On grace: John Barclay, “Paul and the Gift” (book review)

“A gift can be unconditioned (free of prior conditions regarding the recipient) without also being unconditional (free of expectations that the recipient will offer some ‘return’).”

The word “grace” encapsulates so much of the gospel, so I was blown away by John Barclay’s masterful study of this word: Paul and the Gift, published by Eerdmans in 2015. It’s big (672 pages), pricey (US $55), and academic, though at the time of this review it was available on Kindle for US $4.50.

If you just want a concise summary, choose Barclay’s Paul and the Power of Grace (Eerdmans, 2020, 200 pages). For me, the larger book was worth the effort. It’s a superb example of how to pursue a word study: I learned as much from his method as his content. Continue reading “On grace: John Barclay, “Paul and the Gift” (book review)”