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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 news has been filled with week with statistics, world wide reports, deaths and fear from the H1N1 human influenza virus, previously known as swine flu. One of the most distasteful elements of this situation has been the various reactions to it. Minute by minute coverage from many news agencies have sensationalized the situation. Worse yet, spammers have been spreading false information around in order for them to sell their own artificial cures. The most dangerous answer to a problem is the one that takes you away from the true solution.

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.


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