Reading through the Book of Concord, week of Dec 29th

For those of you who have said that you want to start the Online Reading Group when we start at the beginning of the Book of Concord — START READING THIS WEEK! We are in week 1, so we are starting at the beginning.

One of the goals of the Brothers of John the Steadfast is the creation of reading groups whose intention is to get with a Pastor and read through the Book of Concord. For those people who do not have access to a reading group, it occurred to us that we might try creating an “online reading group” right here on the BJS site.

Pastors reading this — please take the time to reply to any questions brought up on this list, or even comment yourselves on what this section of the BOC means to you.

Each Sunday we will post the readings for the week, broken down into daily readings. Read through the passages yourselves, either using your copy of the Concordia or using the website.

For Dec 29th through Jan 3rd we are in week 1 in 2009, so according to the 2nd edition of Concordia, nearing the end of the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord.

Monday Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds.

Tuesday Luther’s Small Catechism, Preface.

Wednesday SC, I-III (The Commandments, The Creed, The Lords Prayer).

Thursday SC, IV-VI (Baptism, Confession, Altar).

Friday SC, Prayers – Tables of Duties.

Write any questions or comments on the readings for the week below. Please try to keep discussion limited to the readings for this week or topics that grow out of them. Remember, no question is a stupid question, and insights you see clearly may not be evident to others, so write about anything you want regarding these readings!

Norm Fisher, Technical Editor
Pastor Rossow, Editor

Links —

  • Daily reading category on Steadfast Lutherans (
  • Daily readings on the Book of Concord site (
  • About Norm Fisher

    Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

    He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

    He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

    More of his work can be found at


    Reading through the Book of Concord, week of Dec 29th — 4 Comments

    1. ‘The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son: neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. ‘

      What is the significance of ‘proceeding’? Is this part of the mystery of God or can we understand what ‘proceeding’ means?

      Please help me understand the following from the Athanasian Creed:

      ‘One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking the manhood into God;’

      1. What is the Bible verse that supports this?
      2. Why is this distinction important?

      ‘At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give an account of their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. ‘

      This sounds like my works, not Christ’s work, save me. What am I missing?

    2. Hi, David.

      Perhaps, this could help you. The distinction you mentioned is actually quite important.
      The concept under discussion is Christ’s humiliation, when He considered Himself nothing but took on the nature of a servant for us. (Philippians 2:6-8)

      If we were to say that the Godhead was assumed into man, then we would be saying that Jesus gave up altogether His rule and being God. This is not what Philippians is talking about. It simply says that God the Son humbled Himself. HThe apostle John puts it another way: “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” (John 1:14)

      Now, did God the Son empty Himself of being eternal when assuming our nature? No. But, if His being man had assumed the divine nature, this would have been the case. Did Jesus altogehter give up His omniscience? No. He saw Nathanael under the fig tree. (John 1:43-51) But, if the divine nature would have undergone conversion into the manhood, Jesus would not have been omniscient.

      Likewise, and most iimportantly, if the divine nature would have undergone conversion into the human, our Lord would not have been able to fulfill the Law perfectly, undergo its punishment perfectly for us, and conquer death in His resurrection.

      Thanks be to God the Son He assumed human nature. Not that He became like two boards glued together (Nestorianism), but that He simply has two natures, divine and human. Let Scripture be true and us be its students in this matter. Because God the Son assumed human nature, He both can lay down His life and take it up again. (John 10:18, 15:12)

      As Phil. 2:6-7 discusses, our Lord and Savior did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. (harpagmon) In assuming human nature, He did not have to grasp at divinity; He already is God. Therefore, He selflessly gave up His life to save us and He triumphed over death, promising all who trust in Him will have eternal life.

      Your second question is actually somewhat related. You mentioned the passage from the Athanasian Creed resounds with works. It does. But, the question really is: What work? Another question is: Whose work? For the answers, we can turn to, among other places, John 6:28-2j9, Acts 2:37-39, and Mattt. 25:35-40.

      It says that whoever has done good will have eternal life. It doesn’t say that one must do good to earn salvation. Good works spring from trust in our Lord Jesus, not vice versa. Therefore, the doers of the Law will be saved. Why? One cannot live in the new obedience apart from trusting in our Lord Jesus for salvation. (Heb. 11:6)

      Whose work is it, after all? Christ’s work, not ours. As the apostle Paul says, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20) On the Last Day, He will raise all who trust in Him to eternal life. (John 6:40, 44, 54) and bring to fulfillment that good work He has begun in us now. (Phil. 1:6)

      The passage in the Athanasian Creed does speak of work. I often reflect on that and simply pray the second stanza of the hymn, “Lord, Thee I love,” which reads in part: “Lord, grant that I in every place May glorify Thy lavish grace And serve and help my neighbor.” I do this not even having a clue how helping my neighbor will happen or how. And I don’t really need to know.

    3. Would someone explain a bit further, and in layman’s terms, the doctrine of Nestorianism? I’ve tried to look it up but am failing to understand it. Also, who today believes in Nestorianism? (These questions are in reference to David R. in comment no. 2.)

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