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Galatians, Chapter Five, Lesson Two

STRENGTHENING THE BRETHREN           Page 5
V.10 (Cont'd.)

** What will become of the false teachers that disturb the faith of God's elect?

They will bear their judgement. cf. 2Peter 2:1-3 and 2Peter 3:9 (in reference to 2Peter 3:4)

V.11 ** What do you suppose might have been a rumor or accusation brought against Paul on the subject of circumcision?

While spreading their false gospel the Judaizers were saying that Paul was preaching circumcision for salvation, like they were. The fuel for that lie was in the fact that Paul had been circumcised on the eighth day (Philippians 3:5) and that he had Timothy circumcised (Acts 16:1-3).

** How does Paul defuse that lie?

He says, "...why am I still persecuted?" Paul was constantly persecuted for preaching against circumcision.

** If Paul did preach circumcision for salvation, what effect would it have?

It would remove the offense of the cross from the Jew. cf. Romans 9:30-33

V.12 ** In one final act of "Strengthening the Brethren", Paul tries to protect his Galatians. What would he want to have become of the Judaizers who had been bewitching them?

He would want them to "mutilate" [apokopto] themselves. The word meant literally "to cut off" and referred to the pagan practice of castration. Paul was making reference to the cult of Cybele, a popular pagan nature goddess in Asia Minor. The devout male worshipers in the cult castrated themselves as the supreme act of religious devotion. Paul was saying that if you think you can make yourself more pleasing to God by being circumcised, why not go to the pagan extremes of self-mutilation?

** By the way, did this harsh treatment of the physical body make someone more devoted spiritually?

Absolutely not, it was a painful waste of time. cf. Colossians 2:20-23

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