Online Services at St. Peter’s

Here are links for watching our service online. We pray that this will give you an opportunity to participate in worship and grow in Christ. God be with you.

We will be recording the live service at 9:00 am and putting up as soon as we can after the service. 

16th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – September 20, 2020

Bulletin Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HOl5vKgNhob9dewh4e-DfImA4ofAeALd/view?usp=sharing

15th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – September 13, 2020
Bulletin link: 15th Sunday after Pentecost, September 13, 2020
(Note – we had technical issues. There is no sound until 2:15.)

14th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – September 6, 2020
Bulletin link: 14th Sunday after Pentecost, September 6, 2020

13th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – August 30, 2020
We had some technical problems. The service is a combined edit from our Monday night service and Sunday morning.

12th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – August 23, 2020
Bulletin link: 12th Sunday after Pentecost, August 23, 2020

11th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – August 16, 2020
Bulletin link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ezFhRVx-eqMaYjzFXebE_KQNaMFdra8E/view?usp=sharing

10th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – August 9, 2020
Bulletin link: https://bit.ly/33JnFgQ

9th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – August 2, 2020

8th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – July 26, 2020

7th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – July 19, 2020

6th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – July 12, 2020
Bulletin for July 12 – Click Here.

 

5th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – July 5, 2020
Bulletin for July 5 – Click Here.

4th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – June 28, 2020
Bulletin for June 28

3rd Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – June 21, 2020

2nd Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – June 14, 2020

Trinity Sunday Worship – June 7, 2020

Pentecost Sunday Worship – May 31, 2020

Ascension Worship – Joint Service of Crow River East Circuit

6th Sunday of Easter – May 17, 2020

5th Sunday of Easter – May 10, 2020

4th Sunday of Easter – Good Shepherd Sunday – May 3, 2020

3RD SUNDAY OF EASTER WORSHIP SERVICE – April 26, 2020

2ND SUNDAY OF EASTER WORSHIP SERVICE – April 19, 2020

EASTER SUNDAY FESTIVAL WORSHIP SERVICE – April 12, 2020

Good Friday Worship Service – April 10, 2020 – https://youtu.be/ArxKn-3wkzg

Maundy Thursday Worship Service – April 9, 2020 – https://youtu.be/aq5_YnI_QPI

PALM SUNDAY WORSHIP – April 5, 2020 – https://youtu.be/P88ECzJysCA

 

Children’s Palm Sunday Lesson

WEDNESDAY EVENING WORSHIP — April 1, 2020

Pastor Green shares a message for our spiritual growth. Pastor Green’s theme is: “The Son of God Goes Forth to War – Skirmishes” on Hebrews 4:15.

Here is the link: https://youtu.be/Nh8LsDCq0C8 or right below.

Passion Reading on Matthew 27:31-66

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SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP – March 29, 2020 (Below or at this link to our Youtube channel: https://youtu.be/GduNc4sglxc

For our service, Pastor Green and Pastor Bode of Abiding Savior, Elk River, worked together to share the readings, message and service this Sunday for you to use for your worship. Our Theme: Jesus Raises Us from Death to Life! Readings are from John 11 and Romans 8. Pastor Bode shares a message on 2 Kings 4:18-37 about the Lord raising the Shunammite woman’s son. Two hymns with words are provided for you to sing along with: “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus” and “Peace Like a River”.  Thank you to our tech person: Noah Green and singers: Pastor Tim Bode, Naomi, Noah, Natalia & Pastor Green.

 

WEDNESDAY EVENING WORSHIP — March 25, 2020

Pastor Paul Schuler of Salem, Loretto shares a message for our spiritual growth. Pastor Schuler’s theme is: “The Son of God Goes Forth to War – Reconnaissance Report: Know Your Enemy” on Ephesians 6:12.

Here is the link: https://youtu.be/Nh8LsDCq0C8 or right below.


The Passion History Reading on Matthew 27:1-31 is found here: https://youtu.be/9ZTQoQMcQiM or below.

Passion Reading on Matthew 27:1-31


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SUNDAY WORSHIP – Here is a link to our service on Youtube: https://youtu.be/pJaze4H-768

I am hoping this works for the service to show live below here. If not, click on the link here: http://www.facebook.com/stpetersmonticello

Bulletin is here – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1VmERMjQIogo3G4GBQkqhGDCPf5wWsRS2


LENTEN WORSHIP INFO FOR MARCH 18

Passion Reading: Matthew 26:57-75

Here is a link to the video reading: https://youtu.be/-DrqmGGtR1A?list=PLcJVIuhI8isJJgv2R7PgPTFK5hpZSwckj

Here is a link to Pastor Bode’s Sermon on John 18:36.

 

Sunday School Lessons

Sunday School Lessons

You can click on the links below for this Sunday’s (September 20th) lesson!!

LESSON VIDEOS – Available Now!

 

Week 2 – 9/20/2020


Week 1 – 9/13/2020


For more information about this program, check out the information page at Northwestern Publishing House – https://online.nph.net/ss-remote.

You can find the weekly links at this page also or go directly to their Youtube page at this link: Youtube.com

Readings for Pentecost 12 – August 23, 2020

1 Kings 19:9–189 There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

Romans 9:1–51 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

Matthew 14:22–3322 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Below are an introduction and summary for the readings from Planning Christian Worship A

Intro to the Readings:
The Christian answers doubt with faith. Doubt is the unfortunate companion of faith. Wherever faith clings to the promises of God, doubt is always right there lingering in the back of our mind, constantly asking the serpent’s Garden question, “Did God really say?” How striking to think that we must have faith in God before we can doubt him! Today’s lessons show us believers who had faith in God and his abilities to save them, but yet doubted when his plans or purpose failed to match theirs. In each case, it is adversity that fights against faith and allows its unfortunate companion to rear its ugly head. And in each case, the true answer to doubt is not found in the great miracle that removes adversity, but in the still small voice of our Savior God whispering in his Word. Today we hear our Savior God ask us, “Why did you doubt?”, and we see that the Christian answers doubt with faith. May our Lord help us keep our eyes on Jesus through ALL!

