Monday: Grounded in Scripture
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So far, in his letter to the Galatians, Paul has defended his gospel of justification by faith by appealing to the agreement reached with the apostles in Jerusalem (Gal. 2:1–10) and to the personal experience of the Galatians themselves (Gal. 3:1–5). Beginning in Galatians 3:6, Paul now turns to the testimony of Scripture for the final and ultimate confirmation of his gospel. In fact, Galatians 3:6–4:31 is made up of progressive arguments rooted in Scripture.

What does Paul mean when he writes about the “Scripture” in Galatians 3:6–8? Consider Rom. 1:2, 4:3, 9:17.



It is important to remember that at the time Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians there was no “New Testament.” Paul was the earliest New Testament writer. The Gospel of Mark is probably the earliest of the four gospels, but it likely was not written until around the time of Paul’s death (A.D. 65)—that is, about fifteen years after Paul’s letter to the Galatians. So, when Paul refers to the Scriptures, he has only the Old Testament in mind.

The Old Testament Scriptures play a significant role in Paul’s teachings. He does not view them as dead texts but as the authoritative and living Word of God. In 2 Timothy 3:16 he writes, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” The word translated “inspiration” is theopneustos. The first part of the word (theo) means “God,” while the second half means “breathed.” Scripture is “God-breathed.” Paul uses the Scripture to demonstrate that Jesus is the promised Messiah (Rom. 1:2), to give instruction in Christian living (Rom. 13:8–10), and to prove the validity of his teachings (Gal. 3:8, 9).

It is difficult to determine exactly how many hundreds of times Paul quotes the Old Testament, but quotes are found throughout all his letters, except his shortest ones, Titus and Philemon.

Read carefully Galatians 3:6–14. Identify the passages he quotes from the Old Testament in those verses. What does that tell us about how authoritative the Old Testament was? 



Do you at times find yourself thinking that one part of the Bible is more “inspired” than other parts? Given Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 3:16, what’s the danger of going down that path?

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Monday: Grounded in Scripture — 4 Comments

  1. Paul arguably uses old Testament citation when he writes in Galatians assuming that readers will know the background to these citations.Paul was well steeped in the old Testament unfortunately,most of us are not.In order to understand Paul,we must understand the background to these citations vs by vs.Examples:1)Gal.3:10 and Deuteronomy 27:26. 2)Gal 3:11 and Habakkuk 2:4 (3) Gal 3:12 and Leviticus 18:5 /Ezekiel 20:11 ,13 (4)Gal 3:13 and Deuteronomy 21:23.And all these knowledge made paul to give testimony of the scripture to confirm his gospel.Therefore Paul made it clear that we should continually focus on the concept that grace through faith in christ alone saves us.

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  2. (Do you at times find yourself thinking that one part of the Bible is more “inspired” than other parts?)

    No, I have always trusted the Bible to be entirely the inspiration of God. I can’t exactly explain why this was/is the case. Just as I have never questioned my beliefs in the Seventh Day Adventist, I also have taken it on faith since a young boy, that the Bible is the true Word of God.

    My step father has told me how he had gone through many churches, and how they never seemed to be entirely correct. He had read the Bible many times, and when a minister would preach something my step father didn’t agree with, he would study it further on his own. He told me once that he never really found the “right” church, until he had married my mother and after some time coming to church with her. He says now he “feels” that he has found the right church.

    I was raised a Seventh Day Adventist, and had the privileged of doing many of my school grade years in our schools. I have never been curious of other religions, and felt comfortable in my beliefs. I can’t say for sure, but I would guess this is the “why” I have no doubt about the authenticity of the Bible.

    (Given Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 3:16, what’s the danger of going down that path?)

    It would seem to me, the “danger” would be giving oneself the ability to choose between right and wrong, depending on what they like to do. To absolving oneself of guilt or sin by excluding the parts of the Bible that would make them feel guilty for their life style.

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  3. I believe that there are several things we need to keep in mind as we consider Paul’s use of scripture.

