Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Let's just go page by page.

The First Chief Part:  The Ten Commandments.
The first commandment:
I am the Lord, your God, shall have no other gods beside me.
What does this mean?
We should fear, love and trust in God above all things.

I have to say I kind of like the Latin in this:  "Debemus Deum supra omnia timere, diligere et illi confidere."

"We should" in English sounds to me more "optional".  We should, be we don't, can't.  Yes, indeed, our natural inclination is not up for this. "Sollen" in German sounds to me more forceful than "should" in English.   "Debemus"  says that we "owe it" to God.  So to make it stronger we could say:  "We owe God fear, love and trust above all things."  or "We owe it to God to fear him, love him and trust in him above all things."  (Too many "him's" for todays reader possibly; but since each word is so loaded, it might be good to stretch out the sentence a little bit.)  I like the way this sentence reads because "supra omnia timere..."  could be that we 1.  fear, love and trust in him above all things (other gods) but also 2. that this is what he wants most from us.  The first commandment is first because from it the fulfilling of any others follows.  Without trust in God we cannot please him at all no matter how scrupulously we might keep any set of commandments.  We owe also reminds me of Christ's work and all the good he has done for us, for which reason we are able to fear and love him at all.  "We should" sounds a little more nagging and pull yourself up by your boostraps.  Anyhow, my two cents worth.

This really needs to be supplemented with what Luther had to say in the Large Catechism.  He completely outdoes himself in explaining the first commandment.  He has such a grasp of this, it puts all our puny faith to shame.  We should summarize it.  Maybe tomorrow.

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