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Commentary on Romans (Luther Classic Commentaries) Paperback – May 20, 2003
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From the Back Cover
In the fall of 1515 a professor began to teach the book of Romans to his university students. As he painstakingly prepared his lectures, he gradually realized, and then embraced, the book’s central theme—salvation is by grace alone through faith alone. That spark of truth ignited Martin Luther’s own spiritual life and the fires of reformation that would follow.
Luther’s Commentary on Romans presents the very earliest developments of Luther’s evangelical theology, which he described as “the theology of the Cross.” This popular edition, translated by Theodore Mueller, organizes Luther’s notes for modern readers, using explanatory subheadings and parenthetical comments to clarify the great Reformer’s thoughts. Some views, which Luther later modified or discarded, have been omitted in order to avoid confusion with his later works. The result is a text that is concise, practical, and devotional.
Martin Luther (1483–1546) left his comfortable upbringing to become a Roman Catholic monk and later a professor of theology at the University of Wittenberg in Saxony. His study and teaching of the Greek text of the New Testament represent the beginnings of modern textual study, and his widely disseminated writings sparked the Protestant Reformation in Europe. Other works by Luther include Commentary on Galatians and Commentary on First and Second Peter and Jude.
About the Author
Martin Luther (1483–1546) was born in Germany and is famous for his protest, The Ninety-five Theses, which he nailed to the door of the castle church of Wittenberg. The son of middle-class parents, Luther left his comfortable life to become a monk. Luther’s own spiritual awakening was sparked by his study of the Greek text of Paul’s letter to the Romans, which challenged him with the statement, “The just shall live by faith.”
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Top customer reviews
I am amazed at the depth that Luther goes in helping to understand Paul's more technical passages in Romans and have been inspired by Luther's theology - a theology that casts new light and even challenges the current trends in our 21st Century Western Christianity.
This book is a keeper. It will stay on the "A" shelf of my resource library.
The first and more important caveat is that this is a `Reader's Digest' version of Luther's original work on Romans, which would easily fill two sizable hardcover volumes, just as his currently available full commentary on the much smaller Epistle to the Galatians. As translator J. Theodore Mueller notes in his Foreword, ' ... this popular and abridged edition seeks only to acquaint the average Christian reader with the fundamentals of Luther's evangelical teachings.'
This gloss brings up a second important caveat. Luther saw Paul's epistles through a very carefully focused pair of glasses, which tended to distort just a bit both the way in which Paul saw his contemporary `Second Temple' Jews and the most important of Paul's lessons. Paul was and still is the leading apostle in the theology of Reformation churches due to his strong emphasis on the faith as the sole currency to achieving God's grace. As I am just discovering in my own study of Romans with modern sources, Paul had much more to offer.
The third major concern is the fact that this work is based on Luther's lectures in 1515, two years before the momentous '95 Theses' which initiated the events leading to the Protestant Reformation. That means Luther continued to think about and write about Paul's Epistles for another 30 years, including his eminently important comments prefacing his translation of the Bible into German.
Therefore, this volume should be taken neither as a scholarly study of Luther's works nor as a totally reliable guide to the thoughts of Paul the Apostle. This volume is a condensed introduction to what Luther thought about Romans in 1515. Therefore, it should always be used in conjunction with a modern commentary by, for example N. T. Wright in `The New Interpreter's Bible' or the excellent treatment of the modern Protestant point of view, `Commentary on Romans' by Ernst Kasemann.
The other side of the coin is that Martin Luther's opinions on the text show much less `political correctness' than may be restraining many modern writers. Luther rails against sins of the flesh with a passion one rarely sees today, so that he harmonizes well with Paul's passion on the subject. Thus, this may be a fair antidote to scholarly sterility that may soften too much an appreciation of the Apostle's emotions. Luther and Paul are certainly kindred spirits in many, if not all regards. (Paul is probably not, unlike Augustine and Luther, haunted constantly by doubts and needs for reassurance).
If you don't have access to or patience for Luther's complete work on Romans, this is a worthy substitute and accompaniment to modern texts.