Weekend reading: Galatians

the writing life. #amwritingSome mornings I give you the whole thought. This time I’m giving you homework. We’ve talked about the first few sentences of Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia. Over the next couple days, I’d like you to read the next section of the letter and think about it.

Galatians 1:11-2:10 starts with an assertion: “…the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” If he proves this to the satisfaction of his readers, he’s able to do other things. He has authority to apply the gospel. He has authority to speak against people who are talking about the gospel differently. He has authority equal to the disciples who actually walked with Jesus.

The rest of the section is Paul providing evidence for getting instruction from God, not from others. So read it carefully and look for some things.

  1. Notice that he’s talking about a learning and living process that spreads across many years. When we read the book of Acts, we think that events happen at Twitter speed. For us, “later” means “that afternoon”. But in Paul’s story, “later” could mean “months later”. So how long did his training take?
  2. Notice how often he talks about his independence from other human influence. When I hear someone say “God told me” I hesitate. Especially when God seems to tell you to do what makes you most happy and comfortable regardless of what he told Moses, Paul, John, Nehemiah, and others. So how reliable is his hearing?
  3. Notice how his account is consistent with and different from Acts 9-14. Do they have to be identical, or is it possible they differ the way we may include or exclude events as we are telling our life story to different people?

Read well. Let me know what you see.

See you Monday.

 

 

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

2 thoughts on “Weekend reading: Galatians

  1. Interesting how he establishes his authority. He makes a big deal out of the fact that he didn’t get his ideas from the original disciples, which might seem arrogant to some folks.

    Because of current sensitivity I noticed the last sentence…the reminder to not neglect the poor, which is bible language for seeking justice. They could have emphasized many things. We probably ought to take note of the fact that “seek justice” was the one thing Paul listed.

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