Reading Section 11: Not Circumcision but the New Creation 6.11-18

➡ Average Reading Time: 5 minutes

The material in the following chapters of this draft is being proofed.
They are NOT finished chapters. I invite you to read them and leave comments about what you liked, didn’t like, didn’t understand, etc.

Thanks,
Winn

Where Are We Going?

Reading the Storyline: New International Version (2011)
Reading the Storyline: Interpretative Paraphrase
Observing the Storyline
Interpreting the Storyline
Closing Thoughts (6.11-18)
Large Letters (6.11)
A Final Whack at the Jewish Agitators (6.12-17)
Good Bye (6.18)
Gratitude
Shameless Ballyhoo
Living into the Story

Reading the Storyline: New International Version (2011)

Free At LastSee what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.
From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.

Reading the Storyline: Interpretative Paraphrase

I making a point by the use of my large letters that those who want you to look good on their behalf are training you wrongly about your life. You do not, let me repeat myself, “do not” have to add anything, and I mean anything to have a life with Jesus. These agitators only want to look good to their friends who are also agitators. The only person that I want to impress is Jesus. Why? Because he died that you might live additive-free because circumcision or non-uncircumcision means anything to God. He is only interested in a new creation. If you are going to walk in this new way, I wish you peace and mercy. From now on don’t let these agitators cause me any more trouble among you because I bear the marks of persecution for Jesus that are branded on my body from the stoning I received in Lystra.
May the grace of Jesus be with you and in you. That’s it!

Observing the Storyline

 

Interpreting the Storyline

Closing Thoughts (6.11-18)

Large Letters (6.11)

If you are one that scans the opening and closing of the letters of the Second Testament because you think that all the “good stuff” must be in the middle, it’s time to retrain yourself. If you were to do this for the book of Galatians you would miss Paul’s main point of his letter (Introduction: Gal. 1.1-9 and Conclusion: Gal. 6.11-18) because in those two passages Paul gives his readers a clue as to his main concerns for them and how they should understand what he is writing.

He begins this last section with his signature (Gal. 6.11). Usually in the ancient world letters were dictated to a secretary (called an amanuensis), who was trained to write speedily as the narrator spoke while being neat and using very little space (Rom. 16.22). Paul signs this letter with “large letters.” Some believe this was because Paul had an eye disease (Gal. 4.13-16), but, as we discovered, that is not the only way that that passage could be understood. Others believe that because Paul was a tentmaker he had not learned to write well, but because he was well-educated and writing was a part of that education, this is highly unlikely. While others believe that “large letters” was an equivalent to our “bold” face in today’s computer writing, still others think that Paul may be responding in a passion where writing often gets bolder in stroke and size than under normal conditions. It may only be that he wished to call attention to the final words that he was about to write them.[ref] Scot McKnight. Galatians (The NIV Application Commentary Book 9) (Kindle Location 5844). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. [/ref] The latter two seem to have the most plausibility.

A Final Whack at the Jewish Agitators (6.12-17)

Paul whacks the Jewish missionaries a few more times in these closing words. He critiques them (Gal. 6.12-13) and he assesses himself (Gal. 6.14-17). For Paul, there are several problems with the Jewish agitators. First, their presentation is forced (Gal. 6.12a). Second, their motive is clear as a bell (Gal. 6.12b). Third, they are not consistent in what they preach and practice (6.13a). Lastly, they are braggers (Gal. 6.14b). His assessment of himself is: that his goal is clear and threefold. First, he brags only about the cross of Christ. Second, he once again confronts the Galatians with his perspective on the Jewish missionaries’ proclamation of nationalism (Gal. 6.14). Finally, he knows what persecution is (Gal. 6.17).[ref] Scot McKnight. Galatians (The NIV Application Commentary Book 9) (Kindle Location 5851). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. [/ref] For Paul, in all of this, what counted was the creation of a New Israel, a people of God living a life in the Spirit. This “New Israel” is the church. Because living in this present evil age is difficult, Paul wishes those who make up this new body of Jesus, to be the true image-bearers of the one Creator God for the sake of the world so the world can have a view of what God is like: personifying peace and mercy. Peace amid all the trouble when she would find herself moving forward into the unknown future and mercy to carry God’s image to the world.

Good Bye (6.18)

Having said what he wanted to say, having uncovered his own emotions about the importance of following Jesus without any additives, Paul says good-bye. What is more fitting to end his letter with than an almost in-your-face closing prayer for the grace of God: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.”

Gratitude

I owe much of my thinking about the book of Galatians to N. T. Wright and Scot McKnight and various other authors. This is not to say that what I have written about Galatians is what they would accept as valid. I am, alas, responsible for the thoughts presented in these pages about Galatians. I trust that it has been a profitable journey.

Shameless Ballyhoo

If you are interested in FREE Bible studies check out our other studies at  Training Jesus Followers.

Living into the Story

End of Session
 

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Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)

Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)