The Preaching the Word commentary series, published by Crossway, has labeled itself as the commentary written by pastors for pastors, as well as for all who teach or study God's Word. I fall into the "teach or study God's Word" category and will review from this perspective. The commentary is very readable and anyone who is a student of God's Word will find it highly accessible, providing a clear exposition of John's letters. It could be a blessing if used in a devotional style (reading a section a day) or simply for reference during personal study. I read it as a devotional and was truly blessed.
The Preaching the Word commentary series is currently going through a revision and the copy that I am reviewing is the new revision. I am not familiar with the old so I cannot compare the two, but I will attempt to communicate the layout and look of this edition. Ascetically speaking the commentary is very simple, a white dust jacket with minimal design, but it looks nice and stands out on a shelf filled with mostly colorful commentaries. Once, inside the reader will find a table of contents, showing the titles for each chapter, as this is how the commentary is divided. One thing I did notice is the lack of thorough introduction to the book. Most commentaries will give an introduction to the book, providing the layout of the book, the authorship, a historical introduction, etc. This commentary does not provide that. Instead it opts to go straight to the exposition of the text. I do not feel negatively about this format, I am only presenting it because if you are looking for a more technical commentary this is not for you.
This edition on Galatians has proven to be highly beneficial for me. In his chapter on Galatians 2: 17-21 Todd Wilson uses the term cruciformity and defines it as "the conformity to the self giving action Son of God." This chapter is a blessing, as Wilson guides the reader through what it means to be crucified with Christ. He states, "Realize, then, that a gospel-rooted life inevitably leads to a crucified life. If we are truly rooted in the saving work of Jesus Christ, we will experience an ongoing kind of death, a continual crucifixion with Christ. We cannot be firmly rooted in the Gospel and not experience a kind of sacrifice and suffering that we might very well called death. If there's no death in our life, there's probably no Gospel either....That does not mean we stop living. That only means Christ lives in us. His resurrection life takes over our earthly life. So while we may end up dying to what we hold dear in this life, we will nevertheless live to God, the same one who raised Jesus from the grave will raise us up as we give up our life in service for him." Wilson continues, "If we want others to see Jesus Christ, then we must consider what sort of radical Gospel-oriented sacrifice we can make for the good of other people, so they can see the cross of Christ in our lives. May we each live a gospel-rooted life - a cruciform life- to the glory of God!"
Wilson's work on Galatians 3 is equally helpful, as he shows the reader our true identity in Christ and that as Christ has all the blessings of God so we get them when we are in Christ. These are wonderful truths for us to contemplate, and Wilson has provided a commentary that will serve as a wonderful study tool or devotion. This commentary is a wonderful addition to my library. I highly recommend this to pastors and lay people alike.
I received a free copy of this book from Crossway in exchange for an honest review.