Verse by verse, together we dig into Exodus 33:12-23…

Hear the full audio of Bible Study from 20 January 2019.

Notes from our study of Exodus 33:12-23


Perhaps the most distinctively Lutheran insight into Biblical interpretation is clearly and carefully distinguishing Law and Gospel. Word Studies are helpful. Careful attention to the immediate context of a passage within its own chapter or book can keep us on topic as we deal with a passage. Parallel passages will show us where similar topics are addressed, sometimes highlighting different and balancing facets of matters addressed.

The children of the congregation learn to know the difference between these two main teachings in Scripture, Law and Gospel, keeping them always in mind using the letters S-O-S:


S Shows us

O Our

S Sin


S Shows us

O Our

S Savior

The same Lord speaks both to us throughout the Bible. There is Gospel proclaimed in the Old Testament books, as is the Law. Certainly also the Law is taught and applied in the New Testament, as it is in the Old Testament. The same Lord who speaks to Moses is conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem’s manger, suffered and died for our sins on the cross, was buried and rose again on Easter. The simple confession “Jesus is Lord” does not simply mean “Jesus is my boss,” but especially means he is The Lord of the Old Testament in the flesh. His Word of Law shows us our sins, points out what we are to do or not do, and how we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:19-20,23) His Word of Gospel shows us our Savior, pointing us to what Christ has done and given for you, for the forgiveness of sins. The Gospel reveals a “righteousness apart from the Law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Christ Jesus for all who believe…we are justified by His grace as a gift, through the righteousness that is in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 3:21-22, 24)

The Old Testament Prophets preach The Law and The Gospel, or promises of salvation through Christ, the Savior. The apostles teach this same distinction between the use of the Law for Showing us Our Sins–and then always pointing us to Christ through the Gospel, Showing us Our Savior!


A.) What just happened in Exodus 32, the chapter before our passage?


B.) Our text from Exodus begins at verse 33:12. What did the Lord tell Moses to do earlier in this chapter 33 (see verses 1-11)? Did the Lord say he would go with them?



C. At a glance, tell what happens in Exodus 34?



D.) Which verses or words proclaim the Law, which Shows us Our Sins?



E.) Which verses or words proclaim the Good News of the Gospel, Showing us Our Savior and the promises of His gifts and help?



F.) Our Lutheran Confessions cite this passage as important for our understanding of original sin in the Smalcald Articles:

“This hereditary sin is so deep [and horrible] a corruption of nature that no reason can understand it, but it must be [learned and] believed from the revelation of Scriptures, Ps. 51:5; Rom. 6:12ff ; Ex. 33:[20]; Gen. 3:7ff Hence, it is nothing but error and blindness in regard to this article what the scholastic doctors have taught…” (SA, Part III, Art. 1, par. 3.)

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