Galatians 6:11
Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.
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(11-18) Concluding section of the Epistle, written in the Apostle’s own hand. These Judaising teachers only wish to have you circumcised as a matter of outside show, in order to disguise their own professed Christianity from their fellow Jews, and so escape persecution. They show that they really care nothing for circumcision, for they freely break the rest of the Law to which they affect to give in their adhesion. Their true object is to make capital out of their influence over you, to boast publicly of your submission to the rite. I, too, will boast, but of something very different. My boast is in the cross of Christ. When I attached myself to the crucified Messiah, from that moment the world became nothing to me. Circumcision and uncircumcision matter not. The essential point is that total change which such a relation implies. On all who take this for their rule I can invoke a blessing, for they are the true Israel. Enough. I have a right to claim exemption from these attacks. The scars that I bear upon me are marks of the place I hold in my Master’s service.

(11) Ye see.—Rather, See. The Apostle calls the attention of his readers to the handwriting of these concluding paragraphs.

How large a letter.—Rather, in what large letters: i.e., characters. The exact significance of these words is somewhat enigmatic, and can only be matter of conjecture. Two points, however, are clear:—(1) The latter part of the Greek phrase means “in” or “with” letters—i.e., characters of hand-writing—and not “a letter,” “an epistle,” as it is taken in the Authorised version; (2) The former half of the phrase means “how large,” strictly in respect of size. The Apostle, for some reason or other, points out that the characters in which he is writing are larger than usual. What is his reason? It is hard to say. Some have thought that the reference was to the “shapelessness” of the letters, whether as due to the fact that the Apostle himself was not accustomed to the manual work of writing, or possibly to physical weakness from the hardships that he had undergone. The idea of “shapelessness,” however, is not necessarily included in that of size. It seems, on the whole, most probable that the size of the characters express the emphasis and authority with which the Apostle is writing. He adds to the Epistle—which had so far been written by an amanuensis—a few bold incisive strokes in his own hand, trenchantly exposing the motives of the Judaising faction, and re-asserting his own position.

I have written.—Must this be so taken: I have written? or may it be idiomatically translated: I write? In other words, does it refer to the whole previous portion of the Epistle, or only to these concluding paragraphs? The question turns upon a nice point of Greek scholarship, on which such authorities as Bishop Ellicott and Dr. Lightfoot take different sides. It will only be possible in a Commentary like this to express a general conclusion, without going into the arguments on which it is based. That conclusion would be that the Greek may, quite fairly and tenably, be translated: I write; and that being so, considerations of exegesis would seem to tell somewhat decidedly in the same direction. The whole character of this concluding section is very much what we should expect if St. Paul followed his usual custom of taking the pen from the amanuensis to write it, and its brief weighty summarising style would correspond well with the “largo letters” in which he says that it was written. If this description is to be applied to the whole Epistle, it must remain a riddle to which there is no clue.

With mine own hand.—It was the Apostle’s custom to make use of an amanuensis, and only to add a few final words in proof of the genuineness of the writing. (See especially 2Thessalonians 3:17; and comp. also Romans 16:22; 1Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18.)

Galatians 6:11. Ye see how large a letter — St. Paul had not yet written a larger to any church; I have written with my own hand — In testimony of my great affection for you, and concern for your spiritual welfare. He generally wrote by an amanuensis. The original expression here used, πηλικοις γραμμασιν, which we render how large a letter, is, by Whitby, Doddridge, and some others, following Jerome, Chrysostom, and Theophylact, translated, with what kind of, or with what large letters I have written unto you, supposing it to be an apology for the in elegance of the writing. For from the apostle’s making use of an amanuensis in his other letters, they infer that he was not accustomed to write Greek. “The inference, however,” says Macknight, “does not follow. Eminent men, much engaged in affairs, commonly employ others to write for them, notwithstanding they are able to write very well themselves. I therefore prefer the translation in our Bibles, which represents the apostle as informing the Galatians that he wrote this large epistle with his own hand, to show how anxious he was to reclaim them from their errors, and to give them the fullest assurance of the truth of the doctrines contained in it; and that he uniformly preached the same doctrines everywhere.”

