Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Taking Another Look at Galatians 3

Jessie Trach and I were talking recently about Galatians 3 and he raised some interesting questions that caused me to sit down and take a look at the text again. I found myself with my NLT in my lap as I flipped open to this familiar chapter, only to find that I saw it through different (fresh) eyes. As I looked at it a second time, I concluded that the primary things that caused me to see this text afresh throught the lenses of the NLT were the rending of seed as child and sons as children. Certainly both legitimate translations, from a functional perspective, this nuanced difference gripped me in a new way. Needless to say, by the time I was done in the text, I found myself "singing a different tune" about Father Abraham :-) I've included some of the more significant verses from the NLT below for your own reflection.

Galatians 3:14-16 Through the work of Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, and we Christians receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith. 15 Dear brothers and sisters,1 here's an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case. 16 God gave the promise to Abraham and his child. And notice that it doesn't say the promise was to his children, as if it meant many descendants. But the promise was to his child -- and that, of course, means Christ.

Galatians 3:26-29 So you are all children1 of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have been made like him. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are all Christians -- you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and now all the promises God gave to him belong to you.


Chris Bruno said...

Can you explain a little more what the shift in your thinking was?

NWMihelis said...

Not really at this point. But basically, the line between Israel and the Church is becoming increasinly more fuzzy (and has been for some time now).

Luther's Stein said...

I second that opinion

Chris Bruno said...

Good. Keep on coming.

γένος ἐκλεκτόν,
βασίλειον ἱεράτευμα,
ἔθνος ἅγιον,
λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν,

Israel or the church?

Pitchford said...

At this rate, by the time you get to chapter six, you may be able to see an epexegetical "kai" in 6:16 :).

I agree: "keep on coming."

NWMihelis said...


Your greek font came up a bit messed up on my computer...yet another reason I need a Mac and accordance probably. But my guess is that I'm a chosen nation, etc, etc. Nothing like adding fuel to the fire :-) You'll be happy to know I've been reading Beale's article on the Temple in one of my old copies of JETS.


You've got to see the NLT, they do away with the kai all togther, but I don't think you'll be dissappointed:

Galatians 6:15-16 5 It doesn't make any difference now whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we really have been changed into new and different people. 16 May God's mercy and peace be upon all those who live by this principle. They are the new people of God.

No questions there :-) Of course, Moo and Schreiner were two of the translators for Galatians...but what do they know :-)

Chris Bruno said...

If you are interested, you can download unicode language fonts here:
They are more versatile than Helenika, Yehudit, etc.

NWMihelis said...

Thanks for the tip, but I still want a Mac :-)

Daniel said...

I love the NLT as a translation of the OT, but not as much when it comes to Paul. They make too many decisions for you.

Like NIV, the translators definitely come from the Old Perspective.