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More on Galatians

11.17.2010

This piece from Daniel Kirk gets at the core conflict Paul addresses in Galatians: how much continuity is there between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant?  Kirk furthermore suggests that the majority of battles in the history of the church have been over this question of the (dis?)continuity between Old and New Testaments.  From the early church battles over circumcision to the Reformation battles about the role of the priesthood, this conflict between Old and New undergirds most of our struggles with Christian living.

Kirk offers, not a solution, but a starting point on how to reconcile these things:

… [W]hile I agree that all scripture is inspired by the same God whom we we worship, the same Spirit we have received, being the word of the very logos of God who became incarnate, we nonetheless dishonor that Father, Spirit, and Logos to the extent that we strive to honor the text by reading it as a direct word to us without regard to the narrative context within which it appears.

This means recognizing that some of the passages are relativized by those contexts, and either left behind or transformed in light of what happens later in the story. To strive to honor the text without honoring the transformations that occur in the course of the story is to dishonor the text.

I’m not well versed enough in Christian taxonomy to be able to identify that as a particular theological or interpretive school, but I do believe that Kirk’s narrative approach is not universal among Biblical scholars.  Nonetheless, it provides us an interesting analytical lens through which we can study Paul’s ministry to the first generation of the church.

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