6:6-11 Many excuse themselves from the work of religion, though they may make a show, and profess it. They may impose upon others, yet they deceive themselves if they think to impose upon God, who knows their hearts as well as actions; and as he cannot be deceived, so he will not be mocked. Our present time is seed time; in the other world we shall reap as we sow now. As there are two sorts of sowing, one to the flesh, and the other to the Spirit, so will the reckoning be hereafter. Those who live a carnal, sensual life, must expect no other fruit from such a course than misery and ruin. But those who, under the guidance and influences of the Holy Spirit, live a life of faith in Christ, and abound in Christian graces, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. We are all very apt to tire in duty, particularly in doing good. This we should carefully watch and guard against. Only to perseverance in well-doing is the reward promised. Here is an exhortation to all to do good in their places. We should take care to do good in our life-time, and make this the business of our lives. Especially when fresh occasions offer, and as far as our power reaches.Ye see - This might be rendered see, in the imperative. So Tyndale renders it, "Behold." But it is more commonly supposed that it should be rendered in the indicative. The sense is not materially different whichever translation is adopted. The object of the apostle is, to direct their attention to the special proof of his love, which he had manifested in writing such a letter.

How large a letter - Considerable variety has existed in regard to the interpretation of this phrase. The word used here and translated "how large" (πηλίκος pēlikos), means. properly, "how great." Some have supposed that it refers to the size of the letters which Paul made in writing the Epistle - the length and crudeness of the characters which he used. Such interpreters suppose that he was not well versed in writing Greek, and that he used large letters. and those somewhat rudely made, like the Hebrew. So Doddridge and Whitby interpret it; and so Theodoret, Jerome, Theophylact, and some others. He might not, says Doddridge, have been well versed in the Greek characters; or "this inaccuracy of his writings might have been owing to the infirmity or weakness of his nerves, which he had hinted at before." Jerome says, that Paul was a Hebrew, and that he was unacquainted with the mode of writing Greek letters; and that because necessity demanded that he should write a letter in his own hand, contrary to his usual custom, he was obliged to form his characters in this crude manner. According to this interpretation, it was:

(1) A pledge to the Galatians that the Epistle was genuine, since it bore the marks of his own handwriting; and,

(2) It was proof of special affection for them that he was willing to undergo this labor on their account.

Others suppose that he means to refer to the size of the Epistle which he had written. Such is the interpretation of Grotius, Koppe, Bloomfield, Clarke, Locke, Chandler, and is, indeed, the common interpretation, as it is the obvious one. According to this, it was proof of special interest in them, and regard for them, that he had written to them a whole letter with his own hand. Usually he employed an amanuensis, and added his name, with a brief benediction or remark at the close; see the Romans 16:22 note; 1 Corinthians 16:21 note. What induced him to depart from his usual custom here is unknown. Jerome supposes that he refers here to what follows from this verse to the end of the Epistle, as that which he had written with his own hand, but the word ἔγραψα egrapsa, says Rosenmuller, refers rather to what he had written, than to that which he intended to write. On this verse, the reader may consult with advantage, Tholuck on the Life and Writings of Paul: German Selections, by Edwards and Park, Andover, 1839, pp. 35, 64, 65.

11. Rather, "See in how large letters I have written." The Greek is translated "how great" in Heb 7:4, the only other passage where it occurs in the New Testament. Owing to his weakness of eyes (Ga 4:15) he wrote in large letters. So Jerome. All the oldest manuscripts are written in uncial, that is, capital letters, the "cursive," or small letters, being of more recent date. Paul seems to have had a difficulty in writing, which led him to make the uncial letters larger than ordinary writers did. The mention of these is as a token by which they would know that he wrote the whole Epistle with his own hand; as he did also the pastoral Epistle, which this Epistle resembles in style. He usually dictated his Epistles to an amanuensis, excepting the concluding salutation, which he wrote himself (Ro 16:22; 1Co 16:21). This letter, he tells the Galatians, he writes with his own hand, no doubt in order that they may see what a regard he had for them, in contrast to the Judaizing teachers (Ga 6:12), who sought only their own ease. If English Version be retained, the words, "how large a letter (literally, 'in how large letters')," will not refer to the length of the Epistle absolutely, but that it was a large one for him to have written with his own hand. Neander supports English Version, as more appropriate to the earnestness of the apostle and the tone of the Epistle: "How large" will thus be put for "how many." Paul made use of the hands of others in the writing some others of the Epistles, as appears from Romans 16:22, and sometimes he himself only wrote the salutation, 1 Corinthians 16:21: but he tells them he wrote this Epistle to them wholly with his own hand, that he might thereby more commend his love to them and care over them.

