NIV Application Commentary: Galatians



From the Back Cover

Salvation by grace: we preach it, but do we live it? The reality is that too many Christians begin well but quickly gravitate toward jumping through religious hoops. What originated as simple, joyous, and liberating faith in Jesus somehow ends up in an exhausting attempt to “get it right.” If Paul the apostle were to visit our churches today, chances are he would write the book of Galatians all over again.
In Galatians, Paul reminds us of the total sufficiency of Jesus in securing our salvation, and of the leadership of the Holy Spirit for living it out. To add to that pure, unencumbered gospel is in fact to subtract from it and nullify the life-giving, transforming power of grace. This is the message of Galatians. Calling us back to the simplicity of Christ, Galatians is as critically important for us today as it was when Paul first penned it.
Exploring the links between the Bible and our own times, Scot McKnight shares perspectives on the letter to the Galatians that reveal its enduring relevance for our twenty-first-century lives.
–This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Book Summary

The NIV Application Commentary helps readers with the vital task of bringing the ancient message of the Bible into a contemporary context. It gives preachers and teachers the tools, ideas, and insights they need to communicate God’s Word with the same powerful impact it had when it was first written.

About the Book

The NIV Application Commentary helps you communicate and apply biblical text effectively in today’s context.

In Galatians, Paul reminds us of the total sufficiency of Jesus in securing our salvation, and of the leadership of the Holy Spirit for living it out. Calling us back to the simplicity of Christ, Galatians is as critically important for us today as it was when Paul first penned it. Exploring the links between the Bible and our own times, Scot McKnight shares perspectives on the letter to the Galatians that reveal its enduring relevance for our twenty-first-century lives.

To bring the ancient messages of the Bible into today’s context, each passage is treated in three sections:

  • Original Meaning. Concise exegesis to help readers understand the original meaning of the biblical text in its historical, literary, and cultural context.
  • Bridging Contexts. A bridge between the world of the Bible and the world of today, built by discerning what is timeless in the timely pages of the Bible.
  • Contemporary Significance. This section identifies comparable situations to those faced in the Bible and explores relevant application of the biblical messages. The author alerts the readers of problems they may encounter when seeking to apply the passage and helps them think through the issues involved.

This unique, award-winning commentary is the ideal resource for today’s preachers, teachers, and serious students of the Bible, giving them the tools, ideas, and insights they need to communicate God’s Word with the same powerful impact it had when it was first written.

theWord Features:

  • Verse popups
  • Abbreviation popups
  • Verse synchronization
  • Fully searchable text
  • Footnotes
  • Pages links
  • Scripture Index
  • Easy navigation of topics via topics tree display.
  • Special Text Colors
    • Normal: Text
    • Hyperlink: Glossary | Gen. 9:8
    • Page Number: [pg 21>
    • Greek Transliteration: matres lectionis
    • Greek: διαλέγομαι

Note: Does not display commentary under Bible text.

SKU: #ZONNIVGAL Categories: ,

DDT Review of
The NIV Application Commentary
by Scot McKnight


Let’s dive right in: this is no lightweight commentary. The print edition is 320 pages. Process that: Galatians is just six short chapters; 149 verses. On average, then, there is more than two pages of comments on every one verse of Scripture. Whoa!

However, it would be wrong to think like that. This commentary is not laid out “verse by verse.” It is laid out “paragraph by paragraph.” You don’t wave your mouse over the commentary link and get a sentence or a short paragraph. You get thousands of words. (In other words, you’d better go ahead and open up an entire dedicated commentary window.)

I don’t use the NIV (for full disclosure, I am a KJV lover), so I was wondering how helpful this commentary would be. As it turns out, this commentary is more of what Henry Thiessen would call “exegetical theology” (see Thiessen’s excellent “Lectures in Systematic Theology,” chapter 2, for more information on that). As such, I found it extremely helpful; less so on the exactness of the particular words, and moreso on the overall flow of context.

Have you ever used a commentary that was so focused on the verse-by-verse explanation that you lost complete track of the flow of context? I’ve been so lost with comments on the distinction between first aorist passive and first aorist middle that I completely lost what the gist of the passage was supposed to be about. Not here! If you want to study the distinction between a perfect and imperfect verb tense, then this commentary is not for you. If you want to theologically follow the flow of thought through an entire section (paragraph, chapter, book) – then this is what you’re looking for.

Most advanced students of the Bible recognize Galatians deals with legalism. However, in my opinion, most advanced students of the Bible don’t deal with legalism from the book of Galatians very well. It seems like their definitions of legalism changes from chapter to chapter, making a cohesive commentary difficult, it not impossible to utilize.

McKnight nails legalism early and often. Notice these statements:

BEGIN QUOTATION – While the New Testament clearly contains commandments for Christians, some believers think the legislation of anything is modern-day legalism; after all, it is argued, we (Christians) are to be led by the Holy Spirit. – END QUOTATION

BEGIN QUOTATION – Again, we must be on guard against the idea that every rule or regulation in Christian living is a necessary form of Galatian legalism. In fact, we are persuaded that rules can be educationally useful for Christian development. What we are looking for in applying the message of Galatians are rules or regulations that distort the gospel. – END QUOTATION

BEGIN QUOTATION – Legalists are led by the law; hedonists are led by their desires; materialists are led by their possessions. But sons of God, Christians, are led by the Spirit. What prompts their actions, what stirs their emotions, what guides their behavior, and what determines their careers is God’s Spirit. Furthermore, sons of God do not fear and worry about where the Spirit will lead them. ?[p214>They know that God’s Spirit will lead them perfectly into God’s will and God’s blessing so they march behind confidently and joyously. – END QUOTATION


Here are some technical notes about how the module itself actually works. See the picture below for emphasis. (The picture comes from the text within Galatians 1:1-9. Note how small that slider is – almost 7,000 words of text on these nine verses.)

