Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JOTGES 30:58 (Spring 2017) p. 91
Galatians: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary. By Thomas W. Finley. NP: NP, 2016. 162 pp. Paperback, Free.
Thomas Finley has written this commentary on Galatians and offers it free of charge. It can be downloaded for free at www.seekersofchrist.org.
It caught my attention for two reasons. The first is that it is written from a Free Grace perspective. The other is that Finley wrote it to help Christians in countries other than the United States. In many of these countries there is a scarcity of Christian literature (p. 4). He is trying to meet a real need among Christians that live in these other countries. Both of these points make this book different from most books written today.
Throughout the book there are sections called “Life Applications” (e.g., p. 40). They provide spiritual help for living the Christian life. They can be described as practical applications of the truths found in Galatians.
Finley believes the letter was written to the churches Paul visited in his first missionary journey and was Paul’s first letter written in the New Testament. Paul is addressing the problem of “Judaizers” who were attacking the good news of grace. Grace is the means by which a person is saved from hell but it is also the means by which believers are to live. Since the recipients of the letter are already believers, the main stress in Galatians is on grace for Christian living (p. 9). Finley recognizes that the word “gospel” in Galatians is not restricted to how a person is eternally saved (p. 16).
It doesn’t take long to see the Free Grace view expressed in this commentary. Commenting on Gal 1:8–9 in reference to preaching a false “gospel,” Finley points out that being accursed is not equal to being eternally condemned. Instead, it refers to some kind of temporal judgment from God (p. 19).
Finley takes Gal 2:20 as one of the “most important verses in the Bible” that deals with Christian living. The successful Christian life is a rejection of trusting in one’s own power and living in dependence upon Christ (p. 37).
JOTGES 30:58 (Spring 2017) p. 92
In a life application section on Gal 3:1–5, Finley discusses the difference between living by the law and living by grace (p. 47). Living by the law is natural for us as we have a natural inclination to live according to rules and traditions. Living by grace means focusing on Christ and learning from Him and seeking to know Him more intimately.
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