Be as I am - Thoroughly addicted to the Christian faith and worship, from the deepest conviction of its truth.
For I am as ye are - I was formerly a Jew, and as zealously addicted to the rites and ceremonies of Judaism as ye are, but I am saved from that mean and unprofitable dependence: "Be therefore as I am now; who was once as you now are." Others think the sense to be this: "Be as affectionate to me as I am to you; for ye were once as loving to me as I am now to you."
Ye have not injured me at all - I do not thus earnestly entreat you to return to your Christian profession because your perversion has been any loss to me, nor because your conversion can be to me any gain: ye have not injured me at all, ye only injure yourselves; and I entreat you, through the intense love I bear to you, as my once beloved brethren in Christ Jesus, to return to him from whom ye have revolted.
Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am - There is great brevity in this passage, and no little obscurity, and a great many different interpretations have been given of it by commentators. The various views expressed may be seen in Bloomfield‘s Crit. Dig. Locke renders it, “Let you and I be as if we were all one, Think yourselves to be very me; as I in my own mind put no difference at all between you and myself.” Koppe explains it thus: Imitate my example; for I, though a Jew by birth, care no more for Jewish rites than you.” Rosenmuller explains it, “Imitate my manner of life in rejecting the Jewish rites; as I, having renounced the Jewish rites, was much like you when I preached the gospel to you.” Other interpretations may be seen in Chandler, Doddridge, Calvin, etc. In our version there seems to be an impropriety of expression; for if he was as they were it would seem to be a matter of course that they would be like him, or would resemble him. The sense of the passage, however, it seems to me cannot be difficult. The reference is doubtless to the Jewish rites and customs, and to the question whether they were binding on Christians. Paul‘s object is to persuade them to abandon them. He appeals to them, therefore, by his own example. And it means evidently, “Imitate me in this thing. Follow my example, and yield no conformity to those rites and customs.” The ground on which he asks them to imitate him may be either:
(1)That he had abandoned them or,
(2)Because he asks them to yield a point to him.
He had done so in many instances for their welfare, and had made many sacrifices for their salvation, and he now asks them to yield this one point, and to become as he was, and to cease these Jewish observances, as he had done.
For I am as ye are - Greek “For I as ye.” This means, I suppose, “For I have conformed to your customs in many things. I have abandoned my own peculiarities; given up my customs as far as possible; conformed to you as Gentiles as far as I could do, in order to benefit and save you. I have laid aside the uniqueness of the Jew on the principle of becoming all things to all men (Notes, 1 Corinthians 9:20-22), in order that I might save you. I ask in return only the slight sacrifice that you will now become like me in the matter under consideration.”
Ye have not injured me at all - “It is not a personal matter. I have no cause of complaint. You have done me no personal wrong. There is no variance between us; no unkind feeling; no injury done as individuals. I may, therefore, with the more freedom, ask you to yield this point, when I assure you that I do not feel personally injured. I have no wrong to complain of, and I ask it on higher grounds than would be an individual request: it is for your good, and the good of the great cause.” When Christians turn away from the truth, and disregard the instructions and exhortations of pastors, and become conformed to the world, it is not a personal matter, or a matter of personal offence to them, painful as it may be to them. They have no special reason to say that they are personally injured. It is a higher matter. The cause suffers. The interests of religion are injured. The church at large is offended, and the Saviour is “wounded in the house of his friends.” Conformity to the world, or a lapse into some sin, is a public offence, and should be regarded as an injury done to the cause of the Redeemer. It shows the magnanimity of Paul, that though they had abandoned his doctrines, and forgotten his love and his toils in their welfare, he did not regard it as a personal offence, and did not consider himself personally injured. An ambitious man or an impostor would have made that the main, if not the only thing.
Thus the Galatians were taught the fundamental truths concerning “God the Father” and “our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” “By the hearing of faith” they received the Spirit of God and became “the children of God by faith in Christ.” Galatians 1:3, 4; 3:2, 26. AA 208.1
Paul's manner of life while among the Galatians was such that he could afterward say, “I beseech you, be as I am.” Galatians 4:12. His lips had been touched with a live coal from off the altar, and he was enabled to rise above bodily infirmities and to present Jesus as the sinner's only hope. Those who heard him knew that he had been with Jesus. Endued with power from on high, he was able to compare spiritual things with spiritual and to tear down the strongholds of Satan. Hearts were broken by his presentation of the love of God, as revealed in the sacrifice of His only-begotten Son, and many were led to inquire, What must I do to be saved? AA 208.2
This method of presenting the gospel characterized the labors of the apostle throughout his ministry among the Gentiles. Always he kept before them the cross of Calvary. “We preach not ourselves,” he declared in the later years of his experience, “but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:5, 6. AA 208.3Read in context »