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Luther Seminary's Bible Q & A

God Values Life: Leviticus 17 - Kathryn Schifferdecker

In this brief video, Kathryn Schifferdecker helps unpack a difficult passage for modern readers. "If one reads it closely, one can find a profound insight here about life and about how God values life," says Schifferdecker.

Schifferdecker explains that this chapter explains how the ancient Israelites were to slaughter animals for eating.

The prohibition among the ancient Israelites against eating blood (reinforced in Genesis 9) shows a profound respect for life. "You cannot kill an animal thoughtlessly

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What's in the Old Testament? - Cameron Howard

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Podcast featuring Cameron Howard, assistant professor of Old Testament, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.

This is the second of two podcasts on the Old Testament created in collaboration with Wayne Presbyterian Church, Wayne, Penn., for its "Confirmation for the Rest of Us" program.

In this podcast, Dr. Howard covers what's in the Old Testament and discusses specific stories within the Old Testament.

[Note: The original intended audience is Presbyterian, so Dr. Howard addresses views of Scripture

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What Is the Old Testament, and How Do We Read It? - Cameron Howard

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Podcast featuring Cameron Howard, assistant professor of Old Testament, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.

This is the first of two podcasts on the Old Testament created in collaboration with Wayne Presbyterian Church, Wayne, Penn., for its "Confirmation for the Rest of Us" program.

In this podcast, Dr. Howard covers what the Old Testament is, who wrote it, and how we might go about reading it.

[Note: The original intended audience is Presbyterian, so Dr. Howard addresses views of Scripture from

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Bible, God, and Natural Disasters - Terence Fretheim

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Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Cameron Howard and Terence Fretheim.
Article written by Terence Fretheim.

Firefighter in front of wildfire. (Creative Commons image by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region on Flickr)A regular rhythm of natural disasters has occurred in recent years, from floods in the Midwest, to fires in California and Colorado, to hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, to earthquakes in China and Haiti, to the tsunamis in Southeast Asia. The list is long.

Given this painful history, it is not surprising that the Bible’s pages are filled with references to natural disasters: the flood,

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Luke 1: Opening the Gospel - Matt Skinner

Matt Skinner talks about the beginning of the Gospel of Luke, and how this gospel is telling a constructive story to build up people's faith.

"It's history, a story meant to instruct in faith, to give believers a sense of who Jesus is and how his ministry unfolded," said Skinner.

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What's with All the Begats? - Cameron Howard

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Podcast discussion with Luther Seminary faculty James Boyce, Eric Barreto, and Cameron Howard. Article written by Cameron Howard.

Ruth in the Field of Boaz, Julius Schnorr (1828) (Creative Commons image on Wikipedia)What's with all the begats? Do you skip over the genealogies when you read through the Bible? If so, you’re not alone. These long lists of names, usually joined by the famous “begat” in the King James Version or “became the father of” in other translations, often seem like tedious interruptions to otherwise riveting stories.

But genealogies

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Where Did the New Testament Come From? - Eric Barreto

Eric Barreto, assistant professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary, talks about the origins of the 27 books that form the New Testament.

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Bible Reading Tip #19: Download a Bible Study Program

Bible Reading Tip iconby Pastor Clint Schnekloth

In previous months we've looked at how to pick a study Bible and where to find a fresh translation of the Bible.

Here's another way to study the Bible:

6. Download a Bible study program

The best on the market is www.accordancebible.com. With a program like this, you can read many different translations and access more study tools than anyone (other than a professional student of Scripture) would ever need.

Read the whole list of Pastor Clint's previous tips.

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Where Did the Bible Come From? - James Boyce

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Greek text on a stone wallPodcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Cameron Howard, and James Boyce. Article written by James Boyce.

Where did the Bible come from? For most Christians questions about the origins of the Bible are not just a matter of idle curiosity. Virtually all of us hold these writings we call the Scriptures as inspired by God and authoritative for faith and life.

But we do not always agree on what being “true” and “authoritative” means. By examining how these writings originated, we

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Psalms of Praise: Rolf Jacobson

Rolf Jacobson talks about praise psalms and their importance for our life today.

According to Jacobson, praise serves two functions in the psalms:

  1. as a form of testimony, to show others how God has acted in the world (i.e., "We are called to praise God not for God's person, but for God's mission."); and
  2. as a form of direct communication with God, as a part of our relationship with God. 

Jacobson concludes that praise is neither for transactional purposes nor for affirmation of God; rather,

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