“Although we have been saved by grace, we do not always know how to live by grace.”
Paul’s letter to the Galatians was written to a church filled with what Philip Graham Ryken calls “Recovering Pharisees.” They had trusted in Christ by faith but were in danger of replacing God’s grace for a performance based Christianity. Sounds a bit like me sometimes. How about you?
A little while ago I decided to do an in-depth study of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. After some research on commentaries, I decided to try Philip Graham Ryken’s commentary on Galatians.
This commentary isn’t very technical. You are not going to learn much Greek or have the opportunity to get your head all puffed up with Bible knowledge. It is written in more of a pastoral/shepherding manner. Ryken does explain the theology and doctrine presented in the letter, but is more concerned about the heart of the reader and how they can apply these truths to their lives.
Here’s an example of my favorite illustration he uses (first presented by Mark A. Noll):
For two glorious summers, the Chicago Cubs taught baseball fans the fundamentals of Reformation theology. First the Cubbies made a trade for Vance Law and started him at third base. Then a few months later, marvelous to say, they brought first baseman Mark Grace up from the minor leagues. There they were, right next to each other in the batting order: Law and Grace. There they were in the proper order, too, first Grace, batting in the fifth position, and then Law. For as Paul explained to the Galatians, God gave grace to Abraham before he gave Moses the law. And there they stood on the baseball diamond – Grace and Law- holding down the opposite corners of the infield. Opposing batters would smash the ball to third, where Law would knock it down and throw it over to first for the out. Reformation theology in action: Law and Grace to retire the side.
The apostle Paul never had to suffer through a long losing season at Wrigley Field, but he would have loved Chicago’s theology. Law and grace are not opponents; they are teammates working together for the salvation of God’s people. The law leads to grace, which is to be found only in Christ.
Philip Graham Ryken is the current president of Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL and has written over 30 books. His commentary on Galatians is published by P&R Publishing, which stands for “Presbyterian and Reformed.” They are dedicated to publishing excellent books that promote biblical understanding and godly living as summarized in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms.
You can get this commentary via Amazon for a great price.