English: Postage stamp depicting Martin Luther...
English: Postage stamp depicting Martin Luther, the initiator of the Protestant Reformation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, this week, THE Sunday School class will begin to read Galatians. This is an important book to the Protestant Reformation, no doubt, given Luther’s love affair with it. However, it is early in Paul’s career, written during what we might suggest is Paul’s more zealous moments. He is brash, rude, and crude in this letter, often going the distance to humiliate and belittle his enemies. There is no sauve approach to the rhetoric as we see in Philippians, coming at the end of his career. Instead, he is brutal, up front, and angry.

One of the hallmarks of this letter is Paul’s insistence that he has no need to please men; yet, he his opening salvo is about gaining acceptance as one approved among men — namely Peter, James, and John. Specifically, Paul cares a great deal how James sees him, and he should since James is the brother of Jesus. Peter, on the other hand, gets a rebuke from Paul for what appears to be a hypocritical method of eating with Jew and Gentile.

Paul is careful, in my reading, to not elevate himself above Peter, but only to remind Peter of his previous statements and actions. Paul is not above Peter, only the casual witness.

One of the things I’m struggling with is the chronological reading. Borg suggests that it is possible Galatians comes after 1 Corinthians but before Romans. I see some connection here with Romans, where as 1 Thessalonians has some connection to 1 Corinthians. Who knows… maybe the pen didn’t change.

But, reading Galatians is like reading a man who should have counted to ten before he began to write. 10 10’s, as a matter of fact. Paul is angry. Upset. How dare Jews try to get Gentiles to become Jewish.

Anyway… how do you read Galatians?

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9 Replies to “Galatians”

  1. I do not read it in a house, I do not read it with a mouse. I do not read Paul’s Galatians, I do not read it, honey buns.

  2. The Order is
    1 & 2 Thess
    1 & 2 Corinthians
    1 Timmy
    2 Timmy

    just follow Acts

    I’d put Hebrews somewhere near the top..

  3. Hi Joel,

    I don’t know about Galatians, but i wish someone would tell me whether or not the first 5 verses of 1 Corinthians 15 is a hymn,a poem, or the repeating of a legend? Not that the resurrection account isn’t true, rather that Paul is only (here) repeating what he heard,not what he knew?

    How did he not know that according to future New Testament scripture,Judas one of the twelve,hanged himself before Jesus’ resurrection? Paul wrote that he first appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. Shouldn’t he have written,he appeared to Peter (first) then to all, or the 11, as stated in the Gospels?

    1. “The Twelve” was the term used for the inner core disciples, even though Judas was already gone. Kind of like calling the Beatles the Beatles even though John Lennon was gone.

    2. the first five verses aren’t a hymn or a poem, but a recounting of the facts of the case. Paul knew of the resurrection because he knew Christ, had met with Peter, James, and John.

      But, you do make a good catch about Paul and Judas….

      Paul rather means this: Jesus appeared to Peter and then to the entire group of the Twelve – which means Judas as well.

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