In Grace in Galatia, Witherington analyzes the whole of Galatians as a deliberative discourse meant to forestall the Galatians from submitting to circumcision and the Jewish law. The commentary features the latest discussion of major problems in Pauline studies, including Paul’s view of the law and the relationship between the historical data in Galatians and in Acts. The narrative character of Witherington’s work allows it to remain exceedingly accessible. The commentary again includes “Bridging the Horizons” sections which point to the relevance of the text for believers today. Grace in Galatia will be of special value to pastors and general readers as well as students and scholars.
“I would suggest that the singular here suggests the unity and unifying nature of these qualities as opposed to the divisive effects of the traits listed in the vice list.60 The singular also suggests that Paul expects all of these traits to be manifested not only in any Christian community but in any Christian life, not love in one person, peace in another and so on. Whatever else one can say, it appears certain that Paul is not talking about natural traits or abilities or talents here, but rather qualities produced in the life of the community by the Spirit.” (Page 408)
“In short, there is no reason either in Galatians or in Acts to assume that Paul evangelized north Galatia.” (Page 6)
“Thus the verb δικαιόω is used forensically and relationally by Paul to indicate the status or standing in relation to God of a person who is in Christ.” (Page 174)
“In closing this part of the discussion it is important to note that everything in Galatians suggests that the majority, perhaps the vast majority, of Paul’s Galatian converts are Gentiles not Jews, otherwise all these arguments about not submitting to circumcision would not be on target.” (Page 7)
“there is no clear evidence even in Acts that Paul ever evangelized the cities of the northern part of Galatia.” (Page 5)
Witherington’s lucid and thoughtful commentary is driven by the text rather than by some overarching theory about Paul or his opponents. The result is that Paul’s own concern in the letter emerges clearly—to proclaim the end of the Mosaic law and the powerful presence of the new era.
—Frank Thielman, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University
A new style of commentary on Galatians that is both soundly based yet involved with the latest currents in biblical scholarship. This book is a testament to what can be achieved by a critic who is willing to balance scholarly discipline with cultural and exegetical imagination.
—Philip Esler, St. Mary’s College, University of St. Andrews
A work characterized by clarity of vision regarding the critical, historical, and theological issues involved…and by a crispness and vividness of language in setting out the message of Galatians in contemporary form. This commentary will undoubtedly have a long and useful life, capturing the interest and hearts of many.
—Richard Longenecker, McMaster Divinity College
David A. deSilva