Of all Paul’s letters, the epistle to the Galatians is undoubtedly his most fiercely worded, more so even than the two Corinthian letters. The problem in the churches in Galatia was that they had heard the Gospel from the great apostle Paul, but then proceeded to modify it. A little poison in the cup may be all that is needed for the cup to be toxic. To be specific, the Galatians began to listen to the Judaizers who were telling them that they needed to be circumcised, keep the Jewish holy days, and, by implication, maintain Jewish food laws which prevented them from eating with gentiles.
It is well-known that the epistle to the Galatians played a highly significant role in the sixteenth-century Reformation, and Martin Luther was to refer to it as “my own Epistle, to which I have plighted my troth.” He thought that “This doctrine can never be taught, urged, and repeated enough.” Galatians takes us to the very heart and core of the message of God to us in Jesus Christ. Ultimately, its message is simplicity itself: law condemns, Jesus saves. This is a message which the modern evangelical world needs to hear in a new and fresh way.
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“For it is disgraceful that, when no Jew ever has to beg, and the impious Galileans support not only their own poor but ours as well, all men see that our people lack aid from us.’” (Page 303)
“In his personality, Peter seemed to possess a strange mixture of impulsive courage and shrinking timidity” (Page 98)
“was failing to live up to his own gracious convictions” (Page 99)
“The eternally pre-existent Son of God came in the fulness of time (τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου—cf. τοῦ πληρώματος τῶν καιρῶν in Eph. 1:10). This is not to be understood in an evolutionary sense, as if the forces of progress had come to the point where someone as exalted as Jesus of Nazareth could appear.” (Page 186)
This book has very good introductory matter, well and clearly explained. Would you understand ‘the new perspective’ that has been sweeping the evangelical world this last decade? Then it is dealt with here faithfully, as are other major matters.
—The Gospel Magazine
This commentary will be a valuable addition to the bookshelves of ministers and students of the Bible. I liked three particular things. Firstly, when it benefits the exposition of the verse, Barnes introduces the original Greek and its fuller meaning. Secondly, he makes mention of other interpretations—but shows by cogent argument that they are unlikely at best and incorrect at worst. Thirdly, each section is rounded off with an application, which occasionally includes valuable information from church history but is always searching for us today.
The reader is presented with a very straightforward exposition of the teaching of this book. This is a preacher’s commentary, written by a preacher for preachers. It is didactic and direct and burns with the spirit that longs to proclaim to all both far and wide that by faith in Jesus Christ alone the sinner can be right with the Lord of Glory.
—New Life Magazine
The reader is often given very good illustrations of the main point under discussion from church history, which Dr. Barnes teaches at the Presbyterian Theological College in Sydney. These could easily be used in sermons and Bible studies.
The whole work has the feeling, unusual in such a large volume, of having been preached to ‘real’ people, rather than lectured to students! There have been many recent commentaries on Galatians, but this one should stand the test of time. Highly recommended.
—Peace and Truth
Barnes draws on past and present writers, listed in a 10-page bibliography, to elucidate the text or to show how the text has been misunderstood. Each chapter ends with helpful application to the reader’s life.
Dr. Barnes well understands that this epistle is not for the polite, merely intellectual commentator, for the most urgent issues in the contemporary religious world are related to its truth.
—Iain Murray, founder, Banner of Truth Trust
Peter Barnes is the minister of Nambucca River Presbyterian Church in New South Wales, Australia. He is the author of several books, including The Gospel: Did Paul and Jesus Agree?