Ye see how large a letter,.... Whether it be read as imperative, "see ye", observe, take notice; or as indicative, "ye see", ye do see, or you may see with your own eyes, it is of no great consequence: "how large a letter", or "with what letters"; which some understand of the largeness of the characters he wrote in; others of the deformity of them, he not writing a good hand, being an Hebrew, and not used to writing Greek; others of the grand and sublime matter which it contained; though neither of these seem to be the apostle's meaning; but he intends the length of the epistle, the prolixity of his writing; and which he mentions, as an instance and expression of his love to then, care of them, and concern for them: inasmuch as he took so much pains to write so long a letter to them, in order to set things right in their view, and recover them from error: not but that he had sent as long, or longer letters to other churches, as to the Romans, the Corinthians, and Hebrews: but then it is to be observed what follows,

I have written unto you with my own hand. The epistle to the Romans was written by Tertius, though dictated by the apostle, Romans 16:22 as very likely the others were by Timothy, or some other amanuensis. The apostle only put his name, and wrote his salutation, which was his token, in all his epistles, of the truth and genuineness of them; 2 Thessalonians 3:17, but this was not only dictated by him, but wrote with his hand, which very probably the Galatians knew; and since it was not usual for him to do so, it was the greater proof of his affection for them; that amidst so much work, and such labours as he was employed in, he should sit down and write so long an epistle to them with his own hand, in order to expose the errors of the false teachers, and reclaim them.

{9} Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.

(9) The fourth and last part of the epistle, in which he returns to his principal end and purpose: that is, that the Galatians should not allow themselves to be led out of the way by the false apostles. And he points out what those false apostles are really like, reproving them of ambition, as men who do not act because of any affection and zeal they have for the Law, but only for this purpose, that they may purchase themselves favour amongst their own sort, by the circumcision of the Galatians.

