Did the Reformers Really Get Paul Wrong?

Robert W. Yarbrough | March 9, 2016


At the time, they were late-medieval Roman Catholics who, in hindsight, constituted a movement we now call the Protestant Reformation. Today we know them as “reformers.” Among them were Germans Martin Luther (1483–1546), Philip Melanchthon (1497–1560), and Martin Bucer (1491–1551); Frenchman John Calvin (1509–1564); and Englishman Thomas Cranmer (1489–1556).

Most Bible majors and seminary students over the last two generations have heard “the reformers” and their followers botched it badly on reading Paul—a view advanced over a century ago by noted Pauline scholar Albert Schweitzer. Krister Stendahl rearticulated the view in the 1960s. Then E. P. Sanders, James Dunn, and N. T. Wright extended it in various ways, which resulted in what’s now called the “New Perspective on Paul.” Today, it’s about as new as anything else that emerged half a century ago. But its effects are still with us, they are not all healthy (though a few are), and examination of the issues it has raised can be entirely proper and helpful.

Setting Out for Answers 

Reformation Readings of Paul: Explorations in History and Exegesis—edited by Michael Allen (professor of systematic and historical theology at Reformed Theological Seminary) and Jonathan Linebaugh (lecturer in New Testament studies at the University of Cambridge)—belongs to a genre that probes New…


To read the rest of this article, visit https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/book-reviews-reformation-readings-of-paul.