Reformation Commentary on Scripture – Old Testament XII – Ezekiel, Daniel. Edited by Carl L. Beckwith. General Editor, Timothy George. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2012. $50.00. Purchase for much less at Amazon.
This volume on Ezekiel and Daniel in the Reformation Commentary on Scripture series is the second of a proposed twenty-eight volume commentary. The “commentators” are adapted from the sermons and writings of 16th century preachers, scholars, and reformers.
The editors seek to introduce readers to the depth and richness of the minds of the Reformation era. The four goals are, 1) enrichment of contemporary biblical interpretation through exposure to Reformation-era biblical exegesis, 2) a renewal of contemporary preaching and 3) a renewal of biblical interpretation through exposure to Reformation-era exegesis, and finally 4) a deeper understanding of the Reformation itself.
In essence, this is a commentary on the Books of Ezekiel and Daniel found in the Old Testament as understood in the 16th century. From the back of the book, we find which Reformers “contributed” to this volume.
This volume collects the comments of the monumental figures like Luther, Calvin and Melancthon, alongside many lesser known and read thinkers, such as Heinrich Bullinger, Hans Denck, Giovanni Diodati, Johann Gerhard, John Mayer, Matthew Mead, Johann Oecolampadius, Jakob Raupius, Johann Wigand and Andrew Willet. Several beloved English Puritans are included as well: Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, Thomas Manton and John Owen.
The work is like any other commentary in that it follows the basic pericopes of the books while offering the voices of the Reformers independent of one another. I.e., they are not having a “discussion” so to speak.
I would first caution against purchasing this series for the sole purpose of Scripture study and sermon preparation. Instead, the value of this series, in my estimation, is going to be found in the fourth goal of the editors: that the modern reader will attain a deeper understanding of the Reformation itself. Just because their thoughts are older and perhaps deeper than much of ours today, does not set them apart as infallible. We must always search the Scriptures and allow the Bible to interpret itself first.
That being said, I do believe that having the thoughts of some great men who disagreed during the time of the Reformation…arguably, the most important event since the inception of the church in the first century…is invaluable. It is nice to have the various thoughts side by side and to see where they not only disagreed but also to see where they agreed. What is more, it is interesting to read how far they took some of their thoughts in reaction to the Catholic Church as well.
Oddly enough, this commentary can be read cover to cover or as a resource. Either way, the reader will be enlightened and challenged to further plumb the depths of God’s Word.
At $50 per book, yes, you can get them cheaper at Amazon, the price may be a bit steep for some. If, however, you enjoy church history and want to peer behind the curtain of some of the formative minds of Protestantism as the movement was taking place, then this series will be an excellent one-stop shop for all your needs. I do recommend it though I caution that not everyone will want to get this set. I also caution against taking the thoughts of these men and letting them be the end all explanation to the Scriptures today. There are quite a few places where you will disagree and that is alright.