I have a really bad reading habit. I tend to skip introductions, forewords, and all of those silly pages in the beginning. My wife is the opposite. I think she may even read all of the disclaimers and Library of Congress numbers. Even though it’s really hard for me to plod through those pages I need to start, those introductions are often really important to understanding the whole book.
Scripture is the same way. Especially in letters. Introductions are often really important to understanding the purpose of the letter. I usually skim the first few verses.
“Yeah, yeah. Paul. Apostle. Grace. Okay let’s get to the meat”.
I’m trying to slow down. So I started reading Galatians 1 today. And rather than skipping the intro and jumping right into verse 6 I decided to spend a little time unpacking it.
Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—
(Galatians 1:1 ESV)
There are two major themes introduced in this single verse (that I typically skim over). The first major theme is that Paul’s apostleship (read authority) is being questioned in Galatia. That is why he has to say that his apostleship is something that comes directly from God.
As a side note, here is one more place in Scripture that proclaims the deity of Christ Jesus. If it’s not from man but from God, and Paul puts Jesus on the “God” side that means that Paul believed in the Deity of Christ.
The second major theme introduced is the resurrection. Dr. Schreiner points this out far better than I could:
“The resurrection signifies that the new age has dawned, in which God will fulfill all his saving promises to Israel and to the entire world…The Galatians were turning the clock back in salvation history by submitting to circumcision and the Mosaic law. Since Jesus has been raised from the dead, believers are no longer under the Mosaic covenant.” (Schreiner, ZECNT Commentary on Galatians, 75)
All of that in one verse that I typically skim through. I need to learn from my wife the benefit of slowing down and reading introductions.
In case you were wondering. I have no idea how this picture is relevant to the article.