Commentaries on Galatians

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For more great commentaries on Galatians check:
Commentaries on the Epistles, Commentaries on the Whole New Testament
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Order of Contents  45+

Best  14
Commentaries  25
Early & Medieval  14
General  1
Northern vs. Southern Galatia  7
Chapters  2


On the Galatian heresy:
“Circumcision or Christ – not circumcision and Christ.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan



The Best Commentaries on Galatians


Luther, Martin – Commentary on Galatians  Reformer

One exception that may be taken to this work is Luther’s teaching that Christ Himself became sin (that is: sinful) on the cross in order to make the Atonement.  On the contrary the sacrifice must be pure, righteous and without sin in order to be effectual.  There is a legal imputation of sin, but not an infusing thereof.  See John Murray on “The Imputation of Adam’s Sin” for a corrective to Luther on this point.

***  “‘I prefer this book of Martin Luther’s (except the Bible) before all the books that I have ever seen, as most fit for a wounded conscience.’ – Bunyan.  This is a great historic work, and is beyond criticism, on account of its great usefulness.  As a comment its accuracy might be questioned; but for emphatic utterances and clear statements of the great doctrine of the Epistle it remains altogether by itself, and must be judged per se.” – Spurgeon

Calvin, John – Sermons…  upon…  Galatians  (d. 1564; London: 1574)  685 pp.  ToC

*** – Spurgeon



Dickson, David – ‘…Galatians Analytically Expounded’  in An Exposition of All St. Paul’s Epistles…  (1659), pp. 92-106

Dickson was a prominent Scottish covenanter.

*** – ‘Dickson is a writer after our own heart.  For preachers he is a great ally.  There is nothing brilliant or profound; but everything is clear and well arranged, and the unction runs down like the oil from Aaron’s head.  In this volume the observations are brief.’

Fergusson, James – ‘Exposition of…  Galatians’  in A Brief Exposition of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians & the Thessalonians  (1656-1674; London: Ward, 1841), pp. 11-116

Fergusson was a Scottish covenanter.

*** – ‘He who possesses this work is rich.  The author handles his matter in the same manner as Hutcheson and Dickson, and he is of their class–a grand, gracious, savory divine.’


Simple & Non-Technical 1700’s

Boston, Thomas – A Paraphrase upon the Epistle of Paul to the Galatians  in Works, 6:240-77

Riccaltoun, Robert – Notes & Observations on the Epistle to the Galatians  in The Works  (d. 1769; Edinburgh: Gray, 1772), vol. 3  480 pp.

Riccaltoun was one of the leading Marrow men.




Bayley, E. – A Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, with Sermons upon the Principal Topics Contained in it  (London: Nisbet, 1869)  416 pp.  ToC

***  “Upon each portion there is a commentary, a paraphrase and a sermon and thus the author conveys a considerable amount of instruction.  He is thoroughly evangelical and his style is clear.” – Spurgeon

Brown, John, of Edinburgh – An Exposition of the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians  (Edinburgh: Oliphant, 1853)  480 pp.  ToC  Foreign languages are kept to the footnotes for the most part.

Brown, the grandson of John Brown of Haddington, was an eminent professor in the Scottish Secession Church.

***  “Brown is a modern Puritan.  All his expositions are of the utmost value.  The volume on Galatians is one of the scarcest books in the market.” – Spurgeon

“Perhaps one of the most satisfactory commentaries for the expository preacher.” – Cyril J. Barber


Lange’s Commentary – Commentary on Galatians by Otto Schmoller

*** – Spurgeon

Lightfoot, J.B. – Galatians, Revised Text with Introductions, Notes and Dissertations  (1870)  Foreign languages are for the most part kept to the footnotes.

Lightfoot was a mid-1800’s, conservative Anglican Bible scholar though he had some liberal tendencies.

*** – The Spectator says: ‘There is no commentator at once of sounder judgment, and more liberal, than Dr. Lightfoot.'” – Spurgeon

“An important study which cannot be overlooked or ignored. Without question on one of the greatest commentaries on the Greek text of this epistle. The essays included in each work are always important.” – Cyril J. Barber

MacGregor, James – The Epistle of Paul to the Churches of Galatia, with Introduction and Notes  in eds. Dods & Whyte, Hand-Books for Bible Classes  (1881)

MacGregor was a professor in the Free Church of Scotland.



