I handed Paul a mug of coffee. I leaned back in my desk chair.
“So, It’s been a great couple of weeks thinking about your letter,” I said. “You think we could come up with some applications? Some simple take-aways?”
“What?” Paul looked a little confused.
“We’re at the end of the first chapter of Galatians,” I said. “It’s the place for some review questions which will help us all highlight key learnings. And we can pick a verse that we will memorize. And then we can identify several applications that we can live out over the weekend.”
“It’s what we do for good teaching these days.” I said. “We make sure that people can remember. We look for lessons. People want the Bible to be practical.”
“So what do you think the lessons should be?” Paul said. “Are you thinking that everyone should avoid learning things from God-called leaders and instead go to the wilderness? Do you think you should be bragging about the people who are talking about you? What’s the verse you want to take away? Something like ‘Later I returned to Damascus’? Yep. That would make a grat life verse.”
I wasn’t prepared for his intensity. I shouldn’t have been surprised. The whole letter has a passion.
“Exactly,” Paul said.
I had completely forgotten that he could read my mind.
“The whole letter.” Paul said. “You just said it. I wrote a whole letter. I didn’t put in chapters. I didn’t put in verses. I was building an argument for my own calling from God as the basis for the belief and behavior that results from the freedom of the Gospel.”
“But don’t moments and sentences speak to us?” I asked.
“I am sure. But can’t you work to have the whole story first, the story that I’m trying to tell? The story that God unfolded in me and through me.”
It was a fair question. I’ll have to think about it this weekend.