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Galatians, Ephesians: Reformation Commentary on Scripture [RCS]
IVP Academic / 2011 / Hardcover
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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.
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 letters 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.
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
" Galatians, Ephesians includes in-depth but accessible introductions by world-class Reformation scholars to Reformation interpretations of each book in the Bible."
"Why was this not done before? The publication of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture should be greeted with enthusiasm by every believing Christian--but especially by those who will preach and teach the Word of God. This commentary series brings the very best of the Reformation heritage to the task of exegesis and exposition, and each volume in this series represents a veritable feast that takes us back to the sixteenth century to enrich the preaching and teaching of God's Word in our own time."
"The Reformation Commentary on Scripture is a major publishing event--for those with historical interest in the founding convictions of Protestantism, but even more for those who care about understanding the Bible. As with IVP Academic's earlier Ancient Christian Commentary, this effort brings flesh and blood to 'the communion of saints' by letting believers of our day look over the shoulders of giants from the past. By connecting the past with the present, and by doing so with the Bible at the center, the editors of this series perform a great service for the church. The series deserves the widest possible support."
"Today more than ever, the Christian past is the church's future. InterVarsity Press has already brought the voice of the ancients to our ears. Now, in the Reformation Commentary on Scripture, we hear a timely word from the first Protestants as well."
"The Reformation Commentary on Scripture series promises to be an 'open sesame' to the biblical exegesis, exposition and application of the Bible that was the hallmark of the Reformation. While comparisons can be odious, the difference between Reformation commentary and exposition and much that both preceded and followed it is laid bare in these pages: whereas others write about the Bible from the outside, Reformation exposition carries with it the atmosphere of men who spoke and wrote from inside the Bible, experiencing the power of biblical teaching even as they expounded it. . . . This grand project sets before scholars, pastors, teachers, students and growing Christians an experience that can only be likened to stumbling into a group Bible study only to discover that your fellow participants include some of the most significant Christians of the Reformation and post-Reformation (for that matter, of any) era. Here the Word of God is explained in a variety of accents: German, Swiss, French, Dutch, English, Scottish and more. Each one vibrates with a thrilling sense of the living nature of God's Word and its power to transform individuals, churches and even whole communities. Here is a series to anticipate, enjoy and treasure."
"There is no telling the benefits to emerge from the publication of this magnificent Reformation Commentary on Scripture series! Now exegetical and theological treasures from Reformation era commentators will be at our fingertips, providing new insights from old sources to give light for the present and future. This series is a gift to scholars and to the church; a wonderful resource to enhance our study of the written Word of God for generations to come!"
"I am delighted to see the Reformation Commentary on Scripture. The editors of this series have done us all a service by gleaning from these rich fields of biblical reflection. May God use this new life for these old words to give him glory and to build his church."
"This series provides an excellent introduction to the history of biblical exegesis in the Reformation period. The introductions are accurate, clear and informative and the passages intelligently chosen to give the reader a good idea of methods deployed and issues at stake. It puts precritical exegesis in its context and so presents it in its correct light. Highly recommended as reference book, course book and general reading for students and all interested lay and clerical readers."
"I strongly endorse the Reformation Commentary on Scripture. Introducing how the Bible was interpreted during the age of the Reformation, these volumes will not only renew contemporary preaching but they will also help us understand more fully how reading and meditating on Scripture can, in fact, change our lives!"
"This volume of the RCS project is an invaluable source for pastors and the historically/biblically interested that provides unparalleled access not only to commentaries of the leading Protestant Reformers but also to a host of nowadays unknown commentaters. The RCS is sure to enhance and enliven contemporary exegesis. With its wide scope, the collection will enrich our understanding of the variety of Reformation thought and biblical exegesis."
