Summary: Glorifying in the flesh is a form of Artificial Righteousness which is motivated by 1) Religious Pride, 2) Cowardice, & 3)hypocrisy.

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The Judaizers that Paul has been dealing with as recorded in Galatians have sought to personally benefit themselves while giving the Galatians false curses, an artificial righteousness. Their glorifying in the flesh corrupted the true Gospel. Paul takes these closing verses of Galatians 6:11-13 to show the 1) Religious Pride, 2) Cowardice and 3) Hypocrisy of the Judaizers. But he first deals with his own malady.

Because Paul does not explain in his comment at the beginning of Galatians 6:11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand, it therefore cannot be interpreted dogmatically. As always, however, responsible interpretation places great stress on the context.

• Since this letter was meant to be read aloud to the churches, Paul has to make this explicit reference to the change in the handwriting , for not everyone would be in a position to see it for themselves (Boles, Kenneth L.: Galatians & Ephesians. Joplin, Mo. : College Press, 1993 (The College Press NIV Commentary), S. Ga 6:11)

• We could read this as an epistolary aorist (cf. 1 Cor 5:11; Phlm 19, 21) which should be translated, “I am now writing” (cf. RSV, NASB). Thus the autographed portion of the letter would include 6:11–18 and not the entire epistle (George, Timothy: Galatians. electronic ed. Nashville : Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1994 (Logos Library System; The New American Commentary 30), S. 431)

• In Koine (common) Greek quotation marks were not used. So emphasis was conveyed by enlarging the letters of the words written. Paul personally picks up the pen and writes with large letters to emphasize his concluding words and to validate that the letter was genuine. Recall that the authority/authorship of Paul was challenged (Gal 1 & 2) (Anders, Max: Galatians-Colossians. Nashville, TN : Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999 (Holman New Testament Commentary; Holman Reference 8), S. 80)

Thus Paul’s writing with … large letters may have been due to a combination of reasons. The first possibility is that he used large letters because of poor eyesight, an affliction suggested in this letter. Shortly after speaking of having come to Galatia with “a bodily illness” (4:13), the apostle expresses his gratitude to believers there for their willingness to “have plucked out [their] eyes and given them to [him]” (v. 15). If Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7) did involve an eye disease, he understandably wrote in large letters in order to see what he was writing.

Some scholars suggest that large letters refers to Greek uncials, a type of large, unconnected block letters, which, because they were easily seen, were used for public notices.

A professional scribe, however, more often wrote in cursive, not only because it was more attractive but because it was more economical and writing materials were quite expensive. In fact, documents were often erased and their writing surfaces used again.

It is therefore possible that Paul wrote with his own hand and called attention to the large uncial letters as a means of emphasizing content rather than form. Perhaps by the unattractive uncials, Paul was expressing a picture that served purposely to contrast his priorities with those of the Judaizers, who, like the scribes and Pharisees they emulated, were primarily concerned for appearances, for making “a good showing in the flesh” (Gal. 5:12).

• One of the most valid reason for rejecting that Paul is saying that he wrote the entire book of Galatians in large letters as distinguished from “a character of the alphabet” is that he always uses the word epistle (Rom. 16:22 etc) when referring to an entire book. That word is not found here in Galatians 6:11 (William Hendriksen: Galatians New Testament Commentary. Baker Publishing House. 1004 p.241).

Reflecting the sum of the possibilities just discussed, Paul may have used the somewhat unsightly lettering as a statement, saying, in effect, “Because of my poor eyesight, you know how hard it is for me to write by my own hand, but what I have to say is so important and urgent that I want you to have this letter in your hands as soon as possible, with as bold lettering as possible.

• Unlike the Judaizers, I have never tried to impress you with my scholarship, personal skills, or superficial formalities. When I first came to you, you accepted my message with gladness, although my bodily presence was unattractive.

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