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Galatians - Geneva Series of Commentaries (Brown)

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The expositions of John Brown (1784-1858) are unusually helpful to all kinds of readers. Spurgeon said in his Commenting and Commentaries, ‘Brown is a modern Puritan of the utmost value.’ The volume on Galatians is one of the scarcest books in the market.’

As a theological professor, Brown was strongly convinced that his students’ view should be ‘not only consistent with, but derived from a careful exegesis of the ‘words which the Holy Ghost teacheth’…it has been my sincere desire to bring out of the inspired words what is really in them, and to put nothing into them that is not really there.’  

But as the pastor of a congregation, Brown was also anxious that his expositions should edify all Christians and not only instruct students. As a result his commentaries are unusually helpful to all kinds of readers.

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Table of Contents:

Analysis: Prolegomena

Part 1: The Inscription of the Epistle (Gal. 1:1-5)

1. Of the Persons to whom the Epistle is addressed

2. Of the Occasion of the Epistle

3. Of the Subject of the Epistle

4. Of the Date of the Epistle, and the place from which it was Written

5. Of the Genuineness of the Epistle

6. Of the General Character of the Epistle

7. Of the Division of the Epistle

8. Of the Interpreters of the Epistle

Part 2: Introduction to the Epistle (Gal. 1:6-10)

1. The Author

2. The Persons addressed – the Churches of Galatia

3. The Greeting

4. Introductory Remarks

5. The Change which had taken place among the Galatians

6. The manner in which Corrupters of the Gospel ought to be regarded

7. The Apostle’s Defense of himself against the Charge of being a Man-pleaser

Part 3: The Apostle’s Historical Defense of Himself and of His Office (Gal. 1:11-2:21)

1. Introductory Remarks

2. The Thesis to be proved, ‘that he was a Divinely-taught, Divinely -authorised Apostle,’

3. Historical Proof of the Thesis

Part 4: The Apostle’s Defense of His Doctrine (Gal. 3:1-4:1-7)

1. Introductory Remarks

2. The Apostle’s Astonishment, Displeasure, and Sorrow, at the Change in the Sentiments of the Galatians

3. Argument from their own Experience

4. Argument from the History of the Justification of Abraham

5. Argument from the Promise to Abraham

6. Justification by the Law in the nature of things impossible

7. Justification by Law inconsistent with Scripture

8. Redemption from the Curse of the Law necessary for Justification both to Jews and Gentiles

9. Free Justification by believing secured in a ratified Divine Arrangement which cannot be disannulled by the Law 

Part 5: The Apostle’s Expostulations with and Warning of the Galatians (Gal. 4:8-5:12)

1. Introductory Remarks

2. The Apostle shows the Galatians that they were in danger of subjecting themselves to a bondage similar to that form which they had been delivered

3. The Apostle reminds them of the circumstances of their Conversion, and shows them that nothing had occurred that should have changed their sentiments towards either him or his teaching

4. The Apostle exposes the unworthy acts of the Judaising Teachers

5. The Apostle expresses his deep anxiety for them, and his wish to be present with them

6. Allegorical Illustration

7. The Course the Galatians were following – an implicit Renunciation of Christianity and its blessings

8. Additional considerations fitted to rouse the Galatians to serious consideration

Part 6: Practical Injunctions (Gal. 5:13-6:10)

1. Caution against the Abuse of Liberty

2. An Exhortation to ‘Serve one another in Love,’ supported by Motives

3. A General Exhortation to ‘Walk in the Spirit’ as the best means of obtaining Dominion over the Lusts of the Flesh

4. Particular Exhortations to certain varieties of ‘Walking in the Spirit,’

5. Caution against Over Self-Estimation

6. The Duty of the Galatians to support their Teachers

7. Caution against mistake in reference to the connection between present Character and Conduct, and future Punishment or Reward

8. Exhortation to Well-doing, and Caution against becoming weary in it

Part 7: Postscript (Gal. 6:11-18)

1. Introductory Remarks

2. The Apostle’s remark that his Letter was Autograph

3. Unprincipled Conduct of the Judaising Teachers

4. The Apostle’s determination to glory only in the Cross of Christ

5. The Crucifixion of the World to the Apostle, and of the Apostle to the World, by the Cross of Christ

6. The Essence of Christianity against stated

7. The Apostle’s Prayer for all who possess the Essential Element of Christianity, and act on it

8. An injunction to cease to harass the Apostle, as he had been harassed by the Judasers and their followers

9. Concluding Benediction


A. Calvin’s Exposition of Gal. 4:1-7

B. Period of the Appearance of the Messiah

C. Elements of Christianity

D. Remarks on the principle of the Support of the Christian Ministry

E. Opposition of the Natural Mind to the peculiar doctrines of Christianity, especially the doctrine of the Cross

F. Practical Power of Christian Truth

G. Tendency of Man to rest in a mere External Religion

H. Paul’s Mode of considering Judaism and Christianity in their various relations