Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Book Review: Exegetical Commentary

I recently had the privilege of reading a good portion of Zondervan's Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Galatians. Several unique features of this commentary (compared to others that I have seen) are its interaction with the original language of the New Testament, its concise main idea sentences, its emphasis on the theology presented within each passage, and the application of said theology.

I found this volume to be Christ-centered and focused on the truth of the Gospel and the cross of Christ. For example, Thomas Schreiner expounds upon Galatians 1:4, stating:

"The Galatians are only entranced by circumcision because they have forgotten the significance of the cross...A right relationship with God is not obtained by circumcision but only through trusting in the cross of Jesus Christ" (pg. 76).

This message, echoing a major theme in Galatians, is found repeatedly throughout the volume. It is a good reminder for all of us who are tempted, at times, to trust in our works to make us acceptable in God's sight.

Another thing that I found particularly helpful, is that Mr. Schreiner doesn't merely inform his reader(s) on matters such as the situation to which the epistle is written, but rather, clearly suggests principles which could be applied when reading other epistles. In this way, Mr. Schreiner not only teaches his reader about the particular situation of which Paul is addressing in his epistle to the Galatians but also equips the reader to discern these matters when reading other Biblical texts in the future.

All in all, I would say that this is a helpful commentary volume (albeit lengthy), especially for those who enjoy examining the original languages but also for those who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the theology of the text and its application for the church today.

*Many thanks to Zondervan for providing a copy of this text in exchange for my honest opinion!

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