The Signature

Scott Hoezee

Read: Galatians 1:1-2

The Signature

Paul, an apostle . . . not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ. (v. 1)

People don’t write many letters anymore—emails and texting are typical now. But if you get a letter, you know where to look to see who it’s from: the signature at the bottom—“Cordially, Phyllis.” Also, when you are the letter writer, how you sign depends on the nature of the letter. You would not send an official letter to the government and sign it “Love, George.” Nor would you send a letter to your wife and sign “Sincerely, George T. Jones.”

Ancient letter writers signed at the top. “Paul, an apostle” is how Galatians begins, and most of Paul’s letters begin with some version of that. But you can tell a lot about a letter from the signature. Sometimes Paul was warm in his signatures and at other times, as is the case in Galatians, he’s all business. Here Paul makes it clear that his authority comes not from any human but from Christ Jesus.

Already in this signature Paul is up to something. And we won’t have to wait long to find out what: this letter needs to set the Galatians straight on the core of salvation. Paul has to establish his credentials immediately because he will soon take some swipes at false teachers who have no such authority. The very first verse of Galatians, then, gets our attention. As we read more this month, we will see why Paul had to get right down to business. —Scott Hoezee

Prayer: Thank you for your servant Paul, O Lord, and his faithfulness to you.