Celebrating Martin Luther comes naturally for most Protestants. After all, it was Luther who wrote the 95 Theses, launching the Protestant Reformation. Popular tales casting him as an undaunted hero in the face of ecclesiastical corruption abound. Some are no doubt true, others probably apocryphal or at least embellished, but each portray Luther as a medieval David standing against the Roman Goliath. We Protestants love to love Luther, and we think we know him - but do we?
Not really. Celebrations of Luther’s popular actions usually far exceed an understanding of his teaching, even among Protestants - and what a shame! God used Luther to unearth and polish many priceless gems of biblical truth. Long buried beneath the dusty weight of medieval superstition and unfounded church tradition, these gems found daylight in Luther’s writings and sparkled again with the light of life.
Today, Luther’s writings are easily accessible in one sense yet hidden in another. On the one hand, they’ve been translated into a variety of languages and are available in print and online, the latter for free. On the other, however, Luther’s works often remain inaccessible to many due to their heavy content and dated style. Thankfully, RJ Grunewald, a Lutheran pastor, is polishing these gems for a new generation.
In Reading Romans with Luther, Grunewald illuminates significant themes from Paul’s letter to the Romans with reference to clearly denoted selections from Luther’s commentary on the same. He then provides easy-to-understand and highly practical commentary, applying the truth of God’s grace to everyday life. The result is a very accessible, devotional explanation of the Apostle Paul’s teaching as well as a winsome introduction to the genius and grace of Martin Luther.
Whether for general reference or personal devotion, I highly recommend Reading Romans with Luther. I also look forward to more offerings of this type from RJ Grunewald in the future. He’s a very capable writer and popularizer, making deep theological ideas accessible to laity and clergy alike.