Why did Paul never speak of Jacob?

If Jewish people find their identity in Jacob, why do Christians focus on Abraham?

Conversations make you think, especially conversations with people who see things differently to you.

Last year, I was chatting with a Rabbi about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. She knew Christians emphasize Abraham, but for Jewish people the emphasis falls on the third person of the patriarchal triad. Jewish identity is children of Israel — literally, descendants of Jacob. The man Jacob was Israel in the first generation.

That’s why the name Jacob regularly referred to the nation of Israel in later generations, especially in poetic passages. The nation is not Abraham, but it is Jacob. Examples:
Psalm 53 … let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!
Isaiah 43 1 … he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel …

In the Psalms and latter prophets (Psalms – Malachi), Abraham’s name appears only 11 times, while Jacob’s name appears 127 times. The nation’s identity was primarily in Jacob, not Abraham.

So, why are Christians more focused on Abraham? Continue reading “Why did Paul never speak of Jacob?”

Tom Wright on Galatians (podcasts)

Grappling with Galatians is a free series of podcasts by N. T. Wright, provided by Regent College (Vancouver, Canada).

There are five podcasts (A, B, C, D, E), each 2 – 3 hours (70MB MP3), accompanied by 36 pages of notes (3 MB, PDF). Or you can download the podcasts and notes in one go as a Zip file (370 MB).

While I’m not a podcast junkie, you’ll find this set helps you come to terms with what Galatians meant to the people of central Turkey who first received the letter, and therefore what it could mean for us today. Continue reading “Tom Wright on Galatians (podcasts)”