Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1
October 16, 2011
1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
1901 ASV Translation:
1 O foolish Galatians, who did bewitch you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set forth crucified?
2 This only would I learn from you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now perfected in the flesh?
4 Did ye suffer so many things in vain? if it be indeed in vain.
5 He therefore that supplieth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
- I. The Six Questions.
- A. Who bewitched you?
- 1. O foolish Galatians...
- a. Luke 24:25 -- Jesus used the same adjective in describing the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and tied it to a claim that they were "slow of heart to believe...".
- b. Romans 1:14 -- Paul uses the term in direct opposition to "wise" (sophos).
- c. 1 Timothy 6:9 -- Paul tells Timothy that they who are determined to be rich will fall into "...many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition".
- d. Titus 3:3 -- Paul tells Titus that it is a standard reality of unbelievers that they are "foolish".
- e. Paul used the same term twice in our current paragraph (3:1 and 3:3).
- f. Conclusions.
- 1) The basic idea is that the "fool" is making choices that are fundamentally irrational. He basically rejects the notion that he must be thoughtful because a cause/effect universe will not deal harshly with him.
- 2) Being irrational, those decisions will cost their owners enormously.
- 3) The cost will not be apparent until it is too late.
- 2. Who bewitched you?
- a. Paul is the only New Testament writer to use this word and he only does it once.
- b. The basic idea of the word is found in the non-biblical literature: to have black magic used upon you. Though it is possible that Paul was saying that the only way they could have come to this point was by "black magic", it seems more likely that he was using the notion of "black magic" for its destructive methodology rather than actual application to the situation. The argument of the text is that false Jewish theology in the form of the insertion of Justice into the issues of relationship was being taught, not that some practitioner of black magic was operating. The similarity exists in the "deception" that exists in both "black magic" and "Jewish legalism". At the heart of both is the necessity that the victim be kept from a clear-eyed view of the issues.
- 3. The AV's "that ye should not obey the truth" is in dispute as to whether it is a part of Paul's text. The same words are found in 5:7 and show that it was a part of Paul's general concern, but that it was an expressed concern in our current text is not established by the manuscripts.
- 4. Jesus Christ was openly presented before you as "crucified".
- a. Paul used a metaphor: "before whose eyes". The Galatians did not "see" the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but the impact of Paul's ministry was a sufficient equivalent to make it impossible to not "see" it.
- 1) In the first place, Galatia was a part of the Roman "world" and crucifixion was widely known.
- 2) In the second place, those issues of the Gospel which concern man's need are so stark in terms of man's knee-jerk depravity (Note Romans 1-3) that no thoughtful person could come away from those issues without recognizing that man's "works" simply cannot "cut it" when it comes to any kind of legitimate examination. Man's sin and God's Justice are simply so starkly diverse that anyone can easily "see" why the Christ had to die in man's place if man was to be redeemed.
- 3) In the third place, Paul used a term (translated by the Authorized Version as "hath been evidently set forth") that typically means "written before the present time". The strong implication of this choice of verbs is that Paul used the Old Testament writings regarding Messiah to argue his case that Jesus of Nazareth was the fulfillment. The implication goes further -- that the Old Testament writings focused upon the issue of a "stand-in" for man in terms of the judicial condemnation due him. Thus, the point of "crucifixion" is that He is our Passover Lamb, a major Old Testament theme.
- 4) Paul's "point" is that the "seeing" is actually a matter of rational understanding -- and Paul said that his preaching made it so clear that the Galatians "bought it" when they heard it, and rightly so (the Gospel is not an "emotional" message that simply moves men to impulsive and irrational choices; it is a rigorously consistent message that cannot legitimately be denied).
- b. Clearly, Paul thought that Jesus Christ "crucified" was a kind of "bottom line" that made any thoughtful person aware that "law" could not be an effective part of a relational universe where "love" and the Spirit are the only methodological realities.
- c. Just as clearly, as a "bottom line", "Jesus Christ crucified" was intended to reveal the Grace of God and to destroy any notion that the works of men could be legitimately motivated by legal means. The only time "law" has any good impact on man is when he is ignorant of Truth and simply needs clarity in order to "love".
- B. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
- C. Are ye so foolish?
- D. Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
- E. Have ye suffered so many things in vain?
- F. He therefore that supplieth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?