Machen, J. Gresham – Notes on Galatians  Buy

Machen was one of the leading founders of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Westminster Seminary.

Pipa, Joey – Galatians: God’s Proclamation of Liberty  Buy  2010  272 pp.

Dr. Pipa has been the president of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.




Eadie, John – Commentary on Galatians

Eadie was a renowned, Scottish professor in the United Presbyterian Church.

***  “This is a most careful attempt to ascertain the meaning of the Apostle by a painstaking analysis of his words.  The author is not warped by any system of theology, but yet he does not deviate from recognized evangelical truth.  As a piece of honest grammatical exegesis the value of this commentary is very great, though there is room to differ from it here and there.” – Spurgeon

“Expositions on several of Paul’s letters to the churches of the New Testament era followed [by Eadie], and it is significant that Dr. C.J. Ellicott considered them to be superior to anything in England up to that time.”  “Scholarly, practical, and designed for those with a knowledge of Greek.” – Cyril J. Barber



Bruce, F.F. – The Epistle to the Galatians: a Commentary on the Greek Text in The New International Greek Testament Commentary  Buy  (1982)  280 pp.



Commentaries on Galatians


Bray, Gerald – Reformation Commentary on Scripture: Galatians, Ephesians  Buy

Prime, John – An Exposition & Observations upon St. Paul to the Galatians, Together with Incident Questions Debated & Motives Removed  (1587)

Prime (1550-1596) was reformed.



Perkins, William – A Commentary or Exposition upon Galatians 1-5  (d. 1602; Cambridge: Legat, 1604)  662 pp.  ToC  Common Places  Index: Subject, Scripture

**  “Perkins was justly esteemed by his contemporaries as a master in theology.  This commentary is deeply theological, and reads like a body of divinity: truth compels us to confess that we find it dull.” – Spurgeon


Simple, Brief & Devotional


Hawker, John – Bible Thoughts in Quiet Hours: St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians  Ref

**  “These ‘thoughts’ are sound and edifying.  The book does not profess to be a thorough exposition.” – Spurgeon

Pearson, Samuel – Sermons on the Epistle to the Galatians  (London: Clarke, 1874)  182 pp.  ToC

**  “Discourses worthy of the successor of [T.] Spencer [from Hoxton] and [T.] Raffies [from Homerton].” – Spurgeon  [For a short biographical sketch of both of these English preachers, see here.]



Girdlestone, Robert Blair – St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians: a Devotional Commentary  Buy  (1928)  190 pp.

Harrison, Norman – His Side Versus Our Side, Galatians: God’s Great Antithesis  Ref  Buy  (Harrison Service, 1940)  128 pp.

“A brief devotional exposition.” – Cyril J. Barber

Hamilton, Floyd E. – Epistle to the Galatians: a Study Manual  Buy  (1954)

Rev. Hamilton was reformed.  He graduated from Princeton Seminary in 1919 (Th.B.) and 1926 (Th.M.), was ordained and served as a missionary to Korea.

Hamilton was a founding member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, but transferred his credentials into the Presbyterian Church, U.S. (aka, Southern) in 1955 and served his last pastorate, 1964-1969, in a Reformed Presbyterian, General Synod church in Indianapolis.

“A helpful, brief study manual.” – Cyril J. Barber

Strauss, Lehman – Devotional Studies in Galatians & Ephesians  Ref  Buy  (Loizeaux Brothers: 1957)  256 pp.

“Well-outlined devotional messages aimed at expounding the text and edifying believers. Practical, evangelical, and Christ-centered.” – Cyril J. Barber

Packer, J.I. – ‘Galatians’  in ed. Carl Henry, The Biblical Expositor: The Living Theme of the Great Book with General & Introductory Essays & Exposition  1 vol. ed.  (1960; A.J. Holman, 1973), pp. 1,076-86

This little known commentary set by leading evangelicals (many of which were reformed) is brief (think airplane view) but helpful.

