29:1 The prophet Jeremiah sent a letter to the exiles Nebuchadnezzar had carried off from Jerusalem to Babylon. It was addressed to the elders who were left among the exiles, to the priests, to the prophets, and to all the other people who were exiled in Babylon. 2He sent it after King Jeconiah, the queen mother, the palace officials, the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had been exiled from Jerusalem. 3He sent it with Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah. King Zedekiah of Judah had sent these men to Babylon to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The letter said:
4“The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all those he sent into exile to Babylon from Jerusalem, 5‘Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6Marry and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons and allow your daughters to get married so that they too can have sons and daughters. Grow in number; do not dwindle away. 7Work to see that the city where I sent you as exiles enjoys peace and prosperity. Pray to the Lord for it. For as it prospers you will prosper.’
8“For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says, ‘Do not let the prophets among you or those who claim to be able to predict the future by divination deceive you. And do not pay any attention to the dreams that you are encouraging them to dream. 9They are prophesying lies to you and claiming my authority to do so. But I did not send them. I, the Lord, affirm it!’
10“For the Lord says, ‘Only when the seventy years of Babylonian rule are over will I again take up consideration for you. Then I will fulfill my gracious promise to you and restore you to your homeland. 11For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. 12When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. 13When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, 14I will make myself available to you,’ says the Lord. ‘Then I will reverse your plight and will regather you from all the nations and all the places where I have exiled you,’ says the Lord. ‘I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.’
15“You say, ‘The Lord has raised up prophets of good news for us here in Babylon.’ 16But just listen to what the Lord has to say about the king who occupies David’s throne and all your fellow countrymen who are still living in this city of Jerusalem and were not carried off into exile with you. 17The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says, ‘I will bring war, starvation, and disease on them. I will treat them like figs that are so rotten they cannot be eaten. 18I will chase after them with war, starvation, and disease. I will make all the kingdoms of the earth horrified at what happens to them. I will make them examples of those who are cursed, objects of horror, hissing scorn, and ridicule among all the nations where I exile them. 19For they have not paid attention to what I said to them through my servants the prophets whom I sent to them over and over again,’ says the Lord. ‘And you exiles have not paid any attention to them either,’ says the Lord. 20‘So pay attention to the Lord’s message, all you exiles whom I have sent to Babylon from Jerusalem.’
21“The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, also has something to say about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying lies to you and claiming my authority to do so. ‘I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and he will execute them before your very eyes. 22And all the exiles of Judah who are in Babylon will use them as examples when they put a curse on anyone. They will say, “May the Lord treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab whom the king of Babylon roasted to death in the fire!” 23This will happen to them because they have done what is shameful in Israel. They have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives and have spoken lies while claiming my authority. They have spoken words that I did not command them to speak. I know what they have done. I have been a witness to it,’ says the Lord.”(NET Bible)
4:1 For the music director, to be accompanied by stringed instruments; a psalm of David.
When I call out, answer me,
O God who vindicates me.
Though I am hemmed in, you will lead me into a wide, open place.
Have mercy on me and respond to my prayer.
2You men, how long will you try to turn my honor into shame?
How long will you love what is worthless
and search for what is deceptive? (Selah)
3Realize that the Lord shows the godly special favor;
the Lord responds when I cry out to him.
4Tremble with fear and do not sin.
Meditate as you lie in bed, and repent of your ways. (Selah)
5Offer the prescribed sacrifices
and trust in the Lord.
6Many say, “Who can show us anything good?”
Smile upon us, Lord!
7You make me happier
than those who have abundant grain and wine.
8I will lie down and sleep peacefully,
for you, Lord, make me safe and secure.(NET Bible)
17:10 The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea at once, during the night. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11These Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so. 12Therefore many of them believed, along with quite a few prominent Greek women and men. 13But when the Jews from Thessalonica heard that Paul had also proclaimed the word of God in Berea, they came there too, inciting and disturbing the crowds. 14Then the brothers sent Paul away to the coast at once, but Silas and Timothy remained in Berea. 15Those who accompanied Paul escorted him as far as Athens, and after receiving an order for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left.
16While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was greatly upset because he saw the city was full of idols. 17So he was addressing the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles in the synagogue, and in the marketplace every day those who happened to be there. 18Also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him, and some were asking, “What does this foolish babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods.” (They said this because he was proclaiming the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.) 19So they took Paul and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are proclaiming? 20For you are bringing some surprising things to our ears, so we want to know what they mean.” 21(All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there used to spend their time in nothing else than telling or listening to something new.)(NET Bible)
As early as 1523 [Luther] wrote in Vom Anbetendes Sakraments: “Beware of this; forget knowledge and understanding that are so vainly exercised as to how it is possible for flesh and blood to be present, and because they cannot comprehend it refuse to believe it. Hold fast to the word that Christ spoke, ‘Take, this is my body, this is my blood.’ We must not wickedly trifle with God’s words as those who, without any clearly expressed warrant, want to give another meaning to some word differing from its natural meaning, as those do who sacrilegiously try to twist the word is into meaning ‘it signifies,’ and so distort this statement of Christ, ‘ is is my body,’ that it is to mean, ‘this signifies my body.’ But we shall and will simply stand by Christ’s words; He will not betray us, and we will repel such error with no other sword than the fact that Christ does not say, ‘this signifies my body, but this is my body.’ For if such evil frivolity be permitted in one place so that we could say, without any foundation in Scripture, that ‘is’ means ‘signifies,’ there would be no protection against a similar interpretation in any other case, and all Scripture would be nullified because there would be no reason why such wicked trifling could be permitted in one case and denied in another.” (30)
–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures
This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.