Monday, July 27, 2009

Galatians Journal: Chapter 1, verse 22

Galatians 1:22 "I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ."

Paul continues his testimony – the history of his conversion and early ministry, and continues to define it by his relationship (or lack thereof) with his homeland. He states that he was “personally unknown to the churches” that were in Judea. He did not even have a casual relationship with the churches of Israel or Judea -- the land of his birth. The implication, again, is that Paul depended on the local churches he was working in for guidance, support and authority. Also, Paul’s pattern of ministry to the Gentile churches was to live with them, stay with them, and invest himself personally in the local church. He had this kind of relationship with the Galatians. Indeed, it was an intimate relationship. The whole tone of the letter reflects an angry Father scolding teen aged children. To say “personally unknown” would have presented a sharp contrast. The cultural connection was simply not important to real life in Christ.

He also says “churches of Judea that are in Christ.” Is this a swipe at the Judiazers? Were there churches in Judea that are NOT in Christ? If the issues of the Judiazing heresy as reflected in Galatians 2:11 and so on are taken into account, perhaps this was true. Perhaps, just like today, there were institutions that were churches in Judea, had all the trappings of a church organization, but had none of the Holy Spirit, did now walk in God’s power or love, or were “off track,” chasing after or focusing on their own agenda, or distracted by unimportant or even "evil" issues (e.g. making sure everyone involved in the church conformed to a particular cultural standard).

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