First Lesson:
1 Kings 19:9-18
Elijah’s great victory of faith was followed closely by great adversity. From the heights of Mt. Carmel, Elijah fell into the depths of frustration. Even after such a great display of God’s glory, this evil queen issued her death threats. Even after such a powerful display of God’s might, a general spiritual renewal did not occur. Elijah had faith in God’s power, but he doubted when God’s plans and purpose did not match his own. Hadn’t the people broken the covenant? Why didn’t God come and make things right with earthquake, wind, and the fire of judgment? Elijah went to the site where the covenant had been made, to the mountain of God where God had come once before in fire and wind and earthquake. There Elijah brought his case against the people of Israel. God answered his prophet not with great acts of power, but rather with quiet words of promise. God displayed all of his power, so that his display of grace might be all the more astounding. He would not come in judgment, but in grace for his elect. The still small voice of his message would accomplish all that he desired. It would tear down kingdoms and establish dynasties. It would bring judgment on his enemies and reserve a people for himself. Elijah heard the Word of God and had to wonder, “Why did I doubt?”

 

Second Lesson: Romans 9:1-5
Paul explains the roots of the Christian Church. He speaks of his brothers, the children of Israel, and asks them, “Why did you doubt? Why did you doubt that salvation is by grace, not by works? Why did you doubt the Messiah long promised was fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth?” The unbroken line of God’s acts of grace left Israel no reason to doubt. Yet they did. And God’s answer to that doubt? He chose a remnant by grace and spoke to them in the gentle whisper of God made man.

 

Verse of the Day: Alleluia. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Alleluia. (Hebrews 11:1).

 

Gospel Lesson: Matthew 14:22-33
Doubt and faith rose and fell like the waves of the sea that dark night. The evangelist paints a picture of a frantic effort against a storm with little progress. Then Jesus came—and note the way he came! He did not simply appear among them, as he could have. He did not fly or float. He walked on the water. The very thing they had been fighting, the water that threatened to take their life, Jesus walked on it like it was dry ground. What a Savior we have that walks on the waters of all our greatest fears! See the faith in the disciples grow! See Peter show it in his own miraculous walk. But, all too often, doubt is the unfortunate companion of faith. Though Jesus was standing on the water, Peter feared it. What pulls our eyes of faith away from Jesus? What are the waves and wind in our lives that make us doubt him? To Peter, Jesus asked, “Why did you doubt?” He gave no answer. What could he say? With Jesus there is never any need to doubt. How sad that we so often do! Rather, let us focus on the Savior and watch our faith swell as the disciples’ did when their doubts vanished, and they gave the greatest evidence of faith: they worshiped that man from Nazareth for what he truly was, the Son of God.

Readings for Pentecost 11 – August 16, 2020

Isaiah 55:1–51 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. 3 Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. 4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples. 5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”

Romans 8:35–3935 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Matthew 14:13–2113 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” 16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. 18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

10th Sunday after Pentecost Readings

1 Kings 3:5–125 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. 7 “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.

Romans 8:28–3028 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Matthew 13:44–5244 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. 47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied. 52 He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

9th Sunday After Pentecost Readings

FIRST LESSON: Joel 3:12–1612 “Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side. 13 Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow— so great is their wickedness!” 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. 16 The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.

SECOND LESSON: Romans 8:26–2726 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

GOSPEL LESSON: Matthew 13:24–3024 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 ” ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 ” ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”

Matthew 13:36–4336 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

8th Sunday After Pentecost Readings

FIRST LESSON: Isaiah 55:10–1110 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

SECOND LESSON: Romans 8:18–2518 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

GOSPEL LESSON: Matthew 13:1–91 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

Matthew 13:18–2318 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Variant Readings in the Bible

Verbal Inspiration and the
Variant Readings

Article from the Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, 71, 169–185, (1998).

Author: Siegbert W. Becker

Links to specific topics:

Irresponsible advertising, designed more to sell books than to glorify God, has often urged the purchase of new Bible translations by implying that the discovery of more ancient manuscripts of the Holy Scriptures have so radically altered the message of the Bible that the KJV is out of date because of its content rather than because of its archaic language. More sober and honest scholarship has, however, admitted that the ancient manuscripts that have come into use since 1611 have actually altered the text very little. On the other hand, so-called conservative scholarship has often implied that the more recently discovered manuscripts have changed the meaning of the text to such a degree that a Christian risks his faith by departing from the Textus Receptus (TR), which underlies the King James Version.

There was a time when the whole discussion of the variant readings could be confined to the seminary classroom with perhaps an occasional reference to the problem at pastoral conferences. Our laymen quite generally needed to concern themselves very little with the whole question of the variations in the Biblical manuscripts.

This situation has, however, changed radically in the past few years. This change has taken place as a result of the increasing use of the new Bible translations.

But the new versions of the Bible are not the only cause of this renewed interest in the variant readings on the part of our pastors and awakened concern on the part of our laymen. The variant readings have become one of the principal weapons in the arsenal of those who seek to undermine the full inerrancy and the verbal inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. Over and over, almost to the point of nausea, we are told that verbal inspiration has become an obsolete concept because we do not have exact verbatim copies of the original text, and that it is ridiculous to speak of an inerrant Bible at a time when everybody knows that the manuscripts we have contain errors by which the original text of the autographa has become corrupt. Such arguments may occasionally shake the faith of both pastor and people.

We say both pastor and people. Our laymen are not the only ones who are troubled by the variations from the King James text. Several pastors who have left or been suspended from the fellowship of the WELS out of mistaken zeal for the truth (and for their zeal they might be commended even while we may bemoan their lack of understanding) have attacked all the existing modern English translations including even Beck and the NASB as a “devil’s brew” of truth and error. In many cases their attacks on the modern versions have concentrated on missing words and phrases, and the charge has been leveled that the truth of God has thereby been obscured and vitiated.

It is true that in our congregational work it will be especially the new translations that will force us to deal with the problem. Our laymen, who know the KJV well, in reading the new translations will notice that in some cases familiar passages not only lack certain phrases but that occasionally these passages are omitted completely.

