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Reese Commentaries

2 Corinthians and Galatians

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2 Corinthians and Galatians were both written by Paul during the same time period of his life, to two different churches wrestling with similar, foundational issues.  The threat to New Testament Christianity posed by the Judaizers is rightly framed by the information learned from 2 Corinthians and Galatians.  Time and again in 2 Corinthians, Paul emphasizes his apostolic message and apostolic authority, and insists that the new covenant gospel message which reflects the truths Jesus taught during His earthly ministry is what is now to be preached.  According to Paul, the new covenant Scriptures are to be treated as our rule of faith and practice.  In Galatians, Paul examines what is involved in the faith that God looks for as He would justify men who have sinned.  Is it faith alone (i.e., knowledge, assent, and trust), or is it a faith that includes obedience to what God has said?  In his words to Peter – "a man is not justified by works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 2:16) – Paul persuasively demonstrates that the faith that saves is habitually doing what God says, not walking by some man-made religious rules.  The Judaizers, who championed rules like the Pharisees taught, were distorting the gospel message as preached by the apostles of Jesus (Galatians 1:7).

Of note, this volume includes two extended Special Studies addressing issues crucial to our understanding of how God deals with the people He would save:

  • Readers are introduced to the Dead Sea Scroll referred to as 4QMMT and the subject of “works of the Law.” Particularly, the study demonstrates how 4QMMT helps us rightly understand Paul’s contrast of faith v. works of the Law.
  • The doctrine of Justification by Faith is also given extended treatment, and key theological questions are addressed. Biblically, what is “justification” and what is “faith”?  Is sola fides (faith alone) the condition upon which God justifies sinful men?  How and how often is justification applied to men by God?  And how has our understanding of the New Testament been impacted by the New Perspective on Paul that has so dominated theological discussions over the past 30+ years?

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