The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

The Impetus of Galatians

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 27, 2008

St Irenaeus Ministries has their latest podcast on Galatians now available. This is the second installment on Galatians and concludes the introduction begun in this first installment.   Both can be found HERE.

History has shown that Christians do best when they approach the Bible comprehensively. Many have profited in Bible study by availing themselves of ample background information, prayerfully reading through the text, considering the opinions of worthy commentators and carefully pondering those elements of the story not expressly stated in Scripture. A good backdrop for a study of the Book of Galatians is that the Jewish people historically classified men into two races: Jews and Gentiles. In the Apostolic age, however, Christians began to believe that humanity had three races: Jews, Gentiles, and Christians born anew in Jesus Christ. For centuries, theologians assumed Paul wrote this epistle to the ethnic Gauls in northern Galatia. In the 20th Century, many began to consider an earlier early dating of the epistle and put forth a strong argument that Paul wrote instead to the Jews and Gentiles in southern Galatia. This latter position seems more credible for many convincing reasons, such as the fact that there is no reference to the Council of Jerusalem in the book and that the Galatian names listed in the epistle are from the south. Commentator F. F. Bruce recently stated that Galatians was the earliest of Paul’s letters, composed just before the Council of Jerusalem. The issue of whether living a fully Christianity life required circumcision had great significance for the early Church, especially considering the lack of anesthesia and the rabbinical practice to use a stone knife for the procedure. History leaves few details about the Judaizers specific to Galatia, but it is likely that they traveled from church to church to spread their positions and claimed a commission from the pious and powerful James, Proto-Bishop of Jerusalem. From the onset, Paul passionately affirms that his message is from God, not from man (cf. Gal 1:1). He then juxtaposes the grace and peace of Christ’s gospel with the troubling perversions that come from the Judaizers. He writes, “even if … an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:8). Not treating the issue as a mere discussion of doctrinal theory, he passionately points out all that is essential to know Jesus Christ and live in His resurrection. After reflecting on Galatians, a number of questions emerge: What place should Jewish teachings and the Old Testament have in the Church? Who or what tries to pervert the gospel in this age? What is essential to live the Gospel? How do we best live out that which is essential? Music: Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 in A Major performed by the Skidmore College Orchestra

4 Responses to “The Impetus of Galatians”

  1. Great blog..will you consider adding my blog to your links? I will add yours..

  2. I clicked on you name but blogger says your blog does not exist any longer

  3. Rob said

    -History has shown that Christians do best when they approach the Bible comprehensively-

    Increasingly, I believe that the best way to approach Scripture is through the liturgies, either the Liturgy of the Hours or the Mass. I have almost stopped reading scripture outside of those venues. Which is quite a statement coming from me! I used to love reading whole chunks of scripture. Now, without the guiding hand of the Church behind my reading, I don’t feel comfortable.

  4. You might enjoy reading this:
    http://www.salvationhistory.com/library/scripture/LSJ1%20Hahn.pdf

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