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“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” wrote the author of the epistle to the Hebrews.
Reflecting on this verse and the epistle’s description of the high priestly and sacrificial ministry of Jesus Christ, Swiss Reformed theologian and exegete Heinrich Bullinger defined faith as “the most constant mental certainty, which rests on those things to which all our hope is directed, namely . . . the expectation of salvation and the recognition of our truly blessed God and Savior, who is the inexhaustible fountain of all good.”
Both the epistle to the Hebrews and the epistle of James generated much discussion and debate during the Reformation period. The author of the former is unknown, and the latter was dismissively labeled as an “epistle of straw” by Martin Luther. Yet both of these letters have proven to be essential for Christians—during the Reformation era and today—who seek to understand the significance of the work of Jesus Christ and what it means to follow him.
In this volume of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture, church historian and theologian Ronald K. Rittgers guides readers through a diversity of early modern commentary on both Hebrews and James. Readers will hear from familiar voices as well as lesser-known figures from a variety of theological traditions, including Lutherans, Reformed, Radicals, Anglicans, and Roman Catholics.
Drawing on 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 helps all who seek the assurance and conviction that is found in Christ alone.
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.