Conversation around the table is a daily event for most of us whether it is the kitchen or dining room table at meals, a conversation over coffee at home, church or with friends at our favorite coffee shop or in the present case, a desire for spiritual food and reading, once again, Martin Luther’s “Table-Talk” for bits of wisdom to carry along throughout the day for thought, discernment and application. This is the best kind of “talk” one that brings blessings enumerable, strengthens our faith, corrects our errors and sets our walk on the path to match our talk. Read on and be blessed.
“The Holy Scriptures are full of divine gifts and virtues. The books of the heathen taught nothing of faith, hope, or charity; they present no idea of these things; they contemplate only the present, and that which man, with the use of his material reason, can grasp and comprehend. Look not therein for aught of hope or trust in God. But see how the Psalms and the Book of Job treat of faith, hope, resignation, and prayer; in a word, the Holy Scripture is the highest and best of books, abounding in comfort under all afflictions and trials. It teaches us to see, to feel, to grasp, and to comprehend faith, hope, and charity, far otherwise than mere human reason can; and when evil oppresses us, it teaches how these virtues throw light upon the darkness, and how, after this poor miserable existence of ours on earth, there is another and an eternal life.
The Holy Scriptures surpass in efficaciousness all the arts and all the sciences of the philosophers and jurists; these, though good and necessary to life here below, are vain and of no effect as to what concerns the life eternal. The Bible should be regarded with wholly different eyes from those with which we view other productions. He who wholly renounces himself, and relies not on mere human reason, will make good progress in the Scriptures; but the world comprehends them not, from ignorance of that mortification which is the gift of God’s Word. Can he who understands not God’s Word, understand God’s works? This is manifest in Adam; he called his first-born son, Cain—that is, possessor, houselord; this son, Adam and Eve thought, would be the man of God, the blessed seed that would crush the serpent’s head. Afterwards, when Eve was with child again, they hoped to have a daughter, that their beloved son, Cain, might have a wife; but Eve bearing again a son, called him Abel—that is, vanity and nothingness; as much as to say, my hope is gone, and I am deceived. This was an image of the world and of God’s church, showing how things have ever gone. The ungodly Cain was a great lord in the world, while Abel, that upright and pious man, was an outcast, subject and oppressed. But before God, the case was quite contrary: Cain was rejected of God, Abel accepted and received as God’s beloved child. The like is daily seen here on earth, therefore let us not heed its doings. Ishmael’s was also a fair name—hearer of God—while Isaac’s was naught. Esau’s name means actor, the man that shall do the work—Jacob’s was naught. The name Absalom, signifies father of peace. Such fair and glorious colors do the ungodly ever bear in this world, while in truth and deed they are condemners, scoffers, and rebels to the Word of God. But by that Word, we, God be praised, are able to discern and know all such; therefore let us hold the Bible in precious esteem, and diligently read it.
To world wisdom, there seems no lighter or more easy art than divinity, and the understanding of God’s Word, so that the children of the world will be reputed fully versed in the Scriptures and catechism, but they shoot far from the mark. I would give all my fingers, save three to write with, could I find divinity so easy and light as they take it to be. The reason why men deem it so is, that they become soon wearied, and think they know enough of it. So we found it in the world, and so we must leave it; but in fine videbitur, cujus toni.”
Martin Luther’s Table-Talk