The relationship between the Abrahamic blessing and the promise of the spirit in Galatians 3:14
The aim of this study is to provide an interpretation of the relationship between the Abrahamic blessing and the promise of the Spirit in Gal 3:14 by tracing the development of an association between these two theological motifs through the Old Testament Scriptures and Second Temple literature. It also explains how this may have influenced Paul in his juxtaposition of the two motifs in Galatians 3:14, how their relationship would shed light on his overall argument in Galatians and on his agreement with the Jewish expansion of the Spirit to the eschatological inheritance. The relationship between these two theological motifs in Galatians 3:14 is reviewed by evaluating existing viewpoints presented by previous scholars. The research includes an analysis of how Paul views this association through a grammatico-historical approach to exegesis. This approach is based on the study of the socio-historical context of Galatians 3 surrounding the theme, with special attention given to literary research of those passages in the Book of Genesis (Gen 15:6 in Gal 3:6, Gen 12:3; 18:18 in Gal 3:8, Gen 15:5; 22:16-18 in Gal 3:14) which are cited or alluded to in Galatians 3:1-14. It also provides an intertextual interpretation of the interaction between the two motifs in the Latter Prophets and early Judaism in the setting of a socio-historical study, following an analysis of the collected material. How Paul developed the relationship between these motifs in Galatians 3:14 is explained using the results of the investigation. Lastly, the findings and conclusions of the study are provided. This study concludes that Paul’s Jewish background, and some elements of the Second Temple Literature, influenced his understanding of the relationship between the Abrahamic blessing and the promise of the Spirit in Galatians 3:14. In view of Paul’s knowledge of Scripture, it is very likely that he would designate the Gentiles, who by faith received the Abrahamic blessing, as children of God through the Spirit of sonship. However, Paul’s opponents associate the Abrahamic blessing with Abraham’s descendants and highlight the subsequent need to follow the Old Testament law. Paul argues that God provides a way for Gentiles to be “true descendants” of Abraham through the Spirit based on their faith in Jesus Christ, and not through adherence to the law. Therefore, the Gentile believers in Galatia are also considered to be “true Abrahamic descendants” since they received the Spirit.
- Theology