Skip to main content

Galatians for You





Galatians for You by Timothy Keller

In this new series of commentaries published by the Good Book Company (U.K.), the design is to give readers a snapshot of biblical books with an eye towards solid commentary on application.  In Galatians for You, Pastor Timothy Keller expounds the book of Galatians around the central theme of the gospel.  He writes, “But in this short letter, Paul outlines the bombshell truth that the gospel is the A to Z of the Christian life.  It is not only the way to enter the kingdom; it is the way to live as part of the kingdom.  It is the way Christ transforms people, churches and communities” (9).   Living out the gospel and the consequences in believing the gospel helps address the main contextual aspects of Galatians from the Jewish/Gentile arguments to racial division.  Furthermore, what is apparent throughout the book is that the permanent nature of the gospel being central to all things runs right through the heart of every page, helping the reader to focus on the main thesis. 

In Keller fashion, the commentary breathes through with a theology that is both edifying and Christ-centered.  Commenting on Galatians 1:4a, Keller writes, “He did all we needed to do, but cannot do.  If Jesus’ death really paid for our sins on our behalf, we can never fall back into condemnation” (16).  The notion of substitutionary atonement gives the Christian real hope because there is no reason to be condemned anymore, the full burden and weight of sin and its destructive power has been vanquished.  What I greatly enjoyed in each chapter, including this one, is Keller’s insistence in outlining the universality of the gospel and its implications while continually drawing us toward the particularity of the meaning of the gospel for Paul and us.  How does Keller do this?  Broadly speaking, he writes, “But the biblical gospel – Paul’s gospel – is clear that salvation, from first to last, is God’s doing” (17).  With the reader in mind, he writes, “This is the humbling truth that lies at the heart of Christianity.  We love to be our own saviors.  Our hearts love to manufacture glory for themselves” (17).  The work of God in salvation has global ramifications because it is the same God who saves sinners by the work of Christ regardless of their status, place of birth, or economic level.  Yet, there is a dissonance, we all as individuals love to hold out for own glory, our own day in the sunshine where others sing our praises.     In each chapter, Keller brings together the core points of his writing by placing

I thought  the format of the book was a positive and negative aspect of the commentary.  Positively, the commentary was not overburdened with technical minutiae to the point of wearing the reader out (Northern/Southern Galatian hypothesis).  For all purposes, the commentary was eminently practical, able to be used in small group study due to its short chapters, key insights, and wrap-up questions at the end of each chapter.  The large type gray sections in the book were a reminder of key statements that were indicative of the major themes of the commentary.  Negatively, I thought the way the actual Scripture text was included was an eyesore and hard to follow.  Instead of having bracketed sections of the Scripture at the beginning in a memorable type, phrases and bits of the pericope were scattered throughout the commentary as a running dialogue.  But, I think the advantage here is that the reader isn’t forced to constantly turn back the page to see the Scripture, but has the passage or sections of it before them. 

Overall, I would give this book to anyone wanting to dig into Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  Gospel-centered, focusing on the major issues of the text with an eye towards applications, Keller has done a marvelous job in writing this commentary.  If you want a little bit of the current debate on Galatians, Keller provides a three page section on the New Perspective and the meaning of “works of the law” in Galatians.  I was greatly encouraged by the work and look for more in the same series like this one.

Thanks to The Good Book Company and Cross Focused Reviews for the copy of the book in exchange for review.

Comments

  1. Spencer,

    Thanks for contributing to the blog tour.

    Shaun Tabatt
    Cross Focused reviews

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Growing up with the NIV, the NKJV was not a bible I was familiar with.  This new NKJV Study Bible takes all of the features of the Thomas Nelson Study Bible and makes them better.  Right out of the box I noticed that the Bible was considerably lighter than most study bibles I have read.  Further, the text font was much larger than most study editions, although I’m not quite sure of the size. The aquamarine color was a great touch and the Bible was finely put together, enduring the wear of many coming years of use.
Why is this Bible worth the purchase?  First, the study notes were great for extra handling of particular confusing and messy areas of Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.  Yet, the study notes aren’t an obstruction to the reading of the biblical text.  Clearly, the editors have taken great care in making the text stand out and the notes illuminate certain themes and areas of Scripture.  Second, the NKJV takes into account all t…