Christ-faith and Abraham in Galatians 3–4

Paul’s Tale of Two Siblings


On what basis are Gentile Christians justified and full inheriting members of Abraham’s family? By being circumcised and keeping the Torah? Paul answers by reinterpreting the Abraham narrative in light of the Christ-event as a story of two siblings. True Abrahamic children are those whose Spirit-wrought life arises, as God promised Abraham, from the event of Christ-faith. Like Isaac, they receive the life-giving power of the Spirit that is tethered to God’s promise and the event of eschatological faith. By contrast, those who, like Ishmael, are related to Abraham only by means of the flesh are slaves and not heirs.

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Johnathan F. Harris, Ph.D. (2021), Wheaton College, is an independent scholar who has published on christological interpretation (BBR, 2021), edited A Scripture Index to Rabbinic Literature (Hendrickson, 2021), and is completing a project on justification and metaphor (IVP Academic, forthcoming).
List of TablesI


Part 1: Event

1 “Through Christ-Faith”
 1.1 Revising Πίστις Χριστοῦ
 1.2 Revisiting Abraham: Exigence and Aim

2 “Not Torah-Works”
 2.1 The Situation in Galatia
 2.2 Works of the Law
 2.3 Christ-Faith and Torah-Works: Instruments in the Hands of the Justifying God

3 “Justified”
 3.1 Δικαιοῦν outside of Galatians
 3.2 Δικαιοῦν in Galatians: Unveiling Paul’s Prophetic Metaphors
 3.3 Part 1 Summary: Justified through Christ-Faith Not Torah-Works

Part 2: History

4 Christ-Faith and Abraham’s Faith
 4.1 The Hearing Enabled by Christ-Faith (Gal 3:1–5)
 4.2 Paul’s Reading of Genesis 15:6 (Gal 3:5–7)
 4.3 Christ-Faith and Abraham’s Faith

5 The Best of Times, the Worst of Times
 5.1 The Age of Blessing, the Age of Curse (Gal 3:7–14)
 5.2. The Epoch of Promise-Spoken, the Epoch of Promise-Given (Gal 3:15–22, 29)
 5.3 The Season of Law, the Season of Faith (Gal 3:19–26)
 5.4 The Spring of Sonship, the Winter of Slavery (Gal 4:1–11)
 5.5 Summary

6 A Tale of Two Siblings
 6.1 Paul’s Allegorical Argument in 4:21–5:1: Introductory Matters
 6.2 “Abraham Had Two Sons …” (Gal 4:21–23)
 6.3 Two Mothers: Covenants and Cities (Gal 4:24–28)
 6.4 Two (Kinds of) Children: Ishmael(s) and Isaac(s) (Gal 4:28–5:1)
 6.5 Summary

7 Conclusion
 7.1 Summary
 7.2 Eschatological Christ-Faith: Benefits and Difficulties
 7.3 Eschatological Christ-Faith and the Traditional “Faith in Christ”
 7.4 Christ-Faith and Abraham: Paul’s Reading and Use of the Abraham Narrative
Appendix: But What about Romans? Towards a Rereading of Abraham and Righteousness in Romans
 8.1 Righteousness Language in Romans
 8.2 Christ-Faith, Abraham, and Righteousness in Romans 4
Institutes, academic libraries, specialists in the New Testament, specialists in Paul and his letters, specialists in biblical theology, specialists in inner-biblical exegesis/intertextuality, readers of Galatians
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