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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE GALATIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 12

Verse 12. Brethren, I beseech you, be as, I am, etc. There is great brevity in this passage, and no little obscurity, and a great many different interpretations have been given of it by commentators. The various views expressed may be seen in Bloomfield's Crit. Dig. Locke renders it, "Let you and I be as if we were all one. Think yourselves to be very me; as I, in my own mind, put no difference at all between you and myself." Koppe explains it thus:— "Imitate my example; for I, though a Jew by birth, care no more for Jewish rites than you." Rosenmuller explains it, "Imitate my manner of life, in rejecting the Jewish rites; as I having renounced the Jewish rites, was much like you when I preached the gospel to you." Other interpretations may be seen in Chandler, Doddridge, Calvin, etc. In our version there seems to be an impropriety of expression; for if he was as they were, it would seem to be a matter of course that they would be like him, or would resemble him. The sense of the passage, however, it seems to. me, cannot be difficult. The reference is doubtless to the Jewish rites and customs, and to the question whether they were binding on Christians. Paul's object is to persuade them to abandon them. He appeals to them, therefore, by his own example. And it means evidently, "Imitate me in this thing. Follow my example, and yield no conformity to those rites and customs." The ground on which he asks them to imitate him may be either,

(1.) that he had abandoned them, or

(2.) because he asks them to yield a point to him. He had done so in many instances for their welfare, and had made many sacrifices for their salvation; and he now asks them to yield this one point, and to become as he was, and to cease these Jewish observances, as he had done.

For I am as ye are. Greek, "For I as ye." This means, I suppose, "For I have conformed to your customs in many things. I have abandoned my own peculiarities; given up my customs as far as possible; conformed to you as Gentiles as far as I could do, in order to benefit and save you. I have laid aside the peculiarity of the Jew on the principle of becoming all things to all men, See Barnes "1 Co 9:20, and 1 Co 9:21,22) in order that I might save you. I ask in return only the slight sacrifice that you will now become like me in the matter under consideration."

Ye have not injured me at all." It is not a personal matter. I have no cause of complaint. You have done me no personal wrong. There is no variance between us; no unkind feeling; no injury done as individuals. I may, therefore, with the more freedom, ask you to yield this point, when I assure you that I do not feel personally injured. I have no wrong, to complain of, and I ask it on higher grounds than would be an individual request: it is for your good, and the good of the great cause." When Christians turn away from the truth, and disregard the instructions and exhortations of pastors, and become conformed to the world, it is not a personal matter, or a matter of personal offence to them, painful as it may be to them. They have no peculiar reason-to say that they are personally injured. It is a higher matter. The cause suffers; the interests of religion are injured; the church at large is offended, and the Saviour is "wounded in the house of his friends." Conformity to the world, or a lapse into some sin, is a public offence, and should be regarded as an injury done to the cause of the Redeemer. It shows the magnanimity of Paul, that though they had abandoned his doctrines, and forgotten his love and his toils in their welfare, he did not regard it as a personal offence, and did not consider himself personally injured. An ambitious man, or an impostor, would have made that the main, if not the only thing.

{|} "I am as ye are" "were"

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