People’s Book, The: The Reformation and the Bible / January 01, 2017
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Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses caught Europe by storm and initiated the Reformation, which fundamentally transformed both the church and society. Yet by Luther’s own estimation, his translation of the Bible into German was his crowning achievement. The Bible played an absolutely vital role in the lives, theology, and practice of the Protestant Reformers. In addition, the proliferation and diffusion of vernacular Bibles―grounded in the original languages, enabled by advancements in printing, and lauded by the theological principles of sola Scriptura and the priesthood of all believers―contributed to an ever-widening circle of Bible readers and listeners among the people they served.
This collection of essays from the 2016 Wheaton Theology Conference―the 25th anniversary of the conference―brings together the reflections of church historians and theologians on the nature of the Bible as “the people’s book.” With care and insight, they explore the complex role of the Bible in the Reformation by considering matters of access, readership, and authority, as well as the Bible’s place in the worship context, issues of theological interpretation, and the role of Scripture in creating both division and unity within Christianity. On the 500th anniversary of this significant event in the life of the church, these essays point not only to the crucial role of the Bible during the Reformation era but also its ongoing importance as “the people’s book” today.
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