Where the new Bible versions (and we would do well not to call them “new Bibles”) have come into use, it is usually not long before some parishioner asks why the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer is missing in his new Bible. What we answer in reply to such questions can be important not only for them, but it has a bearing on the whole doctrinal controversy in regard to the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture that is shaking the Lutheran Church in our time. We can close our minds to all the facts and simply insist that all the new Bibles are a fraud perpetrated by the devil, or we can face up to the issue and give an answer that we can defend before God and our own conscience.

Conservative, orthodox Lutheranism has nothing to fear from the variant readings. These variations in the Greek and Hebrew text will not take our Bible away from us nor compel us to retreat from the doctrine we have proclaimed.

But our people deserve an answer to their questions, and we should be prepared to give them a reply that will not shake or undermine their faith in the reliability and trustworthiness of all the words and promises of God in the Holy Bible. It is, however, not only our laymen who need such an answer. It may well be that some inexperienced young pastor who has heard only the other side during his seminary days may be rewon for orthodox, conservative Lutheranism if we can give him an honest answer to his doubts.

I
Verbal Inspiration and the Variant Readings

It is, of course, almost impossible to separate the question of the variant readings from the doctrine of verbal inspiration. It may be of some value in helping us to come to clarity about this matter if we review some of the details of this doctrine especially as it relates to the form in which the Word of God has come to us. We have only copies of the autographs, or better said, copies of copies of the autographs. Besides, our people in almost all cases know the Word of God only in translation. In our own devotional reading, especially in our family circle, we pastors also use the English versions. I suppose that for most of us it is true that when we read the original text, we are so distracted by questions of grammar and vocabulary that a real devotional reading of the Greek or Hebrew text becomes very difficult. We use the original only to satisfy ourselves that the English translation correctly reproduces the meaning of the passage in question, or to discover linguistic overtones that may be missing in the translation.

When we say, then, that only the original autographs are verbally inspired, does this mean that we do not have the Word of God in the translations we employ in our everyday use of the Bible? This is a question which is often asked when the inspiration of the autographs is discussed. While this is not the question with which we propose to deal here, it is nevertheless a related question. It is safe to say that when the question of the variant readings becomes more common, we will be faced with a similar problem, namely, “If so many changes in wording in the text have taken place, can we still say that we have the Word of God in its truth and purity?” There are people who are sincerely troubled by such questions, and there are others who delight in asking them because they seem to find satisfaction in arousing doubt about long-cherished beliefs.

But again we ought to know what to say when such questions are asked. We may not be able to satisfy everyone, but we can at least try to give an answer that will be helpful to those who earnestly search for the truth. We may take for granted that for the readers of the Quarterly it will not be necessary to review the basic Biblical doctrine concerning verbal inspiration. We know that the words of the Bible written by the holy men of God are truly the words of God, which were not learned from human wisdom but which were taught by the Holy Ghost, so that spiritually revealed truths were communicated to men in spiritually taught words (I Cor 2:13).

Nevertheless, while the words of the Bible are important, we ought to remember that the words of the Bible are words, not just vocables. Words are sounds with meanings attached to them, and it is the divinely intended meaning communicated through the divinely taught words that is important.

The dogmaticians have always made a distinction between the matter (outward form) and form (essence) of the Word of God. While it is true that the Word of God is made up of words set down in a grammatical sentence structure, yet the form or essence of the Word of God is not found in the words as such, but rather in the thought expressed by those words. In fact, it is possible that certain words in one context express a divine truth while in another context exactly the same words may be a diabolic lie. When we gather as a group of Christians on the basis of the presupposition of a common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we may very correctly say that we are all children of God. When those very same words, “We are all the children of God,” are spoken in the context of a Christ-denying lodge, they are not the Word of God. They are not even true. In fact, in that context they are a diabolic false doctrine that has undoubtedly sent many a soul to hell.

That does not mean that the words of Scripture may ever be downgraded. They are truly the words of God. But we must be careful that we never make the words as such bear a weight that they were never meant to bear. While it is certainly true that completely different words would communicate completely different thoughts, yet it is also true that there may at times be a considerable variation in the words without creating a significant variation in thought. For example, the sentence, “We had a great deal of precipitation today,” is a sentence which is vaguer but still expresses the same thought as the sentence, “we had a great deal of rain today.” And yet the two sentences may mean exactly the same thing if they were spoken in the context of a hot day in August, for even then one would expect that some reference might be made to hail if the precipitation did not come down in the form of rain. At the same time we would all grant that there would be many situations in which it would be of little practical advantage to know whether the precipitation came down in the form of hail, rain, snow, or sleet. On the other hand, there might be cases where the difference would be of decisive significance, and a snowfall on a hot day in August would be a miracle.

The Bible itself teaches us that there are many different ways of saying the same thing. We might, for example, think of the many passages on which we base our doctrine of universal depravity. On the basis of those passages we have perhaps all said at one time or another, “The Bible says that all men are sinners.” There is perhaps not one of us who would be inclined to contradict that statement, in spite of our knowledge that there is not one Bible passage that says that precisely in those exact words. It should therefore be obvious that variations in wording will not necessarily create a radical change in the Biblical message. In fact, it is entirely possible for variations in wording to occur without any discernible change in meaning.

It is, of course, also true that there are cases where a very slight change, even in the form of a single word, may have a significant effect on the message which is to be conveyed. But this is by no means always true.

This principle, which asserts that verbal inspiration does not mean that the truth of God can be expressed in only one set of words arranged in one grammatical form, is an important consideration if we are not to be disturbed by the variant readings. Those who are troubled by the variant readings would surely be pleasantly surprised if they would only ask themselves, “How much difference in meaning does this variant really introduce into this text?”

Closely related to this principle is the truth that verbal inspiration does not mean that every word of the Bible is as precise and as definite as every other word. But whether the words are exact and precise, or general and somewhat vague, they are all words of God. This fact is often confused with the clarity of Scripture, and we often in such cases, speak of unclear passages. It would perhaps be closer to the truth if we would instead say that the wording of certain passages is not as precise in some cases as in others, but that the passage is always sufficiently clear to convey the message which God intends to convey in this particular context.

