Jarvis Williams’ commentary on Galatians is a commentary of one of Paul’s most rhetorically charged and polemically sharp letters. Williams writes a commentary of the letter, not a commentary of commentaries. He grounds the letter in grammatical-historical exegesis, seeking to help readers understand Paul’s Greco-Roman and Second Temple Jewish context of the letter. Additionally, the book seeks to move from exegesis to application in a few places in the commentary. The strength of the commentary is that it offers a lucid and concise exegesis grounded in Paul’s first century context and applicable for twenty-first century readers.
“Paul’s basic argument is the Galatians received spiritual blessings by faith apart from works of law, just as Abraham received the spiritual blessing of righteousness by faith in God’s promise apart from works of law. Therefore, Jews and Gentiles with faith experience the Abrahamic blessing by faith just as faithful Abraham (3:9).” (Page 82)
“But let the reader of this commentary hear loudly and clearly: Paul’s problem with the Galatians was not the same problem Martin Luther had with Rome, and it was not the same problem many Christians face today in their Western American churches. Still, his problem with the Galatians was, nevertheless, soteriological, just as Luther’s problem with Rome was soteriological.” (Page 3)
“In Christ, social distinctions neither include nor exclude one from Abraham’s family, but acceptance or rejection of Abraham’s seed determines one’s status within Abraham’s offspring (Gal 3:28–29).” (Pages 130–131)
“Paul provides a reason why Peter should not compel Gentile Christians to become Jewish: namely, because Jews and Gentiles are justified by faith in Jesus Christ apart from works of the law.” (Page 47)
“Those who teach are those gifted by the Spirit to build up the church for the work of service (cf” (Page 171)
Jarvis Williams has written an outstanding commentary on Galatians. The content is accessible to the ordinary reader, and at the same time Williams is conversant with both the ancient world in which Galatians was birthed and modern discussion of the letter. Readers will profit from his careful exegesis, the understanding of Paul’s theology, and the application of the letter to today’s reader
—Tom Schreiner, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Jarvis Williams’ commentary on Galatians is an impressive achievement. As secondary discussions and literature explode, Williams smoothly navigates through the letter’s hot spots, allowing Paul’s message to be heard afresh by modern readers—and with a manageable length, no small feat. For those seeking an accessible, concise, lucid commentary unraveling Paul’s letter, go no further!
—A. Andrew Das, Elmhurst College, Author of Galatians, Concordia Commentary
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