Monthly Archives: June 2013

06/25/2013 Galatians 4 (12)

We started with a discussion of Galatians 3:26-29. Here Paul suggested a new order that didn’t distinguish between Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free as a basis for having faith in Jesus Christ. This was a revolutionary concept. Al suggested that we recognize differences but they shouldn’t make a difference in their faith. Tom talked about phenotype associated with genotype which some think as something before genotype. This may be some reference to God existing and providing the basis for the genotype. How do we see the Bible in our culture? Paul says there is man or women in the faith which shocked the people at that time.

An allegory is a way of interpreting scripture. In this case it was the story of Abraham, Hagar, and Sarah and gives new meaning to the Galatians and their faith. How important were women in the church in Paul’s time. How much did the dark and middle ages shape the churches concept of women. What were people looking forward to? Life after death? Heaven? Paul is asking, are you going to be a slave to the law or will  you live in the promise Jesus brings? Jesus rebelled in the face of the law. What is the new law.

6/18/13 Galations 3 (11)


Pastor John distributed some notes on Galatians 3 to us at the beginning of our session this morning.  I have included a link to these notes at the bottom of the page. Click on it to open it up and read it.  There is also a link to an editorial in the Iowa City Press Citizen that talks about proof texting. I think it is very confusing, but it points out the problems in proof texting.

Think about Paul and how he says I do what I don’t want to do. We don’t know what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was, Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Various people think that this was not a real physical disease or ailment, but rather it was something God sent to Paul to keep him humble. Paul says it is from Satan.

Paul is lifting up stories of God’s love. Do we need to tell personal stories of God’s love. Does everyone have a conversion story? Bill asked if everyone is spiritual? Bible camps provide a spiritual experience for many. God opened up to gentiles by giving the promise to Abraham. It is interesting that Islam which draws its beginnings from Abraham teaches that there are two types of people those who are Muslims and who are saved and those who are infidels. The Christian church believes that salvation is available to all, but not everyone accepts it through Christ.

Paul is strong in the law but says we must be saved by faith. Tom said Christ did works to save us. Jesus is the scapegoat for all of us. Jason says this is a relationship kind of discussion. It is about who Jesus was and what he did. Jason says Jesus doesn’t say this is your last or only chance.



06/11/2013 Galations 1-2 (11)

We made a huge leap from Exodus to Galatians today. We have made a radical move from the recitation of laws in Exodus to the epistle that has been called the Charter of Christian Liberty.

Pastor John compared Greek style of thought in the New Testament and Hebrew style of thought in terms of their method of communications. The Greek style values reasoned discourse while the Hebrew style is based more on story telling. In the NT we have reasoned discourse like God is love whereas in the Old Testament, you read a story about Creation and how God loved Adam and Eve, or the stories about God’s interaction with Abraham and how he promised him to have unlimited descendants as a measure of his love. Here you see that the authors get their point across by story telling. This is Paul’s declaration of justification by faith. When it was written is more of a problem. And who it was written to. If it was written to the ethnic people of the kingdom of Galatia, that would be the northern part of the area, whereas it could also be the more expansive area that the Romans designated as Galatia. Then it might be addressed to the southern part of Galatia. Those who think of the northern Galatia area date the book about the time of Paul’s Ephesian ministry, or about 56 A.D.  On the other hand, those who believe it is addressed to the southern Galatia people date it just before or after the Jerusalem council of Acts 15 and the date here would be 48-49 A.D.

Galatia is in present day western Turkey. If written to southern part in the 40’s,but if to northern parts, 53-54. First letter of Paul.
Augustine says love God and do what you want. But if we love God we will do what he wants. Paul introduces himself and makes the point that his teaching comes from Jesus not from any human source. This is what Jesus would say. Peter was the defacto leader at that time in the early church. Paul had been very Hebrew but speaks about the new way of Christ. Shocking. When did the word pope come into use?  Who were people teach the false faith? Paul talked to Peter and James but insisted his words came from Jesus. Some people see Islam as a Christian sect. Was Jesus a good Jew? Verse 2:14 Paul calls out Peter and says he lives as a gentile but requires others to have the trappings of Jews. Compare Christianity and Islam as sects coming out of Abraham while Christianity comes out of Judaism.

06-04-2013 Exodus 31-12-32 and 34 (13)

Today, we read the episode of the golden calf that the Israelites began to worship while Moses was on the mountain talking with God. Another happy story says Gene. How explicit God was about keeping the Sabbath. Steve asked how men in battle deal with the Sabbath. How do we deal with God’s command to kill sons brothers and neighbors. Is this a story of how you got the priests. What about Aaron. Did God discipline him. Aaron probably saw this as an image of God in his mind. Aaron was a Levite. God was ready to abandon this people and Moses argued for the people. Was this foretelling of Jesus. What is our representation of God? Is it like the child who says, “you will know when I finish this picture.” Is it Charlton Hesston. Moses saved the people by arguing with god as Abraham had argued for Lot. What about the plague that was mentioned. This was a story to emphasize the specialness of this people. Is an example of this the idol worship of Hawkeyes. Do the Jews have a lectionary?  Rabbi Portman says this is about obedience to God. Making the rules black and white may be a mistake and a human attempt at being God. Jason says the Sabbath is the day for being focused with God and holding him as first in our lives.

We will move to Galatians next week.