Reading With Discernment

Let's just say you could find a bumper sticker that says 'Skubula happens'.

Galatians 5:1-26

Reference:  v.12  As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

Explore:  The other day my husband broke in to my Facebook account and changed my status update.  It read: Linda Bailey thinks she has the most amazing husband in the world.  Good looking AND talented.  I love him very much and will miss him when I am in the Philippines.  While I believe that this is true, I am not the kind of person to put that information on my Facebook status. Not surprisingly, people who know me well made some insightful comments.  My overseas buddy Nicola wrote, "If only I thought you wrote that, Linda!"  My cousin Jo wrote, "Cam wrote that, didn't he?"  And my mate Susie wrote, "Has Cam been on your Facebook, Linda?"  People who knew me were able to predict whether I would make such a statement.  Even though the comment was on my Facebook account and readers would have seen my picture next to the statement, they were still discerning in what they read.

Application:  I often find that when I read through some parts of scripture I have to be more discerning.  At times I can just read a passage and take it at face value.  Because it was written thousands of years ago it is sometimes challenging to understand the context or to really hear what the person is trying to say.  When we don't know the writers as well as our mates, its difficult to hear what is really going on in the passage.  However, the more I read of Paul's writing the more I realise how gutsy he was.  He wasn't really the type of person to hold back.  In Philippians Paul looks at what he personally has accomplished and then compares it to what Christ has accomplished for him.  In response to this comparison he calls his personal accomplishments skubula. While we have translated this Greek word as 'rubbish' it actually means something a lot worse.  It's more like poo, waste, excrement but the term he uses is a more crude.  Let's just say you could find a bumper sticker that says 'Skubula happens'.  And now in this passage in Galatians Paul is trying to emphasis that fulfilling religious acts will not make you righteous.  Circumcision was a big deal back in Paul's day.  It was a Jewish custom that was under great debate once Christ ascended into Heaven and made a new way for people to be made right with God.  And Paul firmly states that it is not circumcision that counts, but faith in Christ.  To put his point forward strongly he even goes to say that those who rely on circumcision rather than Jesus should just totally emasculate themselves, for the good they are doing amongst the believers.  We can read Paul's letters in a monotone recitation, however when I really find myself getting in to Paul's head I find myself almost yelling through the Bible.  There may not have been a great deal of punctuation in the Greek but I find most of what Paul writes would now be written in bold and then underlined, with a big exclamation mark at the end!  There is no doubt he was passionate.  We need to read his words with clarity and hear his voice as an apostle under persecution w […]

This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.