For example, the words of the Lord Jesus, “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life as a ransom for many,” has often been misused in the interest of the Calvinistic doctrine of limited atonement. And we will have to admit that the word “many” is not precise and comprehensive enough to serve as evidence for our doctrine of universal atonement. If this wording were found in every case in which the beneficiaries of the saving work of Christ are under consideration, the word “many” could be understood in the Calvinistic sense, yet it would not need even then to be understood in that way. We would simply not know how many men have been redeemed by the death of the Savior. It might be as little as ten or as many as the sand on the seashore and more. In fact, it could very easily be all the people who have ever lived and will ever live. That would certainly be “many.” This passage surely demonstrates beyond all doubt that a word may be an inspired word of God and yet not be precise and exact, but nevertheless as a word of God it expresses the thought that God wanted to communicate in that situation, and in that sense it is a clear word.

As additional illustrations of the same principle we might cite cases of hyperbole in the Scriptures. When it is said, for example, that “Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan” went out to hear the preaching of John the Baptist, it would surely be a mistake to say that the word “all” in this case means every single individual who lived in the areas mentioned. And when Luke says that when Jesus spoke in the synagog in Capernaum, they “all bare Him witness and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth,” this may really mean no more than we would convey by saying, “Everybody was surprised.” Not much depends on the precise meaning of the word “all” in this case, and it would surely again be a mistake to conclude that all those who were present, including the babes in arms, expressed the thoughts and the surprise to which Luke alludes. Yet in another context we may insist that the word “all” means precisely this, and we can demonstrate by the context that it has this meaning.

The same might be said about the use of round numbers in the Bible. For example, in the twelfth chapter of the second book of Moses we are told that 600,000 men, besides women and children, left Egypt in the exodus (Ex 12:37). A year later, at the time of the census, we are told that there were 603,550 men above the age of twenty in Israel’s encampment at Mt. Sinai. Now it may be argued that the number of men of military age increased by that amount between the exodus and the census, but is it not also possible that the figure given in the earlier chapter is a round number, and even based on the later census figure? Even the census figure may well be a round number of sorts, for in the individual census figures given for each of the tribes, in every case except one, the numbers are given in what seems to be the nearest hundred. In the one exception we are told that Gad numbered 45,650. None of the census figures contain units and only one contains tens. This fact does not by any means justify the statement that the number 600,000 is “grossly exaggerated,” but we ought not to insist that we have here precise and exact figures, that are correct to the decimal point. They are as precise as they need to be to convey the message that God wants to communicate. It perhaps ought to be said emphatically once more that this does not give us the right to adjust the figures to suit our fancy. This phenomenon has been used to discredit the inerrancy of the Bible. But it ought to be recognized by all of us that when the Bible says that 600,000 men left Egypt there might conceivably have been 601,472 just as well was 599,233, and the man who says that the use of round figures gives us a right to say that the figures are “considerably beefed up” is not operating with round figures but is charging the Bible with error.

Before we consider the bearing of the variant readings on the message of the Bible we need to remember also that the doctrine of verbal inspiration does not “flatten out” the words of Scripture, as is so often charged. It is, of course, true that our doctrine of verbal plenary inspiration means that every word of the original manuscripts is a word of God, and therefore each word deserves our respect as a word of God. Dr. Luther once said that if God would speak to us and say nothing but “La, la, la, la,” we ought still to listen to it as the most wonderful thing that we had ever heard.

But, nevertheless, the verbal inspiration of all the words of the Bible does not mean that every single word is of equal importance with every other word. And in translating, for example, we may safely ignore many a men and de of the Greek text. Whole sentences are not as significant as every other sentence. And we may correctly say that there are whole books of the Bible which are not as important as other books. There is a sense in which Luther was absolutely right when he called James a “right strawy epistle.” That does not mean that James is worthless. Luther did not believe that either, for he commends the book very highly. James is still far more important than the Shepherd of Hermas, or the First Epistle of Clement, or the Epistle of Barnabas. These are right chaffy epistles in comparison to James, just as James is a strawy epistle in comparison to Romans.

Finally, it should also be noted that verbal inspiration does not mean that all the details associated with an event recorded in Scripture are given in the account. A doctrine of verbal plenary inspiration which is truly drawn from the Bible will recognize that much was said and done by the Lord Jesus and the apostles and prophets which did not become part of the inspired record. The Bible itself tells us that, for John says that it is his opinion that if all the words and deeds of Jesus were to be recorded, there would not be enough room in the whole world to contain the books that should be written.

And even when the words and deeds of the Lord Jesus, the patriarchs, the prophets and the apostles are recorded, verbal inspiration does not mean that we have a complete and detailed report of what happened. All we can say is that we have a correct and adequate report in which the Holy Ghost gives us His own version of what was said and done.

A comparison of the same account in several of the Gospels will demonstrate very quickly that this is the case. This does not mean, however, as some have concluded, that Jesus did not say what is attributed to Him in the Gospels. It may well be that He did not use the exact words that are preserved for us, but He really did express the thoughts which are conveyed by the words in which the Holy Ghost Chose to preserve those thoughts for us. His preaching may be summarized, but what we have is a correct summary. Different words, even a different language, may be used than He used, but the words will still correctly reflect the meaning of His original statements. Once we understand that clearly, we will be done for all time with the foolish argument of some men who consider themselves to be wise and who say that we cannot lay too much stress on the copula in the words of institution in the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, for Jesus used Aramaic, and Aramaic would not use the copula.

If we remember then

1.    that the essence of the Word of God is to be sought in the meaning of the words of the Bible;

2.    that verbal inspiration does not mean that the truth can be expressed in only one way;

3.    that verbal inspiration does not mean that all the words are always as precise as we might wish them to be;

4.    that verbal inspiration does not mean that all the words are of equal importance in conveying the message; and

5.    that verbal inspiration does not mean that the reports as we have them are never summarized, truncated, or restated,

then the problem of the variant readings will be of far less consequence or significance.

