The Reformation Commentary on Scripture provides a crucial link between the contemporary church and the great cloud of witnesses that is the historical church, according to the publisher.
The biblical insights and rhetorical power of the tradition of the Reformation are here made available as a powerful tool for the church of the twenty-first century.
Like never before, believers can feel they are a part of a genuine tradition of renewal as they faithfully approach the Scriptures.
In each RCS volume you will find the biblical text in English, from the English Standard Version (ESV), alongside the insights of the leaders of the Reformation.
Hear from landmark figures such as Luther and Calvin, as well as lesser-known commentators such as Peter Martyr Vermigli, Johannes Oecolampadius, Martin Bucer, Johannes Brenz, Caspar Cruciger, Giovanni Diodati, and Kaspar Olevianus.
The series introduces you to the great diversity that constituted the Reformation, with commentary from Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, Anabaptist and even reform-minded Catholic thinkers, who all shared a commitment to the faithful exposition of Scripture.
Each volume is designed to facilitate a rich research experience for preachers and teachers, and contains a unique introduction written by the volume editor, providing a reliable guide to the history of the period, the unique reception of the canon of Scripture and an orientation to the thinkers featured in the volume.
Many of these texts are being published in English for the first time, and volumes also contain biographies of figures from the Reformation era, adding an essential reference for students of church history.
“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!”
— Donald K. McKim, executive editor of theology and reference, Westminster/John Knox Press
“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.”
— Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History Emeritus, University of Notre Dame
“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.”
— J. I. Packer, Retired Board of Governors Professor of Theology, Regent College
“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.”
— David S. Dockery, president, Union University
“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!”
— Richard J. Mouw, professor of faith and public life and former president, Fuller Theological Seminary
“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.”
— R. Albert Mohler Jr., president, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“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.”
— William H. Willimon, professor of the practice of Christian ministry, Duke Divinity School
“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.”
— Sinclair Ferguson, senior minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina
“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.”
— Mark Dever, senior pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, and president of 9Marks.org Ministries
“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.”
— Michael S. Horton, J. G. Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary, California
“Detached from her roots, the church cannot reach the world as God intends. While every generation must steward the scriptural insights God grants it, only arrogance or ignorance causes leaders to ignore the contributions of those faithful leaders before us. The Reformation Commentary on Scripture roots our thought in great insights of faithful leaders of the Reformation to further biblical preaching and teaching in this generation.”
— Bryan Chapell, chancellor and professor of practical theology, Covenant Theological Seminary
Volumes in the series
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: lxx, 389
The first chapters of Genesis are the bedrock of the Jewish and Christian traditions. In these inaugural pages of the canon, the creation of the world, the fall of the human creature, the promise of redemption, and the beginning of salvation history are found. Interwoven in the text are memorable stories of the ancient biblical patriarchs and matriarchs.
Throughout the history of commentary, interpreters have lavished attention on the rich passages recounting the six days of creation, the tragic fall of God’s creature–from the expulsion of the first parents to Cain’s fratricide and the catastrophe of the Flood–as well as the allegorical sign of hope in Noah’s ark.
Commentators in the Reformation continued this venerable tradition of detailed focus on these primordial stories, finding themselves and their era deeply connected to the tragedies and promises, the genealogies and marvels of God’s providential election and governance. Above all, Reformation-era interpreters found anchor for their teaching, preaching, and hope in the promise of Christ running through these first chapters, from creation to the calling of Abraham.
While following the precedent of patristic and medieval commentators on Scripture, as well as Rabbinic midrash, the Reformers provide insightful and startling fresh readings of familiar passages, inviting readers to see the ancient text with new eyes. This volume collects the comments of not only the monumental thinkers like Luther, Calvin, and Melancthon, but also many important figures of the time who are lesser-known today. Here we find rich fare from Johannes Brenz, Wolfgang Capito, Hans Denck, Wolfgang Musculus, Johannes Oecolampadius, and Peter Martyr Vermigli.
