For my exegetical paper last semester, the passage I have chosen is Gal. 3:1-5. As most of us would probably know, many passages in Romans and Galatians lie at the heart of the controversy over the so-called "New Perspective on Paul." While the interpretation of this particular passage, Gal. 3:1-5, is not as hotly contested as passages such as Gal. 2:16, the implication of the teachings of Gal. 3:1-5 I am convinced has a lot to speak to us to the issues involved.
In this light, now that my exegetical paper has finally been released, I would like to share it with everyone here. Do note that as this is just a paper not a book, so do not expect me to interact and refute every single argument related to the New Perspective on Paul or anything along that line. The goal of the exegetical paper is to exegete the passage, not primarily to exegete it as a polemic against the New Perspective heresy.
The book of Galatians is a fascinating polemical work from the pen of the Apostle Paul. According to New Testament Scholar James D.G. Dunn, in Galatians we have “theology in the raw, red-blooded theology, quintessential paulinism.” F. F. Bruce states that Galatians widely holds “primary of importance among the writings of Paul,” having close affinity with Paul’s letter to the Romans.
The still ongoing debate engendered by the New Perspective on Paul has focused on various texts in Romans and Galatians especially with regards to the phrase εξ εργων νομου. This phrase as well as the parallel phrase πιστεως Ιησου Χριστου has been much debated. In the midst of this debate, the significance of the passage of Gal 3:1-5 has been less noticed. In this light, I would like to look at the passage of Gal. 3:1-5 and see what it teaches us with regards to the issue of salvation and the law.