Fidelity to the Proclamation: Galatians 1-2

While I work on debunking the various places where Louis Martyn and others following him see reified opposition to God as a real force in Paul's mind, have a couple chapters of freshly-translated Galatians. There's definitely at least a study to be done on the use of ἀνατίθημι, especially when it comes to ἀνάθεμα and the nature of respectful dialogue Paul shows. Also worth noting is the theme of reversal, with μετα- and ἀνα-στρέφω. Paul isn't talking about his "former way of life"—this is his conversion narrative within Judaism. And, as always, it's worth noting the oral coherence of the piece. It's just good stuff!

From Paul—a missionary not from people nor because of a person, but rather because of Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from among the dead—and all of my siblings with me, to the assembly of Galatia:

Grace to you, and peace, from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ—the one who gave himself, concerning our failures, to extract us from this age of besetting wickedness in accordance with the will of our God and Father, whose is the glory for as long as time continues, amen!

I marvel at how quickly you have shifted from proclaiming the one who called you by the grace of Christ, to another proclamation—which is not different, except that there are some who are stirring you up, seeking to reverse the proclamation of Christ. But even if we, or a messenger from heaven, should proclaim something opposed to what we proclaimed to you, they must retract it. As we have said, so now I say again: if someone proclaims to you something other than what you received, they must retract it.

Do I now persuade people, or God? Or do I seek to be agreeable to people? Were I still seeking to be agreeable to people, I would not be a servant of Christ. But I make known to you, siblings, the proclamation that was proclaimed by me, which is not popular in origin. For I neither received it from people, nor yet was I taught it, but rather I received it through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Indeed, you heard about my conversion in Judaism: I persecuted the assembly of God and ravaged it excessively, and strove to advance in Judaism beyond many peers in my generation, being more abundantly zealous for the traditional fundamentals of my fathers. But when the one who set me apart and called me by his grace from my mother's womb was pleased to reveal his son to me, so that I should proclaim him among the nations, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were missionaries before me; rather I went into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Three years after that, I went up to Jerusalem to trade stories with Cephas, and I stayed in his hospitality fifteen days. But I did not see any other missionaries, except Jacob, the brother of the Lord. (Now, what I write to you, observe before God that I am not lying.) After that I went to the hilly regions of Syria and Cilicia, and was personally unknown to the assemblies of the Judeans who were in Christ, except that they heard that "Our persecutor is now himself proclaiming the faith he had ravaged!" and they glorified God for me.

After that, fourteen years passed before I again went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. Now, I went up there because of a revelation, and I laid out to them the proclamation that I preach among the nations—but individually, to the reputable ones, to make sure that I had not run and should not run in vain. But not even Titus, who was with me, being a Hellene, was compelled to be circumcised—now, that was because of the false siblings who snuck in, in order to more closely observe the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they could make us serve them. But we did not yield in subjection to them even for an hour, so that the proclamation might remain true for you. But from some of the reputable ones—what sort they had been in no way matters to me, for God is not concerned with a person's outward appearance—indeed, the reputable ones modified nothing in our consultation, but on the contrary, seeing that I was entrusted with the proclamation for the foreskinned just as Peter was for the circumcised, for the one who empowered Peter for mission for the circumcised also empowered me for the nations, and knowing the grace that was given to me, Jacob and Cephas and Johann, those reputed to be pillars, gave to myself and Barnabas the right hand of partnership, so that we should go to the nations, and they should go to the circumcised—except that we should remember the poor [among them], which is exactly what I was eager to do.

Now, when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him on the matter of appearances, because he was in the wrong. For, before the arrival of some people from Jacob, he would eat with the gentiles. But when they came, he withdrew and set himself apart, being afraid of the circumcised faction. And the rest of the Judeans joined him in this play-acting, which caused even Barnabas to be carried away with them in hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not walking in the path of the truth of the proclamation, I said to Cephas, in front of everyone, "If you, who are fundamentally Judean, live like a gentile and not like a Judean, how can you compel the gentiles to act Jewish? We are native Judeans, and not gentile sinners, but we know that no person is justified by deeds of Torah if they are not justified through the trust of Christ Jesus—and we trusted in Christ Jesus, so that we should be justified by the trust of Christ and not by the deeds of Torah, because all flesh will not be justified by deeds of Torah. And if, while seeking to be justified by Christ, we are also found to be sinners ourselves, does Christ then serve sin? Let it not be so! For if I build up again exactly what I tore down, I prove myself a deviant. For because of Torah I died to Torah, so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ; I no longer live, but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh I live by trust in the son of God who loved me and handed himself over in exchange for me. I do not displace the grace of God—indeed, if justice comes through Torah, then Christ's death was gratuitous!"


Popular Posts