John Calvin’s Commentary on Romans

John CalvinThis is the 1849 edition of John Calvin’s Commentary on Paul’s letter to the Romans, published by the Calvin Translation Society, translated by the Rev. John Owen. I need to be careful to distinguish it from more recent translations, which may still be in copyright.

My thanks to Book Aid for providing a copy of this book for digitisation. This title is in the public domain.

John Calvin, Translated edited by Rev John Owen, Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul to the Romans. Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1849. Hbk. pp.592. [Click to visit the download page]

Table of Contents

  • Translator’s Preface
  • Commentary
  • Indices

The Argument

With regard to the excellency of this Epistle, I know not whether it would be well for me to dwell long on the subject; for I fear, lest through my recommendations falling far short of what they ought to be, I should do nothing but obscure its merits: besides, the Epistle itself, at its very beginning, explains itself in a much better way than can be done by any words which I can use. It will then be better for me to pass on to the Argument, or the contents of the Epistle; and it will hence appear beyond all controversy, that besides other excellencies, and those remarkable, this can with truth be said of it, and it is what can never be sufficiently appreciated – that when any one gains a knowledge of this Epistle, he has an entrance opened to him to all the most hidden treasures of Scripture….

Click here to find more commentaries on the letter to the Romans.

Lightfoot’s Commentary on Galatians

Joseph Barber Lightfoot [1828-1889], Saint Paul's Epistle to the Galatians.

I recently digitised a hard-to-find article by F.F. Bruce:

F.F. Bruce, “Bishop Westcott and the Classical Tradition,” Spectrum 11 (September 1978): 19-21. [Click to download this article in PDF]

Bruce’s thesis in this article is that training in the Classical tradition (typically that of the old Public School in the UK) is essential if one is to become truly competent in New Testament Greek. I have grave reservations about this idea – and I think the recent history of both linguistics and biblical studies in general have proved him wrong. I guess that Bruce is not alone in thinking his our own training was “the best” for his particular field. Nevertheless, I think that this article is helpful for its discussion of three of the greats of Nineteenth Century New Testament scholarship, Westcott, Hort and Lightfoot. I was therefore delighted to find a number of their commentaries at Book Aid recently. The first to be uploaded is J.B. Lightfoot commentary on Galatians.

Joseph Barber Lightfoot [1828-1889], Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. A revised text with introduction, Notes and Dissertations. London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1896. Hbk. pp.384. [Click to visit the download page]

I would be interested to hear what others think about Bruce’s thesis. Is a classical education a help or a hindrance to being a proficient student of New Testament Greek?

Commentary on Philippians by Alfred Plummer

Ancient theatre - Philippi
Ancient theatre – Philippi. Photo Credit: MrPanyGoff

Alfred Plummer’s Commentary on Philippians has been reprinted many times, which I take as a confirmation of its ongoing value to Bible students. The text uses some Greek, but not enough to make it difficult for those with no knowledge of the original language to use. This title is in the public domain.

Alfred Plummer [1841-1926], A Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians. London: Robert Scott, 1919. Hbk. pp.115. [Click to visit the download page]

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Commentary
  • Index

Introduction

The passage of the Gospel from Eastern to Western civilization is an event of the highest importance and interest in the history of the Christian Church. With the exception of the extension of the offer of salvation from Jews to Gentiles, there is hardly anything of greater importance in the progress of Apostolic Christianity. It was an advance from a world in which the best elements of civilization were to be found in Judaism, to a world in which the best elements were centred in the art and literature of Greece, and in the military and political organization of Rome. Divine religion was seeking friendship with human philosophy and human law.

It did not come uninvited. Macedonia, half Greek and half Roman, took the initiative under special guidance from heaven. The Spirit intimated that St. Paul, Silas and Timothy were not to preach the word in Asia, Mysia, or Bithynia….