II
The Effect of the Variant Readings on the Doctrine of Scripture

As we have already noted, even our laymen are by this time aware that there are many variations in the wording of the various manuscripts in which the Word of God has been preserved for us from ancient times. A careful reading of the margin and text of the King James Bible would have accustomed them to this idea long ago. For example, in John 8:6, the KJV says that Jesus wrote with His finger on the ground as though He heard them not (italics in the original). In this passage the King James Version used italics to indicate that these last six words are found in a comparatively few manuscripts. In the same version at Acts 25:6, where the text says, that Paul “tarried among them more than ten days,” the margin calls attention to this that “some copies read, ‘No more than eight or ten days.’ ”

While the problem would not be completely unknown, therefore, to a careful reader of the AV, yet there is no doubt that frequent discussion of the problem has become necessary because of the adoption of the new translations and because of the use that has been made of the variants by those theologians who have sought to discredit the doctrine of verbal inspiration and inerrancy.

We are all aware that for several thousand years the Biblical books had to be copied by hand. The printing press was not invented until less than a hundred years before the Reformation. Up to that time errors that inadvertently crept into the text could not be corrected by proof readers before the final printing. The first copy was also the published copy. There was a proof reading of sorts and the result is seen in the many manuscripts in which corrections are made, often by different hands, and scholars are able to identify the various correctors by such criteria as handwriting, type of ink, and so forth. Efforts were also made to compare the copy with the original. As late as 300 a.d. one of the bishops of Alexandria, in discussing a textual problem in John’s Gospel, appealed to what he called “the copy itself that was written by the hand of the evangelist, which, by the divine grace, has been preserved in the most holy church of Ephesus, and is there adored by the faithful.”

The variant readings ought really to come to no one as a surprise. Anyone who has ever tried to copy pages of material either by hand or typewriter knows how difficult it is to avoid all errors in transcription. Such errors have also crept into the Bible manuscripts, as we all know. But when we read that there are as many as 400,000 such copyists’ errors in the New Testament alone, that stupendous figure gives the impression that scarcely anything can be left that can be accepted with any kind of certainty.

However, when these 400,000 variants are divided among the thousands of manuscript copies, it will be seen that the situation is not nearly as serious as it may appear at first glance. Anyone who has done any proof reading knows that it is not unusual to find ten printing errors on one galley sheet, and most of these errors can be corrected with confidence even without any reference to the original copy.

In fact, if we think of the variant readings in terms of printing errors in our English Bibles, we will see the whole problem in much clearer perspective. Many of these errors in the English text we do not even notice, because the sense is crystal clear or at least no false doctrine is introduced even if a word is misspelled or if a different word is substituted. The same is true of many of the variant readings in the original text. A great many of the variant readings do not change the meaning of the text in the slightest. It is a rare variant that changes the meaning of the text appreciably. And even if an occasional variant does make a disturbing alteration in the sense of the text, the manuscript evidence is so clear that the correct wording is undisputed.

A few examples will help us see the true nature of the problem. Many times when phrases or whole sentences are missing from some familiar story, the same phrase or sentence will be found elsewhere in the text. In our KJV, Matthew 18:11, for example, reads, “The Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” The NASB prints these words in brackets with the marginal note, “Most ancient mss. omit this verse.” The NIV omits the verse from the text, but has a footnote which says “Some mss. add verse 11: The Son of Man came to save what was lost.” We will probably never be able to decide for certain whether Matthew really included this verse or not when he wrote his Gospel.

But even if Matthew did not write these words, there is first of all no question that the addition of these words does not add anything to the truth which God has made known to us in the Bible, and by the omission of these words we lose nothing of the truth. For the pastor who knows his Bible well knows that these same words are found in a slightly different form in Luke 19:10, where that evangelist writes, “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Here there is no textual problem, for all the manuscripts have the words in this passage. It is interesting to note also that while most of the manuscripts of Matthew have the words, “The Son of Man is come to save that which was lost,” a number of late cursive copies of Matthew and quite a few lectionaries at Matthew 18:11 have exactly the same words as Luke’s Gospel, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” A similar example will be found at Matthew 23:14 (cp Mk 12:40; Lk 20:47—Note also: Matthew has a tendency to arrange in groups of five, seven, and ten. If we adopt the TR here, we get a group of eight “woes.”)

Such variations in wording we find in the Gospels even when there are no variant readings involved. All three Synoptic Gospels give us a rather detailed account of a day’s activity of Jesus in Capernaum, early in His Galilean ministry. Toward the conclusion of the storye we are told about large numbers of people who were brought to Him for healing. Matthew says that this happened “when evening was coming on.” Luke says that it took place “while the sun was setting.” Mark’s Gospel reads, “When evening was coming on and the sun began to go down.” This, by the way, is also an interesting example to show how the same thought can be expressed, and expressed correctly, in two different ways. And many of the variant readings do exactly this same thing.

In fact, some of the variant readings introduce synonyms that are of use in discussing certain doctrinal questions. Mark tells us, for example, that when the Pharisees come from the market, they do not eat unless they first wash (Mk 7:4). The Greek word for “wash” here in the TR is βαπτισοονται. An interesting variant is found in both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus which here read ηραντισοονται which means “sprinkle,” a reading which calls our attention to the fact that many OT baptisms were by sprinkling, as we are clearly told in Numbers 19.

In connection with the doctrine of baptism, attention might also be called to Acts 8:37. This verse is probably the strongest Biblical argument that Baptists have for their doctrine of “believer baptism.” In verse 36, the eunuch of Ethiopia asks Philip whether he can be baptized, and verse 37 then reads, in the KJV, “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” The NASB, which appears in some cases to show a slight Baptistic bias, omits this verse in the text but prints it in the margin with the comment, “Late mss. insert verse 37.” The NIV does the same, but says, “Some mss. add verse 37.” It is perhaps safe to say that if the verse were not in the KJV, it would very likely be completely ignored in more modern translations, for there simply can be no doubt that the verse was not in the original verbally inspired text. No ancient manuscript has this verse and it would seem that it got into the TR only by accident. Practically the whole Byzantine text tradition, which is for all practical purposes the source of the TR, does not have this verse. Only one important uncial from that tradition, E, has the verse, and even there the wording is very significantly different from that of the KJV. It does not read, “If you believe with all your heart, it is permitted (to be baptized)”, but rather, “If you believe with all your heart, you will be saved.” Only very few very late manuscripts have the verse, and if I were editing the NASB and the NIV, this is the way I would introduce the footnote. While the passage as it stands in the KJV can not bear the weight which Baptists sometimes place on it, yet there is no doubt in my mind that here the modern versions have rendered a service by dropping the verse out of the text. The Living Bible, with its unwarranted Baptistic and Calvinistic alterations of the text, is one of the few modern versions that tries to salvage something of the verse, and it does so with an inexact footnote which tells us that many ancient mss. omit verse 37 in whole or in part. The fact is that all truly ancient manuscripts omit it entirely, and that almost all very late manuscripts omit it in whole or in part.