Readers will encounter comments from a wide array of perspectives, from the magisterial Reformers to radical Protestants like Balthasar Hubmaier, Menno Simons, Pilgram Marpeck, and Dirk Philips, as well as some Catholic thinkers, such as Desiderius Erasmus and Cardinal Cajetan. Important contributions from female voices, like Katharina Schütz Zell and Anna Maria van Schurman are included also. The wealth of Reformation interpretation is brought together here for study and reflection, much appearing in English for the first time.
John L. Thompson is professor of historical theology and Galen and Susan Byker Professor of Reformed Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. He is a contributor to the Global Dictionary of Theology, the author of John Calvin & the Daughters of Sarah and Writing the Wrongs, and the coeditor of Biblical Interpretation in the Era of the Reformation.
Publication Date: 2016
“Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts.’” (1 Samuel 17:45)
Reflecting upon David’s victory over Goliath, Reformation translator, theologian and commentator William Tyndale compared it to Christ’s victory over sin and death: “When David had killed Goliath the giant, glad tidings came to the Israelites that their fearful and cruel enemy was dead and that they were delivered out of all danger. For this gladness, they sang, danced and were joyful. In like manner, the good news or ‘gospel’ of God is joyful tidings.”
The books of 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings and 1-2 Chronicles, which record the history of Israel from the prophetic ministry of Samuel to the fall of Jerusalem, provided the reformers with some of the best-known narratives of the Old Testament upon which to comment, including Hannah’s prayer, the anointing of Saul as Israel’s first king, David’s triumph over Goliath and his later adultery with Bathsheba, Solomon’s building of the Temple, Elijah’s challenge to the prophets of Baal, and the healing of Naaman.
For the reformers, these stories were not merely ancient Israelite history, but they also foreshadowed the coming of Jesus Christ, and they had immediate relevance for their lives and the church of their day. Thus, Anglican exegete John Mayer perceived within King Josiah’s reform of Israelite worship after the discovery of the Book of the Law a prefiguration of “what should be done in the latter days of the gospel, in which a greater reformation of the religion is now being made.”
In this Reformation Commentary on Scripture volume, Derek Cooper and Martin Lohrmann guide readers through a diversity of Reformation commentary on these historical books. Here, readers will find reflections from both well-known voices and lesser-known figures from a variety of confessional traditions—Lutherans, Reformed, Radicals, Anglicans and Roman Catholics—many of which appear in English for the first time.
By drawing upon a variety of resources—including commentaries, sermons, treatises and confessions—this volume will enable scholars and students to understand better the depth and breadth of Reformation-era insights on Scripture. It will also provide resources for contemporary preachers, and encourage all those who continually seek to share the “joyful tidings” of Jesus Christ.
Derek Cooper (PhD, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia) is associate professor of world Christian history at Biblical Theological Seminary. He is the author of several books, including Exploring Church History and Christianity and World Religions: An Introduction to the World’s Major Faiths.
Martin J. Lohrmann (PhD, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia) is assistant professor of Lutheran confessions and heritage at Wartburg Theological Seminary. He is the author of Bugenhagen’s Jonah: Biblical Interpretation as Public Theology.
Publication Date: 2015
The book of Psalms has been the subject of daily and nightly meditation throughout the history of the church, and has been a significant resource for Christian belief and practice, often serving as the church’s prayer book and hymnal. Like generations of Christians before them, the Protestant Reformers turned often to the book of Psalms, but they did so during a time of significant spiritual renewal, theological debate and ecclesiological reform.
In the Psalms the Reformers found comfort, guidance and wisdom from God that applied to their context as much as it did to David’s. As John Calvin explained, the Psalms demonstrate every emotion that people have experienced: “The Holy Spirit has presented in a living image all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the emotions with which human minds are often disturbed.”
Moreover, as Martin Luther proclaimed, the Reformers also heard in the Psalms a resounding affirmation of the good news of Jesus Christ: “The Psalter ought to be a precious and beloved book because it promises Christ’s death and resurrection so clearly.”
In this volume, Herman Selderhuis guides readers through the diversity of Reformation commentary on the first half of the Psalter. Here are both familiar voices and lesser-known figures from a variety of theological traditions, including Lutherans, Reformed, Radicals, Anglicans and Roman Catholics, many of whose comments appear here for the first time in English.
