Wednesday 22 June 2016

Bible Book:

“They glorified God because of me” (v. 24)

Galatians 1:13-24 Wednesday 22 June 2016

Psalm: Psalm110


Today's passage gives us some vitalbackground detail about the life of Paul, this letter's author. Inthe New Testament, we are first introduced to Paul as Saul in Acts8. While "violently persecuting the church of God" (v. 13), Jesusspoke to him directly on the road to Damascus and he became acommitted Christian (Acts9:1-22). These verses in Galatians tell us what happenedafterwards: how he went to Arabia, then Damascus, briefly back toJerusalem and then out into Syria and what is now south-easternTurkey (Cicilia). There is much more we would like to know abouthis growth as a Christian during this vital period but it is stillvery important information about one of the Bible's most importantcharacters.

Paul is telling the Galatians thesedetails because he feels the need to defend his own authority andcredibility. He is writing to newly-converted Christians in thechurches of Galatia that he had only recently helped to establish(Acts 16:6 18:23). They were being led astray in theirfaith by other missionaries who were teaching them that Paul waswrong and that they needed to obey aspects of the Jewish law, suchas circumcision (Galatians 5:2-12). To support their case, andundermine their opponent's, these false teachers were apparentlyattacking Paul himself. The details are hard to establish but theyseemed to be claiming that Paul's authority was not as great assome of the other Apostles, especially those based in Jerusalem.These included Peter, who is here referred to by the Aramaicversion of his name Cephas, and James, the brother of Jesus (Mark6:3), who became the leader of the early Church. This is whythroughout the letter, and here in particular, Paul keeps insistingthat his right to act and speak as God's special messenger - or'apostle' - came to him directly from Jesus, not from any human(even ones as important as Peter and James). He was directly setapart by God, from birth, for this purpose.

To Ponder

  • Who has the authority to make definitive statements aboutmatters of faith and life today?
  • How often do we judge an argument by its own validity and howoften on the basis of the person making the argument?
  • To what extent do we glorify God because of the good things wesee in other people (v.24), or do we simply glorify the peoplethemselves?
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