In debates surrounding the New Perspective on Paul, the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformers are often characterized as the apostle’s misinterpreters in chief. In this book Stephen Chester challenges that conception with a careful and nuanced reading of the Reformers’ Pauline exegesis.
Examining the overall contours of early Reformation exegesis of Paul, Chester contrasts the Reformers with their Roman opponents and explores particular contributions made by such key figures as Luther, Melanchthon, and Calvin. He relates their insights to contemporary debates in Pauline theology about justification, union with Christ, and other central themes, arguing that their work remains a significant resource today.
Being published in the five-hundredth anniversary year of the Protestant Reformation, Reading Paul with the Reformers reclaims a robust, contemporary understanding of how the Reformers really read Paul.
In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
“This confusion can be avoided only if we recognize that the goal of theological interpretation is not to understand Paul, but to understand what the Spirit has said through Paul in his texts as a revelation of Christ.” (Page 37)
“Thus, justifying faith and sanctifying regeneration can both be rooted in union with Christ without implying that the former results from the latter because both depend on grace.” (Page 269)
“Luther typically explains alien righteousness in relation to union with Christ” (Page 176)
“We have now seen that (1) the term the ‘works of the law’ refers generally to the conduct that the law requires, (2) that Paul’s negative characterization of such works in contrast to faith is not in response to what he regards as a misunderstanding of the law, (3) that the ascription of a single meaning or purpose to the law fails adequately to reflect the complex and multi-faceted nature of the conduct required in its relation to all aspects of life, and (4) that one of the functions of works that appears regularly in Second Temple literature is that of ‘getting into the world to come.’” (Page 355)
“As we have seen, however (3.3), neither Luther nor others imagine the preconversion Paul struggling with inability to keep the law. Further, the phrase ‘works of the law’ is not identified with the revelation of sin but rather with the kind of false confidence that one is fulfilling the law possessed by the preconversion Paul.” (Page 342)
In this remarkable book, the fruit of many years of reading and reflection, Stephen Chester has made a decisive intervention into Pauline scholarship that significantly alters the terrain…His deep historical research will be honored and admired on all sides, and the rich materials he feeds back into the stream of theological interpretation will surely fertilize Pauline scholarship for many decades to come.
—John M. G. Barclay