Galatians 6:11. Not “an odd verse,” the purport of which is “a singular whim” (Usteri): on the contrary, in accordance with his well-known manner in other passages (1 Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:17), Paul adds to the letter, which up to this point he had dictated (comp. Romans 16:22), the conclusion from Galatians 6:11 onward in his own handwriting.1[259] By means of these autograph endings the epistles indicated their authentic character. See 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Thessalonians 3:17. But this close of our epistle, as stringently comprehending all its main points once more, was intended to catch the eyes of the readers as something so specially important, that from Galatians 6:12 to the end the apostle wrote it with very large letters,[260] just as we, in writing and printing, distinguish by letters of a larger size anything that we wish to be considered as peculiarly significant. To this point, and consequently to the quite special importance of the addition now made at the end, not by the hand of the amanuensis, but by his own hand in large writing, Paul calls the attention of his readers, and says: “See with how great letters I have written (the sequel, from Galatians 6:12) to you with my own hand!” Neither ἴδετε (in opposition to Rückert and Schott) nor ἜΓΡΑΨΑ (in opposition to Usteri) is at variance with the reference to what follows; for Paul, following the custom of letter-writers, has in his mind not the present point of time, when he is just about to write, but the point of time, when his readers have received the letter and consequently see what and how he has written (Philemon 1:19; Philemon 1:21; 1 John 2:14; 1 John 2:21; Acts 15:27; Acts 23:30, Romans 16:22; Thuc. 1. 1 in.; Isocr. ad Demonic. in.). Just in the same way in Philemon 1:19, ἔγραψα τῇ ἐμῇ χειρί points to what follows. In keeping with this is the similarly common use of ἔπεμψα, “respectu habito temporis, quo alter donum accipiebat;” Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. i. 9. 25; comp. Krüger, § 53. 10. 1. Holsten, Voemel, Matthias, Windischmann, Reithmayr, agree with our view. Grotius also (“sua manu scripsit omnia, quae jam sequuntur”), Studer, and Laurent refer the words to what follows. Grotius, however, contrary to the usus loquendi, explains πηλίκοις as how much, thus making Paul call attention to the length of his autograph conclusion; and Studer understands it as referring to the unshapeliness of the letters (in opposition to this, see below); whilst Laurent (in the Stud. u. Krit. 1864, p. 644 ff., and in his neut. Stud. p. 125. 5), against the signification of the word, adheres to the qualibus of the Vulgate, and is of opinion that Paul wrote this conclusion of the letter in the cursive character. Usually, however (as also by Ewald, Wieseler, Hofmann), Galatians 6:11 is referred to the whole epistle, which Paul had written with his own hand,[261] πηλίκοις being explained (with Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Cajetanus, Estius, Winer, Rückert, Usteri, Hilgenfeld) as referring to the unshapeliness of the letters,[262] arising from want of practice in writing Greek; or πηλίκ. γράμμ. being explained as: what a large letter I have written to you. So most expositors, including de Wette and Hofmann. But against this latter view—although the epistle, notwithstanding 1 Peter 5:12, Hebrews 13:22, would no doubt be long enough for an autograph one—may be urged the very use which it assumes of γράμματα for ἐπιστολή,[263] since Paul elsewhere always calls an epistle ἐπιστολή (1 Corinthians 5:9; 1 Corinthians 16:3; 2 Corinthians 3:1 f., 2 Corinthians 10:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Thessalonians 3:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:17); and, on the other hand, he just as constantly uses the word ΓΡΆΜΜΑ, in the singular (Romans 2:27; Romans 2:29; Romans 7:6; 2 Corinthians 3:6) and plural (2 Corinthians 3:7), to express the idea of a letter of the alphabet; and also the decisive consideration that the employment of the dative (instrum.) instead of the accusative (Acts 23:25; Romans 16:22; 2 Peter 3:1) would be quite in opposition to all usage.[264] The dative would only be suitable if, instead of ἔγραψα, παρεκάλεσα perhaps, or some suitable word, followed. Against the former interpretation, which refers the word to the unshapeliness of the letters, it may be urged that the idea of ἀμορφία is arbitrarily introduced into πηλίκοις, as this quality is by no means an essential characteristic of large letters; secondly, that the charge of want of practice in writing Greek cannot be proved. The native of Tarsus and Roman citizen, who from his youth had enjoyed a learned training in Jerusalem, where the Greek language was very current among the Jews (see Hug, Einl. II. § 10)—the man who handled with so much delicacy and skill the Greek literary language, who was familiar with the works of the Greek poets (see on Acts 17:28), and who was in constant intercourse with Greek Jews and Gentiles,—is it to be thought that such an one should not have possessed even the humble attainment of writing Greek without making the letters of an unshapely size? In Wieseler’s view, the large letters were very legible (for the public reading of the epistle); and in calling attention to this circumstance, Paul desires to bring into prominence his great love for his readers, which shuns no trouble on their account. But even thus the matter would amount only to a trifle. The Galatians were in possession of far greater proofs of his love than the size of the characters in his own handwriting, which, besides, might be something very different from legibility.

[259] 1 From 2 Thessalonians 3:17 it is to be assumed that Paul closed all his epistles with his own hand, even when he does not expressly say so.

[260] The principal emphasis is on the word πηλίκοις, which is therefore placed apart; the secondary stress lies on τῇ ἐμῇ χειρί. It may, however, be doubtful whether Paul wrote merely ver. 12 with larger letters, and the sequel with his own hand but in his ordinary mode of writing, or whether he continued the large characters down to ver. 16 or to ver. 18. The internal connection of vv. 12–16, the uniform solemn tone of these verses down to their solemn conclusion, and the abrupt character of ver. 17, all unite in inducing us to adopt the second view.

[261] In adopting this view various grounds have been guessed for its autograph composition. Pelagius: “that Paul desired to show that he was not afraid!” Ambrosiaster, comp. Augustine and Michaelis: “that he desired to prove the genuineness of the epistle.” Chrysostom (who, moreover, assumes in addition the cause assigned by Pelagius), Luther, Calvin, Calovius, and many others: “that his intention was to show the Galatians his earnest care for them, to make them attentive in reading, and the like.” Hilgenfeld: “that he attached so much importance to the epistle.” Ewald: “that Timothy had not been with him just at the time when he composed the epistle; and he thus wished, in the postscript written at a somewhat later period, to make excuse for the large inelegant letters in which the epistle had been written.” Hofmann: “that the autograph writing was intended to bring the apostle as it were vividly before the eyes of his readers.” Hofmann is also of opinion that Paul had not elsewhere written with his own hand, that he might not needlessly curtail the time for procuring his bodily maintenance. As if the dictating to the pen of another would not have involved just as much loss of time! Tertius and Timothy were hardly shorthand writers. Or is Paul supposed to have been occupied in tent-making during the time when he was dictating his letters, which presuppose so much abstraction and concentration of mental labour?

