Paul's rebuke expresses deep concern for the Galatian believers. They have been poisoned by a perversion of the gospel. They appear to Paul like people who have come under the control of an evil magician and his demonic spells: You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? (3:1). The Galatians are acquiescing to the demands of persuasive teachers of the law in order to attain spiritual perfection without realizing that they are being enslaved by demonic powers (see 4:8-9). Their quest for perfection through the law is a drugged illusion from which they must be wakened. But how? How is the spell to be broken?
Paul's methods are instructive. He pierces the fog of confusion in the Galatian churches with the searchlight of questions. Paul presses hard with questions to put the Galatians back in touch with their own experience of God. Questions come before dogmatic statements and authoritative commands. Questions are the way to start breaking the grip of illusions.
Paul's questions in 3:1-5 focus on three aspects of the Galatians' experience of the Spirit: their initial reception of the Spirit (vv. 1-2), their progress toward maturity by the Spirit (v. 3) and their experience of miracles by the Spirit (vv. 4-5).
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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