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Luther Seminary's Bible Q & A

Was Jesus Married? - Sarah Henrich

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Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Cameron Howard, and Sarah Henrich. Article written by Sarah Henrich. 

Was Jesus married -- and why do we care?

Papyrus fragment front. Karen L. King 2012.In the wake of the recent publication of a small (1.5-inch x 3-inch) piece of a Coptic (an ancient language of Egyptian Christians) manuscript, we suddenly have "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife" along with speculation about Jesus' marital status and the presumption that the Church -- that mythical, monolithic entity -- is suppressing the whole truth.

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Sing about Heaven - Bible Reading Tip

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Songs and hymns that describe the glorious splendors of heaven abound.

One spiritual, "I Got Shoes," focuses on the basics -- shoes, a robe, wings, and a harp. And it promises freedom from hypocrisy: "Everybody talkin' 'bout heaven ain't goin' there."

The song depicts a simple, joyful freedom:

I got shoes, you got shoes, all God's children got shoes
When I get to heaven gonna put on my shoes
I'm gonna walk all over God's heaven, heaven, heaven
Everybody talkin' bout heaven ain't goin' there heaven,

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Scriptures in the Manger - Bible Reading Tip

Gospel in the Manger - Photo courtesy of Paul Mixdorf"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." These words from John 1:1 speak to the powerfully incarnational nature of Christ and the Scriptures. They are poetic, metaphorical and reality all at once. As we read the Scriptures, we yearn to understand and live what we find there, to make our faith tangible.

One simple gesture that can do this is to treat the Scriptures, the Bible that we hold in our hands, with reverence. If your congregation uses a gospel procession

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Was Isaiah Thinking of Jesus? - Fred Gaiser

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Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Kathryn Schifferdecker and Fred Gaiser.
Article written by Fred Gaiser.

One could, I think, answer this question too quickly, either with an “Of course!” or an “Of course not!”

The quick “Of course” could come from a faithful Christian who might then continue, “Yes! This is what I have heard every year during Advent or Lent, when the pastor read the Old Testament lesson from Isaiah about the birth of Immanuel (Isa 7

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Is God Affected by Our Prayers? - Terence Fretheim

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Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Kathryn Schifferdecker and Terence Fretheim.
Article written by Terence E. Fretheim.

When asked about their prayers, many people say that God has three answers available: Yes, No, and Wait (or some variation thereof). I invite you to consider an additional response: God has determined to answer prayers in a positive way, but God’s will to do so is being successfully resisted. This resistance may come from within ourselves (e.g., our arrogance), but it may

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How Do I Read the Book of Revelation? - Craig Koester

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Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Craig Koester. Article written by Craig Koester.

 People often wonder what to make of the book of Revelation. Some find its bizarre images of seven-headed monsters and fire falling from the sky confusing at best and terrifying at worst. The Internet has numerous websites that attempt to turn Revelation into a roadmap for the end of the world. They speculate about the identity of the Antichrist and wonder how soon global conflict

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What Was Jesus like as a Child? - Mary Hinkle Shore

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Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Kathryn Schifferdecker and Mary Hinkle Shore. Article written by Mary Hinkle Shore.

"A wood-worker's Pride and Joy" by Dave Emerson licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0The New Testament includes four gospels. When two of them introduce Jesus, he is already an adult. The Gospels of Mark and John include no information about the birth of Jesus or his childhood. Our information on the infant and the boy Jesus comes from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. These two gospel writers introduce us to the older generation of Jesus’ family first and

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Does Sabbath Still Matter? - Diane Jacobson

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Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Kathryn Schifferdecker and Diane Jacobson.
Article written by Diane Jacobson.

"Symmetry" by g_walter via Flickr licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0Does Sabbath still matter? Many folks would say no.

Keeping the Sabbath seems kind of lightweight compared to killing, idolatry, adultery, and theft. Many think that keeping the Sabbath is mainly about going to church on Sunday (or synagogue on Friday or Saturday), and that such a practice ought not be considered crucial. But Sabbath is not just another activity. Sabbath is, in fact,

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Is God violent? - Richard Nysse

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Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Kathryn Schifferdecker and Richard Nysse.
Article written by Richard Nysse.

"The Last Judgement" by MichelangeloGod's association with war in the Old Testament has long been a disturbing problem for Christians. [1] The problem becomes even more intense when we observe that God is called a "warrior." Admittedly, there have been disastrous Christian appropriations of the theme (e.g., the Crusades). It has been, to state it plainly, both troubling to consciences and a source of sin for Christians.

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Who is the Holy Spirit? - Lois Malcolm

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Podcast discussion with Eric Barreto, Kathryn Schifferdecker and Lois Malcolm.
Article written by Lois Malcolm
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Who is the Holy Spirit? We often have difficulty answering this question and perhaps are rightly suspicious of those who are only too eager with a response.

Yet the Spirit is as close to us as our nearest breath. The Hebrew word for "spirit" (ruach) means wind or breath of life -- the animating power in people, animals, and even evil spirits. The same word is used for God's life-giving

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