[262] This is not, as is often stated, the view of Jerome, who, on the contrary, specifies this view only to reject it, and assumes that down to ver. 11 the epistle was written by the amanuensis, but after ver. 11 by Paul himself in very large characters, in order that his readers should recognise his genuine handwriting and at the same time his solicitous care for them. Jerome therefore comes nearest to our view, but introduces into the πηλίκοις purposes which have no natural connection with the largeness of the characters, and could not, without further intimation, have been understood by the reader. Theodore of Mopsuestia explains it better, likewise understanding πηλίκοις γράμμασιν correctly (μείζοσιν ἐχρήσατο γράμμασιν), and specifying as Paul’s object that he, μέλλων καθάπτεσθαι τῶν ἐναντίων, wished to intimate that he neither ἐρυθριᾷ οὔτε ἀρνεῖται τὰ λεγόμενα.

[263] Taking the word by itself, there can be no doubt that γράμμα (scriptum, 2 Timothy 3:15, John 5:47) may, according to the context, mean epistle, so that in the plural it would denote epistolae (Acts 28:21, and often in Greek authors), but may also apply to a single epistle. Thus, for instance, Thuc. vii. 8. 3, where ἐπιστολή is used shortly before; Xen. Cyr. iv. 5. 26, where ἐπιστολή occurs immediately after; Xen. Ephesians 2:5 and Locella in loc. Comp. also Luke 16:6; 1Ma 4:10; Galatians 6:11-18. THE APOSTLE WRITES THE PERORATION WITH HIS OWN HAND, DENOUNCING THE MOTIVES OF THE PHARISAIC PARTY. AFFIRMING HIS OWN ABSOLUTE RELIANCE ON THE CROSS AND THE NEW LIFE OF THE SPIRIT, AND CONCLUDING WITH A PERSONAL APPEAL AND FINAL BLESSING.

11–18. Autograph postscript and Benediction

11. Ye see] Better, imperative, ‘see’.

how large a letter] Lit. ‘in how large letters’. Many ancient and most modern expositors take this to refer not to the length of the Epistle—which is certainly not ‘large’ as compared with those to the Romans and Corinthians—but to the nature of the characters employed. It is curious that the exact meaning of this word rendered ‘how large’ should have been so far overlooked as to suggest the explanation, ‘in how rude characters,’ as though the Apostle called attention to his want of skill in writing Greek. This view might have been left unnoticed, but for the distinguished name of Chrysostom, who among others maintains it. A second explanation supposes that St Paul, in calling attention to the large characters which he used, intended to hint at the cause, either general bodily ill-health, or local infirmity, such as weak eyesight. If this latter suggestion be adopted, it will confirm the hypothesis mentioned in the note on ch. Galatians 4:13. But it is on the whole more probable that the largeness of the letters was intended to express the importance of the message to be conveyed. To those who have studied carefully the character of the great Apostle this view, suggested by the ablest of his early commentators and adopted by the greatest of modern expositors of his Epistles, will commend itself as in keeping with what we know of the man, and as congruous with any just estimate of the scope of the Epistle itself. In the verses which follow St Paul sums up the whole argument of the Epistle, a weighty argument on a cardinal doctrine, gathered up in a summary, weighty and powerful, and emphasised by the very characters in which it was written, ‘Golden words, proportionately transcribed.’

