As our church walks through Galatians, and I continue in preparation to teach a High School Ancient Greek class in the fall, I will be offering my translation of portions of Galatians throughout the following months. I do not recommend using this translation for in-depth study of Scripture, as there are many more accurate and scholarly-researched translations available. I would love to hear from those who are familiar with Greek or anyone else that finds this process interesting; please feel free to head over to the Contact page and drop me a line!
From: Paul, an apostle*, along with all the brothers and sisters that are with me.
To: The churches of Galatia.
Grace to you all, and peace from God the Father and our Lord, Jesus the Messiah, who gave himself for our sins so that he could deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of God our Father, to whom be the glory to the age of the age, amen.
I am shocked that you have so quickly turned away from the one who called you by the grace of Christ, and towards a different gospel. There really is no other gospel, but there are some who are troubling you all and who wish to distort the gospel of Christ. But if we (or even an angel from heaven!) preach a gospel to you that is contrary to the gospel I already preached to you, that person is accursed! As we have said before, I now say again: if anyone among you all proclaims a gospel contrary to the one you already received, that person is accursed!
* this title ‘apostle’ is not derived from any human and is also not given by any human, but by Jesus the Messiah and God the Father who raised him from the dead
Reading is good. Thinking about how you read is better:
When we apply this principle to all three stages of the reading process—the relation of readers to texts, of texts to their authors, and beyond that to the realities they purport to describe—it will be possible to make a number of simultaneous affirmations. First, we can affirm both that the text does have a particular viewpoint from which everything is seen, and at the same time that the reader’s reading is not mere ‘neutral observation’. Second, we can affirm both that the text has a certain life of its own, and that the author had intentions of which we can in principle gain at least some knowledge. Third, we can affirm both that the actions or objects described may well be, in principle, actions and objects in the public world, and that the author was looking at them from a particular, and perhaps distorting, point of view. At each level we need to say both-and, not just either-or.
From Wright’s The New Testament and the People of God, pg. 64
Keller quoting Wright on the resurrection and this world:
The message of the resurrection is that this world matters! That the injustices and pains of this present world must now be addressed with the news that healing, justice, and love have won…If Easter means Jesus Christ is only raised in a spiritual sense—[then] it is only about me, and finding a new dimension in my personal spiritual life. But if Jesus Christ is truly risen from the dead, Christianity becomes good news for the whole world—news which warms our hearts precisely because it isn’t just about warming hearts. Easter means that in a world where injustice, violence and degradation are endemic, God is not prepared to tolerate such things—and that we will work and plan, with all the energy of God, to implement victory of Jesus over them all. Take away Easter and Karl Marx was probably right to accuse Christianity of ignoring problems of the material world. Take it away and Freud was probably right to say Christianity is wish-fulfillment. Take it away and Nietzsche probably was right to say it was for wimps.
Keller, Timothy (2008-02-14). The Reason for God (p. 210). Riverhead. Kindle Edition.
N. T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church (Eerdmans, 1997), pp. 65–66.
Advice I gave today in class that I should heed:
Ehrman and Bell are leading the way on making scholarship accessible. Write reviews of their books and you reach those that already agree with you. Write and teach based on sound scholarship but in an accessible and entertaining way and you will reach their intended audience.
Christian Smith on the necessary distinction between dogma, doctrine and opinion:
“Some Christian beliefs are nonnegotiable for any believer—such as the dogmas of the Trinity and Nicene Christology. Other beliefs are those to which groups of Christians adhere with firm conviction but also disagree over with other kinds of Christians—such as Calvinist or Wesleyan systems of theology. Still others are beliefs that some Christians hold, sometimes with strong feelings, but that are far from being central, sure, and most important in the larger scheme of Christian belief and life. Examples of the latter include a preference for baptism by immersion rather than sprinkling, the commitment to homeschooling children versus sending them to Christian or public school, and so on. The most central, sure, and important of these beliefs we may call “dogmas.” Those occupying the middle range of centrality, sureness, and importance are in this scheme called “doctrines.” Those which are the least of these let us call ‘opinions.’”
Read more in his book The Bible Made Impossible.