A look at the Spurgeon Commentary on Galatians

spurgeon

One thing you cannot deny about Charles Spurgeon, the 19th century English Baptist preacher, is he was prolific. He wrote dozens of books, preached thousands of sermons, taught hundreds of students… but one thing he never did write: a commentary on Galatians. So if you wanted to find some thoughts of Spurgeon to share on a particular passage from this wonderful New Testament epistle, you’d have to scour through an intimidating pile of sermons and books.

So Logos Bible Software decided to do something about it, compiling material from Spurgeon’s preaching and writing into a handy commentary, Spurgeon Commentary: Galatians. Some time ago, the gang at Logos sent me a copy and asked me to take a look. Here are a couple of thoughts:

1. It’s helpfully organized. Organization is crucial to any book, but especially so in a commentary. You need to know Elliot Ritzema, the editor of this volume, has done an exceptional job of compiling the very best of Spurgeon’s teaching on Galatians, and organizing it by exposition, illustration and application, with the source material clearly listed at the end of each section.

This structure is very helpful for me. I can target my searching based on my needs. So if I want to check my interpretation against Spurgeon’s, it’s easy enough to do. Ditto if I’m just looking for an illustration point for a book or a sermon, or some guidance on how to apply the text.

2. It’s extremely quotable. This is a surprise to exactly no one who is even remotely familiar with Spurgeon’s work. Reading his work is always a delight, and this commentary is no exception. Here’s a favorite illustration that stuck with me on the need to continually preach the gospel:

Remember John Bunyan when he refused to give up preaching. They put him in prison and said to him, “Mr. Bunyan, you can come out of prison whenever you will promise to cease preaching the gospel.” He said, “If you let me out of prison today, I will preach again tomorrow, by the grace of God.” “Well,” they said, “then you must go back to prison.” He answered, “I will go back and stay there if need be till the moss grows on my eyelids, but I will never deny my Master.” This was the stuff of which the godly were made then. May the Lord make many of us to be like them—men and women who cannot and will not do that which is evil but will, in the name of God, stand to the right and the true, come what may!

And just for fun, here’s another example of some terrific application of Galatians 1:6-10:

If the life of the man should be blameless as the life of Christ, yet if he preaches to you other than the gospel of Jesus Christ, take no heed of him. He wears but the sheep’s clothing and is a wolf after all. Some will plead, “But such and such a man is so eloquent.” Ah! Brothers, may the day never come when your faith shall stand in the words of men. What is a ready orator, after all, that he should convince your hearts? Are there not ready orators caught any day for everything? Men speak, speak fluently, and speak well in the cause of evil, and there are some that can speak much more fluently and more eloquently for evil than any of our poor tongues are ever likely to do for the right. But words, words, words, flowers of rhetoric, oratory—are these the things that saved you? Are you so foolish that having begun in the Spirit by being convinced of your sins, having begun by being led simply to Christ and putting your trust in Him, are you now to be led astray by these poetic utterances and flowery periods of men? God forbid! Let nothing of this kind beguile you.

There are more examples than this, but I think you get the point.

3. It’s stood the test of time. The thing with older material (even in new packaging), is when it’s more than a century old, you know it’s going to be worth reading (even if you disagree). There’s a richness to Spurgeon’s writing that is sorely lacking from many of today’s teachers and preachers (even then best of them), so reading through this commentary has been a treat.

All this to say, I would, without hesitation, recommend Spurgeon Commentary: Galatians. This is a very, very good resource, and one that will surely be a terrific addition to any Logos user’s library.

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  • http://theologic.us/ Joe Louthan

    I wish I could by this in a physical form. (The Logos system does not suit me well.)