5 Stars Out Of 5
A must for the library
September 23, 2016
Douglas J. Moo, BAKER EXEGETICAL COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT, [Grand Rapids MI, Baker Academic, 2013], 469 pages.
This commentary is part of a series by Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament [BECNT]. It is one of the better sets of commentaries published in the last few years. The very compliment scholar Douglas Moo, professor at Wheaton College, has written volume one on Galatians. It is one of many he has written on the books of the New Testament. His work is always beneficial. This work on Galatians is a very fine, detailed, scholarly work; yet very accessible, understandable, and reader friendly.
His introduction is somewhat long (64 pages), detailed, but does not bog down the reader. It is enjoyable to read and gives insight and understanding to the epistle. He argues for it being the first epistle written by Paul, and was penned before the Council of Acts 15. He holds that a key to understanding of the book is the law-grace contrast, especially in relation to the gentiles. Unlike those of the new perspective on Paul, he defends it as completely valid to see works of the law and works as an important element of the book [p. 27-28]. The key to the logic of Paul is Deut. 27:26 and his emphasis on the inaccuracy of the law to deliver from the curse of the law. He points out that the agitators presentation shows a reliance on human achievement, which Paul argues against. He sees several theological themes important to understanding the epistle: Salvation History and Apocalyptic; The Gospel; Christ; The Spirit; The Law; The Christian Life; the faith of Christ (which he views as meaning faith in Christ); and Justification/Righteousness, which seems to be the heart of his introduction and spends a great deal of space to the truth [48-62]. The last point has been subject to debate throughout history. He breaks down this point to the following subtitles: Righteousness Language in the OT and Judaism; The Meaning of Righteousness Language in Galatians; and The Importance of Justification in Galatians. He gives a good survey of the subject and comes to the conclusion that righteousness carries the idea of vindication, apart from national identity and torah observance, but by Jesus Christ by faith. There is a serious error on page 48 where the number of verses in Romans and Galatians are way off. Hopefully that has been caught and corrected in the next printing.
The major element is the commentary itself. It has the standard from of the series: a brief structure of the paragraph; exegesis and exposition, with additional notes that center upon textual items. He sees various forms of rhetoric engaged in this epistleforensic, deliberative, and epideictic. He brings out the defensive posture of the epistle against Pauls unique apostleship, and what he defines as a perverting of the gospel. This perversion centers upon the Jewish Gentile conflict; as well as the law-grace conflict. His verse-by-verse treatment is careful, thoughtful, and reflects his high regard for the epistle. His deals with the critical issues in a fair and balanced way. He does not favor the new perspective in regards to Paul or the subject of grace. His exposition is detailed (but not overbearing), conservative, and theological centered. Both academic and non-academic readers can benefit from this commentary. It is one of the finish commentaries available on Galatians. It is a must have for any Pastors library.