I’ve always loved the letter we know as Galatians. I’ve loved how feisty Paul is, how combative. I love how he barely takes time to say “hello” before he’s tearing into the readers. I’ve limited my understanding of the letter to this sense of excess.
I think I’ve been mistaken.
So I’m going to spend some time during July reading and writing about the first letter we have that was written by Paul. I’m not sure where we’re going to end up. So I know this will be a bit risky.
I’d invite you to start like Nancy and I have. Read the whole book through a couple times. Start to finish will take you about 15 minutes if you don’t stop to argue or research or follow footnotes. And the letter deserves to be read, at least once, the way it was first read. Without footnotes.
Though the suggestion to write about Galatians came from Nancy, I think that my shift in thinking started a couple months ago. I was reading through the Bible using the Message 100. Eugene Peterson paraphrases a section near the end of Galatians this way:
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
That doesn’t sound as cranky as I remembered. In fact, it sounds like Paul has a passion for helping people live well.
Let’s find out.