Stott, John – The Message of Galatians: Only One Way  in The Bible Speaks Today  (1968; )  ToC

“A brilliant series of expository messages.” – Cyril J. Barber




Godwin, John – The Epistle of St. Paul to Galatians, a New Translation with Critical Notes & Doctrinal Lessons  (1871)

**  “A helpful translation, with good textual notes.” – Spurgeon

Haldane, James – An Exposition of Galatians, Showing that the Present Divisions Among Christians Originate in Bending the Ordinances of the Old & New Covenants  (1848)

Haldane was a Scottish congregationalist, and, in later years, a baptist.  The latter position underlies his hard contrast between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant in the book of Galatians (and in Hebrews), which was the primary reason for him writing these commentaries: to exposit an alternate view of covenant theology that was not shared in mainstream reformed theology.

**  “This work has never been popular, because the author in the third chapter discusses the question of baptism.  This is a fault of which we may say as the Papist said of venial sin: ‘It deserves to be forgiven.'” – Spurgeon

Olshausen, H. – Biblical Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians  (1851)

Olshausen was a liberal.

**  “Olshausen is mentioned by Alford as so rich in original material, that he has often cited him in his ‘New Testament for English Readers’.  He is one of the most devout of the Germans, and a great scholar; but we are not enamored of him.” – Spurgeon

Pridham, A. – Notes & Reflections on the Epistle to the Galatians  (1872)

**  “Pridham is, we suppose, of the moderate Brethren school, but he is not carried away by any theory, being essentially a man of sober mind.” – Spurgeon

Schaff, Philip – Galatians  in A Popular Commentary on the New Testament  (1879)

Schaff (1819–1893), the famed Church historian and N.T. scholar, came from a German-Reformed background, though was also the lead proponent of the High-Church Mercersburg Theology.



Ramsay, William M. – A Historical Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians  (1900)

Ramsay (1851–1939) was a Scottish archeologist, New Testament scholar and the foremost authority in his day on Asia Minor.

Ramsay was the one that first lighted upon and defended the ‘Southern Galatia View’, that the book of Galatians was written to churches primary in the southern political province of Galatia, rather than to churches in the northern geographical province of Galatia.

After a lifetime of research, from initially being skeptical of the early Church history recorded in Acts, he came to the conclusion that “it was written with such judgment, skill, art and perception of truth as to be a model of historical statement” and that “You may press the words of Luke [who wrote Acts] in a degree beyond any other historian’s and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment…”

“Surprisingly rich in background material and deals expertly with the geography, culture, and history of the times. Champions the South Galatia theory and, as such, deserves careful consideration.” – Cyril J. Barber

Williams, A. Lukyn – The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians, with Introduction & Notes  (1914)  215 pp.

“A handy, helpful, exegetical study.” – Cyril J. Barber

Tenney, Merrill C. – Galatians, the Charter of Christian Liberty  (1950)  193 pp.  ToC

“Designed to help students of the Word grapple with the text firsthand. Approaches the epistle from synthetic, critical, biographical, and devotional points of view. Excellent.” – Cyril J. Barber

Cole, Robert Alan – The Letter of Paul to the Galatians: an Introduction & Commentary  rev. ed.  in Tyndale New Testament Commentaries  (1965; Inter-Varsity Press, 1989)  230 pp.  ToC

“Readable, informative, and suggestive.” – Cyril J. Barber

Hendricksen, William – Exposition of Galatians  in New Testament Commentary  (1968; Baker, 1979)  560 pp.  ToC

“Prefaced with an extensive introduction giving the arguments for both the North and the South Galatian theories.  As always, the writer’s exposition is very complete, and applies the text in a meaningful and practical manner.  Not all will agree with the ‘two covenants’ of Galatians 4:24.  A conservative exposition which deserves a place on every pastor’s bookshelf. Reformed.” – Cyril J. Barber




Bagge, Henry – St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, the Text Revised & Illustrated by a Commentary  (1856)

**  “Simply a revised text and critical notes.” – Spurgeon

Ellicott, Charles J. – A Critical & Grammatical Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians  (1876)  290 pp.

“A critical and grammatical handling of the text, which retains its value and can be used by preachers who are able to work from the original text.” – Cyril J. Barber

Findlay, George – The Epistle to the Galatians  (1893)  470 pp.

“A scholarly, succinct, and relevant exposition which may well be regarded as one of the more important treatments.” – Cyril J. Barber



Burton, Ernest DeWitt – A Critical & Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles to the Galatians  in The International Critical Commentary  (1921)  645 pp.

Burton was a liberal, American Biblical scholar at the University of Chicago, known for his Greek grammar.