By drawing on a variety of resources—including commentaries, sermons, treatises and confessions—this volume will enable scholars to better understand the depth and breadth of Reformation commentary, provide resources for contemporary preachers, and aid all those who seek to meditate upon God’s Word day and night.
Herman J. Selderhuis is professor of church history and church polity at the Theological University Apeldoorn (Netherlands) and director of Refo500, the international platform for knowledge, expertise and ideas related to the sixteenth-century Reformation. He is a leading Reformation historian and author of several books, including John Calvin: A Pilgrim’s Life and Calvin’s Theology of the Psalms. He also serves as the academic curator of the John a Lasco Library (Emden, Germany) and as president of the International Calvin Congress.
Publication Date: 2012
The Reformation-era revolution in preaching and interpreting the Bible did not occur without keen attention to the Old Testament Scriptures. This is especially true with regard to the Hebrew prophets. Ezekiel and Daniel–replete with startling, unnerving imagery and visions, apocalyptic oracles of judgment and destruction–captivated the reformers as they sought to understand their time and themselves through the lens of Scripture. Equally, these prophetic books underscored the covenantal promises to God’s people and the hope of restoration, which the Reformers understood to be the righteousness of Christ made available in faith.
Reformation commentary on the prophets Ezekiel and Daniel are windows into the biblical, theological, and pastoral minds of the reformers as they engage the details of the texts, make theological judgments, and apply fresh reading of Scripture to their contemporary hearers. Familiar passages, such as Ezekiel’s dazzling vision of the wheels, the building of the temple, or Daniel’s four beasts, are given new layers and textures.
This volume collects the comments of the monumental figures like Luther, Calvin, and Melancthon, alongside many lesser known and read thinkers, such as Heinrich Bullinger, Hans Denck, Giovanni Diodati, Johann Gerhard, John Mayer, Matthew Mead, Johann Oecolampadius, Jakob Raupius, Johann Wigand, and Andrew Willet. Several beloved English Puritans are included as well: Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, Thomas Manton, and John Owen. The wealth of Reformation interpretation on these books of Scripture is brought together for the first time.
Carl L. Beckwith (PhD, University of Notre Dame) is associate professor of church history at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University. He has authored articles on church history for a variety of monographs and journals.
Publication Date: 2015
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Reflecting on this verse from the Gospel of Luke (2:11), Martin Luther declared it to be a summary of the gospel: “See here what the gospel is, namely, a joyful sermon about Christ our Savior. Whoever preaches him rightly preaches the gospel and pure joy.”
Reformation commentators meditated upon the significance of the good news of Jesus Christ during a vibrant era in the history of the church that was characterized by spiritual renewal and reform, doctrinal controversy (especially over matters such as the presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper) and the overriding desire to understand the meaning and implications of Scripture for Christian belief and practice.
While in many ways similar to the other Synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of Luke also testified to this good news through unique material, including the announcement of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds in the fields, the parable of the prodigal son, and Jesus’ appearance to his disciples on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection
In this volume, Beth Kreitzer skillfully leads readers through the rich diversity of the Gospel of Luke. Readers will be able to listen to both well-known and lesser-known voices from a variety of theological traditions, including Lutherans, Reformed, Radicals, Anglicans and Roman Catholics, many of whose comments appear for the first time in English.
By drawing from an array of Reformation resources—including commentaries, sermons, treatises and confessions—this volume will equip scholars to understand better the depth and breadth of Reformation commentary, and it will provide contemporary preachers with resources from those in the Reformation church who sought to understand the meaning of this “good news of great joy” (2:10).
Beth Kreitzer (PhD, Duke University) is coordinator of liberal studies at Belmont Abbey College. She is the author of Reforming Mary: Changing Images of the Virgin Mary in Lutheran Sermons of the Sixteenth Century and several professional articles on religious subjects.
Publication Date: 2014
The first 18 verses of the Gospel of John make some of the most profound statements about the character and work of Christ in all of Scripture: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1); “all things were made through him” (1:3); “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (1:14).
