In Reading the Bible with Martin Luther, prominent Reformation historian Timothy Wengert introduces the basic components of Luther’s theology of the Bible and examines his contributions to present-day biblical interpretation.
Wengert addresses key points of debate regarding Luther’s approach to the Bible that have often been misunderstood, including biblical authority, the distinction between law and gospel, the theology of the cross, and biblical ethics. He argues that Luther, when rightly understood, offers much wisdom to Christians searching for fresh approaches to the interpretation of Scripture.
“Wengert shows his mastery of Luther with this study of the Reformer’s biblical interpretation. Here we read Scripture with Luther and move beyond fundamentalistic and liberal perspectives. We encounter fresh approaches to authority, method, interpretation, and the practice of scriptural interpretation with Luther’s biblical ethics. This is a fine work, engaging basic issues and providing a rediscovery of insights that are poised to awaken the academy and the church.” – Donald K. McKim, editor of The Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther
“Wengert’s remarkable skill as pastoral theologian and theologian for pastors is evident as he applies Luther’s insights on proclaiming the gospel to issues such as biblical authority, the domestication of texts by both fundamentalists and liberals, relating the Old Testament to the New, the ‘canon within the canon,’ the ‘New Perspective on Paul,’ biblical ethics, and the general modern penchant to try to understand rather than ‘stand under’ biblical texts….Required reading for preachers of all denominations!” – Carter Lindberg, Boston University School of Theology
“Martin Luther’s faith journey took him deep into the Scriptures, looking for God. Timothy Wengert lifts up Luther’s most essential discoveries in that search and offers them to scholars and seekers alike as a guide to reading the Bible. Ironically, the guide does not keep us from getting lost in the Bible but rather draws us deeper into the ‘foolishness’ and ‘weakness’ of Scripture, where we may well discover in faith the truth of who is seeking whom.” – Roy Riley, former bishop of the New Jersey Synod, ELCA
“Wengert’s exposition of Luther is passionate, practical, and provocative–a marvelous exercise in theological and historical spring-cleaning in which long-standing half-truths and caricatures about Luther are exposed and discarded…. In the context of today’s Protestant Christianity, Luther emerges as an iconoclast and a maverick, as well as a huge risk-taker and a pastoral presence likely to bring no easy comfort either to liberals or to conservatives. Not everyone will agree with every move Luther made, but everyone ought to ponder what Luther taught about reading the Bible and how he truly lived the Word of God not just on paper but throughout his own life and ministry.” – John L. Thompson, author of Reading the Bible with the Dead
“Wengert leads readers into Luther’s study and directs their reading of Scripture though Luther’s law/gospel hermeneutics, assessing from a specific, twenty-first-century North American perspective how the Reformer’s Christ-centered delivery of the biblical message functions. Wengert challenges contemporary students of the Bible to find its authority and message by letting the text master them rather than through their own attempt to master God’s Word.” – Robert Kolb, Concordia Seminary
Timothy J. Wengert (PhD, Duke University) is Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor, Reformation History, at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. He has authored or edited twenty books, including The Book of Concord (2000 translation, coedited with Robert Kolb). He received the Melanchthon Prize from the city of Bretten, Germany (Melanchthon’s birthplace), for contributions to the field of Reformation scholarship and has written over one hundred articles. He is also associate editor for the Lutheran Quarterly and has pastored churches in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
For more information on Reading the Bible with Martin Luther, click here.