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Reformation Commentary on Scripture (3 vols.)

by 5 authors Bray, Gerald, George, Timothy, Manetsch, Scott M., Thompson, John L., Beckwith, Carl L.

IVP Academic 2011–2012

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Reformation Commentary on Scripture (3 vols.)
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Overview

The Reformation Commentary on Scripture (RCS) follows an ancient practice of biblical commentary, in which the scriptural texts are elucidated by chains of passages collected from the authoritative insights of the church’s great exegetes. Each volume consists of the collected comments and wisdom of the Reformers collated around the text of the Bible. Here is a unique tool for the spiritual and theological reading of Scripture and a vital help for teaching and preaching.

With the Reformation Commentary on Scripture you have centralized access to treasures that very few can gather for themselves. 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.

The Reformation Commentary on Scripture provides a crucial link between the contemporary church and the great cloud of witnesses that is the historical church. 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 volume of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture you will find insights of the leaders of the Reformation—from the landmark figures such as Luther and Calvin, to lesser-known commentators, such as Peter Martyr Vermigli, Johannes Oecolampadius, Martin Bucer, Johannes Brenz, Caspar Cruciger, Giovanni Diodati, and Kaspar Olevianus. Many of these texts are being published in English for the first time.

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. Volumes also contain biographies of figures from the Reformation era, adding an essential reference for students of church history.

With Logos, you can use these volumes more efficiently for research and sermon preparation. Every word from every book has been indexed and catalogued to help you search the entire Reformation Commentary on Scripture series for a particular verse or topic. With Logos, this series will integrate into the Passage Guide and Sermon Starter Guide. Whenever you enter your passage and click go, results from this commentary series will appear on the text you’re studying. This gives you instant access to exactly what you’re looking for in less time than it would take you to walk over to the bookshelf and begin flipping through a print volume.

Key Features

  • Catalyzes the renewal of contemporary biblical interpretation through exposure to Reformation-era biblical interpretation
  • Initiates the renewal of contemporary preaching through exposure to the biblical insights of the Reformation writers
  • Provides a deeper understanding of the Reformation and the breadth of perspectives represented within it
  • Advances Christian scholarship in the fields of historical, biblical, and pastoral studies
  • Includes a wealth of Reformation-era commentary on Scripture previously unavailable in English
  • Edited by scholars from around the world known for their command of the history of biblical interpretation in the Reformation era

Praise for the Print Edition

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, distinguished professor of preaching, Knox Theological Seminary

After reading several volumes of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture, I exclaimed, ‘Hey, this is just what the doctor ordered—I mean Doctor Martinus Lutherus!’ The church of today bearing his name needs a strong dose of the medicine this doctor prescribed for the ailing church of the sixteenth century. The reforming fire of Christ-centered preaching that Luther ignited is the only hope to reclaim the impact of the Gospel to keep the Reformation going, not for its own sake but to further the renewal of the worldwide church of Christ today. This series of commentaries will equip preachers to step into their pulpits with confidence in the same living Word that inspired the witness of Luther and Calvin and many other lesser-known Reformers.

—Carl E. Braaten, emeritus professor, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

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, bishop, North Alabama Conference, United Methodist Church

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. . . . 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, University of Notre Dame

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.

John Webster, chair of systematic theology, University of Aberdeen

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.

Robert Kolb, director, Institute for Mission Studies, Concordia Theological Seminary

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, Board of Governors Professor of Theology, Regent College

Individual Titles

Genesis 1–11

  • Editor: John L. Thompson
  • Series: Reformation Commentary on Scripture
  • Publisher: IVP
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: lxx, 389

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

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.

This volume is an example of the current trend in biblical scholarship that favors a theological interpretation of Scripture over a purely historical-critical analysis of the text. This new approach encourages pastors and theologians to learn once against to read the Bible as the church’s book revealing God’s Word to the world. John Thompson, the editor of this volume, has compiled selections from the Reformers’ commentaries on the first 11 chapters of Genesis that exhibit the practice of theological exegesis. As such, they are markedly in sync with the patristic doctrines of Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy. As precritical biblical theologians, the Reformers obviously did not have at hand the literary and historical methods of modern biblical criticism. Yet, such a lack did not prevent them from gaining a profound understanding of what God intended to reveal in the book of Genesis about the creation of the world, the fall of humankind, the reality of sin as the backdrop to the history of redemption that culminated in the New Testament Gospel of Jesus Christ. All the Reformers were united in a thoroughgoing Christological reading of the Hebrew Bible as Christian Scripture. This volume makes refreshingly clear the extent to which the Reformation interpreters of Genesis did not get bogged down in the kinds of fruitless squabbles so prevalent in subsequent Protestantism, say, between fundamentalism and modernism, creationism, and evolutionism. The Reformers read and interpreted Genesis in search of what is theologically significant for the Christian faith and the preaching of the church. This volume will help contemporary believers in Jesus Christ and members of His church to do the same today.

—Carl E. Braaten, emeritus professor, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

This commentary provides a rich selection of interpretations, exposing readers to lesser-known interpreters like Christopher Pelargus rather than simply invoking the familiar names of Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli.

Douglas Mangum, Bible Study Magazine, September/October 2012

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.

Ezekiel, Daniel

  • Editor: Carl L. Beckwith
  • Series: Reformation Commentary on Scripture
  • Publisher: IVP
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: lx, 452

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

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 Beckwith’s Ezekiel, Daniel provides good, sizeable excerpts from Reformation Era commentary on these prophetic books. It is especially valuable in difficult books such as these to see how the church in previous ages dealt with certain texts.

Preaching

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.

Galatians, Ephesians

  • Editor: Gerald L. Bray
  • Series: Reformation Commentary on Scripture
  • Publisher: IVP
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 446

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

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.

Galatians, Ephesians includes in-depth but accessible introductions by world-class Reformation scholars to Reformation interpretations of each book in the Bible.

CBA Retailers + Resources

Gerald L. Bray (PhD, 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 in the Church of England, Bray has also edited the post-Reformation Anglican canons.

Product Details

  • Title: Reformation Commentary on Scripture
  • Editors: Timothy F. George and Scott M. Manetsch
  • Publisher: IVP
  • Volumes: 3
  • Pages: 1,417

About the Editors

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.