AS IT IS WRITTEN. . . . by Patrick Henry Reardon
It would be easy to suppose that the Gospels, because they fill the first pages of the New Testament, represent the earliest literary exercise in Christian biography. This is not the case, however; the Epistle to the Galatians predates the earliest of the Gospels (Mark) by more than a decade. And if we don't think of Galatians as a work of Christian biography, we are not reading it very
The biographical aspect of Galatians is, of course, autobiographical. Indeed, it represents a special form of autobiography; it is a "personal apologetic." It is Paul's defense of his life and ministry, directed against those detractors who claimed he was no real apostle and possessed no valid teaching authority in the Church. To refute those detractors, Paul first appealed to the facts of his life, and that appeal began with the opening chapter of Galatians.
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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).
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