Item description for Commentary on Romans (Luther Classic Commentaries) by Martin Luther & J. Theodore Mueller...
Overview The indispensable look at the book of the Bible that turned the church on its head--through the eyes of the man that lit the fires of the Reformation. Written by the great reformer, this practical commentary acquaints the reader with the fundamentals of Luther's evangelical teachings and the roots of the Reformation. Included are a powerful introduction, which impressed the truth of Christ's salvation upon the heart of John Wesley, and explanatory notes and headings by translator J. Theodore Mueller. Gives deep insight into the book of Romans Provides an understanding of the roots of reformed theology
The indispensable look at the book of the Bible that turned the church on its head--through the eyes of the man that lit the fires of the Reformation. Written by the great reformer, this practical commentary acquaints the reader with the fundamentals of Luther's evangelical teachings and the roots of the Reformation. Included are a powerful introduction, which impressed the truth of Christ's salvation upon the heart of John Wesley, and explanatory notes and headings by translator J. Theodore Mueller. Gives deep insight into the book of Romans Provides an understanding of the roots of reformed theology
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Studio: Kregel Classics
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.01" Width: 5.42" Height: 0.52" Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Release Date May 20, 2003
Publisher Kregel Publications
Series Luther Classic Commentaries
ISBN 0825431204 ISBN13 9780825431203
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More About Martin Luther & J. Theodore Mueller
Martin Luther (1483-1546) was the Father of the Reformation. Most famous possibly for his 95 theses, he wrote many works which sparked debate and helped shape thinking - not only in his own time, but ours as well.
Martin Luther was born in 1483 and died in 1546.
Martin Luther has published or released items in the following series...
Anchor Library of Religion
Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought
Reviews - What do customers think about Commentary on Romans (Luther Classic Commentaries)?
Absolutely necessary commentary for Romans Feb 21, 2007
Really good and heartfelt exposition on Romans. Can be going due to the old translation, but worth the effort.
Digest of Reformation's most important Sources Nov 28, 2006
This `Commentary on Romans' by the great Reformation leader, Martin Luther needs three major caveats noted to potential readers.
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.
Historical interest...but not thorough for exegetical work Jan 25, 2006
As a pastor developing sermons from the Greek text, I find a lot of the exhortations by Luther to be refreshing and motivating. His introduction and many other comments are worth reading. This is a commentary that I would recommend you borrow, maybe not purchase.
The big drawback is that the exegesis is hundreds of years old and is not complete. So even though we have a rare look at the great Martin Luther's work on Romans, it doesn't give a lot on some passages. For example perhaps the greatest passage in all of the bible (according to many many pastors) is Romans 3:21-31. Here this commentary only has pgs 76 to 80 (only four pages for the greatest paragraphs in the bible?) for this part of Romans. Let me give you the sum total of what he says about Romans 3:24.
24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Luther says "God does not justify us freely by His grace in such a way that he did not demand any atonement to be made, for He gave Jesus Christ into death for us, in order that He might atone for our sins. So now He justifies freely by His grace thos who have been redeemed by His Son.
Really! That's all he says in his commentary on Romans about the verse that introduces the concept of legal righteousness for the first time! Because of that I slowly stopped using this commentary for exegesis. It's just not that helpful...and I was so excited about this book for that reason initially.
Doug Moo in his NICNT commentary on Romans deals with vs 24 quite thoroughly...with about four full pages with extensive footnotes on the same text vs 2 sentences in Luther. The contrast is that Moo draws out the first distinctive use of the Greek word for justify here as a reference not to making righteous...but rather to declare as righteous (in a real legal standing). This significant point is essential to a correct understanding of the book of Romans. So if you are actually studying Romans, I would urge you to purchase Moo (NICNT). If you are a history student looking at how Luther shaped history, then this commentary translated by Mueller is essential.
Basically I think Luthers commentary will help many people devotionally and one should refer to it. Just if you are a bible teacher/preacher...don't think you are going to gain exegetical insight very often from this commentary. It's really not that kind of 'commentary'. Hope that helps!
Luther In Progress Mar 23, 2005
This book is a bit of an enigma. It includes Luther's early thoughts on justification by faith alone, but it was probably written before his so-called "tower experience." That is, he is starting to teach justification by faith alone, but he doesn't really seem to have it quite worked out yet. The result makes for a spotty work.
The comments on Romans 7 show Luther's characteristic boldness and fire, but in many other places he seems to be rather tentative. In several places you can see the spiritual demons that Luther wrestled with showing in the text, accompanied by the pastoral advice he was getting from Staupitz.
On the positive side, this being a pre-1517 work, we are spared the anti-Catholic invective that mars Luther's later works (such as his commentary on Galatians), though he does occaisionally jab at the scholastics. Although at one point in commenting on Romans 11, Luther says that one shouldn't speak harshly against the Jews, he himself doesn't approach even modest modern standards in this regard in this work (but again it's not nearly as bad as his later writings in that respect).
Unfortunately, this edition isn't even quite appropriate for evaluating the historical progress of Luther's theology because the editor has omitted passages that reflect ideas that Luther later abandoned, and frequently inserts his own parenthetical glosses, which I suspect sometimes nudge the commentary further in the direction of confessional Lutheranism than it should.
Calvinists will like his strong stance on predestination, though Lutherans will probably be dismayed by the way he approaches it.
worthy commentary, but find a better edition May 8, 2003
I really wanted to give a higher rating to this little book, but the further I read, the more frustrated I got. The translator and editor adopted a rather annoying convention of including parenthesised explanatory notes in italics. 90% of the time these notes are redundant and serve only to interrupt the flow of the text (for instance, indicating the antecedent of a preposition when it is perfectly obvious). In a few cases, these notes actually distort the sense of what Luther is saying.
Beyond that, it's difficult to know exactly how to rate Luther's writing itself. Being from the Reformed tradition rather than the Lutheran, I would obviously take issue with Luther on some minor points, and perhaps suggest Calvin's or Murray's commentary instead. Luther does have the rather annoying habit of arguing against works and reason in extremely strong terms and then later coming back to explain that he is not rejecting works but only the reliance upon them or reason, but only the wrong use of it. This is understandable in the context of the original writing, but a more careful use of terms that avoids the problem entirely would have been preferable.
The book has considerable historical merit. Most of the content comes directly from his lectures in the second decade of the 16th century and was not significantly revised when it was published later. The preface on the other hand, written in 1557 gives a clearer indication of Luther's mature theology and is frequently quoted in works about Luther. If you are looking for essential Luther, Bondage of the Will or his Commentary on Galatians would be a better fit for that purpose.
Finally, we must note that the book is what I call a pastoral commentary. That is, the interest of the author is primarily in assisting the reader in applying God's Word in his or her life. As such, it devotes no time to questions of the date and circumstance of Romans, and very little to matters of translation or text criticism. If you are looking for what I would call a "scholarly" commentary to assist you in preparing lessons, sermons, or what not, this is not what you are after.
If it weren't for the awful italic insertions, I probably would have given it a 4.