Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 3 Study # 1
February 26, 2012
Dayton, Texas
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<155> Thesis: Paul's concept of a "brother" includes those on the verge of apostasy. Introduction: Over the years it has become fairly common practice for those who claim to be "believers" to make "judgment" statements regarding other people who profess to be "believers" but do terrible things. The typical statement is: a true believer would not do that. This evening we are going to look into that issue because Paul opens this third paragraph of chapter three with the appelation, "brethren", as he addresses his readers. This is only the second time in this letter that he calls his readers "brethren". This is notable for these reasons: first, his only previous use of "brethren" to identify his readers is 1:11; and, second, he deliberately begins, in our text for the evening, to insist upon this identity for his readers (he uses the word six more times in Galatians in reference to them). That he begins to emphasize this identity is significant in the light of what he has already said of them and what he is going to say to them beyond our current text. In passing, let me just say this about making "judgment" statements: the text "judge not lest ye be judged" is inappropriately applied the vast majority of the times it is found in the mouths of those who do not wish to allow others to make judgments about the condition of the souls of those whom they "judge". That injunction was given by Jesus in His "Sermon on the Mount" and has its own context. In that context, the issue is not whether you will make "judgments", but how you will make "judgments". The plain fact is, the people of God are regularly called upon to make certain "judgments" about others and Jesus' prohibition does not deny them their responsibilities. In fact, even Paul's description of his readers is a "judgment"; it just so happens to be "positive" so that we tend to "overlook" its nature as a judgment. This evening we are going to look into Paul's theology of a "brother" so that we can have some guidelines on how we are to go about following his example.