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Comments on Galatians 1:1-9

Comments on Galatians 1:1-9

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Published by Rod
This is my translation of Galatians 1:1-9 followed by a brief commentary on the passage. I observe the apostle Paul's usage of the Greek term, patros (father) and reflect on the implications of the doctrine of divine parenthood for human relationships in terms of race.
This is my translation of Galatians 1:1-9 followed by a brief commentary on the passage. I observe the apostle Paul's usage of the Greek term, patros (father) and reflect on the implications of the doctrine of divine parenthood for human relationships in terms of race.

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Published by: Rod on Mar 20, 2009
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05/10/2014

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Copyright. Rodney A. Thomas Jr., 2009.
Galatians 1:1-91.
 
Paul, an apostle, not from people nor through people, but through Jesus the Messiah andGod the Father, who raised him from the dead,2.
 
And with me, all of the brothers and sisters of the Galatian church,3.
 
Grace and peace to you (plural) from God our Father and the LORD Jesus the Messiah4.
 
 — 
the One who gave up himself on the behalf of our sins, in order to deliver us from theevil of the present age according to the will of God our Father5.
 
To whom be the glory forever and ever, Amen6.
 
I marvel because so easily you (plural) are changing from the one who called you in thegrace of the Messiah to a different gospel,7.
 
Not that it is another one (gospel); there are some men who are confusing you (plural)and one wishing to change the gospel of the Messiah.8.
 
But, even if an angel from out of heaven should preach a gospel to you (pl.) besides theone which was preached to you, LET HIM! Be cursed.9.
 
I said it before and again I say, if anyone should preach a gospel besides the one you havereceived, LET HIM! Be cursed.
 Excursus
The Pauline TraditionIn the original Greek of Galatians 1:1-4, the noun

appears as an adjectival noun in thegenitive form three times after the term for God/divinity,

The apostle Paul wants to
emphasize parental relationship as the essence of God’s being to the Galatian church. Paul issetting up his audience to show them that as God’s Son, Jesus the Messiah has made a way for 
the Judeans and the citizens of other nations to become one family. However, the Sonship of Jesus is not explicitly delineated here; it is the fact of his Messiahship that Paul wants to contendfor in these first nine passages of his letter.Jesus, as the Chosen One (Messiah), has been sent from God the Father with a mission. Theproclamation of this mission is what Paul refers to as,

or to preach the Good News.
The Gospel is an event, the sending of the Messiah from the Father’s house to rescue us from the
evil of this age (1:4). Prior to Jesus the Messiah being delivered up on the cross by the Father forthe liberation of us from our sins, the present evil must have power of our humanity; thus, that
 power had to be overcome by God the Parent through God’s Son, Jesus of Nazareth.
BradBraxton assert
s that as the calling of an apostle, therefore, is to be “sent by Jesus to proclaim the
gospel, and in the very act of proclaiming this good news the apostle believes that the eventproclaimed is actually occurring and that the power of God is flowing through the apostle to
achieve the purposes of God.”
(Braxton 2002,58). In other words, just as we cannot separate
 
Copyright. Rodney A. Thomas Jr., 2009.
God’s good news from God’s power, nor can we separate God’s act of choosing (election) fromGod’s sending
. Divine election, for Paul in this passage, means the dispatching of a particularindividual to a community that needs
God’s power to be revealed to them. In this ca
se, it wasthe confused Gentile Christ-following assembly in Galatia, circa 37 Common Era (Braxton 2002,55).The Black Christian TraditionPeter Paris, in his groundbreaking work,
The Social Teaching of the Black Churches,
noted thedoctrinal formation of African American congregations as they struggled against legal, racialsegregation. The fight against the sin of racism impacted the way many Black preachersunderstood traditional Christian doctrine, including the nature of God. Like the apostle Paul inGalatians 1:1-
9, God’s divine parenthood became a fundamental doctrine in the
Black Church.The contradictions of living in a nation which referred to itself as Christian while simultaneouslyrejecting the presence of Jesus the Messiah within humans of darker skin tones persuaded theBlack Church to embrace a very Pauline perspective of God
’s nature
, who was more of a Fatherto them rather than an arbitrary cruel monarch who had predestined them to racial inferiority.
Paris observes that the “principle of freedom and equality of all persons under God is not an
abstract idea, but a normative condition of th
e black churches […]” (Paris
1985, 10). To put itanother way, while white churches proclaimed a God who was an unmovable monarch similar tothe Enlightenment Deism of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams (both who shared anti-trinitariansentiments), the African American church before and after Emancipation worshipped a God whowas first and foremost, relational in nature, or as orthodox Christianity would refer to their faithas Trinitarian and biblical. The lives of Richard Allen, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,Lemuel Haynes, and Rosa Parks give us a prophetic witness that properly expresses the apostle
Paul’s teaching to the Galatian church.
Trinitarian faith and racial peace-making are not mutually exclusive; rather, as we have seen, thePauline doctrine of the fatherhood of God has been embodied in the African American Christiancommunity. God, the Father of Jesus and the Mother of Zion as the prophet Isaiah calls God(66:13) sends apostles to all of the nations to participate in the reconciling mission of Jesus theMessiah in whom there is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, but where we
are all become part of Abraham and Sarah’
s family (Gal 3:26-29).

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