The book of Galatians is sometimes referred to as “the charter of Christian liberty.” In it, Paul fights tooth and nail for the doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone. There are a number of helpful commentaries on this epistle, and the following are five of the best.
1. J.V. Fesko — Galatians (Lectio Continua Expository Commentary on the New Testament, 2012).
J.V. Fesko is a Reformed pastor and theologian who teaches now at Reformed Theological Seminary after years teaching at Westminster Theological Seminary in California. His commentary is not overly technical, but it is grounded in a deep knowledge of the languages and biblical theology. This should be a must-read for every pastor and teacher of Scripture.
2. Douglas Moo — Galatians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 2013).
Among the more technical exegetical commentaries, it is difficult to rank the next two. In my mind, they are essentially tied for the number 2 spot on the list. Both are excellent, and each offers unique insights into the text. Moo is best known for his commentary on Romans, and he brings the same level of competence to this commentary. Highly recommended.
3. Thomas Schreiner — Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 2010).
Schreiner’s commentary and Moo’s commentary are written at about the same level of depth and technicality. With both, a working knowledge of Greek is helpful although not absolutely necessary. Even though I see Moo and Schreiner as tied for second on this list, I have to say that I prefer the layout of the ZECNT series to that of the BECNT series.
4. Craig Keener — Galatians: A Commentary (2019).
Having worked with Keener’s massive commentary on Acts, I’m at a loss to understand how he has managed to produce anything else in his lifetime in addition to it, and yet, here is another large (at nine hundred pages) and well-written commentary from his pen. One of the most helpful things with any work by Keener are his bibliographies. Most of his books are worth the price for the bibliography alone.
5. Herman Ridderbos — The Epistle of Paul to the Churches of Galatia (1953).
Herman Ridderbos’ commentary on Galatians was one of the first in the NICNT series. It has since been replaced first by Fung and then by DeSilva (See Runners-Up below). Although his commentary does not interact with contemporary scholarship and issues such as the New Perspective on Paul, this remains an outstanding commentary. It is worth noting that his large work Paul: An Outline of His Theology remains relevant and important to this day. Now that Eerdmans has re-released his commentary as a stand-alone work, I have no hesitation about including it in the top 5.
There are a number of other helpful commentaries on the book of Galatians, including those by Philip Graham Ryken, F. F. Bruce, Timothy George, Leon Morris, Ronald Y. K. Fung, Moises Silva, Ben Witherington, Peter Barnes, J. Gresham Machen, Derek Thomas, David DeSilva, Joseph Pipa, David McWilliams, and Richard Longenecker. I would also recommend John Calvin’s Sermons on Galatians and Martin Luther’s classic commentary.
Helpful Related Works
The interpretation of Galatians and other Pauline letters has been impacted in recent decades by the New Perspective on Paul. For those seeking help on this issue, the works by Cornelis Venema, Guy Prentiss Waters, and Robert Cara are particularly good.
This article is part of the Top 5 Commentaries collection.