But do the words, ‘See in what large letters I write unto you with mine own hand,’ apply to the whole Epistle, or only to this concluding paragraph? It may be admitted that so far as the words employed in this verse are concerned, either alternative may be adopted. Alford is of opinion that ‘on account of the peculiar character of this Epistle, St Paul wrote it all with his own hand,—as he did the Pastoral Epistles,’ and he finds ‘confirmation of this, in the partial resemblance of its style to those Epistles.’ Others with more probability regard the Apostle as having employed an amanuensis thus far, and at this verse to have taken the pen into his own hand. The reasons assigned for this conclusion are drawn from what we know of his practice in other Epistles. It seems from an expression in 2 Thessalonians 2:2, where he cautions his converts against being unsettled ‘by epistle as from us,’ that letters had been forged purporting to have been written by him—such forgeries were not uncommon in the subsequent history of the early Church—and as a mark of genuineness he adopted the practice of adding at the end of his Epistles a few lines in his own hand, the rest having been written by Tertius, or some other amanuensis. Thus, 2 Thessalonians 3:17, ‘The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every Epistle: so I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.’ Comp. Romans 16:22 foll.; 1 Corinthians 16:21-24; Colossians 4:18.

Galatians 6:11. Ἴδετε, see) The conclusion.—πηλίκοις γράμμασιν) in how large letters, i.e. how large a letter; just as long letters [longæ literæ] is the expression used for a long epistle; the quantity is not to be referred to the single letters, but to them when joined together. The Epistle to the Hebrews is longer, which however is said to be short, Hebrews 13:22; but this is said to be long, because it was on one subject, by the hand of Paul himself, and on a point regarding which the Galatians ought to have been long ago well established. Also the former is compared to hortatory, the latter to polemic theology.[63] He had not heretofore written a longer epistle.

[63] And as compared respectively with their subjects, the Epistle to the Hebrews was short, that to the Galatians long.—ED.

Verse 11. - Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand (ἴδετε πηλίκοις ὑμῖν γράμμασιν ἔγραψα τῇ ἐμῇ χειρί); see with what large pieces of writing (or, with what large letters) I have written (or, I write) unto you with mine own hand. There can be hardly any doubt that the rendering "ye see" of the Authorized Version, supposing, as it seems to do, that this is meant as an indicative, must be wrong (cf. John 4:29; 1 John 3:1). The ἴδετε of the Textus Receptus in Philippians 1:30 is replaced by recent editors with one consent by εἴδετε. Each one of the four next Greek words, πηλίκοις ὑμῖν γράμμασιν ἔγραψα, has been subjected to a variety of interprerations. What appears to the present writer the most probable view he must explain as briefly as he is able. The interrogative πηλίκος means "how great," as in Zechariah 2:2 (Septuagint); Hebrews 7:4. Accordingly, πόσα καὶ πηλίκα in Polyb., 1:2, 8 (cited in Liddell and Scott's 'Lexicon') means "how many and how large." Many, as e.g. Chrysostom, have supposed that the word includes a reference to clumsiness, ungainliness, as attaching to the apostle's handwriting ("with what big letters!'). But no example of the word being used in this sense of "ungainliness" has been adduced; and it seems safer not to import into its rendering this additional shade of meaning. The dative ὑμῖν Bishop Lightfoot proposes to connect closely with πληίκοις as μοὶ and σοὶ are often used in familiar style, with the sense mark you! But there is no instance of this use of the dative pronoun in the Greek Testament (see Winer, 'Gram. N. T.,' § 22, 7, Anna. 2, p. 140); and here surely it more naturally connects itself with ἔγραψαψ. It is not uncommon with St. Paul to insert some word or words between a substantive and its adjective or dependent genitive, as here between πηλίκοις and γράμμασιν (see Galatians 2:9; Galatians 3:15; Philippians 4:15, etc.). In the instances now cited there appears no more logical occasion for such a seeming disarrangement of the words than there does here. The verb ἔγραψα is used with no objective accusative following, as in Romans 15:15; 1 Peter 5:12; the substantive γράμμασιν being in the dative, because the apostle is referring merely to the form of the medium of communication, and not to the substance of the communication itself. The rendering of the Authorized Version, "how large a letter I have written," cannot be defended as a literal translation, though it may be allowed on one view of the passage to give the sense rightly. But though the plural noun γράμματα, in ordinary Greek, like literae in Latin, sometimes occurs in the sense of a single epistle or letter, it is never so used by St. Paul, who always employs the word ἐπιστολὴ to express this notion, which he does no less than seventeen times. In Acts 28:21 it is rendered "letters," in the plural number; being properly "communications in writing." The noun γράμμα was the word ordinarily employed in Greek to designate a letter of the alphabet. It also denotes "a writing," as when in the plural we read in John 5:47, "if ye believe not his writings," and in 2 Timothy 3:15," the sacred writings," or Scriptures. In Luke 16:6, 7 "take thy bill" is literally, "take thy writings" (γράμματα being the now accepted reading in the Greek text). In 2 Corinthians 3:7, "the ministration of death in writings," the word probably refers to the ten commandments, each forming one writing; though it may mean "in characters of writing." In ordinary Greek it sometimes denotes a passage of a treatise or book (Liddell and Scott, under the word, 2:4). Next