First, all intrinsic references have been properly tooltipped. So when you see numbers like “1:4” or “v. 1”, they will be blue, and hyperlinked to Scripture. A quick mouseover lets you see the text.

Second, original pagination has been maintained. That is wonderful for those wanting to make professors happy with term paper footnotes! It’s also nice if you catch a reference somewhere to a page number. Just use your book search for the pagination (“[p48>, etc.) to find the proper page.

Third, although this is not a Greek commentary, McKnight will occasionally utilize Greek words. If you’ll right-click the Greek word and utilize the “look-up” menu, you’ll be shown other resources that emphasize that particular word. In this window, right-clicking “(apostolos)” will allow you to see the article on that word in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Abridged).

Finally let me note that there are copies footnotes throughout the text. A mouseover shows the footnote in a popup; a click takes you to the footnote; and the “back” button brings you right back to the text.


I am satisfied with the contents. I am happy with the engineering of the TW module. I recommend McKnight’s work to you.

Dave Thomason – “DoctorDaveT” of


Scot McKnight


Scot McKnight is Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lisle, Illinois. He is the author of more than eighty books, including the award-winning The Jesus Creed as well as The King Jesus GospelA Fellowship of DifferentsOne.LifeThe Blue Parakeet, and Kingdom Conspiracy. He maintains an active blog at He and his wife, Kristen, live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, where they enjoy long walks, gardening, and cooking.


“The NIV Application Commentary series doesn’t fool around: It gets right down to business, bringing this ancient and powerful Word of God into the present so that it can be heard and delivered with all the freshness of a new day, with all the immediacy of a friend’s embrace.”Eugene Peterson

“This series promises to become an indispensable tool for every pastor and teacher who seeks to make the Bible’s timeless message speak to this generation.”Billy Graham

“It takes more than interpretation of God’s Word to change lives, it takes application. Application is the bottom line in preaching and teaching. Without it, we’ve missed the point of the Bible. The NIV Application Commentary is an outstanding resource for pastors and anyone else who is serious about developing ‘doers of the Word.’”Rick Warren, Pastor, Saddleback Valley Community Church

“The NIV Application Commentary series promises to be of great service to all who preach and teach the Word of God.”J. I. Packer, Regent College

“At a time when many pastors are deeply in need of inspiration and encouragement, these volumes… would be a good investment for congregations, even if it means adding a line to the annual budget.”Christianity Today

“The NIV Application Commentary builds bridges that make the Bible come alive with meaning for contemporary life–and the series do so concisely, clearly, and accurately. No wasted words or academic detours–just solid help and practical truth.”Warren W. Weirsbe

“The NIV Application Commentary series helps pastors and other Bible teachers with one of the most neglected elements of good preaching—accurate, useful application. Most commentaries tell you a few things that are helpful and much that you do not need to know. By dealing with the original meaning and contemporary significance of each passage, the NIV Application Commentary series promises to be helpful all the way around.”Dr. James Montgomery Boice, Tenth Presbyterian Church

“It is encouraging to find a commentary that is not only biblically trustworthy but also contemporary in its application. The NIV Application Commentary series will prove to be a helpful tool in the pastor’s sermon preparation. I use it and recommend it.”Charles F. Stanley, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Atlanta

“The NIV Application Commentary meets the urgent need for an exhaustive and authoritative commentary based on the New International Version. This series will soon be found in libraries and studies throughout the entire evangelical community.”Dr. James Kennedy, PhD, Senior Minister, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church

“The NIV Application Commentary series will be a great help for readers who want to understand what the Bible means, how it applies, and what they should do in response.”Stuart Briscoe, Pastor, Elmbrook Church

“The NIV Application Commentary is a magnificent gift to the church!”Dr. R. Kent Hughes, Pastor, College Church, Wheaton, Illinois

“If you want to avoid hanging applicational elephants from interpretational threads, then the NIV Application Commentary is for you! This series excels at both original meaning and contemporary significance. I support it one hundred percent.”Howard G. Hendricks, Dallas Theological Seminary

“This is the pulpit commentary for the 21st Century”George K. Brushaber, President, Bethel College & Seminary

“The NIV Application Commentary dares to go where few scholars have gone before—into the real world of biblical application faced by pastor and teachers every day. This is everything a good commentary series should be.”Leith Anderson, Pastor, Wooddale Church

“Here at last is a commentary which is not only academically well informed but which helps that commentary reader hear God’s Word and consider its implications; scholarship in service of the Church.”Arthur Rowe, Spurgeon’s College

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Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
Richard Gennesse
Nice try

I tiried out this book to see if the NIV Application Commentary was something for me and I am not dissapointed.
It is a very thorough, but also clearly written commentary in Hybrid Book form.. I chose Galations because I like to study that book and already have some knowledge about it, and reading the commentary I felt "at home" at what was said there.
I hope these series will become on sale so I can buy some more in the future.