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brutal word "stupid"? "Even could it be proved that the Galatians were a stupid people,
insult we cannot imagine to have been intended by the apostle" (Bloomfield). There are
at least four ways of calling a person a "fool" in N.T. Greek, and each one has its own
significance. Had Paul wished to be rude he could have called these beloved saints of
God "morons" (Matt. 5: 22), a word that has passed into our own vocabulary. He could
have called them "senseless" and used the word aphron as he did in I Cor. 15: 36. He
could have implied that they were lacking in wisdom and used asophos as in Eph. 5: 15,
but he uses none of these terms. He chose the same epithet that was employed by the
Saviour in Luke 24: 25 when it was evident that "their understanding" needed to be
opened (Luke 24: 45).
Anoetos the word used in Gal. 3: 1 means "thoughtless", being made up of a the
negative and noeo "to understand" (Eph. 3: 4); "to perceive" (Mark 8: 17) and
"consider" (II Tim. 2: 7); which in turn is derived from nous "the mind" (I Cor. 2: 16);
and "understanding" (Luke 24: 45).
Dr. Bullinger in his Lexicon explains anoetos as "unreflecting, never applying the
nous (mind) to moral or religious truth" which is similar to Ellicott's remark "it seems to
mark, not so much dullness in, as a deficiency in, or rather insufficient application of, the
The argument of Gal. 3: 2-7 is an intense "application of the nous". It is a deadly
and a deadening thing to allow a false deduction from the necessarily evil character of
mere human "reasoning" to lead to the assumption that faith is irrational or blind, or that
there can possibly exist any divergence between true "reason" and living "faith".
Anything that is demonstrably not "right" can form no part of the creed of a moral
creature, this turns the noble word "faith" into the base word "credulity" and belongs not
to the free but to the enslaved.
Had the Galatians, who had been justified, and who had been set free by grace, but
applied their emancipated minds to the Judaistic proposals that had caused such havoc, all
might have been well. As it turned out, their lapse has been overruled to provide this
great polemic and apology "The Epistle to the Galatians". The apostle, in measure,
explains the idea he had when he used the word "thoughtless"--for he continues "who
hath bewitched you?" and by so saying shifts the blame somewhat from the Galatians
themselves to those emissaries of Satan, who, appearing as they may as angels of light
and ministers of righteousness, stultify the truth by preaching "another Jesus", "another
gospel" and "another spirit" (II Cor. 11:).
"To bewitch" baskaino becomes in its Latin form the word "fascinate" and had special
reference to the bewitching power of the "evil eye", a spell which was supposed, among
other evils, to check the growth of children--a feature that the Galatians would be quick
The LXX translators use the word always in the sense of the "evil eye" as may be seen
by consulting Deut. 28: 54, 56; Prov. 23: 6 and 28: 22. There is resident also