Traveling Light: Galatians and the Free Life in Christ, By Eugene H. Peterson alt

Traveling Light

Galatians and the Free Life in Christ

Expanded Edition

by Eugene H. Peterson
Foreword by Karen Swallow Prior

Traveling Light
  • Length: 216 pages
  • Published: August 15, 2023
  • Imprint: IVP Formatio
  • Item Code: A0822
  • ISBN: 9781514008225

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We aspire to freedom but often resign ourselves to an existence trapped in uneasiness and dread. Is there any way to shed such heaviness and reignite hope for deliverance?

In Traveling Light, Eugene H. Peterson urges us to listen to an expert on freedom, Paul, whose letter to the Galatians reminds us of the realities of life in Christ, freely given to all. Peterson says, "If there is a story of freedom to be told, the story must begin with God. . . . The Bible is not a script for a funeral service, but the record of the proclaimed and witnessed God bringing new life to the dead. Everywhere it is a story of resurrection—life where we expect death."

That lightness of spirit we're shown in Scripture is a gift and challenge. With an open path forward, Peterson calls us to embrace change, exploration, trust, love, and much more. Now with a new study guide, share the work of pursuing real rescue and relief through the abiding wisdom of Peterson.

"Like a skilled eye doctor, Eugene Peterson turns the lens that clears our vision and enables us to discriminate between reality and fantasy, to see what satisfies and what leads to bondage."

Rebecca Manley Pippert, author of Out of the Saltshaker and Into the World

"Eugene Peterson wrote Traveling Light amid a time of cultural upheaval. This was his Scripture-saturated response to his profound concern for how Christians were growing distrustful of their neighbors, taking on tribal identities, withdrawing from the world's pain, and holding more loyalty to some vision of America than to the kingdom of God. Eugene believed we were consumed by a constricting, heart-gripping fear—and that we were desperate for a fresh encounter with God's liberating freedom. Apparently, Eugene was also writing for us, right now."

Winn Collier, author of A Burning in My Bones: The Authorized Biography of Eugene H. Peterson, Translator of The Message, and director of the Eugene Peterson Center for Christian Imagination

"Peterson was a poet-theologian. By this I mean, of course, that he wrote poetry. But I also mean that he understood Christian doctrine with a fullness and play that reflect a Christ who liked to answer questions with better questions and to teach eternal truths through the puzzle of parables and the paradox of Beatitudes. . . . Christian theology lived is indeed, as Peterson says, 'a dancing, leaping, daring life.' These pages will show you the way."

Karen Swallow Prior, research professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of On Reading Well, from the foreword

"Eugene Peterson accomplishes here what he has accomplished all throughout his writing: leading readers not only into the depths of Holy Scripture but also into the depths of the life of the Holy Trinity, a life that is prayable, livable, lovable; a life that is truly free. This very engaging series of meditations on Saint Paul's letter to the Galatians deserves to be read and relished by Christians across all denominations and at every stage in their spiritual lives."

W. David O. Taylor, associate professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary and author of Open and Unafraid

"Eugene Peterson was the preeminent pastor-scholar of our time. His was the kind and generous heart of the pastor and the luminous mind of the scholar integrated by means of an extraordinary imagination. In this expanded edition of Traveling Light, Peterson leads us on a journey—primarily through the eyes of Paul—into the meaning of freedom: what it is and what it isn't, how and where we can find it, and most especially, who is waiting to offer us the gift of freedom."

Michael Card, songwriter and Bible teacher

"Galatians, Paul's magisterial letter on Christian freedom, can be pulled up from the soil of lived reality and reduced to a set of abstract doctrines. But Eugene Peterson will have none of it. He once wrote that an essential part of his sermon preparation was 'walking the neighborhoods,' steeping himself in the stories and complexities of the people he served as pastor. His pastoral and theological reflections on Galatians emerge from that kind of earthiness. The result is a book that will help you discover the richness of freedom in Christ as it plays out in daily life and inspire you to bring other travelers along the way."

Glenn Packiam, lead pastor of Rockharbor Church and author of The Resilient Pastor

"Reading this book, I was reminded of the Old Testament story of the priest Hilkiah's discovery of the scrolls containing the Law of Moses during king Josiah's temple renovation. This book, representative of Eugene Peterson's early writings, is in no way equivalent to the Holy Scriptures. Yet it contains important words that are relevant to a new generation seeking to live faithful to the gospel. Ours is an era when people seem to have lost the 'Magna Carta of the New Testament.' Christians of all stripes are guilty of misunderstanding and misusing the word freedom. This new edition of Peterson's Traveling Light helps us see more clearly what we are missing, namely the breathtaking power of living in the freedom of Christ."

Cheryl Bridges Johns, visiting professor and director of the Global Pentecostal House of Study at United Theological Seminary

Read an Excerpt


Foreword by Karen Swallow Prior

1. Free for All
2. Free to Live
3. Free to Curse
4. Free to Change
5. Free to Resist
6. Free to Explore
7. Free to Think
8. Free to Fail
9. Free to Receive
10. Free to Trust
11. Free to Stand
12. Free to Love
13. Free to Create
14. Free to Give
15. Free to Die

Questions for Reflection and Discussion


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Eugene H. Peterson

Eugene H. Peterson (1932–2018) was a pastor, scholar, author, and poet. He wrote more than thirty books, including his widely acclaimed paraphrase of the Bible The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language, his memoir, The Pastor, and the bestselling spiritual formation classic A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.