08 Aug Did Paul Write Galatians?
Galatians 1:1-2 – Paul, an apostle – not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead – and all the brothers who are with me…
Galatians 6:11 – See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.
The first class I ever remember taking on the Bible was a “Bible as Literature” class taught at our public high school. I was not yet a Christian, but I was glad to take an easy elective. I can still remember the teacher saying that the New Testament was written long after the eyewitnesses were gone, and that much of it was a myth. In college, another professor said the exact same thing.
But as we read the Bible, there are times that the author simply tells us who they are. In the opening chapter of Galatians, we meet “Paul” who in the last chapter tells us “I am writing to you with my own hand”. In using “large letters”, it might mean that his penmanship was getting a bit sloppier as his hand was weary from writing so much so fast.
The New Testament has 27 books. At least 13 of those are written by Paul. He may also be the author of Hebrews, but we are unsure, as the author is unnamed. Galatians is the most widely recognized book written by Paul. In fact, many scholars use it as the baseline by which to test the authenticity of other books said to be written by Paul.
Why does this matter? Behind every human author is the Holy Spirit who is the Divine Author. We don’t need to know the human author to learn from the Divine Author. But, sometimes knowing the human author provides great insight. Paul was formerly a devout religious man who persecuted Christians. Then, Jesus saved him by grace. He went forth to preach the grace of God and plant churches, including in Galatia. After he left, religious “false brothers” came in to teach human works instead of God’s grace, encouraging people to adopt the same behaviors that Paul was saved from. This explains his personal and passionate plea for they (and us) to remain in the grace of God.
Have you read the entire New Testament?