GALATIANS - A Verse-by-Verse Commentary

by Thomas W. Finley

Introduction

This book is not a typical Bible commentary like one might find in the United States or the western world. A typical Bible commentary in the United States would present truths of the Bible portions covered and argue in favor of certain theological positions. It may also offer some devotional thoughts, inspiring and helping people to live godly lives. This commentary, however, has been specifically designed for other countries, especially those which do not have much Bible literature. America, where I live, is really overloaded with Christian literature. I just recently received a catalog from a large Christian book distributor here in the U. S. The catalog contained over 60 pages of merchandise available for the Christian, most of it books. There were thousands of books listed as available for order and delivery within a matter of days. Yet, in most places where the church is really growing, places like Asia and Africa and the Middle East, there is not that much literature available. What is available may not be of excellent spiritual and theological quality. Thus, there is a great need for quality Christian literature in many countries outside North America.

This commentary will be different because of the intended audience. Firstly, of course, this book will aim at presenting the truth of the Scriptures in a way consistent with sound interpretation principles. The interpretation method used is the “grammatical-historical” method, which may also be understood as the literal interpretation of a passage. More will be said later on these principles. In addition to my own personal study of the text, I have used existing Bible commentaries written by others as resources in order to discover and present the truth as accurately as I can.

Secondly, this book contains scattered helps throughout the text to help students in other lands know and use some basic principles of Bible interpretation. The main purpose of this commentary is not to teach a course on hermeneutics (the art and science of Bible interpretation) as that would comprise at least a booklet in itself. But, the knowledge of some basic principles should prove a help to my brothers and sisters in other countries in employing recognized principles and avoiding common interpretive errors. Thirdly, but very importantly, this book will contain some spiritual help for living and growing in the Christian life. Galatians is an excellent Bible book for introducing the believer to some fundamental helps for living the Christian life. In fact, Paul wrote it to the saints in Galatia exactly for that reason. Most of these helps will be highlighted in sections titled, “Life Application.” However, there are also helps in other scattered places in this volume.

Some may wonder how this commentary came about and how the author was prompted to write it. A few months ago I was spending some devotional time in the book of Galatians and became interested in doing an in-depth study of the book. Soon after I began the study I was asked to consider returning to a Bible college in Asia to teach a short course there. I felt that the Lord was opening up this opportunity and was leading me to share on the vital truths in this epistle to the students there. As I began to work on this, I realized the great need for quality literature in countries outside of the U. S. and had the desire to help meet this need by writing a commentary on Galatians. This book will serve as a textbook for the course at the Bible college, but it should also be useful to many other saints in other lands. The style will be less formal than most commentaries written for a western audience. May God use it for His kingdom and His glory.



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And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13, NASB)