Galatians: a letter that had great importance for the magisterial Reformers (Luther on Galatians is always in print) and in recent years has been at the heart of the the debate on New Covenant theology and the New Perspective on Paul. Mark Johnston brings Paul’s letter back where it belongs—with a pastor’s heart and unerring clarity he makes this vital Scripture accessible to the ordinary Christian.
The message of Galatians is a vitally important one since it addresses the heart of the gospel. Not surprisingly, the devil knows this and commentators are divided on its meaning. That is why a sure and trusted guide is essential, one familiar with both old and new perspectives on Paul’s understanding of the gospel. Mark Johnston is that trusted guide and the church is greatly in his debt for the clarity and conviction of these pages.
Derek W. H. Thomas Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC Chancellor’s Professor, Reformed Theological Seminary Teaching Fellow, Ligonier Ministries
Paul’s Letter to the Galatians burns with the white heat of battle and confrontation. The churches in Galatia were being infiltrated by ‘false brothers’, Judaisers, who were seeking to add to Christ. They did not deny the importance of the cross of Christ, but they said that in addition to faith in Christ, the Galatians needed to embrace the law of Moses in order to be saved. In his excellent and engaging commentary, Mark Johnston expertly expounds Paul’s passionate response to the soul destroying and Christ diminishing teaching that the Galatians were in danger of embracing. The strengths of this brief commentary are many: It is clearly written, biblically insightful, theologically coherent and pastorally challenging. The exposition of 3:21-25, perhaps the most difficult paragraph in the Letter, is especially a model of careful exegesis, theological awareness and pastoral sensitivity. The church today needs urgently to be reminded of ‘solus Christus’. This commentary can help to refocus Christians in general and pastors in particular on this great biblical and Reformation truth. Buy it. Read it. Be spiritually enriched by it.
Ian Hamilton Associate Minister, Smithton Church, Inverness Lecturer in Church History, Edinburgh Theological Seminary
This fresh work on Galatians is a superb contribution towards spiritual growth in the Christian church, particularly valuable for two audiences.
Here, for preachers of the Word, is an ideal new commentary on one of the richest of Paul’s letters. Linguistic and theological research have been thoroughly carried out, then presented informatively and attractively in exposition, to help immensely the average pastor. Present falsehoods, for example the’New Perspective’, are answered, and Mark Johnston reveals the reformed faith here with clarity and warmth.
For the hungry church member, a series of 19 chapters, all of similar length, opens simply and applies life-changingly the truth here revealed. The gripping chapter- titles are inviting to begin with! Both a mid-week group and the daily student of the Word will undoubtedly be enriched by these pages.
Edward Donnelly Former Minister, Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church, Newtownabbey Lecturer in New Testament, Reformed Presbyterian Theological College, Belfast