Saturday, 18 June 2016
See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! Galatians 6:11
This single verse is one which involves the highest of speculation by scholars as to what Paul means. Some see it as a confirmation that he wrote the entire epistle with his own hand; something that can be confirmed by the large size of the handwriting he uses.
It could also refer to the important nature of the letter. In essence, “See how great of an epistle I have written to you… with my own hand!” It would mean that he took the time to write the entire letter himself to show how concerned he was over the issue. Instead of having a scribe write it, he wrote the whole thing himself.
The aorist tense he uses here could refer to the entire letter, or to just the final verses. If the final verses only, then he had a scribe write the letter. After this, in order to authenticate it, he begins this final greeting in his own hand.
Further, the tense of the verb – regardless as to whether he is referring to the whole letter or just the final verses – may be Paul’s way of inserting himself into the reader’s position as the letter is being read. In essence, “See with what larges letters I am (right now) writing to you.” In this, he would be making the letter active at the moment it is being read.
As to why he wrote with large letters, speculation again is high. But what appears to be the most logical explanation is that he suffered from eye troubles which necessitated writing that way, as anyone with bad eyes would be prone to do. This idea is substantiated in other passages where Paul’s vision seems to be deficient.
Another view, however, is that he wrote with large letters to highlight the importance of the contents of the epistle. IT WOULD BE LIKE TYPING AN ENTIRE EPISTLE IN CAPITAL LETTERS! This is possible, but the content of the letter itself calls out that it is of the highest importance. Writing larger would not add anything to the substance of what is said.
In all, the entire verse is one of present day mystery and speculation. No matter what, it is a note of authentication concerning Paul’s authorship. It is further a note of the extremely important nature of the letter.
Life application: Paul’s concern over inserting the law into our life and conduct was so sincere that he took the time to write this letter. In it are many warnings that we are not to fall back on deeds of the law for our justification before God. Christ Jesus fulfilled the law and the law is now obsolete and annulled. Even if verses like Galatians 6:11 carry high speculation, the overall content of the letter does not. We are saved by grace and we are to rest in the finished work of Christ.
Lord God, You have written us a letter directly from Your heart, and You have signed it with Your own personal style of writing. The words reflect who You are and what You desire for us. And yet we would prefer to watch TV or go to the movies than look into Your heart and see the love You have for us which is displayed on every page. Forgive us of this and turn our affections to this wonderful word. Thank You for Your letter of love to us. Amen.