While many of the modern English translations are justly censured for a few mistranslations, yet we do them an injustice and our people a disservice when we attack them on the basis of most of their changes and omissions which are based on variant readings, concerning many of which no man living is really competent to render final judgment. We may not like some of the omissions, and we may not agree with the importance that is assigned to Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and the Chester Beatty papyri, but we cannot deny that these are ancient manuscripts and that they could be correct in many places.

We run a grave risk of playing into the hands of Bible-doubting churchmen if we refuse to take the variant readings seriously or to deal with them honestly. We run an even greater risk of placing ourselves in an indefensible position when we imply or openly state that the omission of certain words or phrases, or the adoption of variants from the TR changes the doctrine of the Bible. This is simply not true.

For example, in a mimeographed attack on all existing modern English translations offered on a Lutheran radio program, the statement is made that when the NASB omits the word “first-born” in Matthew 1:25, it has removed one of the “guarantees” of the virgin birth. There is textual justification for omitting the word in this passage. On the other hand, apparently without exception all the manuscripts contain the word in Luke 2:7. In fact, Luke’s phrase is identical with the wording found in most of the manuscripts of Matthew that have the Byzantine text. Since Luke’s story of the birth of Christ was very likely the standard pericope for Christmas day from ancient times, Luke’s phrase, “She brought forth her first-born son,” was undoubtedly known by heart by all the copyists, and it is not at all surprising that it found its way into Matthew’s account.

It would be wrong to accuse the modern versions of modernistic bias against the word, for I know of no modern version, not even the RSV or the NEB or Goodspeed, which omits the word in its translation of Luke. And even if the word is omitted in Matthew, this has no bearing on the virgin birth, for virginity can be lost without any child being born. The modernistic argument that the Jews considered a woman to be a virgin until she had given birth to a child simply cannot be substantiated, and those who say that the word “first-born” “guarantees” the virgin birth are simply playing into the hands of modernistic opponents of Mary’s purity. The fact is that the word “first-born” does not “guarantee” the virgin birth. That doctrine rests on far firmer grounds than this.

In the same document, much is made of the omission of the word “Lord” in Matthew’s account of the resurrection. Where the King James Version has, “Come, see the place where the Lord lay,” most of the modern versions have, “Come, see the place where He lay.” This omission is cited as proof that the modern versions attack the deity of Christ. While it is true that some of the modern versions surely do not give the Lord Jesus the honor and the glow to which He is entitled, yet there is no modern version which says that Jesus is not God. While we may lose a passage here or there which is supportive of the doctrine of the deity of our Lord, and while we may justly object to some modern versions because of this, yet it ought to be said, in order to keep everything in proper perspective, that those who deny the deity of Christ will find little to support, in fact they will find nothing to support, their point of view in most of the modern versions, except the version of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

An examination of the facts will show how unjustified some of the more radical statements about the modern translations sometimes are. The NASB, for example, is one of the versions that omits the word “Lord” in Matthew 28:6. The facts are that Matthew uses the word “Lord” in reference to Jesus 37 times. The NASB retains 34 of these. One of them it changes to “Sir” (which is not altogether wrong, even if we may consider it unjustified to do this in this passage (Mt 8:6), especially since the very same word in the mouth of the same man is translated “Lord” two verses later.) It omits the word in two places, both times on the basis of what could be considered by many to be valid textual evidence. To say that this is a “denial” of the deity of Christ makes the textual variations far more important that they are. What are we going to do with the evangelist Mark, who also omits the word “Lord” in his account and says, “Behold the place where they laid Him.” Are we going to say that Mark was not quite as sure of the deity of Christ as Matthew was? It reminds me very much of the unwarranted argumentation of modernistic theologians who say that the Gospel writers disagreed in their views about the virgin birth because Mark and John do not mention it. This example is just another indication that the variants do not change the doctrine.

Now it is true that it may sometimes seem that certain variants lend support to false doctrinal views. In the document alluded to several times, the modern English translations are soundly castigated because they adopt the reading eudokias, in Luke 2:14. This reading is characterized as being “synergistic.” Now it is true that it could be understood in a synergistic way, if the word is separated from the whole context of the Bible. But it is also true that the phrase, “men of good will,” even if it is translated in this manner, is not necessarily synergistic. Out of context it could mean men who are characterized by good will. But it could also mean men who are the objects of good will. “Children of wrath” in Ephesians 2 are not angry children, but children who are the objects of God’s wrath. It is interesting to note that the Dead Sea Scrolls contain the phrase which Delitzsch used in his Hebrew translation of Luke 2:14, ‘enoshe retsono, “men of His good pleasure,” or “men of His good will.” If the genitive is the correct reading, it is such a Hebraistic genitive. It would have to be translated in this way in the context of the Bible, which rejects all synergism.

Yet, when most of the modern translations reproduce the Hebraistic genitive very correctly, eg. “for men on whom His favor rests” (NEB), then the author of the cited document writes, “NOTE: The word “He”, “His”, “Him” is not within a thousand miles of any Greek text. To add these words is an attempt to wiggle around the false teaching demanded (my emphasis) by their genitive “of good will.” The fact is that the false teaching is not demanded by this reading. What will a man who operates with such logic do when he is confronted with such a passage as “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” when there is no textual variant from the TR that he can blame for it?