Reformation commentators ruminated on the meaning and implications of such claims for shedding light on doctrines like the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, and his incarnation, but also for grasping the saving benefits of Christ’s work in justification (for those “who believed in his name”) and new birth (those born of God as his children, 1:12-13).
In this volume, Craig Farmer expertly guides readers through Reformation meditation on these themes and many others as they are unpacked in the first 12 chapters of the Gospel of John, from the Prologue to Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Here you will find a rich mosaic of reflection on the Gospel of John by a variety of significant well-known and lesser-known figures among the Reformed, Lutherans, Radicals, and Roman Catholics. Farmer has done justice to the depth and nuance of the work of these Reformation-era pastors and scholars by drawing from a range of genres—extensive commentary, brief annotations, impassioned sermons, official confessions, and careful doctrinal and practical treatises.
Contemporary scholars will find this volume indispensable for understanding the significance of the “spiritual Gospel” for Reformation theology and practice, and pastors will discover here a consistently fruitful source for preaching, teaching, and discipleship in the “grace and truth” that have come through Jesus Christ (1:17).
Craig S. Farmer (PhD, Duke University) is professor of history and humanities and Joel O. and Mabel Stephens Chair of the Bible at Milligan College, Tennessee. He is the author of The Gospel of John in the Sixteenth Century: The Johannine Exegesis of Wolfgang Musculus.
Publication Date: 2014
The Reformation was a call to return with renewed vigor to the biblical roots of Christian faith and practice. Still, for the Reformers, the truth of the Bible could never be separated from the true community of God’s people gathered by his Word. In the book of Acts, they found God’s blueprint for how the church should participate with the Holy Spirit in accomplishing his purposes in the world.
In the latest Reformation Commentary on Scripture, the diverse streams of the Protestant movement converge on the book of Acts, providing a lesson in the nature of biblical reform from those who bore it out for the first time. Authors Esther Chung-Kim and Todd R. Hains present a vivid portrait of the Reformers’ views on the contemporary church’s faithfulness to its God-given identity and calling.
The Reformers approached the narrative account of the early church in the book of Acts from diverse viewpoints. Commentators like John Calvin and the Swiss Reformer Heinrich Bullinger elaborated on the theological implications of the text with a great deal of historical detail.
Others like reform-minded Catholic Johann Eck evoked episodes in Acts in response to pressing concerns of the day. Sermons upheld notable characters in Acts such as Peter, Stephen, Paul, Lydia, and Apollos as examples of robust faith and of life in Christian community. Anabaptists in their apologetic works focused heavily on the necessity of believer’s baptism.
The commentators’ interactions range from irate disagreement to irenic concord, but all exhort their readers not to dissolve “the holy knot” of the plain history of Christ’s works and their lasting fruits. For them, Acts is certainly history, but it cannot be mere history.
Esther Chung-Kim (PhD, Duke University) is assistant professor of religious studies at Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, California. She is the author of Inventing Authority.
Todd R. Hains is a PhD candidate in historical theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and assistant project editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture.
Publication Date: 2016
Perhaps more than any other New Testament epistle, Paul’s letter to the Romans has been the focus of Christian reflection throughout the church’s history, transforming the minds and convicting the hearts of believers. Sixteenth-century reformer Martin Luther reflected the church’s longstanding emphasis on this portion of the canon: “Let the Epistle to the Romans be the door and the key to holy Scripture for you; otherwise you will never enter into a proper understanding and comprehension of the Bible.”
In this volume of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture, Philip Krey and Peter Krey guide readers with care through a diversity of Reformation-era commentary on the second half of Paul’s letter to the Roman church. Among the difficult issues addressed by Paul and commented on by early modern exegetes were the predestination of God’s elect, the destiny of Israel, the role of Gentiles in salvation history, the ethical demands of the Christian life, and the Christian’s relationship to the state.
Here, readers will encounter familiar voices and discover lesser-known figures from a variety of theological traditions, including Lutherans, Reformed, Radicals, Anglicans, and Roman Catholics.
The volume draws on a variety of resources, including commentaries, sermons, treatises, and confessions, much of which appears here for the first time in English. Gathering together these Reformation-era reflections, it provides resources for contemporary preachers, enables scholars to better understand the depth and breadth of Reformation biblical commentary and aids the ongoing transformation of the minds—and lives—of people today.
