Three Taverns Church

The Apostle Paul’s Changing Self-Identity: Galatians

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A chronology of Paul’s epistles can be found below. The dates are not exact and scholars cannot be absolutely sure of the dates. However they are good, educated guesses. In this series I’ll move through Paul’s letters in the order below:

  • Galatians – Multiple theories: A.D. 48-49; A.D. 51-53; A.D. 53-57
  • 1 Thessalonians – A.D. 51
  • 2 Thessalonians – A.D. 52
  • 1 Corinthians – Late Spring A.D. 55
  • 2 Corinthians – Fall A.D. 55
  • Romans – Spring of A.D. 57
  • Ephesians – A.D. 60
  • Colossians – A.D. 60
  • Philemon – A.D. 60
  • Philippians – A.D. 61
  • 1 Timothy – A.D. 62-66
  • Titus – A.D. 63-65
  • 2 Timothy – A.D. 66-67

As Paul matured in his faith, his self-identity changed as well. He began to see himself less as a righteous man of faith and more as a sinner like the rest of us. We can thus read Paul’s earliest letters with the understanding that it was a blustering and arrogant Paul, confident in his newfound faith, who confronts us. Through this lens Paul’s earliest letters will appear to readers less condemning and combative. Said another way, Paul’s growing self-acceptance and self-compassion over the course of his life and can be transposed onto his earliest writings, and his early high-handed letters lose their castigating tone to audiences today.

I’ll begin the series by outlining Galatians from a relational perspective. In future posts I will refer back to earlier posts to compare and contrast Paul’s changing self-identity.

– Introductory greeting
– You are idiots for believing any other gospel
– The people preaching this ‘other gospel’ should be eternally condemned
– I only need God’s approval, not men’s
– I received my revelation directly from Jesus Christ, not from men like the rest of you
– I was an awesome Jew, and now I’m an awesome Christian
– I’m so awesome I didn’t even need to talk to the other Apostles after my revelation
– I stood up to Peter and told him to his face what an idiot he was
– You Galatians are fools
– You now belong to Christ and are heirs of God’s kingdom
– Are you so dumb that you want to go back to being slaves?
– I may have wasted my time preaching the gospel to you
– You should try to be like me
– When I was with you, you did great, but now that I’m gone you are idiots again
– Trying to teach you is as painful as childbirth
– Choose whether you want to be slaves or free men
– If you get circumcised, Christ is done with you forever
– The people telling you to get circumcised should get their you-know-whats cut off
– Be free in love, not sin
– Choose how you want to live: By the Spirit or by the sinful nature
– Once you choose Christ you should look and behave a certain way
– You will reap what you sow
– Don’t give me trouble; I bear the marks of Jesus

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