“A most extensive, satisfactory commentary based on the Greek text.” – Cyril J. Barber



The Early Church on Galatians


ed. Edwards, Mark – Ancient Christian Commentary: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians  (IVP Academic, 2007)  350 pp.  ToC


ed. Cramer, J.A. – Catena on Galatians  trans. Bill Berg  Ref  (2015)  180 pp.  Greek  at Patristic Bible Commentary

Chrysostom, Mopsuestia, Severian, Eusebius of Emesa – Paul’s Letter to the Galatians: A Fourth-Century View: [J.A.] Cramer’s Catena of Commentary from John Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Severian of Gabala & Eusebius of Emesa  trans. Bill Berg  Buy  (2015)  180 pp.

Severian of Gabala (before 380; d. after 408, but probably before 425); Eusebius of Emesa (c. 300 – c. 360)



Marius Victorinus – Commentary on Galatians  in Oxford Early Christian Studies  Pre  Buy  (Oxford University Press, 2005)  405 pp.  ToC  Latin

Victorinus (fl. 300’s)


Commentary on Galatians  in Commentaries on Galatians-Philemon  trans. Gerald Bray  in Ancient Christian Texts  Pre  Buy  (IVP Academic, 2009), pp. 1-34

Questions & Answers on Galatians (chs. 2-6)  at Patristic Bible Commentary

Ambrosiaster (fl. 366-384)

Chrysostom – Commentary on Galatians  ToC  in Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians & Homilies on the Epistle to the Ephesians…  in A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church  (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1840), pp. 1-97  HTML

Chyrsostom (c. 347 – 407)

**  ‘Enough of solid truth and brilliant utterance will be found here to justify this father’s title of ‘Golden Mouth’; but still all is not gold which fell from his lips, and to modern readers Chrysostom is not so instructive as he was to his own age [A.D. 349-407].’ – Spurgeon

Jerome – Commentary on Galatians  trans. Andrew Cain  in The Fathers of the Church  (Catholic University of America Press, 2010)  310 pp.  ToC

Jerome (c. 342–347 – 420)

Theodore of Mopsuestia

‘On Galatians’  in Theodore of Mopsuestia: The Commentaries on the Minor Epistles of Paul  trans. Rowan Greer  in Writings from the Greco-Roman World  Pre  (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2010), pp. 3-170

Theodore (c. 350 – 428) was a bishop of Mopsuestia and is also known as Theodore of Antioch, from the place of his birth and presbyterate. He is the best known representative of the middle Antioch School of hermeneutics.

‘Selections from Theodore’s Commentaries on the Epistles to the Galatians, Ephesians & Colossians’  in The Early Church Fathers  Pre  (Routledge, 2009), pp. 118-25


Commentary on Galatians: Introduction, Text, Translation & Notes  trans. Eric Plumer  in Oxford Early Christian Studies  (Oxford University Press, 2003)  260 pp.  ToC  HTML  Here is a review.

Augustine (354–430)

Several Sermons

Sermons 163-164A  ToC  in Sermons III/5 (148-183) on the New Testament  trans. Edmund Hill  in The Works of Saint Augustine: a Translation for the 21st Century  (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 1990), pp. 169-200

Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament by S. Augustine  in A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church  (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1839), pp. 816-35  ToC

sermon 113, on Gal. 5:16
sermon 114, on Gal. 6:2

Theodoret of Cyrus – Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, vol. 2: Galatians–Hebrews  Ref  (Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2007)

Theodoret (c. 393 – c. 458/466) was an influential theologian of the School of Antioch, biblical commentator and bishop of Cyrus.



The Medieval Church on Galatians


ed. Levy, Ian Christopher – The Letter to the Galatians  in The Bible in Medieval Tradition  (Eerdmans, 2011)  275 pp.  ToC 

Includes sections from: Haimo of Auxerre, Bruno the Carthusian, Peter Lombard, Robert of Melun, Robert Grosseteste and Nicolas of Lyra.



John of Damascus – On Galatians 1-2  at Patristic Bible Commentary

John (c. 675 or 676 – c. 749)

Nicholas of Lyra – Literal Commentary on Galatians  trans. Edward Naumann  Pre  Buy  (Teams, 2016)  125 pp.  ToC

Lyra (c. 1270 – 1349) was a Franciscan teacher among the most influential practitioners of biblical exegesis in the Middle Ages.

