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
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.
Gerald L. Bray (Ph.D., La Sorbonne) is a professor at Beeson Divinity School of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and director of research at Latimer Trust. He has written and edited a number of books on different theological subjects. A priest of the Church of England, Bray has also edited the post-Reformation Anglican canons.
The biblical revolution of the sixteenth century was an explosive event that shook the foundations of the church and called all Christians ad fontes--back to the sources! The Reformation Commentary on Scripture brings many of these sources, some for the first time, into the hands of today's preachers and laity. My prayer is that this new series will encourage a fresh engagement with the primary sources of the Christian faith, and that this will result in the kind of God-centered Reformation that shoo the world of Luther and Calvin.
Beason Divinity School, Samford University
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