Sunday, September 14, 2014

Published: Gerhard's Commentary on Romans 1-6

It has been almost two years since I began translating and posting excerpts here on Intrepid Lutherans from Johann Gerhard's much-quoted (and oft misquoted) commentary on Romans. The entire work has finally been translated and edited, and is now available from Amazon, published by Repristination Press.

Annotations on the First Six Chapters of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans
Amazon's summary:

Romans 1:16—For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (KJV)

“The ‘power of God’ is the divine and efficacious means which God uses to save men, (1) because in it the benefits obtained by the suffering and death of Christ are offered, among which are also life and eternal salvation; (2) because through the preaching of the Gospel, God works the faith in hearts through which they embrace the good things offered in the Gospel and apply them to themselves; (3) because through the Gospel faith is preserved and increased, so that we are thus ‘guarded for salvation by the power of God, through faith’ (1 Pet. 1:5); (4) because, in all adversities and temptations, it furnishes a life-giving consolation, so that we may be preserved to eternal life under the weight of the cross.”

Gerhard's Annotations were incomplete at the time of his death; his son, Johann Ernst Gerhard, published them several years after his death. However, the Annotations are of enduring value and significance to the Church because in these first six chapters, Gerhard gives a clear treatment of the doctrine of Justification, and a model of Lutheran exegesis. Modern students of Holy Scripture will benefit from Gerhard's scholarship.

Honestly, the book is full of memorable quotations. In this one Gerhard summarizes the main theme that runs through the entire Epistle to the Romans:

“[Romans 1:17] explains the principal proposition of the entire Epistle, as a favorable opportunity presents itself at the end of the introduction. This principal proposition is that there is no other way to be justified before God except by faith in Christ, whom the Gospel sets before us, as confirmed by the prophetic testimony.”

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