Publisher Thomas Nelson
This book appears in the following featured collections.
- John Piper's NT Commentary Recommendations by Desiring God Ministries (John Piper)
- Favorite Advanced Commentaries (NT) by Jeremy Pierce (parableman)
- First Commentary Set by Brian LeStourgeon
- Recommended NT Commentaries by Denver Seminary Journal
- D. A. Carson's "Best Buys" by D. A. Carson
- Ultimate Commentary Collection - NT Technical by John Glynn
- Essential Pauline Commentaries by Marcus Maher
- New Testament Advanced Commentaries by Moore College Journal: Societas
- Building a Commentary Library - New Testament by Invitation to Biblical Interpretation
- The Pastor’s Bookshelf by Scot McKnight
- New Testament Commentaries & Monographs by Princeton Theological Seminary
Longenecker's Galatians is a great technical volume to have at one's fingertips. He is thorough (sometimes perhaps a tad too much for us pastors trying to get to the meaning within the details). He presents a balanced, and moderate view, handling the tricky aspects (date, recipients' location, as well as the difficult translation and exegetical problems of pistis christou, ergon nomou, and the curse in 3:13 among others). I tend to agree with Longenecker in reading pistis christou as a subjective genitive, but with Longenecker note the eis christon makes justification participatory, requiring human response. Longenecker works into his commentary elements of the New Perspective, while retaining many more traditional protestant readings. Certainly a commendable and top rate commentary. Pairs nicely with Bruce to get slightly varied perspective both withing a moderate evangelical perspective.
Excellent. Technical without being boring or abstruse. Useful for students, scholars, and preachers alike.
Carson recommends Longenecker’s work as one of his two top recommendations for Galatians (along with Bruce). A couple of its strengths are apparently the long introduction and its explanation of the Jewish context of the book. Jim Rosscup says, “Longenecker leaves few stones unturned, at least the more crucial ones, and is helpful on views, reasons, and summation as well as detail on individual issues.” This one will likely appeal to scholars and well-trained pastors more than to the general reader. [Full Review]
A good, in-depth technical commentary on Galatians
Longenecker provides a good commentary for discussion of the issues involved. It's one of the more in-depth commentaries on Galatians, so it provides a good entry to some of the technical issues involved in interpretation. I was frustrated with some of Longenecker's theological conclusions however. He supports Hays' reading of "the faith of Jesus Christ," but doesn't seem to me to carry the implications of that view any farther than in translation. Unfortunately, he still sees Galatians as addressing the dual problems of legalism/nomism, which don't see to me to fit Paul's Jewish view of the purpose/efficacy of the Law. While this commentary is helpful in describing the issues related to Galatians, it doesn't offer many unique insights into those issues.
Richard Longenecker's commentary on Galatians is best described as workmanlike. Of the commentaries I used, it was the most detailed in its discussion of the Greek. The 'Form/Setting/Structure' section was the most helpful portion of the commentary. Longenecker performs a thorough but chastened rhetorical analysis on the letter. For the most part I found it to be helpful, particularly in developing an outline of the letter, and I never felt like he forced the text into a mold that was absolutely foreign to it. With that said, I'm not sure that I followed his classifications of every single passage. The 'Notes' was thorough, but rarely eye opening, and the explanations were a bit brief (not much longer than most of my blog posts). The other major strength of the commentary was the background material in the introduction. I thought his discussion of the wider background that precipitated Peter's behavior and gave the rationale for the arrival of the Teachers and their insistence on following the Torah was so helpful. Overall it's a solid commentary and for help on technical matters it was the first commentary I turned to and was glad it was in my arsenal. [Full Review]
The introduction is excellent on the various suggestions for understanding the Judaizers, perhaps this essay should be read to orient one’s thinking. Like all commentaries in the WBC, the exegetical sections are based onthe Greek text without any transliteration, all citations are in-text. Longenecker includes several excellent excursuses, “Antioch on the Orontes,” “Abraham’s Faith and Faithfulness in Jewish Writings and in Paul,” and “The Hagar-Sarah Story in Jewish Writings and in Paul” are all particularly good. The last is rich with Jewish sources and very helpful for understanding that difficult passage. [Full Review]
Richard Longenecker's WBC is a lot like Bruce's NIGTC in some ways, but I'm less satisfied with it. I detest the format of the WBC, which doesn't help, but I also have more problems with how Longenecker carries out his task as a commentator. Like Fee, he tries to find middle ground between the New Perspective and the traditional view, and I thought he gave up more ground to the New Perspective than I thought the evidence warrants. I've seen reviewers criticize him of trying to reconcile the two approaches in a way that leads to outright contradictions, but I didn't notice anything like that myself in the parts I read. In any case, Longenecker has an excellent command of the Jewish background to this letter. He's been criticized (by D.A. Carson, for example) for being weak in his treatment of passages dealing with the Holy Spirit (something you certainly wouldn't find with Fee). Longenecker supports a relatively early date for the epistle and the South Galatian provenance (which I think is almost certainly correct), but he works out the chronology in comparison with Acts in an idiosyncratic way, one that I'm unconvinced of (and not even sure if it works). He does defend the historicity and complementarity of both Galatians and Acts. Yet Longenecker thinks Paul unfairly caricatures his opponents, a view that I find at odds with the high view of scripture that he otherwise seems to hold. Longenecker tries to read Galatians as a formal Greco-Roman oration (i.e. what's called rhetorical analysis), an approach that seems to me to be entirely arbitrary. It may well be that some of the forms of Greco-Roman argumentation affected Paul's training, which was largely Semitic teaching form the Jewish rabbi Gamaliel. But trying to fit the whole structure of Paul's letter into this kind of oration format seems a bit of a stretch to my mind. Until Fee, I considered this the second most important commentary to have, after Bruce. But I think Fee captures his strengths well enough that I'm considering selling this volume once I have Moo's BECNT. [Full Review]
A bit more technical and academic than I like. Nevertheless, Longenecker is the best fit for my other "first commentary" criteria. Within the format, he does an admirable job of getting to meaning and his introduction is very good. Timothy George (NAC, 1994) has a powerful presentation, but gets so wrapped up in systematic theology that you sometimes forget you are reading a commentary on Galatians. It would be a worthwhile 2nd addition.