”, is often used lightly. Instead of a voice that accuses and condemns, it is used only to advise and direct us.