Friday, March 11, 2011

Galatians 6:11-6:18, Final Warning and Benediction (The Study of Galatians)

     11 You see how large the letters are that I wrote to you in my own hand.1 12 As many as are willing to make a good showing2 in the flesh3 , these people try to force you to be circumcised only so that they may not be persecuted because of the cross of Christ4. 13 For not even the ones who are circumcised5 are keeping the law themselves6, but are desiring you to be circumcised, so that they may boast in your flesh.7 14 But may it never be for me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ8, through which the world has been crucified to me and I have been crucified to the world9. 15 For neither is circumcision anything nor uncircumcision anything, but there is a new creation10 . 16 And as many as will walk in this rule11, there is peace and mercy on them, even on the Israel of God12.
     17 From now on13 , let no one cause me trouble. For I bear the marks of Jesus in my body.14
     18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit Brothers. Amen.


Paul has to get in one last punch in against circumcision and the Jewish law.  He also makes it known to the people that they shouldn't trouble him anymore over issues like this as he has authority in his "marks" of Christ.

1 Either the entire letter was written personally by Paul or Paul had it dictated and he is decided to write the last of the letter himself to show that he very sincere in what is being written. He wants to make sure that the people in the churches of Galatia know that Paul is the one who is really writing to them. Some scholars think that Paul had to write in “big letters” because of some eye problem (4:13-15), but we can’t completely infer that in this letter.

2 εὐπροσωπῆσαι (to make a good showing)

or “to make a good showing externally”. These people are interested in the outward looks of a person (in this case, circumcision), not the inward looks of a person.

3 Complements the infinitive verb εὐπροσωπῆσαι above. “In the flesh” is referring to the outward appearance of circumcision.

4 τῷ σταυρῷ τοῦ Χριστοῦ (because of the cross of Christ)

A dative of cause. The cross of Christ represents the New Covenant between people and God. Jews would have been opposed to this. It’s possible that Jews in Jerusalem were persecuting the Jewish Christians in such a way that they had now started proclaiming that the Jewish law was to be performed in spite of the New Covenant. Paul is making sure that the Churches in Galatia understand this.

5 οἱ περιτεμνόμενοι (the ones who are circumcised)

Referring to the people who had come up from Jerusalem to evangelize the Churches of Galatia to believe a different gospel.

6 αὐτοὶ νόμον φυλάσσουσιν (are keeping the law themselves)

This can mean two things: 1. The one’s from Jerusalem were not actually keeping the whole law and have only picked certain things out of the law to continue to perform, or 2. it is referring back to 3:10 where Paul establishes that no one is able to keep the Jewish law perfectly. If we keep within the context of the letter, then 2 is probably in view.

7 In other words, there is strength in numbers. The more gentiles that the “trouble-makers” can convert to performing the Jewish law, the more strengthened the message becomes. This is true with any teaching.

8 In Roman times, it was not polite to speak of the method of such a gruesome execution. The cross was a symbol of death and shame. The Greeks would have seen the cross in this way also. It was shameful to be executed on a cross. Paul turns that around by boasting in the method of gruesome execution. By Jesus’ execution, he because the final sacrifice under Jewish law and redeemed all people in the very act of dying and being resurrected.

9 The cross now stands between Paul and the sinful world. Not only did the sinful world die away from Paul, but Paul died away from the world and was resurrected into a new life separated from the world. So is the same for all christians. Paul uses this language to set up the next passage.

10 ἀλλὰ καινὴ κτίσις (but there is a new creation)

The new creation in Jesus Christ. The crucifying of one’s self and being resurrected into a new life in Christ represents this “new creation” in which a christian now lives. The Spirit of God has brought a person into the “new creation” and the “new creation” is not the “old world”.

11 τῷ κανόνι τούτῳ (in this new rule)

A rule involving a standard of conduct. People of the “new creation” do not walk in the ways of the “old world”.

12 καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰσραὴλ τοῦ θεοῦ (and even on the Israel of God)

There is much debate on who is the Israel of God. Is it Israel as a whole? Is it the church in Jerusalem? It remains a mystery. Since the article τὸν (the) is presented here with Ἰσραὴλ (Israel), it represents something specific or something special about this Israel. I believe Israel here refers to “the Jerusalem above” in 5:23. Only the ones who walk in the new rule will have the peace and mercy of God. In that case, the Israel of God would refer to the ones born of the free woman in 5:23 thus the true christians in the new creation.

13 Τοῦ λοιποῦ (for now on) 

Greek: “of the remaining”. An idiom that indicates time. “of the remaining time” or “within the remaining time”.

14 τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ (the marks of Jesus)

A στίγμα stigma (mark) was a mark or a scar that was placed on slaves to show ownership. It is most likely referring to a “brand”. Since Paul is a “slave of Christ” (1:10), he bore the marks of being Christ’s slave. Paul’s brand mark was not put on him by Jesus himself, but by all of his opponents. Paul had been stoned, whipped, beating, imprisoned, and persecuted. Paul truly wore the “marks of Jesus” and received his “mark of slavery” by living for Jesus Christ.

The Greek

Γαλάτας 6·11 Ἴδετε πηλίκοις ὑμῖν γράμμασιν ἔγραψα τῇ ἐμῇ χειρί. 12 Ὅσοι θέλουσιν εὐπροσωπῆσαι ἐν σαρκί, οὗτοι ἀναγκάζουσιν ὑμᾶς περιτέμνεσθαι, μόνον ἵνα τῷ σταυρῷ τοῦ Χριστοῦ μὴ διώκωνται. 13 οὐδὲ γὰρ οἱ περιτεμνόμενοι αὐτοὶ νόμον φυλάσσουσιν ἀλλὰ θέλουσιν ὑμᾶς περιτέμνεσθαι, ἵνα ἐν τῇ ὑμετέρᾳ σαρκὶ καυχήσωνται. 14 Ἐμοὶ δὲ μὴ γένοιτο καυχᾶσθαι εἰ μὴ ἐν τῷ σταυρῷ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, δι ̓ οὗ ἐμοὶ κόσμος ἐσταύρωται κἀγὼ κόσμῳ. 15 οὔτε γὰρ περιτομή τί ἐστιν οὔτε ἀκροβυστία ἀλλὰ καινὴ κτίσις. 16 καὶ ὅσοι τῷ κανόνι τούτῳ στοιχήσουσιν, εἰρήνη ἐπ ̓ αὐτοὺς καὶ ἔλεος καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰσραὴλ τοῦ θεοῦ.
Γαλάτας 6·17 Τοῦ λοιποῦ κόπους μοι μηδεὶς παρεχέτω· ἐγὼ γὰρ τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐν τῷ σώματί μου βαστάζω. Γαλάτας 6·18 Ἡ χάρις τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματος ὑμῶν, ἀδελφοί· ἀμήν.

1 comment:

  1. The law becomes written on the heart which is circumcised with the Spirit. This is the mark and seal of those in Christ.
    Good work as usual.