Galatians for You by Timothy Keller is the first in a series of “expository guides” which aim “to be: bible centered, Christ glorifying, relevantly applied and easily readable” (Loc 32). This title can be used for “reading, feeding or leading” (Loc 32). I am pleased to report that Galatians for You hits the mark on all counts.
Galatians for You is full of so much information about the impact of the gospel to the Christian’s daily life that it’s hard to narrow down the focus of this review. There are several things that stood out to me: the blazing firepot when God made His covenant with Abraham (Loc 997-1000), the significance of women as heirs (Loc 1145-1159) and Paul’s example of Sarah and Hagar in Galatians 4:21-31 (NKJV) to illustrate the difference in “being related to Abraham: one right way and one wrong way”(Loc 1522).
“Paul says clearly that Hagar and her son, Ishmael, represent the law covenant of Sinai and the earthly city of Jerusalem, which by and large consists of persons who have not accepted Christ. And these people are “in slavery”(v.25), because they are under law. Paul is linking several things together: the Sinai covenant of law; the present Jerusalem; Hagar; and all who make the law the means of justification with God and the main principle of life…..By sleeping with Hagar, Abraham was choosing to rely on his own capabilities. He was opting to “work” and gain his son. He was acting in faith; but the faith he had was in himself, as his own “savior” (Loc 1558).
That last sentence is chilling and a crucial reminder to be sure that we are looking to the gospel for our freedom, and not anything else! I highly recommend Galatians for You. It’s an understandable read with an easy to use concordance to identify terms that the reader may not know and also contains an appendix that briefly discusses a “modern” debate about another aspect of Galatians.
“Though the false teachers proudly consider themselves related to Abraham by Sarah and Isaac, Paul says that they are spiritually descended from the slave woman, the Gentile (Hagar), the outcast. Their heart and approach to God is like Abraham with Hagar, and the fruit in their lives is like Ishmael-just more slavery! Though racially they are from Sarah, in their soul and heart they are like the people they despise.
They rely on their own ability rather than the supernatural grace of God. The most religious people can be furthest from freedom” (Loc 1558-1570).
A copy of this ebook was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.