1:1 These are the words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah:
It so happened that in the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year, I was in Susa the citadel. 2Hanani, who was one of my relatives, along with some of the men from Judah, came to me, and I asked them about the Jews who had escaped and had survived the exile, and about Jerusalem.
3They said to me, “The remnant that remains from the exile there in the province are experiencing considerable adversity and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem lies breached, and its gates have been burned down!”
4When I heard these things I sat down abruptly, crying and mourning for several days. I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5Then I said, “Please, O Lord God of heaven, great and awesome God, who keeps his loving covenant with those who love him and obey his commandments, 6may your ear be attentive and your eyes be open to hear the prayer of your servant that I am praying to you today throughout both day and night on behalf of your servants the Israelites. I am confessing the sins of the Israelites that we have committed against you—both I myself and my family have sinned. 7We have behaved corruptly against you, not obeying the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments that you commanded your servant Moses. 8Please recall the word you commanded your servant Moses: ‘If you act unfaithfully, I will scatter you among the nations. 9But if you repent and obey my commandments and do them, then even if your dispersed people are in the most remote location, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen for my name to reside.’ 10They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your mighty strength and by your powerful hand. 11Please, Lord, listen attentively to the prayer of your servant and to the prayer of your servants who take pleasure in showing respect to your name. Grant your servant success today and show compassion to me in the presence of this man.”
Now I was cupbearer for the king.(NET Bible)
119:113 ס (Samek)
I hate people with divided loyalties,
but I love your law.
114You are my hiding place and my shield.
I find hope in your word.
115Turn away from me, you evil men,
so that I can observe the commands of my God.
116Sustain me as you promised, so that I will live.
Do not disappoint me.
117Support me so that I will be delivered.
Then I will focus on your statutes continually.
118You despise all who stray from your statutes,
for such people are deceptive and unreliable.
119You remove all the wicked of the earth like slag.
Therefore I love your rules.
120My body trembles because I fear you;
I am afraid of your judgments.(NET Bible)
1 John 4:1–21
4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses Jesus as the Christ who has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that refuses to confess Jesus, that spirit is not from God, and this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and now is already in the world.
4You are from God, little children, and have conquered them because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world’s perspective and the world listens to them. 6We are from God; the person who knows God listens to us, but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.
7Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been fathered by God and knows God. 8The person who does not love does not know God because God is love. 9By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. 10In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
11Dear friends, if God so loved us, then we also ought to love one another. 12No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God resides in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13By this we know that we reside in God and he in us: in that he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
15If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in him and he in God. 16And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us. God is love, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him. 17By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. 19We love because he loved us first.
20If anyone says “I love God” and yet hates his fellow Christian, he is a liar because the one who does not love his fellow Christian whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And the commandment we have from him is this: that the one who loves God should love his fellow Christian too. (NET Bible)
It was self-evident to Luther that the evangelists gave consideration to the plan according to which they would relate the history of Jesus and, with that in mind, selected and arranged their materials accordingly, abbreviating here and expanding there. In the Church Postil Luther says in the Sermon for the Twenty- fifth Sunday after Trinity (St. Matt. 24:15-28): “In this chapter is described the conclu-sion and end of both kingdoms, that of Judah and that of the whole world. But the two evangelists, Matthew and Mark, mingle the two and do not keep the order that has been preserved in Luke, for they are concerned only about telling and repeating the words without troubling themselves as to the order in which the words were spoken.” “So understand that Matthew here weaves together and combines the end of the Jewish nation and of the world, mixes them into one dish. But if you wish to understand it you must separate it and apply the parts to their respective ends.” (60–61)
–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.