"Like the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, the Reformation Commentary on Scripture does a masterful job of offering excellent selections from well-known and not-so-well-known exegetes. The editor's introductory survey is, by itself, worth the price of the book. It is easy to forget that there were more hands, hearts and minds involved in the Reformation than Luther and Calvin. Furthermore, encounters even with these figures are often limited to familiar quotes on familiar topics. However, the Reformation Commentary helps us to recognize the breadth and depth of exegetical interests and skill that fueled and continue to fuel faithful meditation on God's Word. I heartily recommend this series as a tremendous resource not only for ministry but for personal edification."
"The Reformers discerned rightly what the church desperately needed in the sixteenth century--the bold proclamation of the Word based on careful study of the sacred Scriptures. We need not only to hear that same call again for our own day, but also to learn from the Reformation how to do it. This commentary series is a godsend!"
"The Reformation Scripture principle set the entirety of Christian life and thought under the governance of the divine Word, and pressed the church to renew its exegetical labors. This series promises to place before the contemporary church the fruit of those labors, and so to exemplify life under the Word."
"Since Gerhard Ebeling's pioneering work on Luther's exegesis seventy years ago, the history of biblical interpretation has occupied many Reformation scholars and become a vital part of study of the period. The Reformation Commentary on Scripture provides fresh materials for students of Reformation-era biblical interpretation and for twenty-first-century preachers to mine the rich stores of insights from leading Reformers of the sixteenth century into both the text of Scripture itself and its application in sixteenth-century contexts. This series will strengthen our understanding of the period of the Reformation and enable us to apply its insights to our own days and its challenges to the church."
"Discerning the true significance of movements in theology requires acquaintance with their biblical exegesis. This is supremely so with the Reformation, which was essentially a biblical revival. The Reformation Commentary on Scripture will fill a yawning gap, just as the Ancient Christian Commentary did before it, and the first volume gets the series off to a fine start, whetting the appetite for more. Most heartily do I welcome and commend this long overdue project."
"For those who preach and teach Scripture in the church, the Reformation Commentary on Scripture is a significant publishing event. Pastors and other church leaders will find delightful surprises, challenging enigmas and edifying insights in this series, as many Reformational voices are newly translated into English. The lively conversation in these pages can ignite today's pastoral imagination for fresh and faithful expositions of Scripture."
"Monumental and magisterial, the Reformation Commentary on Scripture, edited by Timothy George, is a remarkably bold and visionary undertaking. Bringing together a wealth of resources, these volumes will provide historians, theologians, biblical scholars, pastors and students with a fresh look at the exegetical insights of those who shaped and influenced the sixteenth-century Reformation. With this marvelous publication, InterVarsity Press has reached yet another plateau of excellence. We pray that this superb series will be used of God to strengthen both church and academy."
"The multivolume Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture is a valuable resource for those who wish to know how the Fathers interpreted a passage of Scripture but who lack the time or the opportunity to search through the many individual works. This new Reformation Commentary on Scripture will do the same for the Reformers and is to be warmly welcomed. It will provide much easier access to the exegetical treasures of the Reformation and will hopefully encourage readers to go back to some of the original works themselves."
"The Reformation was ignited by a fresh reading of Scripture. In this series of commentaries, we contemporary interpreters are allowed to feel some of the excitement, surprise and wonder of our spiritual forebears. Luther, Calvin and their fellow revolutionaries were masterful interpreters of the Word. Now, in this remarkable series, some of our very best Reformation scholars open up the riches of the Reformation's reading of the Scripture."
"Protestant reformers were fundamentally exegetes as much as theologians, yet (except for figures like Luther and Calvin) their commentaries and sermons have been neglected because these writings are not available in modern editions or languages. That makes this new series of Reformation Commentary on Scripture most welcome as a way to provide access to some of the wealth of biblical exposition of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The editors introduction explains the nature of the sources and the selection process; the intended audience of modern pastors and students of the Bible has led to a focus on theological and practical comments. Although it will be of use to students of the Reformation, this series is far from being an esoteric study of largely forgotten voices; this collection of reforming comments, comprehending every verse and provided with topical headings, will serve contemporary pastors and preachers very well."
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