“See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.”
Have you ever had a parent or teacher call you by your full name in a way that let you know you were in trouble? Not simply, “Hey Jon”, but, “Jonathan. Len. Price.” That would get my attention because other than in legal documents, no one referred to me that way. It was unusual enough to get my attention and let me know something was up.
Similarly, Paul wanted to make sure that the Galatian believers didn’t zone out in the final stretch of his message. It was commonplace in that day for people to use an assistant, called an amanuensis, to write their letters for them in order to be quicker and take up less space with tightly crafted characters. The author would dictate, sometimes even working with others to make sure the wording was just right while the scribe would record the message in beautiful handwriting.
In several of his letters, Paul would take the letter and finish writing in his own hand, usually the last farewells and final notes. But it could also be used as a way to draw emphasis. Paul points out that he is writing this portion in his own hand to show the importance of what he was saying. Writing with large letters (in contrast to the compact script of the secretary) would be similar to bolding or italicizing when we type, or even the textual equivalent of shouting – USING ALL CAPS!
Paul wanted to renew their attention and make sure they understood that these Judaizers stirring up trouble were only looking after themselves by using force and fear.
While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following things:
- How do people in your life give cues that they need your full attention? How do you convey the importance of something you need to bring up with others?
- Take a moment to pray that God would speak into your heart with ALL CAPS that which you really need to hear.
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?
Jonathan. Len. Price.