Monday, December 3, 2012

LHP Review: Prayer, Meditation, Trials


Pulse, Jeffrey. A Year in the Old Testament: Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year. St. Louis: Concordia, 2012. 440 Pages. Paper. $29.99. (LHP)

Engelbrecht, Edward A., General Editor. Foreword by Paul L. Maier. The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes. St. Louis: Concordia, 2012. 544 Pages. Cloth. $39.99. (Discounts available.) (LHP) 

Luther said that prayer, meditation, and trials make a theologian. He said it using the Latin words, but what I previously stated is my best English renering to date. Two extremely important books from Concordia will help you as a pastor or layperson in being a Christian theologian.

A Year in the Old Testament guides you through reading the major stories of the Old Testament in the course of a year, and does it in a way that is encouraging and manageable. Along the way readers gain an understanding of the message of God's Word.


Each Day Includes

  • Main Psalmody
  • Additional Psalmody
  • Old Testament Reading
  • New Testament Reading
  • Prayer of the Day
  • Brief Meditation


  • Brief Introduction to the Christian Church Year
  • A Liturgical Calendar – Sundays and Seasons
  • A Sanctoral Calendar – Feast, Festivals and Commemorations with explanations
  • Additional prayers

A Year in the Old Testament takes the reader from their own experiences of daily life into the Bible. There is no greater source of comfort, hope, help, and counsel than the Word of God itself. Nothing serves the Christian faith more than diligently and daily reading and searching the Holy Scriptures.
(publisher's website)

Similar in format to Treasury of Daily Prayer, this new Concordia devotional book helps today's Christian focus on the part of the Bible where Christians need shoring up. At three times the size of the New Testament, the Old Testament is overwhelming in size to many. At such a size, the content is often confusing, especially with unfamiliar names, places, and the same story told in more than one place. Old Testament books are not all in chronological order. Get a better understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures by spending A Year in the Old Testament!

Each day's Old Testament reading joins a collect for the day, two Psalms, an Epistle reading, and a Gospel reading, and is explained in the context of special Christian festivals and a page-long Meditation.

Devotions show the Christological nature of prophecies, people, and events. Jesus is very clearly portrayed as the fulfillment of the older Testament of Christian Scripture, our Prophet, Priest, King, Sacrifice, and Temple, the Son of God and Son of Man. Want to understand the New Testament better? Spend A Year in the Old Testament with Jeffery Pulse.

Don't miss the other special devotionals in this series including A Year in New Testament, and A Year with the Church Fathers, both by our LCMS publishing house, Concordia.



Rediscover a great biblical and literary classic.


For more than 100 years, the Apocrypha has been left out of English versions of the Bible. Concordia Publishing House is proud to announce the 2012 release of the first and only ESV edition of the Apocrypha with notes and annotations by Lutherans.

Why? Not the best of reasons. It was cheaper to print Bibles without them.

Described by Martin Luther as useful texts to read, but not divinely inspired, the Apocrypha allows Lutherans to look back at their heritage and see the Bible as our forefathers would have. Furthermore, the texts of the Apocrypha are essential reading for filling in the 400-year gap between the Old and New Testaments.


A key resource for understanding the New Testament's background, Concordia's The Apocrypha will include notes, maps, charts, illustrations, introductions to the books, and an extensive set of articles that will provide guidance to those who are studying ancient literatures such as the Dead Sea Scrolls.


This Study Bible-style treatment of the Apocrypha is certain to be the most extensive, popular edition available; especially to those eager to study the unique Lutheran perspective on these books and the time between the testaments.


Features of The Apocrypha

  • ESV text
  • Lutheran notes
  • Maps
  • Charts
  • Illustrations
  • Book introductions
  • Helpful articles

(publisher's website)












The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes is an essential companion volume to The Lutheran Study Bible and deserves space on your home reference shelf.


In QBR 3.3, Apostles' Tide 2009, we reviewed the Oxford edition of the ESV Apocrypa Text. Since our pdf archives are temporarily unavailable, we have reproduced that review below (bold text added for emphasis).

 LHP Review

The English Standard Version Bible with Apocrypha. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. 1462 Pages. Hardback. $25.00.

Martin Luther wrote: "Wehave taken it upon ourselves in the Lord's name to lecture on this Epistle of Paul to the Galatians once more. This is not because we want to teach something new or unknown, for by the grace of God Paul is now very well known to you. But it is because, as I often warn you, there is a clear and present danger that the devil may take away from us the pure doctrine of faith and may substitute for it the doctrines of works and of human traditions. It is very necessary, therefore, that this doctrine of faith be continually read and heard in public. No matter how well known it may be or how carefully learned, the devil, our adversary, who prowls around and seeks to devour us (1 Peter 5:8), is not dead. Our flesh also goes on living. Besides, temptations of every sort attack and oppress us on every side. Therefore this doctrine can never be discussed and taught enough. If it is lost and perishes, the whole knowledge of truth, life, and salvation is lost and perishes at the same time. But if it flourishes, everything good flourishes—religion, true worship, the glory of God, and the right knowledge of all things and of all social conditions. To keep from doing nothing, we shall begin again where we broke off, according to the saying (Ecclus. 18:7): 'When a man has finished, he is just beginning.'" [1]

Did you notice that last "Bible" citation? It's from the Apocrypha, namely Ecclesiasticus, the Wisdom of Jesus the son of Sirach. Finally we have an ESV Apocrypha thanks to the partnership between Crossway and Oxford University Press. The ESV version of Sirach 18:7 says, "When a person has finished, then he is just beginning, and when he stops, he will be at a loss" (1254).

