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The DEEP

The Blind Seer

and his love story.

Galatians 4:12–16

Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you. You have not injured me at all. You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me. Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?

The phrase, “You have not injured me at all,” makes it sound like his physical infirmity was due to something that happened while Paul was in Galatia, and he’s making it clear that it’s not their fault.

But that’s not it. The Greek word translated as injured (ἠδικήσατε, ay-dik-ay-sah-te) means “treated someone badly.” The ESV translates it as, “You did me no wrong.” This is not about physical injury.

The Galatians treated Paul like royalty during his trial with his physical infirmity. So, Paul praises them effusively, saying things like, “you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me.” This passage is one of many that indicate that Paul’s failing eyesight was a big part of his story. Paul being blinded on the road to Damascus might have even been the beginning of that.

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. —  2 Corinthians 12:7

See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! — Galatians 6:11

For many of his epistles, Paul used an amanuensis (scribe), but at least for some of this one, he made a point of writing it in his own hand. That may have become impossible later as his eyesight worsened.

So, it seems likely that Paul’s physical infirmity was his eyesight. Somehow, it was because of that infirmity that he preached the gospel to you at the first. He was stuck there and spent the time preaching.

Gloriously, their reaction to this near blind preacher in their midst was not to despise or reject him, but to receive him as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.

God’s hand in this is so totally evident—and glorious. Paul’s stuck in Galatia by what looks, at first glance, to be a terrible affliction. But something clicks, and they see Paul as some kind of blind seer.

And so it turns into a love story between a pastor and his flock.


The warmth of that love story is evident throughout this epistle, but it reaches a crescendo here. So Paul, ever the preacher, leverages that to continue to make his case.

Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?

That’s a little strong, but these folks are used to Paul’s style.

And they love it.


These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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