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"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die..."
When the reformers of the sixteenth century turned to this well-known text from the Book of Ecclesiastes, they did not find a reason to despair, but rather confirmation of their hope and faith in God. For example, Martin Luther pointed to the comfort offered through this text: "You cannot live any longer than the Lord has prescribed, nor die any sooner...To Christians this is a great comfort, so that they know that death has not been placed into the power of tyrants nor into the hands of any creature," but in the hands of God.
In this volume of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture, Reformation scholar David Fink guides readers through a wealth of early modern commentary on three Old Testament books: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. Readers will hear from familiar voices and discover lesser-known figures from a diversity of theological traditions, including Lutherans, Reformed, Radicals, Anglicans and Roman Catholics. Drawing upon a variety of resources—including commentaries, sermons, treatises, and confessions—much of which appears here for the first time in English, this volume provides resources for contemporary preachers, enables scholars to better understand the depth and breadth of Reformation commentary, and seeks to help readers find comfort in God's Word.
The Reformation Commentary on Scripture Series
The Reformation Commentary on Scripture (RCS) 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 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.
David C. Fink (PhD, Duke University) is associate professor of religion at Furman University. He is the author of Divided by Faith: The Protestant Doctrine of Justification and the Confessionalization of Biblical Exegesis.