Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Galatians by Thomas R. Schreiner

book cover

(Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)
by Thomas R. Schreiner

ISBN-13: 9780310243724
Hardback: 432 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: December 14, 2010

Source: Won from giveaway on Koinonia Blog.

Book Description from Publisher's Website:
Designed for the pastor and Bible teacher, this series brings together commentary features rarely gathered together in one volume. Written by notable evangelical scholars, each volume in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series treats the literary context and structure of the passage in the original Greek. The series consistently provides the main point, an exegetical outline, verse-by-verse commentary, and theology in application in each section of every commentary.

Critical scholarship informs each step but does not dominate the commentary, allowing readers to concentrate on the biblical author’s message as it unfolds. While primarily designed for those with a basic knowledge of biblical Greek, all who strive to understand and teach the New Testament will find these books beneficial.

In this volume, Thomas R. Schreiner offers pastors, students, and teachers a focused resource for reading Galatians. Through the use of graphic representations of translations, succinct summaries of main ideas, exegetical outlines and other features, Schreiner presents Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians with precision and accuracy. Because of this series’ focus on the textual structure of the scriptures, readers will better understand the literary elements of Galatians, comprehend the author’s revolutionary goals, and ultimately discover their vital claims upon the church today.

My Review:
This commentary on Galatians is a thick but easy read. You don't need to know biblical Greek to follow this commentary since it focused mainly on how the author and various other people understood the verse and the problems with the various other understandings. Since the author argued (in the verse-by-verse section) for how I've always understood the verses, I really didn't learn that much new beyond how other people have viewed the verses. If you're interested in "critical scholarship" or are searching for answers to what's wrong with another person's interpretation that sounds wrong to you, then this is the book to read.

The commentary had an extensive introduction which included: who the author was, who the letter was sent to (with "for" and "against" arguments for the two views), when Galatians was written, the main views about the situation that Paul was writing about (as can be gleaned from his letter), and the overall structure of the letter.

Each chapter then covered a related group of verses. The author looked at the context of these verses, how they fit in the overall theme of the letter, and the main idea of the verses. These sections included a summary of what had been said in the previous chapters so you can jump to whatever verses interest you. Next, he laid out the Bible verses in a diagram showing the flow of thought in the passage (with tags like: setting, problem, solution, fulfillment).

After that, he examined the text. Each verse or part of the verse was given in English and then in the original Greek. The author then commented about his and other interpretations of the verses and the problems with the other interpretations. He also included some about notable tenses or word meanings and cultural or historical background information. He gave excellent footnoting to tell where the information came from or to comment more in-depth about something in the text. At the end of each chapter, there were a couple pages discussing how to apply the message in these verses to modern life.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt.

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