"The English Standard Version Biblecaptures as far as possible the precise wording of the original biblical text and the personal style of each Bible writer, while taking into account differences of grammar, syntax, and idiom between current literary English and the original languages. The ESV thus provides an accurate rendering of the original texts that is in readable, high quality English prose and poetry. This Bible has been growing in popularity among students in biblical studies, mainline Christian scholars and clergy, and Evangelical Christians of all denominations.

"Along with that growth comes the need for the books of the Apocrypha to be included in ESV Bibles, both for denominations that use those books in liturgical readings and for students who need them for historical purposes. More Evangelicals are also beginning to be interested in the Apocrypha, even though they don't consider it God's Word. The English Standard Version Bible with the Apocrypha, for which the Apocrypha has been commissioned by Oxford University Press, employs the same methods and guidelines used by the original translators of the ESV, to produce for the first time an ESV Apocrypha. This will be the only ESV with Apocrypha available anywhere, and it includes all of the books and parts of books in the Protestant Apocrypha, the Catholic Old Testament, and the Old Testament as used in Orthodox Christian churches. It will have a lovely pre-printed case binding, and will include a full-color map section, a table of weights and measures used in the Bible, and many other attractive features.

"The English Standard Version Bible with Apocrypha is certain to become the preferred Bible in more conservative divinity schools and seminaries, where the Apocrypha is studied from an academic perspective. And it answers the need of conservative Christians in general for a more literal version of these books" (publisher's website).

Reading the Apocrypha this week demonstrated to me how closely this ESV Apocrypha copies the RSV Apocrypha, much like the ESV is a conservative, corrective revision of the RSV.

If you have never read the Apocrypha before, start with the additions to Daniel: Bel and the Dragon (1307), which I call CSI: Babylon and How to blow up a dinosaur; Susanna (1305), which teaches good police interrogation techniques; and The Prayer of Manasseh (1378).

A quick reading of 2 Maccabees 12:44-45 show why the text is not canonical. This is hardly a good sedes doctrina for Purgatory.

"In Luther's German translation of the Bible (1534) the Apocrypha stands between the Old Testament and the New Testament, with the title 'Apocrypha, that is, books which are not held equal to the sacred Scriptures, and nevertheless are useful and good to read" (1177). Our own Concordia Publishing House included the Apocrypha in German Bibles, but following common English practice, omitted them in English Bibles, even though Luther himself made use of the Apocrypha in his writings. (At least the new The Lutheran Study Bible will include at least Luther's prefaces to the Apocrypha.)

Two questions remain:

When will this be available on LOGOS Libronix?

Since Oxford University Press holds the © on the Apocrypha, how much may be quoted, and how may one seek permission for use?

The ESV Apocrypha translation team was Bernard A. Taylor, David A. deSilva, and Dan McCartney, with David Aiken as Editor.

The Rev. Paul J Cain
is Pastor of
Immanuel Lutheran Church,
Sheridan, Wyoming,
Headmaster of
Martin Luther Grammar School,
Wyoming District Worship Chairman,
and Editor of QBR



[1]Luther, M. (1999, c1963). Vol. 26: Luther's works, vol. 26 : Lectures on Galatians, 1535, Chapters 1-4 (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther's Works (26:vii-4). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

Regarding the latter question, special permission seems to be necessary for ESV Apocrypha quotations. A perfect solution to this is the forthcoming LOGS version of the Lutheran edition before us, now available for preorder. We also have the answer to the former question, Thanks Be to God!






Rarely have I been so excited anticipating a book's release. (That's saying something for a bibliophile, a pastor, and book reviewer!) I rejoiced when the review copy arrived. I devoured the whole thing within twenty-four hours and then departed for the Wyoming District Fall Pastoral Conference. Divine Service on Monday evening used the One Year Lectionary propers for Trinity 18, including the LSB Introit Antiphon basd on Ecclus. 36:21-22a: "Give peace, O Lord, to those who wait for you, and let your prophets be proven faithful. Hear the prayer of your servants, according to the blessing of Aaron upon your people." The text itself reads:

Reward those who wait for you
and let your prophets be found trustworthy.
Hear, O Lord, the prayer of your servants,
according to your good will for your people...

Similarly, the Antiphon for the Christmas Midnight Introit is based on Wisdom 18:14-15: When all was still, and it was midnight, your almighty Word, O Lord, descended from the royal throne. The ESV Apocrypha text:

For while gentle silence enveloped all things,
and night in its swift course was now half gone,
your all-powerful word leaped from heaven, from the royal throne,
into the midst of the land that was doomed,
a stern warrior (16) carrying the sharp sword of your authentic command,
and stood and filled all things with death
and touched heaven while standing on the earth.

Verse sixteen is quite memorable indeed, if not for the sword, death, and aforementioned "doom," yet more so for the incarnate Warrior who "touched heaven while standing on the earth." My homiletical juices are flowing.

Ideal for prayer and devotion as well as the classroom, The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes is the best reference to and edition of the Apocrypha Lutherans have had in generations, if not ever!

Oratio, meditatio, tentatio faciunt theologum.


The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Yellowstone Circuit Visitor (LCMS Wyoming District), a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.

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