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Great CommentaryMay 27 2014
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The New American Commentary Series is a commentary with the expressed goal of enabling "pastors, teachers, and students to read the Bible and proclaim it with power." The New American Commentary series is "unapologetically confessional and rooted in the evangelical tradition," and affirms "the divine inspiration, inerrancy, complete truthfulness, and full authority of the Bible. The New American Commentary "focuses on communicating the theological structure and content of each biblical book. The writers seek to illuminate both the historical meaning and contemporary significance of Holy Scripture." The series as a whole focuses on two concerns: 1) The commentary emphasizes how each section of a book fits together so that the reader becomes aware of the theological unity of each book and of Scripture as a whole. 2) The New American Commentary is produced with the conviction that the Bible primarily belongs to the church...the editors and authors of this series have attempted to communicate the findings of their research in a manner that will build up the whole body of Christ.
Focusing on the commitments listed above as well as the two concerns results in a commentary series that provides a trustworthy and sound exegetical and theological exposition of God's Word. It also provides a commentary series that is highly readable for many in the church as the authors express their concern to communicate clearly as to edify the whole body.
With these goals in mind I want to briefly comment on the New American Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians authored by Timothy George. This commentary, like most others, begins with an introduction section that covers the authorship, destination, date and place of origin, purpose etc. This is always helpful as it sets the reader's focus to the original framework of the book and not to our 21st century world. This introduction is right at 50 pages long and much detail is given to the specific nature of the problem at the church in Galatia. George introduces the reader to many different thoughts and theories regarding the difficulties expressed in Galatians. I enjoyed this section as it brought forth many ideas or theories that I had not read much about previously. George's commentary on Galatians is 450 pages long making it a pretty thorough treatment of the book. I was blessed many times in my reading, but I was very encouraged when reading his treatment of Galatians 5:22-6:1. In introducing the fruit of the Spirit George states that, "the listing of the sinful acts in the catalog of evil was disorderly, chaotic, and incomplete, corresponding to the random and compulsive character of sin itself. In stark contrast now, the character traits contained in the catalog of grace appear in beautiful harmony, balanced and symmetrical, corresponding to the purposeful design and equilibrium of a life filled with the Spirit and lived out in the beauty of holiness." It is easy to see the opposing nature of the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit, but here George adds depth to the comparison by showing how much turmoil is in the "flesh" list as opposed to how much harmony is in the "Spirit" list. George then goes on to catalog these 9 fruit of the Spirit and define them in biblical, not worldly terms.
In his treatment of Galatians 6:1, George sounds a call for the church to return to its biblical mandate to exercise loving church discipline. He states, "it is a sign of the spiritual stupor that has befallen the body of Christ that church discipline is seldom if ever raised as a viable concern in evangelical churches today....[discipline] aimed at restoring the lapsed brother or sister to full fellowship if possible, and it marked off clearly the boundaries between the church and its environing culture. In both of these ways discipline helped preserve the purity of the church's witness in the world. The loss of this historic distinctive has resulted in the crisis of spirituality that pervades so much of our church life today." AMEN!!! The church would do well to heed George's call to return to this biblical mandate in a loving and gentle way as described in Galatians 6:1. I was tremendously blessed by this commentary and look forward to using it for years to come. I highly recommend it.
I received a free copy of this book from B&H Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.