The Epistle to the Galatians
Publisher Hendrickson Publishers
This book appears in the following featured collections.
- Building a Commentary Library - New Testament by Invitation to Biblical Interpretation
- The Pastor’s Bookshelf by Scot McKnight
- New Testament Commentaries & Monographs by Princeton Theological Seminary
This is the very first commentary on Galatians that a person should read. As a follower of Jesus, the traditional Lutheran approach to Galatians (advocated by Moo, Schreiner, etc) has failed my walk with Christ. This approach completely crumbles under the weight of reading the text exegetically, instead of forcing systematic theology back into the text. The traditional Lutheran approach is completely destroyed by Galatians 5:6 which says that “the only thing that matters, is faith ***WORKING*** through love.” If Paul was so hostile to “good works,” or was worried that Christians could be led to believe that their good works save them, then he would not be advocating for “good WORKS” in Galatians 5:6!!! Paul is not against “good works.” We were saved by grace through faith, and predestined to do good works (Eph 2:8-10)! While we can appreciate scholars such as Moo and Schreiner, who attempt to place exegesis in the service of the church, sometimes they prioritize the church over Scripture and exegesis. Dogma and “orthodoxy” are given priority over the clear Word of God. They cannot come to terms with the fact that Paul never converted from Judaism to Christianity (so to speak), but that Paul became a “TRUE” Jew (Rom 2:29-30) who never saw himself as abandoning the Law, but as one who saw himself NOW as truly fulfilling what the Law requires (Galatians 5:14). If you want to better understand your own relationship to the Law as a follower of Jesus today, this commentary will greatly aid in your understanding.
This is an important commentary because it was the first thorough working out of the New Perspective on Paul (NPP) in a Galatians commentary. But it offers much, much more. Dunn is also thoughtful about how the text leads to growth and health in the Christian life today, which he addresses often with light touches. [Full Review]
a good, concise commentary which presents the NPP well. I tend to sit on the fence still on the NPP vs. traditional readings, so I do like to have both in front of me when reading Paul. I use both Dunn and McKnight for NPP on Galatians. The Black's series is a good, non-technical option for pastor's and students to get the theological thrust without getting bogged down in linguistics.
In my opinion, one commentary stands above them all on Galatians, James Dunn's, even after almost twenty years. Anytime I had an interpretive question, Dunn's was the first commentary I turned to. It contained enough detail to be thorough but it wasn't excessively long. It's also not just a commentary for New Perspective on Paul (NPP) fans, which I think is a major misconception. Of course his understanding of works of the law has a significant impact on the commentary, but it's far more than a defense of the new perspective. Dunn is solid in his discussion of every portion of the letter and I consistently found it to be one of the two most helpful commentaries, no matter which passage I was studying. Interpretive decisions were always careful weighed and well reasoned. Alternative views are considered carefully, but the discussion never gets bogged down in the process. Dunn's writing is clear and he avoids wasting space with unnecessary filler. Every student of Galatians would benefit from reading Dunn's work, and for me it was the one that got me fully on board with the NPP. [Full Review]
This comentary is a little 'weapon'. Even if you don't agree with Dunn's NPP then you will find it difficult to fault his exegesis. I recently asked Doug Moo what he thought of this commentary, and even though he is opposed to the NPP he said it is he best English commentary that is available (he will probably replace Dunn for top spot when his new commentary is published later this year or early next year). As I have said before I really like parts of the NPP that Dunn has manifested. Still, his exegesis is brilliant.
James Dunn's BNTC is a standard New Perspective mid-level commentary. I haven't spent a lot of time in it myself, but Dunn's work is one of the more significant places to look for a New Perspective approach to Galatians. Dunn's key thesis is that Paul wasn't criticizing what we since the Reformation call works-based salvation. He was rather simply resisting the Jewish believers' claim that only Jews can be saved. [Full Review]