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Galatians: A Mentor Commentary Hardcover – May 20, 2009
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"Yet another Galatians commentary? Here is one that makes a most welcome contribution in addressing a wide range of readers - pastors and teachers in the church, as well as many others interested in growing in their understanding of Paul's overall teaching and particularly of this important letter. Written against the background and reflecting a knowledgeable grasp of the scholarly debates, past and present, the author largely steers clear of those debates and remains focused throughout on tracing and expounding the apostle's argument for its own sake and with an eye to preaching. Having had the opportunity of reading this clear and gracefully written book during its production, I commend it most highly. Certainly it is one pastors ought to consider adding to theirs libraries." (Richard Gaffin ~ Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
"Pastor-Theologian David McWilliams has produced a preacher's commentary on Paul's epistle to the Galatians, that momentous announcement of the good news of righteousness and freedom in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone. Dr. McWilliams addresses interpretive issues with clarity and cogent discernment, and he engages recent misperceptions of Paul's central concernwhich is not merely sociological or ecclesiastical, but soteriological (How may guilty sinners be reconciled to their holy Creator?)all the while keeping in view the aim of preaching this good news of sovereign grace. The author's fresh translation of Galatians enables readers to experience the fervor of the apostle's passionate alarm for his spiritual children in Galatia as they flirted with eternal ruin, and the comment that supports the translation demonstrates that the issues addressed in Galatians are not matters for aloof theological conversation, but matters of life and death. I highly recommend this resource to my fellow-preachers of the good news of God's Son." (Dennis E. Johnson ~ Professor of Practical Theology, Westminster Seminary in California, Escondido, California)
"Timely, lucid, and reliable, this is an excellent commentary for preachers, Bible study leaders and others. David McWilliams admirably succeeds in his aim for brevitas and claritas, the two qualities in commentators that Calvin most commended. He distils a great deal of scholarship into uncluttered and readable prose. Paul's message in Galatians has rarely been so urgently needed as today, when justification only by faith is under attack from many sides. McWilliams explains it with judicious care." (Robert Letham ~ Wales Evangelical School of Theology, Bridgend, Wales)
About the Author
David McWilliams has been the senior pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Lakeland, Florida for 20 years. He has a passion for Christ-centred preaching and wished to apply the theology of the life of the church.
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This commentary by Dr. David McWilliams is a mid-length (mid-length for this epistle, 240 pages) commentary on the book and is a very helpful contribution to the literature available on Galatians. The commentary is written from a Reformed perspective as with the other Mentor Commentaries and sticks closely to the emphasis of the text itself. The commentary itself is quite readable and deals with the original languages on a need by need basis when exegetical difficulties potentially arise.
The commentary is fairly comprehensive and in my opinion provides plenty of coverage on each verse. McWilliams provides application at the end of most sections. Each section of the letter includes a basic introduction by McWilliams and then the exposition of the text itself. McWilliams holds to a South-Galatian view as to the date and destination believing that this letter was written pre-Acts 15 and was directed towards the churches Paul had planted in South Galatia.
McWilliams shows sensitivity to the various theological aspects of the letter including justification, law, covenant, and so forth. McWilliams uses classic theological terminology when dealing with aspects of the letter that touch upon classic Reformed doctrine. He also interacts with Wright and the New Perspective on the Paul when appropriate and vindicates classical Reformation definitions of justification on the basis of the text itself.
I would have liked to see a more comprehensive introduction to the book. McWilliams only gives about 12 pages or so to introductory matters. This section could have used more material in my opinion. However, as a whole this commentary is quite helpful in making interpretative decisions concerning the letter's meaning. I would recommend this commentary for any study of Galatians!
Thank you to Christian Focus for providing me with a review copy.