Aquinas, Thomas – Commentary on Galatians  at Isidore

Aquinas (1225 – 1274)



On Galatians Generally

Mauro, Philip – Our Liberty in Christ: a Study in Galatians  (n.d. early 1900’s)  210 pp.

Mauro gives chapters on 18 themes through Galatians.



Northern vs. Southern Galatia


The traditional view from the early Church up through the late-1800’s was that the Letter to the Galatians was written to the churches in the geographic region of Galatia in Asia Minor, including the northern part.

In the late-1800’s William Ramsay, a noted archaeologist of Asia Minor, put forward a full defense of the view (which had precedents earlier in the century) that the letter was written primarily to the churches in the Roman province of Galatia which resided in the south of the larger geographical territory, and included the major cities thereof.

No doctrinal teachings are affected in taking either view, though it does affect in a small degree, besides the intended audience of the letter, its date, place of composition and how that synthesizes with Paul’s various missionary journeys and the events recorded of in Acts.

Both sides are competent positions, though the majority of N.T. scholars today have been persuaded by the Southern viewpoint (though that viewpoint is not without its difficulties).  For a comprehensible (though not always easy) survey of the issues and arguments involved, see Daniel Wallace’s article below.

For more resources to look at on the topic, see our webpage section, New Testament Survey and Introduction, which works give background material (including the audience, date and composition) of each book of the N.T.


The Northern Galatia Viewpoint

(in the order of shortest to most detailed)

Olshausen, Hermann – Introduction: §1. Of the Province of Galatia, as also of the Time & Place of the Composition of the Epistle to the Galatians  in Biblical Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians & Thessalonians  (1851), pp. 1-7

Moffatt, James –   Galatians, §4. The Destination  in An Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament  (1911), pp. 90-101

Lightfoot, J.B. – Introduction:  II. The Churches of Galatia  in St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, a Revised Text, with Introduction, Notes & Dissertations  (1870), pp. 25-41  There is also information on the topic in chapter 1, starting at p. 15.


The Southern Galatia Viewpoint

(in order of shortest to most detailed)

Wallace, Daniel –  ‘I. Introduction’  31 paragraphs  in ‘Galatians: Introduction, Argument & Outline’  (2009)

Wallace, a N.T. professor at Dallas Theological Seminary is known for his excellent grammar on the Greek of the New Testament.

Eadie, John – Introduction:  I. The Province of Galatia  in A Commentary on the Greek Text of the Epistle of Paul to the Galatians  (1869), pp. xiii-xxvii

Zahn, Theodore – III. The Three Oldest Epistles of Paul:  §11 Galatia & the Galatians  in Introduction to the New Testament  (1917), pp. 173-93  Relevant information is also found in the preceding section:  §10 The Historical Presuppositions & the Occasion of the Epistle to the Galatians, pp. 164-73

Ramsay, William M. – ‘Historical Introduction: Society & Religion in Central Asia Minor in the Time of St. Paul’  ToC  in A Historical Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians  (1900), pp. 1-235

Ramsay (1851–1939) was a Scottish archaeologist, New Testament scholar and the foremost authority in his day on Asia Minor.

Ramsay was the one that first lighted upon and defended the ‘Southern Galatia View’, that the book of Galatians was written to churches primary in the southern political province of Galatia, rather than to churches in the northern geographical province of Galatia.

After a lifetime of research, from initially being skeptical of the early Church history recorded in Acts, he came to the conclusion that “it was written with such judgment, skill, art and perception of truth as to be a model of historical statement” and that “You may press the words of Luke [who wrote Acts] in a degree beyond any other historian’s and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment…”



On Chapters in Galatians


Galatians 2-3

Torshell, Samuel – The Three Questions of Free Justification, Christian Liberty, The Use of the Law, Explicated in a Brief Comment on St. Paul to the Galatians, from 2:16 – 3:26  (1632)

Torshell (1604-1650) was English and reformed.



Galatians 5

Barclay, William – Flesh & Spirit: an Examination of Galatians 5:19-23  (Abingdon, 1962)  125 pp.  ToC

“A valuable series ably contrasting the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit.” – Cyril J. Barber




Related Pages

Whole Bible Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries

New Testament Commentaries