The other day I wrote a post asking for some help in translating προεγράφη in Gal. 3.1. First, Joel Hoffman responded arguing that it was illegitimate to use the etymology of the word to suggest that Paul is referring to something “previously written” though he wasn’t “exactly sure what the verb means” (here). Mike Aubrey and JohnDave Medina pointed me in the direction of a definition having something to do with a public placard or a public notification (here and here). Finally, Yancy Smith and John Stokes both suggested that there may be something to the possibility that Paul actually did write, or better yet draw, some sort of image of Christ crucified to teach the Galatians (read Smith’s statements here, here, here, and here).

Although I do not currently have many resources at my home I thought I would take a look at several works that I do have on hand to see if there are any scholars that go toward any of these directions. Gordon Fee think this refers to Paul’s own ministry since in 2.20 he speaks of himself as being “crucified with Christ”. [1] He mentions in a footnote what Mike and JohnDave when he refers to “public notices”. [2] Thomas Schreiner says something similar when he writes, “he probably had in mind his own suffering as a corollary to Christ’s”. [3]

On another hand, J.D.G. Dunn seems to equate this statement with Paul’s proclamation. When referring to the statement “openly proclaimed as crucified” he says this was Paul’s “focal point of proclamation”. [4] Elsewhere he writes, “…Paul recalls his gospel preaching to the Galatians simply as the open portrayal of Jesus Christ as crucified (Gal. 3.1).” [5] For Dunn it seems to be somewhat appositional: Paul’s preaching equals the preaching of the cross.

Bruce W. Longenecker echoes Dunn saying, “No doubt Paul is referring here to his own preaching which presented Christ to them in terms that spelt out clearly the exclusive salvific significance of Christ”. [6] J.B. Green says that it refers to “the graphic quality of proclamation” and that he may have told the passion narrative in a way similar to the gospels. [7] A.B. Luter, Jr. says it is the “summary of the content of the gospel”. [8] R.H. Mounce sees it as simply a synonym for other words used by Paul such as “to make know”, “to proclaim”, “to testify”, “to teach”, et cetera. [9]

M. Silva sees it as an illusion to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, which seems to indicate that he sees “previously written” in the sense that I suggested during my last post. In other words, Silva sees Paul as showing Christ as the one crucified from the Scriptures. At least this is what I think he is saying. [10]

That being said, I do not have a verse-by-verse commentary of Galatians with me right now. If anyone finds an exegete who follows Yancey and John’s suggestion that art may have been the means by which Paul communicated the message of the crucifixion please let me know. Otherwise, while most of these definitions do not exclude the idea of drawing/sketching neither do they mention it. This may be evidence of Yancey and John’s contention that most scholars are simply overlooking extra-biblical materials that could help fill in this text’s context.

[1] Gordon Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 382.
[2] Ibid. n. 47.
[3] Thomas Schreiner, Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ, 99.
[4] J.D.G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, 209.
[5] Ibid. 235.
[6] Bruce W. Longenecker, The Triumph of Abraham’s God, 154.
[7] J.B. Green “Death of Christ” in G.F. Hawthorne, et al. Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, 202.
[8] A.B. Luter, Jr. “Gospel” in Ibid, 370.
[9] R.H. Mounce, “Preaching, Kerygma” in Ibid. 735.
[10] M. Silva, “Old Testament in Paul” in Ibid. 640. Silva’s reason for this is because he hears an echo of the LXX reading of Isaiah 53.1 in 3.2. Is. 53.1 reads, “Who has believed our report and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?”. The words translated “report” is ἀκοῇ. In Gal. 3.2 Paul refers to the “hearing (ἀκοῆς) of faith”. “Hearing” is not a participle but rather a noun indicating it may be something like “the announcement”.