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Paul’s Travail: A Reintroduction to Galatians A commentary that tackles the hard questions.

Paul’s Travail book cover

Series: Pactum Novum Commentaries
Release date: November 2013.
6x9" paperback; 309pp. + front matter.
Retail price: Paperback $24.99 USD | Digital bundle (PDF, Kindle Epub) $15.95

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In this fresh look at a beloved book, Tim Gallant develops a reading that follows the unified thread of Paul's chain of argument. Showing sensitivity both to the coherence of Scripture and to the freshness of the apocalyptic new creation brought about by Jesus the Messiah, Paul's Travail weaves rigorous exegetical work, a strong sense of biblical theology and typology, and experienced pastoral sense into one harmonious whole.

Don Garlington notes that Paul's Travail is characterized by “a great deal of fresh and useful work,” while John Frame analyzes the Epilogue as “right on the money.”

Paul's Travail is available as a digital bundle (PDF, Kindle, epub); projected release date for the paperback format is Nov 25, 2013.


  • Detailed work with cryptic and difficult passages, particularly 3:10–13 (which is handled not only with lengthy discussion in the exposition, but also by a 20 page appendix).
  • Frank discussion of other difficult issues raised in Galatians, such as: What does Paul mean when he speaks of the Galatians being severed from Christ and fallen from grace? What is "the law of Christ"? Why does Paul say that through the law, he died to the law? Why is Paul so filled with angst?
  • An appendix comparing Galatians to Jesus' Farewell Discourse in John 13–17.
  • Extensive integration with Acts, showing the fundamental coherence between Paul's earliest letter and Luke's much-maligned work.
  • Detailed excurses on important questions such as the Greek phrase pistis Christou ("faith in Christ" vs "the faith[fulness] of Christ").

Kudos for Paul’s Travail

This commentary stands in the best tradition of what I might cumbersomely term grammatical-historical-theological exegesis. It doesn’t glide along the surface of the text, stringing together “principles” designed to harmonize with a larger “biblical theology” (a conservative tack); nor does it situate Paul within his historical context, of which his theology is a reflection and to which it is a reaction (a liberal tack). Rather, Gallant’s work sees Paul’s very consciousness as set on a radical new footing by his miraculous encounter with Jesus of Nazareth, which in turn put his theology on a radical new footing. Galatians is Paul’s nearly frenetic attempt to rescue his beloved children in the Faith from losing that footing due to false teachers among the apostolic number. It’s an ingenious thesis, and even if you don’t buy it in toto, you’ll be impoverished if you don’t consider it with utmost seriousness.

- P. Andrew Sandlin
Founder and President
Center for Cultural Leadership



1 introduction

5 galatians as biography

11 galatians as hermeneutics

Salvation is of the Jews—12
Jews, Gentiles & Abraham—15
Flesh, Circumcision, and Torah—17
Eschatology and Covenant—20

25 overview of galatians

31 translation


41 paul, apostle from god

Greeting for Troubled Churches (1:1–5)—41
The Happy Proclamation Perverted (1:6–10)—46
Paul’s Persecuting Past (1:11–14)—51
[Excursus: Jacob and Paul (at 1:13)—55–56]
An Apostle is Born (1:15–24)—58
Paul & the Pillars in Partnership (2:1–10)—66

77 apostles in conflict

Peter’s Collapse (2:11–13)—77
Paul’s Response to Peter (2:14–21)—81
[Excursus: The Faith of Jesus Christ—89–98]

105 proven to be heirs

Appeal to a Good Beginning (3:1–5)—105
Appeal to Abraham’s Promise (3:6–9)—112
Redemption from Torah (3:10–14)—118
The Priority of Abraham’s Promise (3:15–18)—130
Age of the Custodian (3:19–25)—135
Sons in the Son (3:26–29)—143
From Slavery to Public Heirs (4:1–7)—151

159 the conflict for the covenant

Return to Slavery (4:8–12)—159
A Harmful Courtship (4:13–20)—163
Children of Promise (4:21–5:1)—168
The Cost of Circumcision (5:2–6)—181
Impeded Runners (5:7–12)—189

197 the conflict for the cosmos

Free to Love (5:13–15)—197
The Battle Between Spirit & Flesh (5:16–18)—202
The Works of the Flesh (5:19–21)—210
The Fruit of the Spirit (5:22–26)—221

231 participation in the new creation

The Law of the Messiah (6:1–5)—231
The Consequences of Sowing (6:6–10)—239
Conclusion (6:11–18)—245

Back Matter

257 epilogue

The Unity of the Whole Body in the Messiah—258
Courage for Communion—259
The New Creation Ethos—260
The Breadth & Depth of Being in the Messiah—260
Pocketbook Partnership—261
Preaching a Multivalent Gospel—262

265 appendix 1: The Reverse of Ebal in Gal 3:10–14

The Corporate Alternative—266
Role Reversal—267
Under the Terms of an Oath—269
Gal 3:10: Under Ebal’s Curse—270
Gal 3:13: Redeemed from Ebal’s Threat—272
Gal 3:14: Abraham’s Promise Released—275
Gal 3:11–12: Torah vs “Faith”—276

285 appendix 2: Chronological Table

287 appendix 3: Galatians and the Farewell Discourse

291 bibliography

295 author & literature index

297 scripture index

About the author—Tim Gallant grew up as a preacher’s kid in Western Canada, where he fell in love with reading, writing and music creation. He graduated with honors from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2000. Along with pastoral and other leadership roles, Tim has written numerous books, spoken at numerous conferences and camps, and lives in the Nashville area with his wife Kristi and a horde of children.

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