    1. Early Christianity was a part of Judaism and considered a sect (Acts 24:14; Acts 28:22) within it in the same way the Pharisees (Acts 15:5) and Sadducees (Acts 5:17) were. So when Gentiles joined Christianity it joined a branch of Judaism.

    2. The Scriptures were the central part of the Jewish synagogue (Lk 4:16; Acts 13:27) which was the center of Jewish life and even had schools for educating their children.

    3. To the Jew the Scriptures was life, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life” (John 5:39 NKJV).

    4. Jesus used the phrases “have you not read,” “have you never read,” “have you not even read” ten times in the Gospels.

    It was very natural for Paul to use scripture as an authority that would be accepted as such by his readers.

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  4. "So far, in his letter to the Galatians, Paul has defended his gospel of justification by faith by appealing to the agreement reached with the apostles in Jerusalem (Gal. 2:1–10) and to the personal experience of the Galatians themselves (Gal. 3:1–5). Beginning in Galatians 3:6, Paul now turns to the testimony of Scripture for the final and ultimate confirmation of his gospel. In fact, Galatians 3:6–4:31 is made up of progressive arguments rooted in Scripture." The Author

    Do bear in mind that from the beginning of Paul's ministry, the disciples were onside, only because they believed God had selected Paul; but yet the still did not accept or because they did not understand, they did not preach a similar gospel as Paul preached; eliciting from Paul the statement that : "to Peter was committed "the gospel of the circumcision" and to Paul, the "gospel of the uncircumcision". Gal.2:7 Though this fact was accepted in principle, yet it was Peter and the other members of the "circumcision team" that withdrew themselves in conformity, and in connection with Judaic law against association with Gentiles. This was a clear indication that they were not onside with Paul's gospel to the "uncircumcision".

    Paul was arrested after the Jerusalem council and he appealed to Caesar; and so Paul was sent to Rome to appear before Caesar. Paul also said that he was ready to preach the gospel in Rome...Rom.1:15 In Paul's gospel to the Romans, his letter is replete with numerous references to the law and its inability to justify the sinner...this was his directing the attention of those of the "circumcision" to the futility of claiming justification from the merits of the law. He pointed to old testament scripture then, as well, for his proof that justification was by faith in the crucified Christ on whom all of the "Christian circumcision" believed, but most of whom, still found faith alone in him "hard to understand"; and as a consequence, hard to accept. It were those who found it hard to accept that posed a challenge to Paul's gospel to the "uncircumcision"; and would have been successful in getting the Galatians to accept the teaching of those of the gospel of the circumcision. It would have been this reality that prompted Paul to address...the Galatians in his.. "O foolish Galatians" of Gal. chapter 3. Paul now, and as a consequence of those who had used old testament scripture to prove that the Gentiles were supposed to keep the law; Paul must as well, use old testament scripture to prove to the Gentiles that indeed his authority came from old testament scripture.

    "..... So, when Paul refers to the Scriptures, he has only the Old Testament in mind.....
    ....The Old Testament Scriptures play a significant role in Paul’s teachings. He does not view them as dead texts.......Paul uses the Scripture to demonstrate that Jesus is the promised Messiah (Rom. 1:2), to give instruction in Christian living (Rom. 13:8–10), and to prove the validity of his teachings (Gal. 3:8, 9).
    It is difficult to determine exactly how many hundreds of times Paul quotes the Old Testament, but quotes are found throughout all his letters, except his shortest ones, Titus and Philemon." The Author

    The above dicussion re the usage of scripture by Paul forms the basis for the "Testimony of Jesus"; and as well, scripture known as the "spirit of prophecy". It is for the preaching of the "spirit of prophecy" that explains the gospel of faith that Paul preached, which is the reason Paul was chosen to preach this gospel of the "testimony of Jesus"---- ----"the spirit of prophecy"...This was the gospel that was preached and prophesied by theold testament prophets; and which prophets, if the disciples had understood;they as a consequence, would have also "understood" Paul's gospel.

    Courtney

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