A Puritan’s Perspective of Galatians 2:20 -- By: Adam McClendon

Journal: Puritan Reformed Journal
Volume: PRJ 03:1 (Jan 2011)
Article: A Puritan’s Perspective of Galatians 2:20
Author: Adam McClendon


A Puritan’s Perspective of Galatians 2:20

Adam McClendon

Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.1

Galatians 2:20b

Galatians 2:20 is one of “those” verses, and the Puritans are some of “those” people. They are both difficult to put in neatly structured categories and tend to invoke interesting reactions. Galatians 2:20 provides a concise, mysterious, and powerful picture of the Christian life, incorporating within one small verse elements related to justification and the spiritual life that flows from one who has been reconciled with God in redemption. The Puritans, on the other hand, were a group of religious non-conformists seeking to remove the remaining elements of Roman Catholicism from the church. As a group, they loosely began in the mid-1500s and were, as a recognized group, essentially over by the late 1600s.2 As Thomas Lea

aptly admits, “Just as it had a vague beginning it gently slides into obscurity.”3

In light of those observations, the purpose of this article will be to summarize and critique William Bridge’s (c. 1600 –1671) perspective of Galatians 2:204 as presented in a series of five sermons preached over eight weeks in 1648.5 Before beginning, a couple of

qualifications need to be made. Constructing someone’s exegetical thoughts from a sermon is generally challenging, and this work proves to be no exception. Since the Puritans were so keenly focused on application, care must be taken in this reconstruction, because their sermons are not intended to be read as exegetical commentaries. This article will seek to focus on those exegetical insights that are granted to the reader through Bridge’s points of application.6

Background

William Bridge was born in Cambridgeshire in 1600 or 1601.7 He graduated with his bachelor’s degree from Cambridge in 1623 and his master’s degree in 1626, after which he became ...

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