Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pulpit Review: Guides to the Scriptures



Engelbrecht, Edward A., General Editor. Lutheran Bible Companion (Set). St. Louis: Concordia, 2014. Cloth. 1014 + 992 Pages. List Price: $69.98. Hardback Sale Price: $49.99. www.cph.org/p-24345-lutheran-bible-companion-set.aspx (LHP)

Lessing, R. Reed and Andrew E. Steinmann. Prepare the Way of the Lord: An Introduction to the Old Testament. St. Louis: Concordia, 2014. 559 Pages. Cloth. $49.99. https://www.cph.org/p-22941-prepare-the-way-of-the-lord-an-introduction-to-the-old-testament.aspx (P)

We may well be living in the golden age of Concordia Publishing House. The abundance of faithful resources is such a joy that both the bookshelves and budgets of pastors are being stretched!


Among my go-to Bible references in English have been The Word Becoming Flesh, Introduction to the Intertestamental Period, The Word of the Lord Grows, Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions, and The Concordia Bible Dictionary. The new two-volume Lutheran Bible Companion draws upon these and the fruits of The Lutheran Study Bible project to give us an affordable, concise, and encyclopedic companion to the Holy Scriptures.


Free Bible Study Offer
Now through November 30, download a FREE Bible study for the Lutheran Bible Companion!


Tap into the treasures of God's Word with the Lutheran Bible Companion, the first-ever comprehensive guide to the Bible featuring commentary that reflects Lutheran theology.

In this two-volume set, readers find new understanding for personal meditation or preaching in the expansive timeline of the Old and New Testament, as well as the Intertestamental Era. Fascinating insights on the Bible's themes provide additional depth:

  • Theological topics and literary features found in each book of the Bible
  • Significant events, people, and places found in detailed outlines and maps
  • Biblical reflections from Martin Luther and Johann Gerhard
  • Color photography and art illustrating stories, daily life, and landscapes (600+)
  • Hardback. 2 volumes. 1,128 and 1,016 pages.

Learn More >
(Publisher's website)

One picture (above) cannot do justice to such a visually-rich pair of volumes as this. Please find a set to see for yourself, or at least watch the Vimeo video below and click on the "Learn More" link above.

Lutheran Bible Companion from Concordia Publishing House (CPH) on Vimeo.

Each volume is organized in typical Bible canon order. For the purposes of our review, let's zoom in on Lamenations as an example of the features common to the Lutheran Bible Companion.

  • Book title, introduction, and facing-page photograph (780-781)
  • Historical and Cultural Setting (781, 752ff.)
  • Overview (782: Author, Date, Places, People, Law Themes, Gospel Themes, Memory Verses, Timeline)
  • Composition details (782ff: Author, Date of Composition, Purpose/Recipients, Literary Features, Outline, Characters, Narrative Development or Plot, Text and Translations)
  • Doctrinal Content (786: Summary Commentary, Specific Law Themes, Specific Gospel Themes, Specific Doctrines, Application)
  • Canonicity (790)
  • Lutheran Theologians on Lamentations (791ff: Luther, Gerhard)
  • Further Study (793: Lay/Bible Class Resources, Church Worker Resources, Academic Resources)

This is rich content. A summary doesn't do it justice. The photographs, maps, and charts add interest to substantive information. Pages are magazine shiny, yet more durable for generations of use.

The introductory material at the beginning of the Old Testament volume addresses and refutes modern objections to tradition Bible dates, authorship, and content. Readers will learn How to Read and Study the Holy Bible and gain appreciation for miracles and the Land and Time of the Bible. Specific introductions to sections of the Bible are also provided.

The Intertestamental Period and books of the Apocrypha are addressed in the first 150 pages of the New Testament volume. Christ is the focus and center of both volumes. I was very pleased by the section "Archaeology and the Bible" (2:797ff) and the newly-revised Bible Dictionary and Index (833ff).

My congregational President asked for a set for his birthday. You should have seen the joy on his face when he got them!

This is an ideal gift to your family for Christmas. Get it on sale while you still can!

Pastors, don't miss out on this new Introduction to the Old Testament.


"Twenty-first century scholarship offers a myriad of ways to read [these texts]. This book helps beginning students make sense of it all." — from the Preface

This new isagogics textbook examines and explores each book of the Old Testament, preparing students of the Bible to read Israel's texts with understanding and insight. It helps answer questions such as "What is helpful and what is detrimental to evangelical faith?" and "How do conservative scholars respond to critical views of the Old Testament?" The book interacts with scholars in a respectful way while providing evangelical assessments that foster historical and theological confidence in the Old Testament.

Book features:

  • Maps, diagrams, and tables
  • Covers every book of the Old Testament
  • Sections on authorship; literary features; historical, archaeological, and textual issues; theological emphases; and key biblical themes of sin and grace for each Book of the Old Testament

About the Authors

Dr. R. Reed Lessing was on the faculty of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, for fourteen years and now serves as Senior Pastor at St. Michael Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, IN.

Dr. Andrew E. Steinmann is Distinguished Professor of Theology and Hebrew at Concordia University Chicago.

(Publisher's website)

This is no dry textbook. This is an ideal resourcebook for Pastors to answer the kind of difficult questions about Bible books, especially the books of the Old Testament that are sometimes mysterious to all of us. 

Learn anew or be reminded of:

  • Canon in various Christian traditions (4ff)
  • Challenges to Mosaic authorship (20ff, 31ff)
  • Offerings (102-103) and degrees of holiness (103ff)
  • Christ in Leviticus (110ff)
  • The Tel Dan David inscription (199ff)
  • Greek Additions to Esther (272) and Daniel (440)
  • The design of the Psalter (301ff)
  • A language/theme comparison of Jeremiah and Lamentations (408ff)
  • A handy comparison within Jonah (440)
  • Why do the righteous suffer (490)?

This is the kind of Lutheran resource I would have preferred to read during my summer seminary isogogics classes! This is the kind of text I've been asking CPH for as long as QBR has been in existence!


Concordia, as the premier publisher of resources "that are faithful to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions," is ideally suited to publish textbooks for our own seminaries, colleges, and schools in addition to our churches and homes.

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 permanent 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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