Editorial: Reflections On The Importance Of Galatians For Today -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 14:3 (Fall 2010)
Article: Editorial: Reflections On The Importance Of Galatians For Today
Author: Stephen J. Wellum

Editorial: Reflections On The Importance Of Galatians For Today

Stephen J. Wellum

Each year, since the inception of SBJT, we have devoted the Fall issue to the biblical book that is the focus of LifeWay’s upcoming January Bible Study. Our goal in doing so is, in some small way, to help our readers become better prepared to study the specific book of focus so that in the words of Paul, “we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ” (Eph 4:14-15, NIV).

Now it is certainly the case that every biblical book is worthy of our attention, study, thoughtful reflection, and obedience. Given the fact that “all Scripture is God-breathed” and thus every biblical book “is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16), we are commanded to study every biblical book and to apply it to our lives. But it is also true that there are certain books which demand extra attention given their importance in the canon, their overall contribution to understanding the gospel, and their significance in church history. In this regard, without minimizing the importance of any book of Scripture, one can think of the unique contribution of Genesis, Isaiah, John’s Gospel, Romans, Ephesians, and Hebrews to name just a few. What these books have in common is that they have served as foundational to the church’s understanding of who God is, what the gospel is all about, and grasping better the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus.

It is safe to say that Paul’s letter to the Galatians—the focus of this issue of SBJT—also fits into this category. Why do I put Galatians into this category? Why has it been so important in Christian theology and why is it crucial that we study it anew today? Let me give at least three reasons why I believe the message of Galatians is of absolute importance for this generation of Christians and

why we neglect it to our spiritual impoverishment and peril.

First, Galatians reminds us that every genera­tion must re-commit itself to standing for the gospel in the midst of the perennial danger of compromise and potential loss of the gospel. The context of Galatians is well known. Probably written to the church residing in South Galatia around A.D. 48, the apostle Paul begins his letter by reminding them of his status as an apostle “sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and...

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