It is, however, true that there are some textual variants that are doctrinally incorrect. It is not easy to find an example of this because there are so few. But luckily there is one in the very first chapter of the New Testament, where a few manuscripts read, “Joseph begat Jesus.” Now this is a denial of the virgin birth. According to the textual apparatus in the United Bible Societies text only one very late uncial and a few other scattered witnesses give this reading. This is a typical example of how a reading which would create a doctrinal difficulty is so poorly attested that no fair-minded person could by the wildest stretch of the imagination conclude that this was the original wording set down by the apostle. Of the modern versions which I examined for this essay, only one, that of Moffatt, takes this reading seriously. Even the RSV, in its later editions, has removed the objectionable footnote, which says that this is the wording of “other ancient authorities.”

The conclusion to which we may come is this, that the more one studies the variant readings, the less formidable the whole problem becomes.

SUMMARY

In summary we may say that, in spite of all claims to the contrary, the variant readings do not make the doctrine of verbal inspiration a mere academic question, because we do not have the autographs.

The doctrine of verbal inspiration remains of crucial importance in spite of all variations in our present text. To see that this is so one need only consider where we would stand if we had perfect copies of an erring text which contains nothing more than man’s witness to and record of revelation. Perfect copies of such a document would still not bring us the TRUTH, they would still not be the inerrant Word of God, worthy of our trust in everything that it says. The most painstaking textual criticism of imperfect copies of such a document would bring us closer only to more human opinions.

But if the original text is really verbally inspired and inerrant, then we have a firm foundation for our faith in the Lord Jesus, for, after all, faith in Jesus is also faith in the words and promises of God. The most scholarly textual criticism helps to make us certain that for most of the text we have so many agreeing witnesses that there can be no doubt whatever that we have the inspired and inerrant words of the autographs.

Where some doubt exists about the exact words, the variations are usually of such a nature that they do not change the meaning of the inspired message in any perceptible way. After all, in a Christian context, it does not really make any difference whether we say the the Lord died for us, or the Lord Jesus died for us, or the Lord Jesus Christ died for us, Jesus died for us, or Christ died for us, or Jesus Christ died for us, or Christ Jesus died for us, or He died for us. Most of the variants are of such a nature.

Of course, if we are dealing with someone who says that Christ is risen but that Jesus is dead and stayed dead, such variations may be significant, but you may be sure that anyone who confesses such a faith, or such a lack of faith, will not be persuaded if all the copies of Scripture in exactly the same words say what he denies. Our problem with Bible-doubting Lutherans does not rest on the variant readings, but with their denial of what is plainly said in Scripture in words which the variant readings do not call into question. For example, there are 42 passages in the NT which refer to Moses as the author of the Pentateuch. In only one of these 42 passages (Jn 8:5) is the name of Moses omitted in any manuscript listed in Nestle’s critical apparatus.

Where words are missing from some manuscripts and added in others, we may not be certain that these words were part of the autographs, but one thing is still certain. Even if we would grant that the missing words are not verbally inspired, because they were not part of the autographs, we will not need to admit that the added words, if they are added in any significant number of otherwise reliable manuscripts, are untrue or that they really add anything to the Word of God. The comma Johanneum is a case in point. The words, “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one,” are found in not one single important manuscript nor in a single ancient version except the Vulgate. The Byzantine tradition, at least in all its early development, knows nothing of this passage. Every major manuscript family omits it. But all of us recognize that the statement is a divine truth taught in other clear Scripture passages. If we add it, we are not adding to the Word of God in its essence. If we omit it, we are not taking away from the Word of God in its essence. Only by confusing the form and essence of the Word of God will we experience difficulty here.

Finally, where false doctrine would result from a variant reading (and such cases are so rare as to be almost non-existent), no one need have any doubt about the reading of the autographs. Such readings are manifestly false. And we can say this on two counts. First, the manuscript evidence does not support the doctrinally false reading. Secondly, we are not wholly dependent on the manuscript evidence. The same manuscript of Matthew that says that Joseph begat Jesus also says that he knew her not until she had brought forth a son called Jesus. This second passage in the same chapter of Matthew and every other passage that testifies to the virgin birth brands that reading as incorrect. Unless the copyist was incredibly stupid, one can only conclude that he understood the word “begot” to mean that Joseph was the legal father of Jesus, not the biological father of Jesus.

Those who see the variant readings as an excuse for the denial of verbal inspiration and inerrancy are not motivated by true scholarly concern for the facts. They have a theological ax to grind. Any honest examination of the evidence will show that the facts do not support them. As we said at the beginning, true orthodox conservative Lutheranism has nothing to fear from the variant readings. The message brought to us in the Holy Scriptures is not distorted nor vitiated by any of them that could conceivably be correct.

Baptism for Infants

Hi Melissa,

Again, congratulations on your new little precious girls, what an amazing gift! I was excited to hear the news. I pray that my mentioning baptism is not too strange. As I study God’s Word, I keep seeing it come up. What blessings the Lord connects with baptism. However, it is important to also continue to bring our children to know the Lord and his eternal salvation. There truly isn’t a greater gift we can give our children, than eternal life and peace with God. I apologize, this does not look the greatest. I put some passages and a sheet that had them laid out on here, but it did not get formatted yet. I will work to update it a bit. Again, if you have any questions, please let me know. I know that your background is Catholic. I see that as a valid baptism. However, I think it is important for you to understand and know Jesus’ teaching on it and work to bring your girls to know the Lord, especially in our strange times. It is also good to ask any questions you have. I promise that any question you ask, I will try to answer it, but answer it, pointing you to God’s Word. It is God’s Word that Jesus tells us we can rely on and know God will keep! God is faithful. For now, God be with you. Darren – Pastor Green.

Baptism Connects Us To Christ’s Promises
The Gift of Faith Is A Gift From God

Infant Baptism

 

We need to start with what is faith. Faith is a gift from God.

 

It connects us to Jesus and to all of His promises: forgiveness, righteousness, holiness, child of God, heirs, belonging to God, sons & children of God, redeemed and eternal life.

 

Jesus’ Command – Make Disciples of ALL Nations

  • Matthew 28:18–2018 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

What does he tell us to use in order to make disciples?

 

 

Whom should we make disciples? How many people is that?

 

 

What about babies? Should they be baptized too?

  • Acts 2:38-39 – Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
  • Mark 10:14,16 – When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

 

 

What does it mean to “baptize”?

  • Mark 7:4 When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash (Greek: baptize). And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles and dining couches.

