Read for This Week’s Study: Gal. 4:12-20, 1 Cor. 11:1, Phil. 3:17, 1 Cor. 9:19-23, 2 Cor. 4:7-12.
Memory Text: “ Friends, I beg you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are” (Galatians 4:12, NRSV).
As we’ve seen so far, Paul did not mince words with the
Galatians. His strong language, however, simply reflected the inspired passion he felt concerning the spiritual welfare of the church that he had founded. Besides the crucial theological issue Paul was dealing with, the letter to the Galatians in a broad sense also shows just how important correct doctrine is. If what we believed were not that important, if doctrinal correctness did not matter all that much, then why would Paul have been so fervent, so uncompromising, in his letter? The truth is, of course, that what we believe and what we do matter greatly, especially in the whole question of the gospel.
In Galatians 4:12-20 Paul continues his discourse, though he changes his approach, at least a bit. Paul has made a number of detailed and theologically sophisticated arguments to persuade the Galatians of their errors, and now he makes a more personal, pastoral appeal. Unlike the false teachers who had no true interest in the Galatians, Paul reveals the genuine concern, worry, hope, and love of a good shepherd for his wayward flock. He was not just correcting theology; he was seeking to minister to those whom he loved.