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 is a twenty-eight volume biblical commentary bringing the insights of the Reformation to the church. Incorporating the accurate and readable text of the English Standard Version of the Bible (ESV), these volumes assemble exegetical and theological commentary on the entire canon of Scripture by a vast array of Reformation-era thinkers and readers. The series boasts internationally recognized scholars of the history and theology of the Reformation as translators and editors, whose aim is to retrieve the wisdom of the Reformation for the renewal of 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