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Sections of the Book

Introduction

After grouping together the paragraphs which naturally fall into subsections, the subsections are grouped into sections. The following sections have been posited.

Section Analysis

Division II

Section 1 (1:11-2:14) MY GOSPEL IS NOT FROM MAN BUT FROM JESUS CHRIST.

The basis upon which this section has been posited is the sequential relationship which Paul builds throughout this section. The formula of a temporal conjunction plus a form of the verb erxovmai or baivnw is a prominent feature. Also prominent are place names (’Ierosovluma, Suriva", Kilivkia", and ’Antiovxeian), people (Khfa'", Iakwvbo", Iwavnnh", Barnaba'" and Tivto") and temporal phrases.

This section serves to establish the credibility of Paul's claim to apostleship on the basis that his gospel was revealed to him. Without this fact firmly established, the Galatians would not have listened to Paul's message.

This section can be seen to serve as grounds of section three.

Table II

Section Display

Division I

Division II

      Section 1 My Gospel is not from man but from Jesus Christ. Grounds of section 3.

      Section 2 It is wrong to trust the Law since al men, even Jews, are justified in Christ. Grounds of section 3.

      Section 3 You are deceived and bewitched to trust Law rather than believe.

Division III

      Section 1 Those who believe are the sons o Abraham. Grounds of section 5.

      Section 2 You should not turn again to the weak and worthless elementary principles. Grounds of section 5.

      Section 3 I urge you, become as I am (without the Law) even as you formerly were (because of our close friendship). Grounds of section 5.

      Section 4 We do not belong to the Law but are free. Grounds of section 5.

      Section 5 Stand and do not be subject again to the yoke of bondage.

Division IV

      Section 2 (2:15-21) IT IS WRONG TO TRUST THE LAW SINCE ALL MEN, EVEN JEWS, ARE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH IN CHRIST.

The theme of this section has been abstracted from the two developmental propositions which are the themes of paragraphs twelve and thirteen. This theme is affected by the interpretive decision made in paragraph thirteen (see paragraph analysis). The specific situation spoken of there has been given a general application in the terms of this section. Lexically this section is unified by the repetitions of ejvrgwn, novmou, dikaiovw, pivsti", aJmartwlov"/parabavthn and the personal pronoun ejvmo".

This section functions as further rounds to section three

      Section 3 (3:1-6) YOU ARE FOOLISH AND BEWITCHED TO TRUST LAW RATHER THAN BELIEVE.

This section consists of one paragraph and has been discussed on the paragraph level.

Division III

      Section 1 (3:7-29) THOSE WHO BELIEVE ARE ABRAHAM'S SONS.

The theme of this section is determined by the presence of a lexical (and possibly a full propositional) sandwich or inclusion between 3:7 and 3:29 (the idea of being a son of Abraham).

There are two prominent lexical items throughout this section: pivsti" and novmo".

This section functions as grounds for section five.

      Section 2 (4:1-10) YOU SHOULD NOT TURN AGAIN TO THE WEAK AND WORTHLESS ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES.

The theme of this section is derived from paragraph twenty-six and has been discussed on the paragraph level.

Paragraphs twenty-five and twenty-six have been posited as a section because the ajllav which begins paragraph twenty-six joins it closely to paragraph twenty-five. Upon examination of these two paragraphs it can be seen that they function in a grounds-conclusion type of relationship.62

This section was deemed to end at paragraph twenty-six because, while the thought could be seen to flow into paragraph twenty-seven as evidenced by the personal concern expressed in the last proposition of paragraph twenty-six, fobou'mai uJma'" mhv pw" eijkh' kekopivaka eiv" uJma'" (I fear lest I have labored in vain among you), the whole tenor of the argument changed at that point from one based upon the spiritual position of the Galatians to an argument based upon a personal relationship.

      Section 3 (4:11-20) BECOME AS I AM (WITHOUT THE LAW) EVEN AS YOU WERE BEFORE (BECAUSE OF OUR CLOSE RELATIONSHIP).

As noted on the paragraph level, the place of this section in the argument was difficult to discover. The inclusion of personal and hortatory material in the midst of a didactic section appears out of place at best. However, Betz points out that the epistle mirrors the style of classical rhetoric. He states:

. . . The interpretation of the section iv. 12-20 presents considerable difficulties. In a disconnected way Paul seems to jump from one point to the next, leaving in obscurity which points he is jumping to and from.

However, the section becomes understandable when interpreted in light of epistolography: iv. 12-20 contains a string of topoi belonging to the theme of friendship, a theme that was famous in ancient literature. More importantly, it was customary to use material from the topos peri filiva" in the probatio section of speeches as well as in letters . . . . The argumentative value of such topoi results from the fact that their truth was to be taken for granted. Compared with the preceding arguments, however, the friendship topos can claim only a lower degree of persuasiveness. Yet given the rather 'heavy' character of argumentation in iii. 1-iv. 11, this insertion of an 'easier' and more emotional section is entirely in order, when one judges 1 the matter according the tastes of ancient rhetoric.63

So Paul inserts this highly personal and emotional appeal to grab, as it were, his readers' attention again after a heavy logical argument. He is getting their attention and making them identify closely with him before he moves into his final argument. By doing this he is more likely to persuade his readers.

Once the place the personal appeal occupied in classical rhetoric was discovered, it was felt that this section of text should be elevated to the section level. It was for this reason also that the clause concerning Paul’s close relationship with the Galatians was added to the theme.

Lexically this section is unified by the oft repeated uJmei'" (fourteen times in verses 12-20). The cohesion has been noted on the paragraph level.

This section would then serve as further grounds for section five.

      Section 4 (4:21-31) WE DO NOT BELONG TO THE LAW BUT ARE FREE

This section has been posited on the basis of the logical syllogism found in its four paragraphs.

    Major Premise: The Law says Abraham had two sons. These two sons illustrate freedom and bondage. (Comment on sons.)

    Minor Premise: We as Isaac are children of promise.

    Conclusion: Therefore, we do not belong to the Law but are free.

There are also several lexical items which show unity throughout this section. These include paidivskh" (bondwoman verses 22, 23, 30, and 31), ejleuqevra" (free woman; verses 22, 23, 26, 30, and 31), and uJiov" (son; verses 28 and 30). The coherence is shown in the logical syllogism noted above.

This section gives further grounds for section five.

      Section 5 (5:1-6:10) STAND AND DO NOT BE SUBJECT TO THE YOKE OF BONDAGE.

The structure of this section is the most involved of any in the book as can be seen in the Paragraph Display.

As noted in the paragraph summary, this is the one place in the book where a chiasmus was found. This chiasmus took shape as follows:

    A. Stand (5:1a).

      B. Do not be subject to the yoke of bondage (5:1b).

      B1. Do not be circumcised (5:2-12).

    A1. Do not get involved with the flesh (5:13--6:10).

The reason for understanding this section in this manner rather than as a hendiadys in 5:1 is due to the usage of sthvkete in the New Testament. It was found that this section held together best when viewed as a chiasmus. Other alternatives proved to leave loose ends dangling.

This structure has been discussed on the subsection and paragraph levels, so the details will not be repeated here.


62 See the Paragraph Display.

63 Hans Dieter Betz, “The Literary Composition and Function of Paul’s Letter to the Galatians,” New Testament Studies 21 (April 1975):372-73.

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines