The style of the NASB, which I appreciate for intense study and exegesis, doesn’t make for good reading when consuming mass quantities of scripture. I found myself having to go back and reread a lot of verses because of the odd wording of some sentences. Nevertheless, it was a good experience, and I will try to read some more “literal” translations as I complete my practice of reading through the entire book of Galatians multiple times.
What stood out to me today were two things. The first occurred in 1:12 – “For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” How often is it that we become proud when imparting the gospel to someone? How often do we heed the words of the preacher? How often are we impressed by the influence a preacher may have? Here Paul tells us that we are mistaken when we give credit to anyone other than Jesus Christ. It is Christ who reveals the gospel. We do not reveal it, nor can we teach it, but it is Christ who reveals. This verse also seems to be a basis for Barth’s approach to scripture, that it is a revelation that ultimately points to Jesus Christ who Himself is the most perfect and ultimate revelation of God. Even though the Bible is useful for telling the story of the Christian faith, it most importantly is the revelation of Jesus Christ, available only to those who are willing to receive it.
Secondly, I was struck by chapter 4. It appears to me that Paul is saying that those who are in Christ were sons of Christ, while those who were not were slaves. However, we could not tell ourselves apart because there is no difference, except for our inheritance. When Christ came, he claimed us as sons and gave us our inheritance, which is what sets us apart from those who are not in Christ. This is from a cursory reading and not from close examination, so my thoughts might need to be clarified, but that’s the overall point it seems like Paul is trying to make. It reminds me of the quote in the Torrance book I read that when asked when he was converted to Christianity, a minister replied, “Nineteen hundred years ago.” If this is indeed what Paul is saying in this passage, then this is a key passage in support of a doctrine of election and predestination. More reading and study will hopefully bring out the true emphasis of the passage.