Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Reading Romans Before the Reformation

     The lecturer declared, "all of us read Romans after the Reformation."  Obviously, Protestants have been shaped by the Reformation and read Romans as "Paul's great theological tract on justification by faith alone," and non-Protestants read Romans in reaction to the Reformation's emphasis.  There are two commentaries (J Patout Burns Jr., Gerald Bray) that have aided me in my reading of Romans, in large part by placing focus on the earliest reading of Romans.  
     I highly recommend using these two commentaries of primary early church sources as a means of reading Paul's letter to the Romans.  It is so different to hear the tone and spiritual depth in these works that quote heavily from the early Christian writings.  In these books, it is worth noting that the consensus is being offered and there are occasional attempts to include even the minority view.  One instance is the editors include Augustine's early and fragmented view of predestination which became the statement of faith among many Protestants.  I urge you to read and enjoy the refreshing perspective offered by the faithful early Christian witness.