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Pastor’s Bookshelf: Galatians

PaulRemb.jpgGalatians was the first book I studied when, as a high schooler, a claim on my life was experienced. I tell more of this story in the opening to my own commentary on Galatians (Galatians (The NIV Application Commentary)
), which can be interpreted as an early new perspective reading of Galatians. The emphasis was on salvation-history than on “badges” that separate Jews from Gentiles.


We have a rich selection of commentaries on Galatians, and I reveal my own biases: would you add to these or eliminate some of these?

FF Bruce’s commentary is where many begin today: The Epistle to the Galatians: A Commentary on the Greek Text (The new international Greek Testament commentary)

R Longenecker is one of the most complete listing of viewpoints: Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 41, Galatians


HD Betz, a powerful commentary when it came out for its focus on rhetorical theory, is a masterpiece of exegesis: Galatians: A Commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Churches in Galatia (Hermeneia: a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible)

JDG Dunn’s small commentary can’t be dismissed for its size: here is a compact statement of his version of the new perspective — The Epistle to the Galatians
And now many will finish off their work on this letter by turning to J Louis Martyn, Galatians (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries)

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posted May 28, 2009 at 3:41 pm

I appreciated reading the NIV Application Commentary for Galatians myself. I used it and Longenecker’s commentary (mentioned above) to help prepare for a Sunday School class on Galatians that spanned several months. I recommend both books. Both were excellent and both left a mark. That study deeply affected my thinking.
I believe it was Scot’s commentary that limned two circles: Spirit and flesh. Spirit = fruit of the Spirit stuff, Flesh = everything else (including my best efforts). That was like throwing a stick of dynamite under an arctic ice sheet. The rumble was small at first, but then the effects kept rippling through, changing the landscape of my thinking.
I hope I have not misrepresented or misused your work, Scot! Paul’s original letter continues to be a powerful statement on its own. But I certainly recommend Scot’s and Longenecker’s commentaries to go along with it.

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posted May 28, 2009 at 3:48 pm

I misspelled my own name in #1!
Not a scholarly commentary per se, but I think Constable’s notes can be a worthwhile reference. He often has a number of good footnotes. Even if you disagree with his conclusion on a given topic I think his discussion is often worth reading.
He has notes for each book of the Bible. Here is the link for Galatians:

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Nijay K Gupta

posted May 28, 2009 at 4:51 pm

I recommend your commentary to many! Personally, I find Richard Hays very theologically rich commentary in the New Interpreter’s Bible to be most useful. He combines New Perspective elements, Salvation-historical (with focus on Paul’s use of Scripture) and apocalyptic.

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Craig Higgins

posted May 28, 2009 at 5:07 pm

I preached through Galatians a couple of years ago, and while there are some great commentaries out there (yours included, Scot), I found a series of lectures by Gordon Fee to be both helpful and delightful–a great listen! They’re entitled “Galatians in a Week,” from Regent College (similar to Wright’s well-known “Romans in a Week” lectures). Fee has a new commentary on Galatians, but I’ve not been able to use it. But I highly recommend the lectures.

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posted May 29, 2009 at 1:20 am

I would definitely add to the mix: Ben Witherington’s Grace in Galatia. As well as the aforementioned Fee and Hays on Galatians. They’re very helpful for preaching/teaching on this intense epistle.

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Nick Mitchell

posted May 29, 2009 at 9:01 am

Coming Soon: Brian Vickers in the NCC edited by Michael Bird and Craig Keener.

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posted May 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm

Don Garlington has an excellent FREE commentary you can download from the Paul Page:

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posted May 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Certainly these two by Richard Hays: The Faith of Christ (not a commentary, per se) and his section on Galatians in the New Interpreter’s Bible series.

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Mick Porter

posted May 31, 2009 at 10:56 pm

Gordon Fee’s “Pentecostal Commentary”,
Hays in the NIB (which picks up on Martyn’s apocalyptic themes but seems more balanced),
Dunn’s book on the theological issues in Galatians,
Wright’s “entry-level” commentary,
and some of the papers that Wright has on the web.
Now, I also read some of the typical “old perspective” commentaries and it was as if they were talking about another book!

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Mark Foster

posted July 19, 2009 at 3:12 pm

To all those mentioned, I would add Walter Hansen’s work from IVP. I have found it to be quite good – richly condensed – despite a place or two where I disagree with him. A lay person should have little trouble with him.

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