The gospel of justification by faith alone was discovered afresh by the Reformers in the epistolary turrets of the New Testament: the letters to the Galatians and the Ephesians.
At the epicenter of the exegetical revolution that rocked the Reformation era was Paul's letter to the Galatians. There Luther, Calvin, Bullinger and scores of others perceived the true gospel of Paul enlightening a situation parallel to their own times--the encroachment of false teachers and apostates upon the true teaching of salvation by grace through faith.
In Ephesians, the Reformers gravitated to what they understood to be the summit of Paul's vision of salvation in Christ. Finding its source, beyond time, in the electing love of God, the Reformers disseminated the letter's message of temporal hope for Christians living under the duress of persecution.
For the Reformers, these epistles were living, capsule versions of Paul's letter to the Romans, briefs on the theological vision of the celebrated apostle. Probed and expounded in the commentaries and sermons found in this volume, these letters became the very breath in the lungs of the Reformation movements.
The range of comment on Galatians and Ephesians here spans Latin, German, French, Dutch and English authors from a variety of streams within the Protestant movement. Especially helpful in this volume is Gerald Bray's editorial presentation of the development of tensions among the Reformers.
The epistles of Galatians and Ephesians open up a treasure house of ancient wisdom, allowing these faithful Reformation witnesses to speak with eloquence and intellectual acumen to the church today.
About the Series When Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church in 1517, his followers used it to ignite a simmering powder keg of social, political, religious, and yes, exegetical, reform. The reformations can be described as one of the top turning points in western civilization, and it all started with a Monk and his Bible study.
The exegesis of Martin Luther used to ignite the Reformation continued to define the movement through its major theological religious expositors that included Luther as well as luminaries such as John Calvin, Heinrich Bullinger, Ulrich Zwingli, Philip Melanchthon, Theodore Beza, and many others. They were centrally focused on the biblical text and how best to understand it, and the result of their inquiries produced a vast, varied, and brilliant corpus of expository and exegetical writing that is, arguably, unmatched by any other period or movement in the history of the church.
The Reformation Commentary on Scripture now makes large portions of the Reformation's vast exegetical corpus available in a format that provides the best interpretive insights from reformation writers--eminent and obscure--in well edited manuscripts that provide a comprehensive view of the reformers on particular books, passages, and individual verses. While a portion of the most famous exegetical treatise written by 16th Century reformers has been available in English, much has not--until now. The Reformation Commentary on Scripture provides previously unavailable material from Latin, German, French, and Dutch authors who represent myriad Protestant streams. Context for these works is provided by editor Gerald Bray whose expert treatment highlights the tensions that divided but also motivated and directed the best scholars of the Reformation to the painstaking and tedious task of exegeting Scripture carefully and in the original languages.
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Customer Reviews for Galatians, Ephesians: Reformation Commentary on Scripture [RCS]
Review 1 for Galatians, Ephesians: Reformation Commentary on Scripture [RCS]
The Reformation Commentary on Scripture is a wonderful commentary series that lets the reader see first hand how Scripture was interpreted during the Reformation time period. This series provides its reader with a vast array of well known, not so well known, and probably unknown commentators on Galatians and Ephesians. The work by the project staff that has gone into pulling all of the information together is truly commendable and a great gift to the modern day church.
In the introduction Timothy George, the General Editor, list four goals of this series. They are:
1) The enrichment of contemporary biblical interpretation through exposure to Reformation-era biblical exegesis. 2) The renewal of contemporary preaching through exposure to the biblical insights of the Reformation writers. 3) A deeper understanding of the Reformation itself and the breadth of perspectives represented within it. 4) The recovery of the robust spiritual theology and devotional treasures of the Reformation's engagement with the Bible.
This commentary on Galatians/Ephesians accomplishes each of these goals.
The commentary is presented in a very easy to follow way. I was very curious about how it would flow, given the vast amount of contributors in it. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised both by the content and the ease of knowing who the original author was and the source that it came out of. Each section begins with a passage of Scripture with a given title (i.e. Galatians 6:1-5 Spiritual Admonition). The Scripture is from the ESV and is single column and italicized across the top of the page. Each section of Scripture then has an Overview section, which gives a summary of the thoughts that follow. Each topic in the passage is identified by a bold font making it easy to scan through the sections. Each commentary section begins with the author (i.e. Martin Luther) in all caps and is followed directly by the commentary on the section and ends with the reference (i.e. First Lectures on Galatians). The order that is provided by this layout is very beneficial to the reader for a variety of reasons: 1) It allows the reader to clearly identify who the Reformation author is and from what writing this excerpt came from. 2) If the reader is scanning through the commentary with the intent of finding a particular passage the bold font and headings makes it easy to quickly find the passage you are looking for 3) It is easy to compare how different writers of the Reformation chose to comment and expound on the Scripture passage. 4) The original reference makes it easy to follow up by consulting the original source.
I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled to "meet" many new voices from the Reformation period through this commentary. I was also blessed by the short biographical sketch in the back of the volume that gives the reader a short introduction to those writers he may not be familiar with. There is also a nine page timeline of the Reformation in the back of this volume that is an excellent historical resource.
I cannot express again how wonderfully smooth this commentary reads while at the same time keeping the original authors voices. The reader doesn't get what the editor thinks Calvin, Luther etc. said about a text but instead they get the authors own words. It is truly commendable what the editors have done in bringing together all of these voices. Instead of having to flip from commentary to commentary the reader can simply read through the section and have a wonderful flow to their study. Also, many of the original writings may not be accessible the way some of the more well known writers are. I am truly blessed by this commentary and feel that it would be a great addition to both pastors and lay-persons libraries.
I received a free copy of this commentary from IVP Academic in exchange for an honest review.