Book Review of Romans and Galatians in the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary

Roger Mohrlang, Romans and Gerald L. Borchert, Galatians in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary

The authors present an evangelical view of both of these foundational books.  This commentary series does not intend to offer a deeply exegetical analysis of the biblical texts.  Rather, it provides a basic commentary that is accessible to a wider audience.  The advanced student will find the absence of detailed discussion on fine grammatical issues disappointing, but most readers will find the commentary to be a helpful overview of the important issues.
One of the weaknesses of the series is its use of the New Living Translation, a strongly dynamic equivalent translation in which the translators often make interpretive judgments that change the potential meaning of the text as it stood in Greek.  The notes section that follows each section of the NLT text mitigates the weaknesses of the translation, but the translation itself is makes too many interpretive judgments in my opinion.
For the book of Romans, Mohrlang affirms the Pauline authorship and the integrity (the “wholeness”) of Romans.  He treats the major problems of interpretation as follows: he recognizes the universal applicability of the Bible’s prohibition against sodomy (ch. 1) and affirms that God is actively wrathful against sin; he affirms imputed righteousness against the New Perspective on Paul; he believes that the “I” who cannot do right in ch. 7 is not Paul specifically but “everyman” who tries to obey the law; he correctly assesses 9:5 as calling Christ God; he defends the paradox position against strong Calvinism and strong Arminianism; and he affirms the restoration of Israel (ch. 11).  Mohrlang excels in tying together other passages of Scripture with parallels in Romans.  He also points the reader toward the best conservative sources on a variety of more technical issues.  This will help even the scholarly reader to pare down the time needed to find the best resources on a given topic.
For the book of Galatians, Borchert accepts a Southern Galatian view of the book and defends Paul’s major theme of justification by faith.  He treats some of the problems of interpretation as follows: he correctly resists identifying to whom the ransom price of salvation was paid (p. 303); he treats the Sarah/Hagar illustration as a true allegory; he rejects covenant nomism as an adequate description of justification by faith (p. 318).  On the other hand, he overstates the meaning of the first class conditional (p. 299) and he fails to consider the intensive use of the conjunction in the key phrase “the Israel of God” (p. 336).
Overall, the reader will find this volume to be a basic, conservative handbook on the books of Romans and Galatians.

  • Hardback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, 2007
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-0842383424

Reviewed by: Brian Hand, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament in BJU Seminary.

This book is available at www.BJUCampusStore.com

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