Request an Exam Copy

An Interview with Nijay Gupta, author of Galatians in the New Word Biblical Themes (NWBT) Series

NIJAY K. GUPTA (PhD, University of Durham) is professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary. He is the author of several books including 1-2 Thessalonians (ZCINT), Paul and the Language of Faith15 New Testament Words of Life and has published commentaries on Colossians, Philippians, and, most recently, on Galatians. He is co-editor of The State of New Testament Studies and the second edition of Dictionary of Paul and His Letters.

In this interview, A.J. Swoboda interviews Nijay Gupta about his new book Galatians, part of the New Word Biblical Themes series. Gupta also serves as the editor of the New Word Biblical Themes series. Swoboda and Gupta cohost the Slow Theology podcast.

AJ: You’ve spent a lot of time in Galatians. If you were having coffee with Paul, what would you ask him about this letter?

Nijay: That’s a tough one! I’d want to ask him: “How did you cope with so much fighting and nastiness in the church?” Galatians offers us a good example. It’s a church that seems to be turning against Paul. Paul was very familiar with “friendly fire.” I think I know Paul’s answer: we’re family, we fight, but we are stuck with each other so we better learn how to get along. I think that’s what Galatians is all about, actually. The more we see that we belong to one another as family, because of Jesus Christ, the closer we’ll get to solving our problems.

AJ: The New Testament’s teaching about women is a charged topic. What is “slow theology” and how do we practice it on a topic like this one?

Nijay: In Galatians 3:28, Paul says there is no “male and female” for those who belong to Christ. I believe the “gender wars” we face today have precedent in Paul’s time. ‘Slow theology’ rejects knee-jerk reactions and “trolling.” People on both sides of this debate need to “love your enemies,” as Jesus commanded and “not repay evil for evil,” as Paul demanded. “Slow theology” says, “Let’s sit down and find some common ground, stop insulting each other, and accept that we both could be wrong, and keep learning and growing.” In Galatians, Paul talks about being crucified to the world, part of that means, I think, dying to the ways of the world. The most carnal thing is to hate; the most Christian thing is to love.

AJ: What is one book that you are almost embarrassed to say has changed your life?

Nijay: The one that comes to mind is an article. It’s not embarrassing, but it may be surprising because it made Paul “click” for me. It’s an old essay by Morna Hooker called “Interchange in Christ” from 1971! Hooker’s article introduced me to a Paul that was passionate about participating in the life of Jesus Christ. It dawned on me that salvation was not a theological theory for Paul, but a deep spiritual and personal experience of the crucified risen Lord. It set me on the academic trajectory that I have been on for over twenty years. Thanks, Professor Hooker!

AJ: Do you recommend volumes in the New Word Biblical Themes (NWBT) series and your volume, Galatians, for the classroom?

Nijay: Absolutely! NWBT books are concise and affordable, written at a level students can understand and find additional suggested reading if they want to go deeper. I can easily see a volume used in a course on a biblical book (e.g., Galatians) as a textbook alongside a traditional biblical commentary. The classroom was a key context we had in mind when we designed this series; we wanted volumes to be an easy “yes” for instructors as they look for resources to teaching in their classrooms.

This interview was originally published in the Spring 2024 Zondervan Academic Catalog. View our most recent catalog at

Galatians, Volume 9 Nijay K. Gupta
'Gupta not only introduces readers to Galatians and to recent Pauline scholarship bearing upon its interpretation, but he also flags and reflects upon three lea...
Not Available Request an Exam Copy
Wrestling with Theodicy in Malachi
Wrestling with Theodicy in Malachi Closing of Exile As Israel’s time in exile was drawing to a close, prophecies from Isa 40–55 spoke of redemption and ...
Your form could not be submitted. Please check errors and resubmit.

Thank you!
Sign up complete.

Subscribe to the Blog Get expert commentary on biblical languages, fresh explorations in theology, hand-picked book excerpts, author videos, and info on limited-time sales.
By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) providing information about products and services of HCCP and its affiliates. You may unsubscribe from these email communications at any time. If you have any questions, please review our Privacy Policy or email us at This form is protected by reCAPTCHA.