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Galatians 5:17 Breakthrough!

Galatians 5:16Le,gw de,( pneu,mati peripatei/te kai. evpiqumi,an sarko.j ouv mh. tele,shteÅ 17 h` ga.r sa.rx evpiqumei/ kata. tou/ pneu,matoj( to. de. pneu/ma kata. th/j sarko,j( tau/ta ga.r avllh,loij avnti,keitai( i[na mh. a] eva.n qe,lhte tau/ta poih/teÅ 18 eiv de. pneu,mati a;gesqe( ouvk evste. u`po. no,monÅ(If this looks like gibberish, download the Greek font bwgrkl.tff from my left sidebar)For years Galatians 5:17 has bothered me.

On a straightforward reading, it has always seemed to me to contradict verses 16 and 18. My way around the problem has been to say, “Whatever v. 17 means, it can’t be a denial of verses 16 and 18.” Yesterday, during the yearly Brown family Theology Fest, we had a breakthrough!

This year our family theology fest is focusing on the NT’s use of “flesh,” particularly those passages in which it is used in a morally negative sense. We started with Romans on Tuesday afternoon and we made it to Galatians 5:16-18 by yesterday afternoon.

Verse 16 is an incredib…