I’m a big Tim Keller fan. My favorite Keller titles include: The Meaning of Marriage, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, Prodigal God, and Counterfeit Gods. Using logic and reason, illustration and analogy, he has repeatedly shattered my unhelpful views and replaced them with more biblical ones.
Galatians for You packs the same punch, but with a different starting point.
Rather than taking a big idea (marriage, suffering, etc.) and synthesizing biblical teaching, theological and historical data, and cultural understanding, in Galatians for You Keller begins with the biblical text. As a result, Keller follows Paul and ends up unpacking everything from the uniqueness of the Gospel to the lure of works righteousness to the power of sonship.
Keller explains Galatians with deep scholarship through the heart of a pastor in order to shape the way we live the Christian life. It is not a commentary, but a Bible study designed for the layperson—accessible and understandable. The questions for reflection at the end of each chapter rub these truths into your life. It’s perfect for a personal Bible study, a group study, or a Sunday School class.
Let me show you what I mean.
Galatians 3:27 says that believers “have clothed themselves with Christ.” Keller explains Paul’s metaphor in four ideas: identity, closeness, imitation, and acceptability.
Identity. “Our clothing tells people who we are.” It’s a uniform. And being clothed in Christ says he is our primary identity—an identity that transcends all other identities.
Closeness. “Your clothes are closer to you than any other possession.” They’re your shelter. They go everywhere with you. So it is with Jesus. He is our shelter; he goes everywhere with us.
Imitation. “We are to ‘dress up like Jesus.’” We are to think and act like him, and to ‘put on’ his character. We are becoming like him.
Acceptability. Because Jesus has given us his righteousness to wear, when God looks at us, he sees the perfection of his Son, and so he treats us as sons.
And in four ideas, over less than one page (p.90-1), Keller explodes a biblical phrase all over my life. Jesus is my shelter. Jesus is my identity. Jesus is my acceptance. If I could just remember that deep truth all day today, my life would be radically different.