Paul’s View of Abraham’s Faith: Genesis 22:18 in Galatians 3 -- By: Jared M. August

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 176:701 (Jan 2019)
Article: Paul’s View of Abraham’s Faith: Genesis 22:18 in Galatians 3
Author: Jared M. August


Paul’s View of Abraham’s Faith: Genesis 22:18 in Galatians 3

Jared M. August

Jared M. August is associate professor of New Testament and Greek, Northeastern Baptist College, Bennington, Vermont.

Abstract

In Galatians 3:8 and 16, Paul cites promises made to Abraham—but which promises? Syntax and theme suggest that Paul cited Genesis 22:18 in Galatians 3:8 and 16 to remind his readers of the centrality of the hope of a coming eschatological individual. According to Galatians, Abraham’s faith had the same object as Paul’s: the Christ.

Introduction

The apostle Paul devotes significant discussion to the relationship between Christ’s coming and the promises first given in Genesis. Specifically, in Galatians 3:6, 8, and 16, Paul considers the implications of Abraham’s faith for the lives of believers in Galatia.1 In Galatians 3:6, Paul cites Genesis 15:6 and demonstrates the similarity of Abraham’s faith with that of his readers. However, there have been numerous proposals regarding from where in Genesis the citations in Galatians 3:8 and 16 were taken. It is widely accepted that Galatians 3:8 combines Genesis 12:3 and 18:18 and that Galatians 3:16 is taken from Genesis 13:15 and 17:8. This article, however, proposes that both Galatians 3:8

and 16 cite Genesis 22:18.2 Since the Hebrew of Genesis 22:17b–18 refers to a single Offspring, Paul’s interpretation in Galatians 3:16 reflects a contextual hermeneutic.

Abraham’s faith in

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