Summary Galatians Chapter 4
To summarize the entire chapter.
In Chapter 4:1-10, we get the extended metaphor regarding the Law as a tutor that was necessary during our time as spiritual minors. It’s an interesting way to minimize Judaism, the Judaic roots of the Jesus faith without actually dismissing it completely. It was a necessary step, but the need has now ended.
Starting with 4:11-20, we pick up sort of where we were in 1 Thess chapter 3, with Paul sort of whining about how he doesn’t get no respect. He worked so hard to bring them the gospel, and, the minute his back is turned, the Galatians are chasing another gospel.
In this stretch I finally figured out that the Galatians had been converted from paganism as the Thessalonians had been. In addition, this ‘other gospel’ was most likely the gospel as promulgated by James and the Jerusalem assembly. That is why they preached the need to follow the Law in order to be fully disciples of Jesus. This then explains why Paul dedicates most of this letter to contrasting the Promise to Abraham–which now includes Gentiles–with the followers of the Law, and why the former is validated while the latter is decidedly inferior.
This theme is continued in 21-31. There, we go back to the relative values Paul placed on the Law and faith in Jesus. For this, we go back to the story of Abraham, and are presented with two new metaphors. The first is slave vs freeborn, the second flesh vs spirit. Paul flat-out says that Jewish tradition and the Law are slavery; this is the heritage of Hagar, and the followers of the Law are the heirs of Ishmael and not the heirs of Isaac. Followers of Jesus, OTOH, who don’t put their hopes in the Law are freeborn, the true heirs of Isaac, the children of the Promise. This is true whether they are Jew or Gentile, slave or free.
Posted on October 28, 2012, in epistles, Galatians, Paul's Letters and tagged Bible, Bible commentary, Bible scholarship, biblical scholarship, commenting, epistles, Galatians, New Testament, religion, St Paul, theology. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.