The Spirit, Ethics, and Eternal Life: Paul's Vision for the Christian Life in Galatians, By Jarvis J. Williams alt

The Spirit, Ethics, and Eternal Life

Paul's Vision for the Christian Life in Galatians

by Jarvis J. Williams

The Spirit, Ethics, and Eternal Life
  • Length: 240 pages
  • Published: April 04, 2023
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: A0233
  • ISBN: 9781514002339

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What should the Christian life look like? What vision does Scripture cast for living as a follower of Christ?

The New Testament scholar Jarvis Williams considers how Paul's letter to the Galatians can inform our understanding of the Christian life here and now as well as into eternity. What emerges from this careful study is a multifaceted vision of God's saving action in Jesus Christ for both Jew and Gentile, in both the vertical relationship between God and humanity as well as the horizontal relationships among people—with cosmic ramifications.

Through Paul's instructions and Williams's interpretation, Christians can learn the importance of walking by the Spirit.

"Jarvis Williams has made a significant contribution with this work on the Holy Spirit in Galatians. He situates his study in the Second Temple Jewish context of Paul's day and also enters the conversation with contemporary scholarship on the role of the Spirit. At the same time, he offers a robust exegetical defense of his own reading. Williams shows the danger of false polarities and thus reads Galatians as both apocalyptic and salvation-historical, as cosmic and individual. Along the same lines, he doesn't divide theology from ethics, showing that the work of the Spirit transforms individual lives and communities."

Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"For many years theologians have debated salvation issues in Galatians, such as justification and what Paul meant by works of the law. These conversations are important, but Williams widens the perspective to look at how the Spirit plays a crucial role in vertical, horizontal, and cosmic dimensions of the gospel. This carefully argued book demonstrates that Paul was passionate about human transformation by the living God in Christ Jesus through the Spirit."

Nijay K. Gupta, professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary

"Paul's Letter to the Galatians—a classic source for our understanding of salvation by God's grace in Christ apart from works—reaches its climax with that faith expressing itself in action. Thanks to Christ's Spirit, those in Christ are simply a different sort of people! We are grateful to Professor Williams for tracing God's energizing power through these pages."

A. Andrew Das, Niebuhr Distinguished Chair at Elmhurst University

"In The Spirit, Ethics, and Eternal Life, Jarvis Williams provides us with a carefully researched investigation of a crucially important set of related themes in Paul's letter to the Galatians. Painstaking scholarship is applied to topics of incredible relevance for Christian theology and living in this and any age: the intersecting themes of God's Spirit, eternal life, and Christian ethics. This book will help many gain a much better grasp of Paul's life-transforming theology and ethics, for the good of the church!"

Roy E. Ciampa, Armstrong Chair of Religion and chair of the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies at Samford University

"With his customary exegetical precision, Jarvis Williams joins his voice to a growing chorus advocating the modest but still controversial proposal: how we live actually matters to God. Williams shows that the key to holding together God's initiating grace, Christ's salvific death, and our walking in newness of life is itself a gift from God—the Holy Spirit, the promised gift that would make righteous those who trust in Christ for righteousness. He articulates a gospel that makes room for all Paul has to say about God's gracious initiatives and our responsibility not to receive this grace in vain."

David A. deSilva, Trustees' Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary

Read an Excerpt


1. A Selected History of Interpretation of the Spirit and Ethics
2. The Spirit and God's Revelation of the Resurrected and Crucified Christ in Paul
3. Justified by Faith and Walking in Step with the Spirit
4. The Spirit and Eternal Life
5. The Spirit and the Necessity of the Is and the Ought for Personal Agency, Ethical Transformation, and Eternal Life


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Jarvis J. Williams (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is associate professor of New Testament interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of numerous books, including Redemptive Kingdom Diversity: A Biblical Theology of the People of God, Christ Redeemed ‘Us’ from the Curse of the Law: A Jewish Martyrological Reading of Galatians 3:13, and a commentary on Galatians in the New Covenant Commentary Series.