 

Scriptures speak of two things needed for baptism, what are they?

  • Ephesians 5:25–2725 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

What does baptism do for us?

  1. What does baptism do for our sins?
  • Acts 22:16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.

 

  1. What does baptism do about death and the devil?
  • Romans 6:3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
  • Hebrews 2:14-15 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

 

  1. What is the greatest blessing baptism gives?
  • Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
  • 1 Peter 3:18–2218 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19 through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

 

What gifts does God give through baptism?

  • Acts 2:38–3938 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
  • Acts 22:1616 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

 

Faith a gift from God. It directs our eyes to God and his promises for certainty and comfort, not to ourselves and what we need to do.

  • Ephesians 2:8–98 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
  • Ephesians 3:1212 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

 

Do Children need to be saved? Do they have sin?

  • Psalm 51:55 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
  • John 3:1–81 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” 3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
  • Romans 5:12–1512 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. 15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

 

Can Children, especially infants, believe?

  • Matthew 18:5–65 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. 6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
  • 2 Timothy 3:14–1714 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

Jesus has the power to do the impossible, miracles.

 

Baptism Saves & Brings the Promises of God  to Us

 

What did God cause to happen when a person is baptized?

  • Titus 3:4–74 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
  • Romans 6:1–81 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
  • Colossians 2:6–156 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. 9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
  • Galatians 3:24–4:724 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. 26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. 1 What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
  • 1 Peter 1:3–93 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Plan for Worship at St. Peter’s

Return to Worship – COVID-19 Guidelines

for

St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Monticello

May 29, 2020

Dear Member and Friends of St. Peter’s,

As members of the body of Christ, I pray Jesus has continued to fill you with his peace and the certainty of salvation and eternal life. The Apostle Paul lifts us with his words to the Colossians:

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. … 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:12,15-17).

I rejoice to know you have continued to grow in your faith through Jesus’ word proclaimed online and in your daily devotions. However, “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord'” (Psalm 122:1). During the COVID stay-at-home order, God’s people have longed to gather in the same space to spiritually feast on God’s Word and sacrament and join our voices in praise to God our Savior. While online worship has been a blessing for continued spiritual nourishment, it does not and cannot replace the social aspect of worship as a community of believers gathered in place and time.

We are moving toward that opportunity, but carefully with a plan in place and encouragement to all. The council has decided to resume public worship starting June 7th and 8th. We ask that you continue to look to one another’s needs and in love strive to encourage and build one another up. We also do not want you or anyone to feel pressure to come to worship until you feel comfortable. We will continue to offer online worship, although, since we will be recording the morning worship, the service may be put up later on Sunday afternoon.

Here is a summary of our plans, starting June 7th for Sunday and Monday worship following:

  • Church will be regularly cleaned and sanitized, especially all the high touch areas.
  • Hand sanitizer is available.
  • In the worship area, every third pew will be open for seating in the worship service.
  • Members and visitors are asked to practice social distancing – keeping at least 6 feet apart. Social distancing does not apply to those living under the same roof and care-givers.
  • All services will be printed fully in the bulletin and on the screen for the service. We ask members to take their bulletin home with them after the service. Bulletins will not be reused.
  • Offering plates will be at the door to the worship area for you to place your gifts.
  • We will have doors wedged open to achieve as little touching as possible.
  • If you desire to wear a mask, please do so. However, for singing portions of the service, we are recommending people wear their masks.
  • The congregation will be dismissed pew by pew allowing for people to keep a respectable distance from one another. You are encouraged to visit outside but be conscious of your distancing.
  • We encourage no handshaking, but an encouraging smile and wave as you greet one another.

Communion (The Lord’s Supper will be offered on the first three Sundays & Mondays following in June! June 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22).

  • The elements of the Lord’s Supper will be consecrated as usual by the pastor and will be offered by way of continuous flow communion; setting aside kneeling and being next to one another. This will also keep from having to use the railings to go up to the altar.
  • You will be invited to come up the outside rows keeping social distance from those not of your family.
  • As you approach the pastor, please hold out your hand to receive a wafer. He will give you the wafer with the words: “The body of Christ given for you.” Following that, you will move to a table and take the individual cup place there and hear: “The blood of Christ shed for you.” Please place your empty cup in the basket and return to your seat. The pastor will come to those that are not able to come up for communion in their seat. After the entire assembly has received the Lord’s Supper, the dismissal and blessing will be spoken to all. We also understand if some are not ready to commune.
  • The pastor and those assisting him will have a mask and will wash and sanitize before the distribution.
  • Private communion is still available for those that are not able to come yet or not comfortable receiving it in worship.
  • Members and visitors are urged to use common sense and practice the same precautions as with the cold and flu, which you have heard from the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic:
    • Wash hands your hands regularly.
    • Stay home if you are not feeling well, have a temperature or are sick.
    • Cover your cough in your elbow or handkerchief.
    • If you start to feel ill during the service, please leave immediately.
    • If you have been exposed to someone with Covid-19, please stay home.
    • Exercise Christian love and consideration as best you can. May the peace of Jesus continue to fill you each day as you strive to live representing him.
  • We want to encourage Christian freedom and love for one another to guide members – including those who are not ready to meet but wish to stay home. Continue to pray for each other and for our governing officials.
  • Thank you to everyone that has helped in so many ways in church, outside church, with your time, your gifts and offerings. A special thank you to Noah, Naomi & Natalia Green for their work on the video services. It has been a great blessing to our church and worship. It is often in difficult times that the Lord grows us and helps the body of Christ shine.
  • It is also a time that our weaknesses and fears show, but a time in which our Lord Jesus grows us, forgives us and guides us forward with our eyes focused on our Jesus ruling on his throne. He promises to be with us always and to use to us to do great things to his glory.

This document is for purposes only of outlining how our church plans to handle and maintain

social distancing practices for worship. Your pastor and church council will continue to monitor these protocols and make adjustments as appropriate. This has been put together using guidance from the CDC guidelines and MN state health guidelines. While we cannot safeguard against every germ and sickness in this sin-fallen world, we seek to conduct our lives and ministry in love for others – both soul and body.

In Christ,

Pastor Green and the St. Peter’s Church Council

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