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Galatians 4:17 – Unsound zeal

31-08-2022 - Posted by Hans

They are jealous (zealous) over you, not ideally, but they want to debar you that you may be jealous (zealous) over them.

The whole context shows that the “they” here refers to the Judaic deceivers who had bewitched the Galatians (1:7; 3:1). Zeal could not be denied them, but as Proverbs 19:2 says, “Indeed any soul without knowledge is not good, and he who rushes with his feet misses his goal.”. In this case, their motives were not good either. The deceivers intended that the Galatians would become their followers (6:13) and so they tried to isolate them from Paul.

The word for ‘zeal’ in Greek (zeloo > compare zealot) also has the association of jealousy or jealousy. The deceivers did not grant the Galatians “freedom in Christ”. They did their utmost to shield Paul from them and discredit his apostleship. Paul would not be a true apostle because he had not been taught by Jesus on earth nor (like Peter) brought “the gospel of the circumcision” (Gal.2:7).

Paul refutes the false accusations and puts all the ‘receipts’ on the table. He had received higher education: from Christ Himself from heaven! Not to have dominion over the believers, but only to cooperate in their joy and to establish them (independently!) in the truth (2Cor.1:24).