13 February 2020

Book Review - Galatians: Freedom through God’s Grace by Phillip J. Long

I have always found commentaries useful. My eyes light up when I come across a new commentary especially by an author I respect. Such was the case with Phil Long’s new commentary, Galatians:Freedom through God’s Grace, published by Wipf & Stock.

Commentaries come in all types but can often be broken down into two types. Those that are technical (exegetical and expositional) which are often scholarly, go deep into historical data, will often have Greek translations of specific words or variants, and more that will aid in an in-depth study for pastors and teachers. Long’s commentary falls in the other category which is more devotional. It contains little of the above but is rich with material for the laymen although may still be utilized by pastors and teachers.

Long breaks down his commentary into convenient chunks for personal or group study. Each chapter concludes with helpful study questions. The writing is not technical in the least which again, makes it ideal for personal study. Long’s goal is to emphasize Paul’s overall point in the letter and he does it well.

At 156 pages this is not a difficult read. A good suggestion would be to study along with the author in each section as he has them laid out. To give the reader an idea what to expect, below is the table of contents:

1 Introducing Galatians | 1
2 One Gospel | 9
3 Paul and Judaism | 17
4 Paul and the Apostles | 27
5 The Antioch Incident | 37
6 Crucified with Christ | 48
7 Law and Faith | 60
8 Law and Promise | 72
9 Being Children of God | 84
10 Stop Acting Like a Slave | 91
11 Sarah and Hagar | 101
12 Freedom in Christ | 110
13 Life in the Spirit | 119
14 Doing Good to All | 135
15 Bearing the Marks of Jesus | 145
Bibliography | 155

Highlights? Yes! There are too many to mention in this brief review but I found that throughout the work Long’s emphasis on Paul’s point is worth noting, such as what we find on page 132:

Paul argues throughout the letter the Gentiles are not converting to Judaism and they are therefore not under the Mosaic covenant. But Paul does not release Gentiles from all moral responsibility.

Also worth noting is Long’s explanation of each Fruit of the Spirit.

This is a 5-star work. I benefited greatly from the author’s insights. Galatians: Freedom through God’s Grace would be an excellent study for any men’s study, women’s study, adult Sunday School class or personal study. I highly recommend it.

Wipf & Stock has provided a complimentary copy of this book. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

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