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The House That Is a Church

January 20, 2020
By Martin Luther

Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents.

GENESIS 25:27

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The House That Is a Church

[The Hebrew word translated as "quiet" here] denotes one who is simple, upright, blameless, and sincere in regard to his will. The same word occurs in Psalm 119:1: "Blessed are the blameless." For, as is evident later on when he buys the birthright from his brother, Jacob is not dull. . .. In the second place, Jacob is not a man of the fields. He has no political and carnal pursuits—although affairs of state can be administered in a godly and Proper manner—but he dwelt exclusively in tents; that is, he remained at home with his father and mother, and served them. . .. [The Jewish commentators on this passage] say that tents not only for the households but also for the churches are meant. . .. At that time there was no difference between the sacred tents and those occupied by households. Abraham had in his tent a house of God and a church, just as today any godly and pious head of a household instructs his children and domestics in godliness. Therefore such a house is actually a school and church, and the head of the household is a bishop and priest in his house. Thus the tents in which Jacob dwelt were sacred, and there he sought first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) . . .. Yet we, too, shall properly call our houses and churches tents when someone has a church in his home and in it instructs his children and domestics in godliness and virtue. But the more fervent and vigorous the spirit with which the Word is treated, the more fruit it brings.

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