(1) the verb ἔγραψα ("I have written") may be understood, as in Romans 15:15, "I have written the more boldly unto you," etc., with reference to the entire letter, now nearly complete, as it lies before him. In that case the apostle's words may be rendered, "See, with what long writings [or, 'pieces of writing'] I have written unto you with mine own hand." Through some cause or other, we know not what the cause was, writing with his own hand was not a welcome employment to him; so far unwelcome that he generally devolved the actual penning of his letters upon an amanuensis, merely authenticating each letter as his own by a postscript added in his own hand (see 2 Thessalonians 3. fin.). Perhaps Philemon forms the only' exception (see ver. 19), apart from this letter to the Galatians. We may, therefore, imagine the apostle as painfully and laboriously penning one portion after another of the Epistle; often pausing weariedly in the work as he came to the end of each γράμμα, that is, to the end of each section of his argument, each seeming to him a long and toilsome effort. And now at last he exclaims," Look, what long, laborious performances of handwriting I have achieved in writing to you! And from that learn how deeply I am concerned on your behalf, and how grave your present spiritual peril appears to me to be!" Ordinarily it was only a brief "piece of writing" that he wrote with his own hand; here, long pieces, added one after another with painful effort. Or

(2) the verb "I have written" may be referred to what the apostle is now beginning to pen, not merely because the epistolary style of the ancients, Greek and Roman, was wont to place the writer of a letter in the temporal standing-point of its recipient, as when Cicero dates his letters scribebam Id., etc., but because under some circumstances it is natural that the writer should thus refer himself to the view of his correspondent. Thus in Philemon 1:19, "I Paul have written it (ἔγραψα) with mine own hand, I will repay it." It would be quite obvious to ourselves to express our meaning in the same manner. So far, then, as such considerations reach, it appears quite supposable that the apostle, having employed an amanuensis as usual as far as the end of ver. 10, then himself took up the pen for the customary addition of an authenticating postscript; and that, for the purpose of adding especial emphasis to the postscript which he here thought advisable to add, he made his handwriting most unusually large, and that it is to this emphatic style of penmanship that he here draws attention. Many modern critics have acquiesced in this explanation; and if γράμμασιν means "letters," that is, characters of the writing, it seems the most probable; for it does not seem likely that the whole Epistle was written in letters of an extraordinary size; while, if the characters were those of his ordinary style of penmanship, the remark would be too trivial to come from him. The present writer inclines to the former method of interpretation. Galatians 6:11How large a letter (πηλίκοις γράμμασιν)

More correctly, with how large letters. Γράμματα may mean an epistle, as Lat. literae, or epistles; but Paul habitually uses ἐπιστολή for an epistle. Γράμμασιν means with characters, and πηλίκοις refers to their size. It is claimed by some that the large characters are intended to call the attention of the readers to the special importance of the close of the letter. See below.

I have written (ἔγραψα)

The aorist may refer to the whole of the preceding letter, or to the concluding verses which follow. In either case it is probably an instance of the epistolary aorist, by which the writer puts himself at the time when his correspondent is reading his letter. To the correspondent, I write has changed itself into I wrote. Similarly the Lat. scripsi. Ἔπεμψα I sent is used in the same way. See Acts 23:30; Philippians 2:28; Colossians 4:8; Plm 1:11.

With mine own hand (τῇ ἐμῇ χειρί)

The aorist ἔγραψα is epistolary, and refers to what follows. The concluding verses emphasize the main issue of the letter, that the Judaising intruders are trying to win the Galatians over to the economy of circumcision which is opposed to the economy of the cross. It is therefore quite probable that Paul may have wished to call special attention to these verses. If so, this special call lies in the words with my own hand, and not in with how large letters, which would seem to have been added to call attention to the apostle's handwriting as distinguished from that of the amanuensis. "Mark carefully these closing words of mine. I write them with my own hand in the large characters which you know."

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