Philip D.W. Krey (PhD, University of Chicago) is president emeritus and professor emeritus of early and medieval church history at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). He is the author of several books, including Nicholas of Lyra’s Apocalypse Commentary and For All the Saints: A Short History of the Church, and the coeditor of Luther’s Spirituality as well as the volume on Hebrews in the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture.
Peter D.S. Krey (PhD, Graduate Theological Union) is a Lutheran pastor and professor. He has ministered in churches in Germany, New York, Philadelphia, and California. He also coedited Luther’s Spirituality and The Catholic Luther, and he translated Thomas Kaufmann’s A Short Life of Luther.
Publication Date: 2017
In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul writes, “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4 ESV).
Reflecting on Paul’s summary of the gospel, sixteenth-century biblical commentator, theologian, and Lutheran pastor Tilemann Hesshus wrote, “The central tenet and foundation of our entire religion is that our Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again for our justification. All of our comfort, salvation and hope rest upon this foundation. From this is derived that greatest comfort concerning the resurrection of the dead and the future life of eternal glory.”
Throughout the church’s history, Christians have turned to the epistles of the Apostle Paul in order to understand the essentials of the Christian faith, learn from the challenges faced by early Christians, and discern how to navigate the complexities of following Christ. Among those who gained wisdom from Paul were the Protestant Reformers, who found inspiration and instruction about how to lead the church of their day during a time of significant theological debate, ecclesiastical reform, and spiritual renewal.
In this volume of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture, Scott Manetsch guides readers through a diversity of Reformation-era commentary on the first of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. Within this volume, readers will encounter familiar voices and discover lesser-known figures from a variety of theological traditions, including Lutherans, Reformed, Radicals, Anglicans, and Roman Catholics.
Drawing on a variety of resources—including commentaries, sermons, treatises, and confessions—much of which appears here for the first time in English, it provides resources for contemporary preachers, enables scholars to better understand the depth and breadth of Reformation commentary, and helps all Christians cling to the things of first importance.
Timothy F. George is a Reformation historian and author of Theology of the Reformers, as well as other theological and historical works. He is dean of Beeson Divinity School, Samford University and an executive editor of Christianity Today.
Scott M. Manetsch is associate professor of church history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and author of Theodore Beza and the Quest for Peace in France, 1572—1598.
Publication Date: 2011
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.
Gerald L. Bray 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 in the Church of England, Bray has also edited the post-Reformation Anglican canons.
Publication Date: 2015
Paul’s letters to the Philippians and Colossians celebrate the glory and supremacy of Jesus Christ and his saving work, a refrain that the reformers never grew tired of singing. While their tones are diverse, the clarity of their compositions and the power of their voices still reverberate today.
Reformation commentators found the main themes of these Pauline letters deeply applicable to their circumstances, and volume editor Graham Tomlin urges that they are just as relevant to our own: Philippians overflows with thanksgiving in the midst of persecution and trials; Colossians defends the superiority of Jesus as Lord over all principalities and powers.
For the Reformers as well as for Paul, all goodness and grace flows from Christ in whom “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col 1:19), the Son who “made himself nothing” (Phil 2:7) in order to bring many daughters and sons to glory.
This volume assembles a diverse chorus spanning place, time, and confessional differences: from Italian Reform-minded Catholic Gasparo Contarini and German Lutheran Martin Chemnitz, to Dutch Anabaptist Menno Simons, to French Reformed Theodore Beza and English Puritan Richard Sibbes.
Scholars and pastors alike will find many fruitful insights from these and a number of other significant figures—most of whom enjoy fresh translations from the original, many for the first time in English.
Graham Tomlin (PhD, Exeter University) is principal of St. Mellitus College, London. He taught on Martin Luther and the Reformation in the theology faculty of the University of Oxford for eight years. He is the author, among many other publications, of The Power of the Cross: Theology and the Death of Christ in Paul, Luther and Pascal, The Provocative Church, Luther and His World and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book for 2014: Looking Through the Cross.
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