March 20, 2013

Timothy Keller, Galatians for You

In this mini-commentary, well-known pastor Timothy Keller seeks to illuminate the text of Galatians in a way that any Christian can better understand the message in the text and be challenged to know God more deeply. Galatians is divided into thirteen units, and each unit is then subdivided into two parts. For each part, Keller discusses the major themes in the text, always paying quite close attention to what the text actually says without necessarily commenting on every phrase or verse. Each section concludes with a few questions for reflection. Keller is a clear writer, and this book showcases that well. He is also a perceptive reader of Scripture, and it is here that this book shines. It is not a commentary, and certainly doesn't engage every important academic debate, but at the same time Keller is able to bring to bear a lot of learning about the text in an unassuming way.

The book is meant for three different purposes. First, it is meant for reading, and for that purpose, it is quite adequate as a guide to understanding Galatians better. Second, it is meant for study and devotions, and the division into similarly sized units and questions for reflection can help take learning deeper. Third, it is meant as a leadership resource, to help group leaders prepare studies or pastors prepare sermons. I think it will work fine in all three contexts. Because there are only three reflection questions at the end of each unit, study leaders will have to plan on either using it alongside another study guide or writing a number of their own questions to supplement and help group members get into the text and cover some of the themes, tough the questions he does have are often useful for digesting the message and importance of Galatians and how it can be applied. Keller deftly balances commentary with perceptive interpretation and application in a way that makes this a useful guide for people at all levels of familiarity with Scripture. I will certainly draw on it when I prepare lessons on Galatians.

Thanks to the publisher and Cross-Focused Reviews for the review copy.

No comments: